Sunday, 14 August 2011

Interview with author Susan Mallery + Giveaway

Today I have the pleasure of welcoming the wonderful Susan Mallery to Ex Libris, whose latest release Only Mine I have been telling you about. Susan has created such a unique and charming small town in her  contemporary romance series (which is Fool's Gold), that all readers who have heard about it want to visit (and maybe even live there). So read on if you would like to learn a bit more about the series, the upcoming books and Susan's writing, and there's even a fantastic giveaway at the end!

Stella: Hi Susan! Thanks so much for not only including Ex Libris on your blog tour but also accepting to be interviewed by me, thank you! :-)

Susan Mallery: Thank you for hosting me here today! I appreciate you helping to introduce readers to ONLY MINE, the fourth book of my Fool’s Gold series of romance novels.

Stella: Could you please tell us a bit about yourself?

Susan: My name is Susan Mallery, and I am a romance addict. I’ve written more than 100 romance novels, and I will never grow tired of the excitement of the first kiss or that electric moment when the characters realize they are in love with each other. I have also begun to write non-romance women’s fiction novels, stories in which I get to explore some of the other relationships that mean so much to women. I’ve been honored to see my name on the New York Times bestsellers list, but the most meaningful praise I get comes from readers who tell me they love my books.

Stella: And now I would like to ask you some questions relating to your writing and your Fool’s Gold series.

Only Mine (Hqn)Your last as well as your upcoming releases are all part of your Fool’s Gold series, where Book #4 Only Mine was released just a couple of days ago (congratulations!) and Book#5 and #6 will be available soon (in September and October respectively).

Do you still remember how the inspiration for Fool’s Gold, a small town where there is a man shortage and the women are very well capable of being in and assuming the role of fire fighters, mayors and cops, came to you?

Susan: I knew I wanted to create a series based on a place. In the past, I’d written series based on a family, so once I ran out of siblings, I ran out of stories. Readers kept asking me for more in every series. They loved that sense of connection, and they wanted it to go on. Debbie Macomber was the one who suggested I stop writing about families and start writing about a place. With a place, the story possibilities are infinite. (Debbie Macomber is like my Mayor Marsha – I never say no to Debbie! She’s a genius.)

The place itself needed to have a strong identity. As I was brainstorming the series, I heard a story about the then-upcoming 2010 census, about everything a town can discover about itself from census results. I wondered, “What if there was a man shortage?”

So Fool’s Gold was born… the town with the man shortage. But instead of making the women eager to get more men to town, I tweaked reader expectations and made the women strong, self-sufficient, and kind of crabby that anyone would think they need more men. They can run the town just fine without men. Which means that any men who do move to Fool’s Gold have to earn the right to live there. . . and they have to earn the hearts of the women they love.

Source: Fools Gold California - The Land of Happy Endings

Stella: What makes this Californian small town such an ideal destination that every reader who reads your novels would love to visit and maybe even live there?

Susan: The people. The women of Fool’s Gold are smart, funny, independent, and they watch out for each other. They’ve practically formed a Casserole Brigade, bringing casseroles en masse to any local family with a reason to celebrate or mourn. Readers love Fool’s Gold because of the sense of community…. and because they want to hang out in Jo’s Bar, a local bar that caters to the female clientele by showing HGTV and Project Runway on the big screens instead of sports.

(Stella: you won't believe it but I almost included that very quote describing Jo's Bar in my review of Only Mine as I wanted to show how different the bar in Fool's Gold is, but in the end due to length issues decided against it. But I am glad it eventually is here so readers can see for themselves a tiny detail which lets them imagine how unique Fool's Gold is.)

Stella: When you started the series almost 6 books ago, did you plan which secondary characters’ stories you’d like to tell, or it all came on gradually?

Chasing Perfect (Hqn)Susan: When I wrote the first trilogy (CHASING PERFECT, ALMOST PERFECT, and FINDING PERFECT), I knew that I would write about the Hendrix triplets in this year’s trilogy (ONLY MINE, ONLY YOURS, and ONLY HIS). What I didn’t realize at the time was who these three women would fall in love with – a rugged Alaskan pilot, a brilliant but wounded surgeon, and one of the wealthiest developers in California.

Stella: I know asking you if you have a favourite novel is like making a mother choose between her children, so I’ll rather ask: is there a character (male or female) or couple who is closer to your heart (either because of their way of getting to their HEA, or because of some personal quirks or background tidbits)?

