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:
- 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 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?
2020 marks the tenth anniversary of Fool’s Gold! Can you believe it? To celebrate, I’ve written a brand new Fool’s Gold romance that will be out in July called A Fool’s Gold Wedding. Do you remember Liz’s nieces in Almost Perfect? They’re all grown up, and little Abby is going to fall in love. A Fool’s Gold Wedding will be available on its own as an e-novella and in print as a bonus novella in a 10th anniversary reissue of Chasing Perfect, Fool’s Gold book 1.
On August 4, my big summer release will hit stores—The Friendship List, a standalone novel. Writing is my favorite thing to do, so I always have a good time, but this book was the most fun I’ve had writing in years and is by far the funniest book I’ve ever written. Ellen and Unity, best friends since childhood, are stuck in a rut, both living like old women even though they’re in their thirties. So they come up with a list of challenges to get out of their comfort zone, during the summer that changes their lives forever.
I had been planning to go on book tour for The Friendship List, but as you can imagine, Covid-19 has put a damper on those plans. I miss reader hugs, and seeing your smiling faces, and feeling the buzz of your excitement as I sign your books. That’s the bad news. But the good news is, I’ll be doing a virtual book tour online, with five stops the first week of August—and that means that I can connect personally with even more people than I’d be able to meet on book tour. As I’m writing this, I don’t have all the details yet, so I’ll just tell you that you should sign up for my mailing list—and just as important, open and read each of my emails—so I can let you know how you can join my virtual book tour from the comfort of your own home.
In September, we’ll return to Happily Inc with a heartwarming Christmas romance, Happily This Christmas. Garrick (the cop) moves next door to Wynn, and sparks are going to fly. I’ve created a scavenger hunt within the book, with random objects suggested by readers. The scavenger hunt is available on the FREEBIES page inside the Members area, if you’d like to play.
The first book of 2021 will be The Vineyard at Painted Moon, the standalone story of Mackenzie Dienes, an elite winemaker who’s facing an impossible choice. You can read more about The Vineyard at Painted Moon and watch my newsletters for the cover reveal.
I’ve also started writing a new series of Christmas romances set in Wishing Tree, Washington. The first Wishing Tree book will debut in 2021.
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 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 women’s fiction novel.
The spark that led to The Friendship List came from a reader who asked me to write a story about empty nesters. At first, the idea didn’t resonate with me, but then I thought, “Well, what if it’s not a married couple? What if it’s a single mom? And what if she had the baby really young?” That’s how Ellen was born. She got pregnant in high school, so she’s only in her mid-thirties as the book starts and she’s facing the prospect of her son heading off for college. When she overhears her son telling a friend that he can’t go to college out-of-state because his mom needs him too much, she’s horrified. She wants him to be free to follow his dreams. So she and her best friend dare each other to complete a series of challenges to force themselves to live life to the fullest.
So… I don’t think this is what the reader had in mind, but I’m still eternally grateful for that spark that led to the story idea. I never know where the next great idea will come from.
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 the Buchanans, the Marcellis, the Bakery Sisters, the Hometown Heartbreakers, the Desert Rogues 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 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.
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.