Monday, August 8, 2011

Interview with Susan Mallory & her Cheerleaders


Shared by the writer of A Cozy Reader's Corner

Tell us about ONLY MINE.
Each book in the Fool’s Gold series is a standalone novel, meaning that you won’t get lost if you read them out of order. Fool’s Gold is a town facing a serious (and seriously funny) problem – the 2010 census revealed that the town is suffering from a man shortage. Fool’s Gold has become the punch line of countless jokes on TV talk shows, which makes the strong, independent women in town pretty darn crabby... and which attracts the attention of a sleazy TV producer.

In ONLY MINE, it’s Dakota Hendrix’s job to interview potential contestants. After she recommends two handsome young twins for the show, the twins’ gorgeous, stern older brother demands that she declare them unfit. Finn Anderson wants his brothers to return to college. Finn has raised the boys since their parents died, and he won’t consider his duty done until they graduate. While Finn does everything he can to strong-arm or coerce his brothers back to Alaska, Dakota is struggling with a problem of her own, a problem so big that it will change the course of her life.

You can read free excerpts at www.foolsgoldca.com. You’ll find lots of freebies and fun bonus content there, too!

How did you come up with your Fool's Gold series?
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.

www.foolsgoldca.com is my gift to readers who have been so loyal to me. I wanted to create an experience for readers that goes beyond the books. On foolsgoldca.com, readers will find amazing bonus content such as between-the-books updates, stories and pictures from the characters’ weddings, Fool’s Gold magazines, a map of town, and funny ads from local businesses… I could keep going, but the truth is, you have to see it to get it. Fool’s Gold is the Land of Happy Endings!

What draws Dakota and Finn to each other?
At their core, Finn and Dakota both value their families more than anything. Finn thinks he wants to be done with his familial duty. He wants to get his brothers through college so he can return to his days as a carefree bachelor, but he will learn that he’s not that guy anymore. Somewhere along the way, he grew up. At heart, he’s a family man.

You love to write about families, such as the Hendrix triplets. Why?
I was an only child, so I love writing about the big, boisterous family that I never had. Triplets are an extension of that – three sisters who have been together since birth. Each of the triplets has her own personality, but the experiences these three women have shared throughout their lives make them as close as it’s possible to be.

You’re known for both the depth of your characters and for your humor. Do both come naturally to you?
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.

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. I like people in real life who can laugh at themselves, and I like that in characters, too.

Do you plot your books before writing?
I do a lot of plotting in advance, which means I can write the story quickly, which further means that I don’t lose interest. For me, the creative rush is highest during the plotting process, and the actual writing of the book is more about getting the story down on paper. I’ve tried writing without a plot, and it just doesn’t work for me. I enjoy the aspect of surprise, but I dread revisions. Even when a book is thoroughly plotted, though, the characters can sometimes surprise me. I was sweetly surprised by a secondary romance in ONLY MINE.

How many more Fool’s Gold books will you write?
There will be at least seven more 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 at
www.facebook.com/susanmallery, www.twitter.com/susanmallery, or www.goodreads.com/susanmallery.

Are you working on anything new outside of Fool's Gold?
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.

The recent Buzz has been that you have your own team of Cheerleaders for the release of Only Mine and the books to follow. How did the idea come about? What is their purpose? How did you choose the squad?
Often, I hear from excited fans who discovered me because someone put one of my books in their hands and said, "You have to read this!" It moves me. And this year, it inspired me to create the Fool's Gold Varsity Cheerleading Squad. I decided to form a team of avid readers to share with the world their love of Fool's Gold, the Land of Happy Endings. (Fool's Gold is the setting of my ongoing series of romance novels. It's a quirky small town in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Fool's Gold is dealing with a man shortage. This year's stories center around the Hendrix triplets. They are ONLY MINE, ONLY YOURS, and ONLY HIS.) The cheerleaders will earn lots of prizes along the way for doing what they love - talking about books - and I will dedicate a book next year to the grand prize winner.

