Tuesday, April 6, 2010

E-Interview with Susan Mallery

Susan Mallery is a New York Times bestselling author and has written well over one hundred romance novels. Her most recent series to date is the Lone Star Sisters featuring the Titan family, although the Fools Gold series is due out later this year. Susan's most recent standalone novel is High-powered, Hot-blooded in which a grouchy CEO in need of a public perception change asks a kindergarten teacher to play his pretend mistress. Feel free to visit her website or follow her on twitter. Take a nosey at Susan's site! It's bursting with lists of all her books and other goodies, and sign up for the newsletter because you'll get to read short stories and certain excerpts that others don't have access to.

Fans of contemporary romance novels featuring funny heroes and heroines (and goshness knows that's me!) look no further! Don't forget that you can check out our booklists, one highlighting all of the Susan Mallery titles we hold in Manukau Libraries, and the other recommending similar authors/titles.

1. Why romance writing in particular?

I’ve always loved reading romance novels, so writing them was a natural fit for me. How great is my job? Time and again, I get to relive that zing of attraction. Nothing is more exciting than the first steps into love… or more terrifying. As readers, we have a comfort level knowing that the ending is going to be happy, but the characters don’t know that at all. They can feel themselves falling, and they have no idea whether they’ll have a safe landing or end up crushed. As a writer, I can’t imagine anything more fun than that.

2. Do you prefer a ‘happy ever after’ ending or a ‘happy for now’ ending?

Both can be lovely, but I write about characters who, by the end of the book, are in it for the long haul. They are in love and committed to each other. My readers can close the book with a satisfied smile, knowing those characters have found their partner for life.

3. Do you get recognized while out and about in public?

Only if I’m at a book fair or writer’s conference. And thank goodness for that! I have never wanted the kind of fame that comes with instant recognition.

4. How often do you get fan mail?

At least a few emails every day, and I love it! I respond to every email personally, usually within a week. If I’m on deadline, it might take me a bit longer. It means the world to me to hear from readers who have enjoyed my books. Often, their letters move me to tears, as they tell me how the stories helped them weather a storm in their life. At other times, they make me laugh as they tell me a particularly embarrassing story of why they relate so well to a certain character. Readers can write to me via my website, www.SusanMallery.com.

5. What can you tell us about your next book?

Next year, I’ll introduce a new series set in the California wine country town of Fool’s Gold, and I’m really excited about it. Fool’s Gold is a fabulous tourist town known for its festivals and parades, its quaint architecture, and its incredible mountain lake scenery. In the first book in the series, CHASING PERFECT, Charity Jones comes to town as the new City Planner. Only after she arrives does she discover that she’s been hired primarily to attract men to town. Fool’s Gold, it seems, is suffering from a shortage of men… and no one knows why.

CHASING PERFECT will be released in the States in May of 2010. The New Zealand release should follow shortly thereafter. Keep an eye on www.FoolsGoldCA.com for more information, or join the free Members Only area at my website, www.SusanMallery.com, to get an email when the books are released.

6. What freedom does your writing career bring?

Writing does bring a significant amount of freedom, but it comes with an absolute requirement for self-discipline. If I need to go shopping in the middle of the day, I can hop in the car and go. I don’t have to answer to a boss for every minute of my day, and I’m very grateful for that. However, the words don’t write themselves. I approach writing very much as I would a regular job, in that I go to my office every day and work until the day’s pages are complete. Sometimes that means working overtime.

7. Do you belong to your public library and, if so how often do you visit or, if not why not? (Sorry, I work for a public library and am always curious about the library habits of authors).

I love libraries! I’ve moved frequently because of my husband’s career, and one of the first things I do when arriving in a new city is to join the public library. I could make a beautiful collage with all my library cards. I visit the library once or twice a month, on average.

8. Do you read Harlequin Mills & Boon novels?

Absolutely! Here in the States, we don’t call them Mills & Boon. The books are published as Harlequins or Silhouettes. I write for two of the Silhouette lines, Silhouette Special Edition and Silhouette Desire. I love these shorter books where 100% of the focus is on the love story.

9. How much of your work is inspiration and how much is discipline?

It is definitely a mixture, although it’s hard to quantify. Ideas come pretty naturally to me. Stories are everywhere. I get inspired by snippets of overheard conversations, songs on the radio, articles in the newspaper. There’s just something in my brain that is frequently sparked with story ideas. The real trick, then, is to turn that spark into a story that can sustain a 400-page book. That’s where the discipline comes in.

10. I’ve often read that authors are better for writing what they know – is this a maxim you write by? And, if so, what unusual things have you had to do to keep to this rule/ideal?

Yes, I do believe you should write what you know, but I don’t think that means you should write what you already know. I think it means that you should put due diligence into research and make sure that you learn what you need to know in order to be accurate. For example, in my most recent series, Lone Star Sisters, the hero of the second book, LIP SERVICE, was a wounded war vet. Mitch lost part of his leg in Afghanistan. In order to do service to the soldiers who make such sacrifices for us, I had to make sure that I got the details right. I read everything I could get my hands on, and I connected online with some wounded vets who were generous enough to share their experiences with me. I’ve gotten a lot of very moving mail about this book.

11. Do you read romance novels in public?

Yes, yes, yes! I’m never without a book, and it’s almost always a romance. At the doctor’s office, at the airport… I always have at least one book in my purse. If I’m traveling or if I’m nearing the end of the book, I’ll have a back-up.

12. What was the last movie/dvd you watched?

My husband and I watched Love Actually last night, the start of our annual Christmas movie tradition to get into the spirit of the season.

Note: When I emailed Susan asking if I could con her into answering some questions it was just short of the Christmas holidays, hence question 12 relating to the 'spirit of the season.'

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