We are so happy and honored to welcome New Times bestselling author Susan Mallery here at Book Lovers Inc today. She writes funny and sweet contemporary romance novels which will steal your heart as soon as you start reading. Her newest novel, Only Mine was released this week and today she tells us about her books and the wonderful town they are set in. Come and join us in Fool’s Gold. Be sure to stay till the end- we have 2 giveaways waiting for you.
BLI: Susan can you please tell us a bit about yourself?
Susan: I’d love to! I’ve written more romances than I can easily count, and I’ve recently begun to foray into non-romance women’s fiction, as well. I’m known for my characters. I write women who are multi-faceted, strong, interesting, vulnerable, funny, warm-hearted… women I would like to have as friends. I’m fascinated by how people think and feel. Booklist has described my writing as both “funny” and “bittersweet,” and I’m very proud of both those descriptions. The humor rises naturally from the characters’ reactions to the problems they face.
On a personal note, I’m married to a great guy. We live in Seattle with our tiny but intrepid toy poodle, a real dog’s dog who is mortified when I dress her in costumes and post the pictures on my website. But hey, that’s the way I roll.
BLI: Describe a typical day of writing? Are you a planner or pantser?
Susan: I’m definitely a plotter. When I sit down to write, I need to know where the story is going. My plot serves as a roadmap, though sometimes the characters do take the story off course a bit.
My typical day is a lot like the typical day of any working woman. I write four books a year – three romances plus one non-romance women’s fiction novel – and usually have at least one other small project going. In addition to this, I have to spend a lot of time on the business aspect of the business, which means that I need to be very disciplined in order to get everything done. I try very hard to meet my deadlines because I know there are a lot of people who depend on me to get my stories in on time. Editorial, marketing, the art department… none of them can do their job on the book until I have done mine.
First thing in the morning, I usually check in with Facebook and Twitter because I can’t resist, but then I get offline and get to work. I know what scenes I need to finish that day, and I write until my pages are done. On a good day, I could be done as early as noon. On days that I struggle, I work overtime.
BLI: What do you think is the difference between a reader and a real Book Lover?
Susan: A reader is someone who carries two books with her when she travels so she won’t run out of reading material mid-flight. A Book Lover has three or four books in her carry-on but still can’t resist shopping at the airport bookstore.
BLI: Your books can be described as romantic comedy. Why do you like your romances witty and funny? Do the funny moments come easily to you?
Susan: I think men and women falling in love with each other is inherently hysterical. Who came up with that bright idea?! Men do everything they can to avoid emotion, and yet they’re irresistibly drawn to women, who overflow with emotion. When I get teary-eyed over a commercial, my husband looks at me like I’m completely nuts. There’s this constant push-pull between men and women that never really goes away, and it will always be funny to me.
Yes, funny moments come naturally to me as I write (and in life). In fact, most of my storylines are not funny in and of themselves. My characters deal with some very serious issues in their lives, but their ability to find the humor says a lot about their resilience.
BLI: Once again you set your story in Fool’s Gold, a small town in California. What is the appeal of writing about a small community? Is this your dream town? (I’ll have to admit I’d love to live there)
Susan: I love the strong sense of community I can create when writing about a small town. Fool’s Gold is a special place where the people are truly invested in each other’s lives. (That can be both good and undeniably annoying.) Mayor Marsha knows every citizen and makes a point of visiting each baby born at the local hospital. The feuding hairstylist sisters have forced the townsfolk to alternate salons to keep the peace. When anyone in town needs a little extra love, the Casserole Brigade shows up at their door. People take care of each other in Fool’s Gold.
I’m a city girl at heart, so while I’d love to vacation in Fool’s Gold, I’m not sure I’d want to live there. I’d miss Nordstrom’s. That said, Jo’s Bar is my dream hangout. At Jo’s, they don’t show sports on the big-screen TVs – they show HGTV, Lifetime, the Style Network. Fool’s Gold has a man shortage, so Jo created a bar that would appeal to the women in town.
BLI: Why do you think men don’t seem to stay in Fool’s Gold? Why is there such a men shortage in this town?
There are rumors about an ancient Mayan curse. No kidding – on the Fool’s Gold website (www.FoolsGoldCA.com
), you’ll find a history of the town going all the way back to circa 1300, when a matriarchal tribe of Mayan Indians got sick of the virgin sacrifices and broke away from the men who were trying to rule their world. They made their way to the shores of a beautiful lake in what is now known as California, and they settled there to live peacefully. They accepted the temporary company of men but wouldn’t allow them to stay.
BLI: What can we expect of Only Mine?
Susan: The 2010 census revealed that there’s a man shortage in Fool’s Gold, and the national media has been having a heyday making jokes about this small California town. The women in town are seriously unamused about being portrayed as desperate. With ONLY MINE, I asked myself how I could make things even worse for the characters… and so a TV dating show has come to town. Local psychologist Dakota Hendrix has been asked by the mayor to make sure that the women of Fool’s Gold don’t come off looking like man-hungry sexpots.
Between that and hiding a deeply emotional secret, Dakota has plenty on her plate. The last thing she needs is a handsome, determined Alaskan pilot telling her how to do her job. Finn Andersson wants her to reject his younger twin brothers from the show so he can get them back into college.
You can read a free excerpt at www.foolsgoldca.com. You’ll find lots of freebies and fun bonus content there, too!
BLI: In this book we see the not so glamorous behind-the-cameras aspect of a TV dating show. Not all the candidates want the same thing. Can we expect them to find what they are looking for with this show?
Susan: When I watch a show like this, I always wonder about people’s motivations for appearing on the show. ONLY MINE isn’t about the TV show itself – it’s about the people. Neither Dakota nor Finn are contestants on the show, but you will get to know some of the contestants who are dating. They are supposedly looking for true love – but are they really? Or are they hoping for something else? I can’t tell you whether they find what they’re looking for without giving away surprises, but I will tell you that I think the ending will satisfy you, the reader, whether or not it satisfies the contestants.
