New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery has won the hearts of millions of readers around the world with books described as “immensely entertaining, intensely emotional” (RT Book Reviews), “hilarious” (Fort Worth Star-Telegram), and “heartwarming” (Publishers Weekly). One major retailer recently described her as “the queen of romantic fiction.” While she deeply appreciates the accolades of critics and booksellers, Mallery is even more honored by the enthusiasm of her readers and the word-of-mouth that catapults her toward the top of the bestsellers lists time and again.
Mallery lives in not-so-sunny Seattle with her husband and a toy poodle who makes her laugh every day and who’s not even a little bit impressed by her growing fame. Visit Susan online at www.SusanMallery.com.
Here are the answers to
some frequently asked questions.
How can I get on your mailing list? I want to know when your romance novels and women’s fiction books are coming out.
Click here to subscribe for free. When you subscribe, you’ll be among the first to hear when I release a new romance novel or women’s fiction book, when I have a new series in the works, and when I’ll be in your area for a book signing. (That’s why I ask for your zip code.) I don’t email often – only when I release a book or when I want to let you know about a super special contest.
How did you feel the first time you saw a Susan Mallery romance novel on the New York Times bestselling list?
Overjoyed and humbled, all at the same time. The first time one of my romance novels appeared on the New York Times bestselling list was in 2008, a book called ACCIDENTALLY YOURS. When your name appears on a prestigious bestselling authors list such as the New York Times and the USA Today bestsellers lists, it means that lots of readers rushed out to buy your book the very first week it was released. My readers mean the world to me, and it’s always such an honor to know they’re that eager for my next romance novel.
With SUMMER NIGHTS and THREE LITTLE WORDS, both Fool’s Gold romance novels, I made it as high as #2 on the New York Times bestselling list for mass market paperbacks. THREE LITTLE WORDS was #2 with an asterisk, meaning that it was statistically tied for number one! Equally thrilling, THREE LITTLE WORDS debuted at #5 on the USA Today bestsellers list, which is amazing because the USA TODAY list tracks all books – fiction, nonfiction, paperback, hardcover, ebooks… all on one list. And THREE LITTLE WORDS was #5 that week out of all books sold – not bad for a romance novel!
What’s next for Susan Mallery?
My favorite, favorite question! In 2015, I’ll launch the brand new series of Mischief Bay. Not coincidentally, the first book in the series is titled THE GIRLS OF MISCHIEF BAY. This is a women’s fiction series, not strictly romance, much like the Blackberry Island trilogy was. The books are more serious than my romances, though still with lots of humor and emotion, and they explore not just the romantic relationship, but also all of the other relationships that impact women’s lives. THE GIRLS OF MISCHIEF BAY features three friends—one 30, one nearly 40, and one 50—navigating some of life’s most challenging transitions. At their core, my women’s fiction books are really all about friendship. THE GIRLS OF MISCHIEF BAY has a lot of gray-area, thought-provoking questions for book clubs to discuss, and I’ve included a Readers’ Guide to help get the conversation started. Explore Mischief Bay at www.mischiefbay.com. As always, you can count on me for an ending that will leave you feeling good about the world.
The rest of the year is all about Fool’s Gold! I have four brand new Fool’s Gold romances coming out in 2015—HOLD ME, KISS ME, THRILL ME, and MARRY ME AT CHRISTMAS. Notice, the trilogy titles are in alphabetical order. I requested that on purpose to make it easier for me to say the titles without stumbling over which one comes first. MARRY ME AT CHRISTMAS is out of order, but kind of obvious where that one goes, don’t you think?
Search and rescue is coming to Fool’s Gold with HOLD ME, and the head of the squad is none other than Kipling Gilmore, fresh off his gold medal win at the Olympics. Mayor Marsha recruited him after an injury made it impossible for him to ski competitively. He’s in great shape to make sure the people of Fool’s Gold stay safe… and he’s going to give special attention to a new resident, the daughter of two country music superstars.
In KISS ME, you’ll get Zane Nicholson’s story. Zane is a strong, silent rancher who is a little bit embarrassed and a little bit proud that he was named the guy girls most wanted to be with for four years in high school… including a year after he graduated! And THRILL ME will introduce the gorgeous Mitchell brothers, the bad boys of Fool’s Gold.
How did you get started writing romance novels?
From the time I was about thirteen, I loved reading romance novels. I had never thought about actually becoming a romance writer because I thought romance writers were exotic people who lived in France, wore black all the time and talked about things like dead philosophers and existentialism. While I was in college, I saw that a local adult education center was offering a class on "How to Write a Romance Novel." I signed up for that class and, the very same day, began writing my first romance novel.
The book was awful, but the class changed my life. It was 8 weeks long and I knew by week 6 that I wanted to make a career as a romance author. I stayed in school to complete my degree (in Accounting of all things) then walked away from a job offer to try my hand at romance writing. Fortunately, I sold fairly quickly. My first romance novel sold in August 1990 and was published in January 1992. From that point on, I have been a romance author, and I’ve never wanted to be anything else.
Where do you get ideas for romance novels and women’s fiction books?
Ideas come from everywhere – songs, movies, conversations I’ve overheard. (Yes, I admit it. I eavesdrop.) The idea is a spark. The tough part is building that spark into a full-length romance novel or women’s fiction book. Sometimes an idea doesn't go anywhere, and I have to save it for another day, when it might merge with another spark and become brighter and more wonderful.
