Reality television has forever changed the landscape of the entertainment
industry. With a click of the remote, you can watch a dating show set in the
wild or witness the drama of housewives stirring up trouble in some of the
hottest cities in America. These days, it seems as if everyone is looking for
his or her fifteen minutes of fame no matter what the cost. Whether it’s good or
bad for society is yet to be determined; however, the fact of the matter is
reality shows are here to stay.
This month’s Jen’s
Jewels Susan Mallery touches upon this very topic in her new release ONLY MINE. Set in the
fictional town of Fool’s Gold, California, it’s the charming story of Dakota
Hendrix who finds herself in charge of overseeing a romance reality series set
in her hometown. The first book in an exciting new trilogy, Susan’s fans are
sure to be pleased by this funny, fresh, and frisky summer read.
As part of this interview, Susan has generously donated three copies for you,
my favorite readers, to try to win. So, don’t forget to look for the trivia
question at the end of the column. And as always, thanks for making Jen’s Jewels a part of your
summer reading list.
Jen: A New York Times bestselling author of contemporary women’s
fiction, your unforgettable titles have earned you a spot on the who’s who list
of the best in the business. So that my readers may catch a glimpse into the
life of the woman behind the words, please share with us your educational and
Susan: I got my Bachelor’s degree in Accounting. While I was studying to
be an Accountant by day, I took an evening course called “How to Write a Romance
Novel.” I was about two weeks into that class when I realized how much happier I
was writing words and feelings on a blank page than I was writing columns of
numbers on a spreadsheet. I did get my degree in Accounting because I believe in
seeing things through, but I turned down a lucrative job offer so I could follow
my dream. My professional background is almost entirely writing books.
Over the years, I’ve studied the craft of writing a lot. Although I don’t ever
plan to write a screenplay, I took screenwriting courses to learn a lot about
story structure. About eight years ago, I earned my Master’s degree in Writing
Jen: In terms of nuts and bolts, please share with us your writing
process. Do you outline and plot first? Or, do you simply allow the story to
take on a life of its own? Approximately how long does it take for you to
complete a manuscript?
Susan: 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, my
It takes me about three months to write a full-length book, give or take.
Jen: Your latest release ONLY MINE is the first 2011
book in a series you started last year, called Fool’s Gold. This year’s trilogy
about the Hendrix triplets will unfold over the next three months. In general
terms, how did you arrive at the premise for this exciting series?
Susan: The spark that led to Fool’s Gold was a news story about the
census. I thought of how interesting it would be if the census discovered that a
town faced a serious man shortage. How would the women in town react?
I wanted to go against expectation, so rather than being desperate to get more
men, the women in Fool’s Gold get pretty darn crabby when the national media
starts making jokes about the town with the man shortage. They do not enjoy
being an American laughingstock. I can assure you, things will get worse for
them before they’ll get better. In fact, there are some hysterical surprises in
this year’s books that have readers reaching for the phone to call a girlfriend.
Jen: The main character in ONLY MINE is Dakota
Hendrix, a triplet who has given up on love. When a production company filming a
reality series rolls into town, a sexy stranger named Finn Anderssen enters her
life. Like a moth to a flame, sparks fly instantly. What draws Dakota to this
Susan: It’s got to be the plaid. Who can resist a man who rocks a plaid
"...but seriously, folks" Dakota is drawn to Finn because the first time they
meet, even though he’s angry, he’s angry because he cares passionately about his
younger brothers. Dakota can relate to that. Her family is incredibly important
to her, too.
Jen: Finn has his own set of issues as he tries to convince his
twenty-one-year-old twin brothers Sasha and Stephen to skip out of the reality
show in order to finish their last semester of college. Why can’t Finn just let
go and allow his brothers to make their own decisions?
Susan: Finn felt that he was to blame for their parents’ death, so he
carries a lot of guilt regarding his younger brothers. He vowed to himself that
he would honor his parents by seeing his brothers safely through college. Only
then does he think he’ll be able to relax and reclaim his own independence. You
can imagine how crazy it makes him when his brothers drop out just a couple
months shy of graduating! And even more infuriating, Dakota tries to convince
him that he should let the twins make their own decisions in life" even if he
thinks they’re making the wrong decision.
Jen: Dakota shares a special bond with her sisters as well as with her
loving mother; however, she appears to have an adventurous spirit. What is the
driving force behind her desire to follow her dreams?
Susan: Not following her dream was never an option for Dakota. She’s the
kind of person who thinks problems through on her own before she lets anyone
else in, including her mom and her triplet sisters. In FINDING PERFECT, which came
out last year, readers learned that Dakota is carrying around a heavy secret. In
ONLY MINE, they’ll learn
what the secret is" and what Dakota is going to do about the problem she’s been
Jen: Let’s switch gears now and talk about your promotional plans. Do
you participate in Author Phone Chats? And if so, how would my readers go about
Susan: Absolutely! I’d be happy to talk by phone to book groups who
select ONLY MINE or any
of this year’s Fool’s Gold books. Contact my assistant at www.foolsgoldca.com, a site that’s filled with bonus
content about Fool’s Gold, the Land of Happy Endings. You can send off for free
Fool’s Gold goodies, read free excerpts of the books, see a map of the town, and
Jen: In terms of social media, are you on Facebook? Twitter? Do you blog
regularly on any sites?
Susan: I’m very active on Facebook and Twitter. Love, love, love how I
can connect with my readers these days! On Facebook (facebook.com/susanmallery), we’ve created a real community
on my page. Readers post pictures, share funny stories" and we play games
together, like MalleryLib. On Twitter (twitter.com/susanmallery), I pop in almost every day, but what I
really love about it is watching TV together like the world’s biggest slumber
party. Project Runway is super fun to watch live while tweeting. People are so
clever and funny, and they notice things about the clothes that I miss.
I do have a blog – susanmallery.blogspot.com. I try to share a recipe every week,
though sometimes when a deadline is pressing, I don’t cook, much less blog
Jen: In the fall, the next two books in the Fool’s Gold series ONLY YOURS and ONLY HIS will be released.
I can’t wait! In the mean time, are you currently at work on your next project?
And if so, what can you share with us?
Susan: I’m working on next year’s Fool’s Gold books – three handsome
cowboy brothers move to Fool’s Gold. You gotta love a cowboy!
Jen: Thank you so much for stopping by to chat with my readers. I highly
recommend your new series to all of my readers. Best of luck with your book
tour! It has been an absolute pleasure getting to know you. Happy summer!
Susan: Thank you so much, Jen! I appreciate your warm hospitality.
I hope you have enjoyed my interview with Susan. Please stop by your local
library branch or favorite bookstore and pick up a copy of ONLY MINE today. For all
of my techno-savvy readers, it is also available as an eBook.
Would you like to win your very own copy of ONLY MINE instead? Okay, be
one of the first three readers to correctly answer to the following trivia
question and you could win.
What is the title of the second book in the Fool’s Gold trilogy?
Later this month, I will be bringing to you my interview with debut novelist Allie
Larkin. You won’t want to miss it.
Until next time"
13 comments posted.
WOW, these books sound fantastic and I cannot wait to read all of them. Please enter me in your great Contest too and I Pray that I Win also. Thank YOU very much and I wish you alot of Success with your Books. Thanks, Cecilia
(Cecilia Dunbar Hernandez 8:03pm August 1, 2011)