BLI: Dakota is a triplet. That’s really rare and it’s often said that the triplets have a special connection to each other. What is Dakota like and how do her sisters form her as a person?
Susan: Despite being a triplet and truly loving her sisters, Dakota is a very private woman. In FINDING PERFECT, which came out last year, readers learned that Dakota is carrying around a heavy secret. She hasn’t even told her sisters or her mom what’s bothering her. She’s the kind of person who wants to take the time to think things through on her own first. She weighs all her options, comes up with a plan of action… and then her mom and her sisters are the first people she tells.
Susan: I was an only child. Through my writing, I live out my fantasy of growing up with lots of kids. Dakota is one of six kids – she has three older brothers, in addition to her triplet sisters. The triplets definitely helped form each other as people. They’re individuals, but they always got along (for the most part). They not only grew up in the same household, but they were the same age as each other, meaning that they have a lifetime of shared experiences seen from nearly the same perspective. They always know that, no matter what, they’re not alone. Their support system is unflagging.
BLI: Dakota suffers from a condition that makes it nearly impossible for her to get pregnant. She’s devastated by this news because she always planned on becoming a mother. This is a really hard topic and even more so on an emotional level. Why did you put that burden on her?
This is a story element that I want readers to learn while reading the book. (See above.)
BLI: Finn isn’t so keen on having kids, while Dakota always wanted a family. He is very responsible man, raising his twin brothers for the last 8 years. He’s trying his best to keep them in line but they rebel and leave college to be on the Reality show being filmed in Fool’s Gold. He’s trying his best to convince them to go back to college. He knows how straining kids can be at times. What does this independent loving man see in Dakota? What’s behind the attraction?
Susan: Finn thinks he doesn’t want kids. When his parents died, he was a carefree bachelor suddenly thrown into instant fatherhood of his young brothers, twins. He told himself that if he could just get his brothers through college, he will have fulfilled his duty to his parents. Then he can be free, he can reclaim the carefree days he lost. What he doesn’t realize as the story starts is that he has changed, and what he longed for when he was 22 years old would no longer suit him now, ten years later.
So, despite what he thinks he wants, he is drawn to Dakota because she is very nurturing and very connected to her family and to her community. Plus, her long blond hair and deep brown eyes make him want to get naked with her.
BLI: Which 4 characteristics should a perfect hero have and does Finn fit that bill?
Susan: A perfect hero must have a sense of honor, a sense of humor, a protective instinct, and loads of sex appeal… and yes, Finn most definitely fits that bill.
BLI: Tell us about the free online magazine Fool’s Gold Summer Kisses? What is it about?
Susan: For years, I’ve heard from readers who ask me for more books in different series that I have written. But those series have been based on families, so when I run out of siblings, that’s pretty much it. The Fool’s Gold series is different – because the series is about a town, not a specific family, it will continue as long as readers love it and as long as I find inspiration there.
As a gift to my readers, I have created bonus content to enrich the experience of reading the Fool’s Gold books. At www.foolsgoldca.com
, you’ll find pictures of the characters, a map of the town, fun between-the-books updates on what the characters are doing, and more. The Fool’s Gold Summer Kisses magazine
is the third online “glossy” magazine I’ve created for Fool’s Gold. There are in-depth stories in there about what’s happening in and around the Land of Happy Endings that I promise will make you laugh out loud. You can see the magazine below:
BLI: What can you tell us about the next 2 books in the series?
Susan: ONLY YOURS – September
ONLY YOURS is a beauty & the beast story, with Dr. Simon Bradley playing both roles. He is the most physically stunning man that Montana Hendrix has ever met… on one side of his face. The other side of his face is scarred. But the scars run deeper than that. It will take the love of a happy woman and a tiny dog to teach the good doctor to open his heart.
ONLY HIS – October
Oh wow, what can I say about ONLY HIS? Every time I think of this story, two words come to mind… but I can’t tell you what those two words are without revealing a big secret. I will tell you that the two words made my editor extremely nervous at the synopsis stage. When she finished reading the book, she called me, laughing so hard she was crying, and said I had pulled it off.
BLI: Do you plan more books in Fool’s Gold after the Hendrix triplet books?
Susan: Yes, I’m working on next year’s books now. Three cowboy brothers who grew up as the poorest kids in town will return as successful multi-millionaires.
BLI: Can you summarize Only Mine for us twitterstyle (140 characters or less)?
ONLY MINE by @SusanMallery- Triplet Dakota Hendrix discovers true love is never as easy as it looks on TV. www.foolsgoldca.com
1. Book Lovers Inc Only Giveaway
Now you have a chance to get your hands on your own copy of Only Mine.
All you have to do is leave a question/comment for Susan.
(You can read our full giveaway policy here)
Please leave us a way to contact you.
(Email in blogger profile or twitter name – no way to contact you – no entry).
This Giveaway is open worldwide!
Giveaway ends on Saturday, 13 August 2011 and we will announce the winner on Sunday.
2. ONLY MINE…All Mine Contest
This contest will be open to all Members of Susan’s website who sign-up for a chance to win.
It will begin August 1st and will end September 1st, 2011. Once the contest has ended they will randomly draw one lucky winner. The one lucky winner will receive a signed “exclusive first look” at Susan’s new Fool’s Gold Christmas e-novella (so fresh it doesn’t even have a title yet) and a man shortage t-shirt.
For you to sign up for the “ONLY MINE…All Mine
” contest you must visit the contest page inside the Member Only lounge
If you aren’t already a member, you can become one by entering an email address and zip code at that site.