Angie is one of 25 avid Susan Mallery fans who have formed the 2011 Fool’s Gold Varsity Cheerleading Squad. The cheerleaders are telling friends and total strangers about how much they love the Fool’s Gold romances, earning prizes along the way. Among this very enthusiastic group, Angela is a standout. She went to a Florida resort for a week and formed a Susan Mallery Fan Club with other resort goers, talking Fool’s Gold around the pool, handing out bookmarks in the lobby, and convincing forty readers that Only Mine was a perfect beach read! Back at home, Angie regularly visits her local Barnes & Noble to put a Fool’s Gold bookmark into every Susan Mallery book on the shelf, as a special gift for Susan’s fans. And of course, she’s driving a car that’s decorated with a Fool’s Gold car magnet.
When we offered Angie the chance to interview Susan for an exclusive NOOK Blog post, she jumped at the opportunity. Who better to ask the questions that every fan wants to know than the biggest fan of all! The latest Fool’s Gold book, Only His, is available now for NOOK.
Angie: I LOVE your new Fool's Gold series set in a small town in California and the corresponding web site (www.foolsgoldca.com)! One of my favorite characters is Jo, the owner of Jo's Bar which caters to women by showing HGTV and Project Runway and serving men in the back. Is Jo going to get her HEA and/or can you give us any hints about her?
Susan: Lots of readers are very intrigued by Jo, as are the people in Fool’s Gold. Jo arrived in town three years ago and opened her female-centric bar. She’s made a lot of friends but has remained very tight-lipped about her past. Rumors have been flying – is she an abused wife fleeing from her spouse? Is she a mafia princess in Witness Protection? You’ll learn more about where Jo comes from (and where she’s going) in ONLY HIS, available on September 27.
Angie: We've all heard the stories of fans following authors into restrooms, naming children after characters, etc. What is the craziest, funniest, wildest or most touching thing one of your fans has ever done?
Susan: I love my readers. Love, love, love them. The most touching moments for me are when readers tell me they read my books to get through difficult times. Even more emotional, when they're reading my books to a friend or family member going through a tough time.
I did get a great letter once from a woman who had just gone through a hideous move. They had traveled cross country with three small children, two of whom were sick. They arrived at their house and the furniture didn't. It was stuck somewhere. She was completely on the edge. They had nowhere to go, little money and she was five seconds from hysteria.
Her husband ran to the grocery store, got take out, bubble bath and a random book, which happened to be mine. After he got home, he told her to lock herself in the bathroom, take a bath and read until she was feeling better. My book (okay and the great guy and the bath) brought her back from the edge and she's been a fan ever since.
Angie: By following you on Facebook--and you're a lot of fun, BTW--I learned that you meet up with other author friends for a plot group. Can you tell us something about this group? Are there any "rules" you follow? What is the biggest benefit to this? Would you suggest aspiring authors get involved in plot groups?
Susan: Thank you! I have a lot of fun on Facebook with my readers. (www.facebook.com/susanmallery) We play games, and I often come to them to help me name characters. In 2010, they even created a character from scratch – veterinarian Cameron McKenzie, who will be the hero of a Christmas ebook I’m putting out this year, Only Us: A Fool's Gold Christmas. (Actually, my Facebook fans created Cameron, his daughter Kaitlyn, and their sheltie Noah.)
My plot group meets twice a year. Each member of the group comes with rough thoughts on two stories. We devote two hours to each story, recording each session. When we first start, we let the ideas fly. I liken it to a jazz ensemble – we riff off each other. It’s invigorating! We allow the person whose book we’re brainstorming to direct us away from any ideas that don’t work for her. By the time each session ends, we should have identified the story’s main conflict and each of the major turning points, providing a basic framework for the plot.
The biggest benefit is that getting ideas from different minds opens up your own mind and sends you in directions that you didn’t anticipate – which means more surprises for the readers. I adore my plot group, but I couldn’t recommend it for every writer because every writer works differently. What I will suggest to aspiring writers is that you try it to see whether it works for you.
Angie: It's meant so much to me to be a part of the Varsity Fool's Gold cheerleaders and I know you are a reader as well as a writer. Have you ever had your own "fan girl" moment? Tell us about it.
Susan: I saw my local TV weather guy in my grocery store the other day. Does that count? Actually it kind of freaked me out. He must have been doing a local shoot because he was wearing TV make-up and buying yogurt. It was strange. Both the make-up and the yogurt.
Okay--fan moments... I do have authors whose work I adore, but being published and all, I try to be cool about it. You know, say hi, introduce myself. But on the *inside* I'm jumping and shrieking.
Susan: Barefoot Season (April 2012) is the first book of my brand new Blackberry Island series. Michelle and Carly grew up on Blackberry Island closer than sisters, until two shocking acts of betrayal tore them apart. As the book starts, Michelle, who’s been wounded in Afghanistan, is returning to the island for the first time since she fled ten years earlier. Carly is the last person she wants to see, but Michelle is forced to work with her former best friend to save the inn they both love.
A free sample excerpt from Susan’s books are available for download on the product pages now.
NOOK owners: go to shop and search for “Susan Mallery” to download her popular books.
Visit Susan Mallery online at www.susanmallery.com!
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