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 ragdoll cat 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:
- Exclusive contests
- Short stories and bonus epilogues
- Radio interviews
- Book list organized by series (eg, all of the Fool's Gold books in order)
- Character lists
- Bookmarks by mail
- Knitting patterns
- ... and more
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 book.
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?
You may have noticed that I only have two new releases in 2023—The Sister Effect (March) and The Happiness Plan (June). After pushing through during the coronavirus pandemic, I felt that I needed some time to refresh and recharge. But you’ll be very happy to hear that I’m going back to three books in 2024. They’re already written—and OMG, I love these stories!—but we don’t have confirmed titles yet. Join my mailing list if you want to be the first to know when we’re ready to announce those titles.
Meanwhile, I’ll give you a little hint about the first story of 2024, which I believe will be released in February. It’s set in Los Lobos. Previous Los Lobos books include Someone Like You, Falling for Gracie, and Daughters of the Bride. When I first created Los Lobos, the books weren’t considered to be a series when they were only connected by a town. That was long before Fool’s Gold, Blackberry Island, Mischief Bay, Happily Inc and Wishing Tree! So since I started out considering them as standalones, it feels a little strange to think of them as a series now. I’ll let you decide!
Anyway, the as-yet-untitled next Los Lobos book will feature two best friends since childhood who welcome a newcomer to town into their group. The women meet in a book club. I think it’s hard as adults to make new friends because we all lead such busy lives, but a book club is the perfect opportunity because you automatically have something fundamental in common: a love of reading.
Watch my newsletters for the title and cover reveal!
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.
And if you’re on Facebook, I encourage you to join the Susan Mallery All Access group. All Access group members essentially get a backstage pass into the world of my writing. I share exclusive sneak peeks of and insights into the books I’m working on, often a year or more before the books are published! You’ll also get pictures and posts from my personal life, and exclusive monthly challenge giveaways.
Q. How did you get started writing romance and women's fiction 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’ve never wanted to be anything other than an author. Although I write more women’s fiction than romance novels these days, romance will always be a part of my books because I find falling in love to be endlessly fascinating and infinitely variable. Every couple has a different story and a different path to finding one another.
Q. Where do you get your ideas?
Ideas come from everywhere – conversations, articles. Songs are a great source of inspiration for me. I’m convinced that there’s a book in every country music song, but you might be surprised at the idea that comes from a song. For me, it’s not about the lyrics or the story of the song, as much as it is about the emotions.
So yes, ideas are everywhere, but the idea is merely a spark. The tough part is fanning that spark into flames, into a full-length women’s fiction novel. I’ve had a lot of ideas that weren’t good enough to sustain a book. I either have to reassign it as a subplot, or let it go. (That is so hard sometimes!)
The Sister Effect started with me thinking about perspective, particularly in families. The family is a unit, but each member of the family experiences events differently, with a unique perspective, and reacts with different emotions. Finley and Sloane were raised side by side in the same house, but the events of their childhood sent the sisters spinning off in different directions.
The spark that led to The Boardwalk Bookshop was the idea of three women who don’t know one another signing a business lease together because none of them could afford the coveted LA beachfront location on her own.
One of the last scenes of Sisters by Choice is what inspired The Happiness Plan. Do you remember Heather driving across the bridge off of Blackberry Island and toward her new future on the mainland? I really wanted to know what happened to her, and whether she was okay. The Happiness Plan follows up on Heather’s story.
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. All of my books that are currently available in any format are listed on the Available Now page. 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 there are no print links listed next to that book on the Available Now page, 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 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 in the Members area shows all of the Fool’s Gold books in order, as well as Wishing Tree, Happily Inc, Mischief Bay, Blackberry Island, Hometown Heartbreakers, Desert Rogues, the Buchanans, the Marcelli Family, the Bakery Sisters and the Lone Star Sisters.
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 the Members Only Contact Susan page to send me an email 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. Are any of your books available in audio format?
Yes—lots. To see all of my available audiobooks, visit the Audiobooks page of my website. Each audiobook has links to make it easy for you to buy from Audible.com and from Apple Books.