I invited my fans to "try out" for the team by sharing three creative ideas for spreading the word about Fool's Gold. I was overwhelmed by the response! More than 500 fans tried out in the first few days, with some pretty amazing ideas. As I read through their applications, their enthusiasm brought a lump to my throat. I wish I could have accepted every one of them and had a cheerleading battalion that could take over the country.

Unfortunately, I only had 25 advanced copies of ONLY MINE to give away. Selecting the final 25 was a daunting task. I wanted to get a good mixture of people who emphasized online ideas and those who emphasized in-person ideas, such as standing in front of a bookstore on release day, wearing a sandwich board, ringing a bell like the Salvation Army. (Yes, she got picked. Hi, Stacey!) I also wanted cheerleaders from all across the U.S., so geography played a role.

I don't know if it was pure luck or my discerning genius, but I am thrilled with the cheerleaders who made the team! They've handed out bookmarks, talked to people at the bookstore, called long distance friends. And now they're doing a blog tour to tell the world how much they love Fool's Gold!

Where can readers meet the squad?
The cheerleaders are pictured on my Facebook page:
http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/SusanMallery?closeTheater=1. You can also join my Goodreads fan page http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8716.Susan_Mallery and my goodreads group to discover other readers who love my books! (Including
the cheerleaders!) (http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/49998.We_love_Susan_Mallery_)

Will your squad answer some questions?
They would love too!! Readers please meet the squad…

Why did you try out for the squad?
Beccie: When I heard Susan was looking for some cheerleaders to help spread the word about her newest Fool's Gold books I knew I wanted to help. I love Susan's books and she and her assistant Jenel have been so generous to me in the last few months helping to celebrate my blog's 1,000 fans that I wanted to give back and help get Susan's books get noticed. I also really wanted a cartoon picture of me as a cheerleader LOL

Marilyn: Because I missed the last try out!

What is your favorite Fool’s Gold title?
Jennifer: I really love them all but my absolute favorite is Almost Perfect.

What's your favorite book by Susan?
Sarah: My favorite book of Susan's (and overall) is Falling for Gracie... I don't know if it was the bad poetry or the fact that Gracie seemed like the underdog and she still got her man...

How did you discover Susan for the 1st time?
Charlotte: I went to a library and wanted to read a romance novel and picked up a few then and Susan Mallery was one of them and patiently seeked her books out at used bookstores as a young adult till I got a job and could pay for them myself.

Jennifer: I was at a yard sale and I started talking to the lady having the yard sale. She showed me a box of books and we got to talking and she told me about an author named Susan Mallery. (We have became great book-friends and now are in a book club together)

What made you an avid fan of Susan's books?
Angela: I've never been disappointed in a book by Susan. Never once. I always know when I pick up one of hers I'm going to get a great story, memorable characters, and of course, the requisite happy ending. I’m going to laugh, cry, and cheer for the characters. You know, there are only so many different story lines you can do in a romance. Susan always makes them fresh for me. And from someone who's read a LOT of romance, that's saying a lot!

Charlotte: Her flare for writing, her witty comments that I use a few now and then in my life. The way she brings characters to life, makes you love them or want to thump them all in one paragraph. Susan can have you giggling out loud and crying like a baby along with a whole combination of emotions by books end. And you’re wishing for more.

What's it like to be on the squad?
Beccie: Being on the squad is very awesome. The fact that I get to be connected to one of my favorite authors is so unbelievable. Chatting with the other women and getting to interact with others who share the same love for Susan's books is great. When I got the email that I had made the squad I screamed and no one in my family really understood just how awesome it was. It's nice to be able to talk with others who know what a great thing it is. I'm not going to lie the perks are fabulous as well LOL

Marilyn: Fantastic

Have you read only mine yet? What do you think?
Kelly: Adored Only Mine! The long-awaited return to Fools Gold did not disappoint. All of the favorites are still there and we learn more about the infamous Hendrix triplets. Dakota’s story is sweet, charming, entertaining and even a little heart-breaking. So really what more could you ask for in a book?

Why should readers buy this book?
Jennifer: It is a Susan Mallery classic!!! You will love it even if you haven’t read the other Fool's Gold books.