The spark that led to my Fool’s Gold series of romance novels was a news story about the census. I thought of how interesting it would be if the census discovered that a town faced a serious man shortage. I wasn’t interested in writing about women who were desperate for a man, so I went in a different direction. The women of Fool’s Gold are strong and sassy, and they are seriously unamused that the national press seems to think they’re lonely and pathetic. They’re doing just fine, thank you very much. The men who do come to Fool’s Gold have to prove themselves worthy before they can earn their happy ending.
My Mischief Bay series was sparked more by logistics than anything else. The truth is, when I started the Blackberry Island series, I intended for it to go on indefinitely, the way the Fool's Gold books will. As long as you love reading them, I'll keep writing them. But Blackberry Island is a very small island, and I soon felt boxed in. There are a few wineries, a few B&Bs, and a duckboat. Practically speaking, there simply aren't enough job opportunities for me to create varied characters and situations. I've learned my lesson. Mischief Bay is going to be a larger place, though still with a neighborly feel, and on the mainland.
How long does it take you to write a romance novel or women’s fiction book, and do you write on a schedule?
The single title romance novels and women’s fiction books take about 3-4 months from start to finish. They are long with intricate plots and a lot of characters, which makes for a lot of writing…and rewriting. I do have a schedule. I'm slow in the beginning but after the first few chapters, I generally write about 15 pages a day. And I do plot out the whole story. I need to know what's going to happen before I can comfortably move ahead. This doesn't mean the characters don't get a vote. They frequently surprise me with their actions and dialogue. Then we all have to have a meeting and figure out what happens next!!
Because I write so many romance novels and women’s fiction books each year, it's important for me to have a plan of what I'll be working on next, then to stick to it. Being disciplined is as difficult as being creative, and just as important.
Help! I'm looking for an older, out of print romance novel of yours. Which one is it and how do I buy it?
You can see a complete list of my books, in order of publication, listed by series here. Most of my single title romances are available in print, so you can find them wherever books are for sale. If your local bookstore doesn’t have it, they should be able to order it for you, or you can definitely order it from websites like Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com.
Many of my older category romance novels have been reissued recently as ebooks and audiobooks, and more will continue to be reissued in the future. Sign up for my mailing list so I can send you an email any time I release a new book. As for buying older category romance novels in print, that’s more challenging. Category romances such as Harlequin and Silhouette books have a very short shelf life. If you can’t find the book you’re looking for on Amazon.com or BarnesandNoble.com, you’ll need to look for a used copy.
I’m looking for a list of the Fool’s Gold series in order. Can you help?
You’ve come to the right place! All of my books are listed in order on my Printable Backlist. Or you can sign in to the Members Only area and look on the Freebies page for a list that shows each series separately and in order. That’s particularly helpful with the Fool’s Gold romance novels because there are several novellas that are interspersed throughout the series. The list on the Freebies page shows all of the Fool’s Gold books in order, as well as the Buchanans, the Marcellis, the Bakery Sisters, the Hometown Heartbreakers, and all of my other series.
Will you write a romance novel for (my favorite secondary character)?
I never say never when it comes to writing stories for people who have made an appearance in my books. Many of the characters who’ve captured your imagination have also captured mine, and these people have a way of sticking with me so long that I finally surrender and give them a book of their own. I'm also very much influenced by my readers. I want to write books you love, so I want to hear your ideas! After my 2008 Bakery Sisters series, I heard from a reader who wanted a romance for Raoul, a troubled teen in SWEET SPOT. Raoul is the hero of FINDING PERFECT, the third book in the Fool’s Gold romance novels.
You see, I’m easily manipulated, both by characters and by readers. I succumb to pressure. My best advice to you if you want a romance novel or women’s fiction book for your favorite character is to visit my Facebook page and let me know. I can’t make any promises, other than to assure you that I do listen and I do want to know which characters mean the most to you.
I don't have an e-reader. How can I read your e-book exclusives?
Almost all of my books are available in print, but a few of them are novellas, too short to print on their own. These novellas may be printed in an anthology someday, but they're not on the schedule yet. If you don't have an e-reader such as a Kindle or a Nook, you don't have to miss out on e-book exclusives! Several companies offer free software that will let you read e-books on your computer. Just do a Google search for "read ebooks on my computer," and you should get several results. If you've enjoyed the free excerpts on my website, then you will probably enjoy reading e-book novellas on your computer. And hey, the software is free, so it's worth a shot!
Why don’t you release all of your romance novels in audio format?
My publishers buy all the rights to my stories from me, including the audio rights, and then they get to decide whether or not to release the book in audio. My current and future books will be available on audio CD and download. Many of my earlier single title romance novels and some category romance novels are available for download from Audible.com.
I'm thinking of writing
a romance novel. How should I get
The best place to go is http://www.rwa.org/.
Romance Writers of America is a terrific organization for both published and unpublished romance writers. There are local chapters, conferences, contests, plenty of how-to workshops and seminars.
Writer’s Digest has a series of “how to” writing books that are excellent, and you can often find a copy in your public library. You might also want to take a community college writing course or, if you don’t have access to a community college, you can find lots of classes online, especially through Romance Writers of America.