SUSAN MALLERY is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of novels about the relationships that define women's lives—family, friendship, romance. Library Journal says, “Mallery is the master of blending emotionally believable characters in realistic situations," and readers seem to agree—40 million copies of her books have sold worldwide. Her warm, humorous stories make the world a happier place to live.
Susan grew up in California and now lives in Seattle with her husband. She's passionate about animal welfare, especially that of the two ragdoll cats and adorable poodle who think of her as mom.
Q. 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.)
Joining my mailing list also gives you access to all of the goodies in the Members Only area:
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Q. 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.
After four of my Fool's Gold books hit #2 on the New York Times bestsellers list (SUMMER NIGHTS, THREE LITTLE WORDS, HOLD ME, and KISS ME), I finally sidestepped the "always a bridesmaid" curse when THRILL ME debuted at #1 in August 2015. Pretty exciting to see my romance novel at the top of the bestsellers list! Years earlier, my friend Debbie Macomber had given me a bottle of champagne and told me to open it when I hit #1. (Not if, when.) I opened it the night I got the news, and I raised a toast to Debbie and to the wonderful readers who had helped me make this remarkable achievement.
Q. What's next for Susan Mallery?
As I write this, I'm looking forward to a full and happy 2019, with three brand-new books landing in bookstores throughout the year, starting with California Girls on February 26. California Girls is a standalone novel, the story of three sisters who each get dumped in a single week, and their very different reactions to that event. There are a lot of "what would you do" moments in this book that would make it a great book club selection.
On June 11, I'll release The Summer of Sunshine and Margot, one of the bigger stories that I like to call "romance-plus," really two romances in one. Twin sisters Sunshine and Margot Baxter may not be identical, but they have one major thing in common—terrible luck with men. But they're each about to meet the loves of their lives. The setting of this book has been getting a lot of buzz at my publishing house. One of the heroes, Alec, lives in a former monastery that has been converted into a mansion. Perhaps his monastic lifestyle is a reaction to growing up as the son of a wild child movie star. Things will change for him in a big way when Margot enters his life.
And then toward the end of the year, we'll return to Happily Inc with the release of Meant to Be Yours in October. (Yay!) I love this little wedding destination town. While on book tour, thriller writer Jasper Dembenski will open his heart to a rescue dog—and that one simple act will prepare him to accept true love.
Q. How can I get in touch with you?
There's a Contact form inside the Members Only area. I respond to reader mail once a month, so depending on when your email comes in, it might be a few weeks before you hear back from me. You can also send me a message via Facebook.
Q. 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.
Q. 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 be a long-running series, like Fool's Gold. 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. Mischief Bay is a larger place, though still with a neighborly feel, and on the mainland.
But—and this is why I never say never—inspiration struck again, and in 2020, I will be taking you back to Blackberry Island! The solution: the heroine is going to bring her business to the island. So hey, imported job opportunities.
Q. 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.
Q. 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.
Q. 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.
Q. Will you write a romance novel for (my favorite secondary character)?
Your first step should be to check my Freebies page, where I've posted a list of all of my heroes and heroines. You can look up the name of the character to see whether I've already written a book for him or her. (You'll find the name Rafe Stryker on the list twice. Different characters, same name—I don't know how I did that! Clearly the name stuck in my subconscious. So embarrassing!)
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.
Q. I don't have an e-reader. How can I read your e-book exclusives?
Almost all of my books have been published in print, but the novellas are too short to print on their own. Most of these novellas have been printed in an anthology at one time or another. Look at the Novellas and Anthologies section of my Printable Backlist. When you see a book title followed by the ~ symbol and another title, that means the novella was printed in an anthology.
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, tablet, or smart phone. Just do a Google search for "read ebooks on my [name of device]," and you should get several results. If you've enjoyed the free excerpts on my website or the short stories in the Members Only area, then you will probably enjoy reading e-book novellas on your computer. And hey, the software is free, so it's worth a shot!
Q. 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 …and from Apple Books.
Q. I'm thinking of writing a romance novel. How should I get started?
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.