Any favorite quotes from the book?
Heidi: Yes! Well...it's kind of a favorite scene; in fact...it's the very first scene:
"What’s it going to take to get you to cooperate? Money? Threats? Either works for me."
Dakota Hendrix looked up from her laptop to find a very tall, stern looking man standing over her. "Excuse me?"
"You heard me. What’s it going to take?"
She’d been warned there would be plenty of crazies hanging around, but she hadn’t actually believed it. Apparently she’d been wrong.
"You have a lot of attitude for someone wearing a plaid flannel shirt," she said, standing so she was at least something close to eye-level with the guy. If he hadn’t been so obviously annoyed, she would have thought he was pretty decent looking, with dark hair and piercing blue eyes.
He glanced down at himself, then back at her. "What does my shirt have to do with anything?"
"It’s plaid."
"So?"
"It’s hard to be intimidated by a man wearing plaid. I’m just saying. It’s a friendly pattern. A little down home for most people. Now if you were in all black, with a leather jacket, I’d be a lot more nervous."
I'd just opened the book and began laughing! I loved it! I got one of those "looks" from my husband and he said, "If it's already got you laughing, I might as well say good-bye to you until you've finished it." :)

Be honest... What's Susan really like?
Beccie: Well I haven't met her in person but just from the way she includes her fans in things like this speaks volumes. She donated swag to my blog's 1000 fan giveaways and I never expect authors to do that so when one of my favorites does it floors me. She's an incredibly talented author and a very generous woman. I can't thank her enough for helping me in such a tremendous way.

Tiffany: Supportive, Caring, Giving, Friendly, Creative, and a great author! She is someone you would want as a friend in good times and bad. She really has been so kind and supportive of all of us even when it has nothing to do with her or her books! She just cares.

Marilyn: I started out as a fan, now that I personally know her, she is part of my family, she is the sister I never had and that's the God's truth.


*New York Times* bestselling author Susan Mallery has entertained millions of readers with her witty and emotional stories about women and the relationships that move them. *Publisher’s Weekly* calls Susan’s prose “luscious and provocative,” and *Booklist* says, “Novels don’t get much better than Mallery’s expert blend of emotional nuance, humor and superb storytelling.” While Susan appreciates the critical praise, she is most honored by the enthusiastic readers who write to tell her that her books made them laugh, made them cry, and made the world a happier place to live. Susan lives in Seattle with her husband and her tiny but intrepid toy poodle. She’s there for the coffee, not the weather. Visit Susan online at www.susanmallery.com and www.facebook.com/susanmallery.

7 comments:

  1. I love series with books that can stand alone. I look at certain series and see that they've published 5, 6 or 17 books and the thought of reading from the beginning makes me wince.

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  2. Thanks so much for posting!!! ( :

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  3. I love Susan and Fools Gold!! Cant wait for Only Yours and Only His in Sept and Oct!!!
    I finished this book in a few hours because I just couldn’t put it down!!
    Make sure you like her on her Facebook page and show your support!!
    Also don’t forget to preorder the next 2 books when ordering Only Mine!!

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  4. This is such a great series and Susan is such a gifted writer...there hasn't been a bad book yet! Love her!!

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  5. Great interview! I love Susan Mallery's books. I think her Fool's Gold series just keeps getting better and better! I can't wait for Only Yours, coming the end of this month! YAY!! And her Fool's Gold web site is a lot of fun. She's brought the town even closer to the readers with this creative endeavor. I hope Susan never stops writing, she's such a talented author!

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  6. www.foolsgoldca.com is helping to satisfy my Fool's Gold cravings until ONLY YOURS comes out...that and talking to everyone I meet about the books. Go team!

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  7. I love the Fools Gold series too, and so looking forward to the next 2. I babble on and on about Susan Mallery when I go out and get lots of comments on my Tshirts, hat and car magnet. Its amazing to see so many avid readers out there among the public who love to talk and learn about Susan and her Cheerleading squad. Dakota and Finn my hats off to the new couple of Fools Gold as I ponder what Denise Hindrix is up to in the books to come. I love when the "old" find love :S

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