RACHEL CARTER: Hi everyone, we are here today with New York Times bestselling author, Susan Mallery who has published over a hundred novels. She is also the author of the beloved Fool’s Gold series, set in the fictional town of Fool’s Gold California and she has three new Fool’s Gold novels coming out in the next few months; Hold Me in May, Kiss Me, in July, and Thrill me in August. Thank you so much for chatting with us today, Susan.
SUSAN MALLERY: Thank you for having me. I really appreciate it.
RC: We were just sort of wondering if you could start off by telling us a little bit more about your three upcoming novels.
SM: I’d love to. First of all, I’ll tell you a funny little inside joke and that is I now make them put my titles in alphabetical order so I can remember them. I know what they are but remembering the order is confusing for me so sometimes they’re numbered like Just One Kiss, Two of a Kind, Three Little Words, sometimes they’re alphabetical. This year they’re alphabetical so that’s how I remember Hold Me, Kiss Me, Thrill Me. This year in Fool’s Gold we are opening the search and rescue organization. It’s starting and the gentlemen who is going to be running it is Kipling Gilmore. We met him last year in — oh gosh, see this is why we have to do the books alphabetically– Before We Kiss is the book from last year that we met him in. He is a former Olympic Skier and he had a terrible accident and couldn’t ski professionally anymore so Mayor Marsha went and got him and said “come to Fool’s Gold and run search and rescue” and he said groggily, from his hospital bed in New Zealand “who are you?” But she convinced him and so he’s there to open the search and rescue and our heroine, her name is Destiny Mills and there’s a software program that helps you find people that uses GPS and tracking. It’s very impressive. So she is the facilitator. She comes in to teach everybody how to use this software and she moves on. That’s what she does in her life. She never stays. Destiny has a really interesting secret which is a lot of fun. Book two is a cowboy book because I’ve been missing some cowboys. I think horses and cowboys are fun to have in novels so this year we will be going on a cattle drive. Edy and Gladys, going on a cattle drive. It’s fantastic. Then the last book, Thrill Me introduces a new family, the Mitchells. The Mitchell brothers, five brothers, who will each have their own book. We’re going to start with the oldest, Dell and their father is a famous glass artist. His name is Kelock and he, for those of you who are familiar with this work or all that beautiful glass, he does glass like that. That was tremendously fun to research and my husband kept saying “please don’t blow glass. I love you. I don’t want to lose– ” Because I’m the one that would inhale. So I stayed away to watch but that was fascinating. So that’s what we have coming up and then, in October, we’ll have the Christmas book which this year is Marry Me at Christmas. It’s nothing but fun. Action star, Johnny Blaze will fall in love with our beloved Madeleine who works at Paper Moon.
RC: Johnny Blaze, that is a great name.
SM: Isn’t that fantastic? It’s so much better than that and I know we need to talk about the other books but this just makes me laugh and laugh. When I was working on his book, I wanted him to have starred in the movie. And what I really wanted him to star in was Witness or Witness II, the Witness sequel because I think that’s kind of a cool movie but I didn’t know the rules and I didn’t want to call a lawyer and say “can I say Witness II or can I say Witness sequel and not get sued by a major studio who could crush me like the little tiny bug I would be to them?” So I was brainstorming with some friends and we came up with, his movie is — wait for it — Amish Revenge. He is the star. That was his biggest movie, Amish Revenge. And then, I couldn’t help myself, in the book he’s actually considering signing a contract for Amish Revenge II so I just had such a good time. It was a fantastic year for me, writing these books. It was just fun, start to finish.
RC: That sounds so fun. Amish Revenge, I would see that movie.
SM: It was so cool and of course they have Amish people there to help them get it right, and he learned how to carve toys from the amish so he’s doing woodworking.
RC: Well then he’s even hotter too.
SM: I know. He’s so cool.
RC: So you are so prolific. You’ve written over a hundred novels. Can you just tell us a little bit about what your writing process is like?
SM: Yeah, my writing process is interesting. WHen I first started writing, I didn’t know that real writers didn’t write a lot. My mother made me take typing in high school. She said “this computer thing, I think it’s going to be really big. You need to learn to type.” That helped a lot and when I first started writing, I didn’t know anything. I was horrible and knew nothing but I could type. So when I first started writing, I was writing like ten pages a day because if you don’t know anything it’s just typing ten pages a day. As I learned, I was able to keep that up. Writers tend to fall into two categories. It’s what they call plotters and pantsers; people who plot in advance and people who write by the seat of their pants. I’m a very big plotter and I know everything in advance. What that does for me is I do spend a lot of time before I start physically writing the book, getting to know the characters and working out the plot. But once I start writing, I’ve solved all my big problems, so I never get halfway through the book and think “this is all wrong” and have to start over because I fixed all those problems before I’d really written a word. I have the whole book outlined so it’s much easier to fix an outline than three hundred or five hundred pages. So that has allowed me to write — once I get going, I write pretty fast. I do about seventy-five pages a week. So that’s the reason I’ve been able to be prolific and the reason I continue to be prolific is two fold. First of all, I have the world’s thickest idea file, and they’re loud and rude. I am forever getting bombarded with “right me next, right me next” and it’s like “it’s not your turn,” “but I need to be next.” There’s this ongoing thing of pressure, which I know sounds really weird but all of these ideas need to be written. I have a very short attention span so if I don’t get the book finished, I will wander away and plant Daisies. I have learned, I stay focused, I get the book done because I have pressure from these other ideas but I need to be finished before I have to kill everyone.