Only Yours (Hqn)Susan: I adore Dr. Simon Bradley, the hero of ONLY YOURS (out in September 2011). ONLY YOURS is a beauty & the beast story, and Simon is both the beauty and the beast. On one side of his face, he is the most gorgeous man that Montana Hendrix has ever seen, but the other side of his face is terribly scarred from a childhood tragedy. As a child, Simon’s brilliance already set him apart from his peers. After he was scarred, he withdrew even further into himself. He will be transformed by his relationship with sunny Montana and her tiny dog.

Stella: Book #4, #5 and #6 tell the story of the Hendrix triplets: Dakota, Montana and Nevada (love their names and the way they got them btw! ;-p). Can you introduce the girls to the readers who don’t know them from previous books of yours?

Susan: Of course! Dakota, Montana, and Nevada are identical triplets who grew up in Fool’s Gold. They got their unusual names from their older brothers. You can read the full story of how they got their names in the Fool’s Gold Christmas Wishes magazine, available for free download at The triplets are as close as sisters can be, but they each have distinct personalities. Dakota is a child psychologist, very nurturing, and with a delightfully sarcastic sense of humor. Montana has felt lost career-wise until she recently discovered that she was meant to work with therapy dogs. Poor Nevada is the last triplet to find love, which means that she feels left out as her sisters plan a double wedding without her.

Only His (Hqn)Stella: In Only Mine (Book #4) Dakota shares the spotlight and “screentime” with two other couples, we follow the evolution of the romance for three couples at the same time. Was this a onetime happening or can we expect Only Yours and Only His to feature more than one main couple as well?

Susan: The Fool’s Gold books are all rich and multi-layered. Fool’s Gold is a community, and I think having a couple of subplots in each book adds to that sense of the town as a real place. And yes, some of those subplots will definitely feature a couple. Just wait until you see what happens to the triplets’ mom Denise, as she steps out into the world of dating after 10 years of widowhood!

Finding Perfect (Hqn)Stella: I loved Finding Perfect which was my introduction to your writing and the Fool’s Gold series, and wanted to let you know that I found it surprising what serious topics you broach in your “light contemporary romance series” (such as in vitro fertilization, infertility, etc.) and yet what I remember most was how much I chuckled out loud at Pia’s one liners! She was such a breath of fresh air, an exceptionally sassy and witty heroine, I have to confess I found her book too short, would have loved to read on until the birth of the twins ;-p 

Susan: Pia’s babies will be born this year, so keep reading the ONLY books!

Stella: And what can we expect next from you? Will there be more novels in the Fool’s Gold series or do you have other plans for an independent series/standalone novel?

Susan: There will be at least seven more Fool’s Gold books after this year’s. In 2012, three delicious cowboy brothers and their younger sister will move to Fool’s Gold. And in 2013, I think I’m going to establish a bodyguard academy on the edge of town. After that, who knows? If readers clamor for more from Fool’s Gold, anything’s possible. (You can let me know you want more by writing to me on Facebook, Twitter, or Goodreads.)

Stella: You write contemporary romance novels. Do other romance subgenres appeal to you (historical, erotic, etc.) and do you plan on maybe venturing “out” or you feel most comfortable and “at home” in the contemporary romance genre?

Already HomeSusan: In addition to writing romances, I write one non-romance women’s fiction per year, which allows me to explore other relationships that mean so much to women. BAREFOOT SEASON, my next women’s fiction novel, will be out in April 2012 and will launch a new series set on quaint Blackberry Island. The story is about two former best friends who form a turbulent truce to save the inn they both love.

Stella: Is romance the genre you usually enjoy when you are a reader and not the writer, or you’ll shock us by revealing you spend your free time devouring sci-fi novels? ;-p

Susan: I love a good World War II adventure… especially when it involves a hidden cache of Nazi gold!

Stella: And if we mentioned free time, can you share what you do in yours when you are not writing wonderful and funny romance novels for us? :-)

Susan: I love watching reality TV, especially the shows that involve actual talent (what a concept!) – Dancing with the Stars, Top Chef, and my current favorite, Project Runway. If you’re on Twitter and you watch Project Runway, look me up during the show. You’ll find me tweeting live all season! Of course, I embarrass myself frequently by raving about an outfit that the judges later say is hideous.

Stella: Thank you very much Susan for answering my questions and congratulations on the release of Only Mine!!

ONLY MINE…All Mine Contest



The contest is open to all members of Susan’s website who sign-up for a chance to win. It begins August 1st and will end September 1st, 2011. Once the contest has ended the lucky winner will be drawn randomly. 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.

If you want to sign up for the “ONLY MINE…All Mine” contest you must visit the contest page inside the Member Only lounge. If you are not already members you can easily become one by entering an email address and zip code.

Good luck!

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