What led you to write BEST OF MY LOVE (Fool’s Gold)? I had to give Shelby Gilmore a happily-ever-after! If anyone deserves it, she does. She is one of the most selfless heroines I’ve ever written, a total nurturer. When her mom got sick, Shelby went home to take care of her, even though she knew it meant her father would hit her again. She stayed until her mom passed away. Now she’s found a new home in Fool’s Gold, friends, healing, and a job she adores, co-owning the local bakery, where she gets to nurture the entire town by making the pastries that help them celebrate life’s special occasions.
Still, as happy as she is, something is missing—love. She keeps picking the wrong guys out of a self-protective instinct not to let any man too close. She decides to retrain her brain, to teach herself that there are men she can trust. She needs a guy to embark on a friendship experiment with her—no romance, no dating, no kissing, and definitely no you-know-what.
This is the kind of thing Aidan Mitchell would never go for. He’s known for you-know-what, except he just found out that he has a love-’em-and-leave-’em reputation. Shelby catches him at a moment when he wants to change his life, too—and a friendship is born. But as Shelby and Aidan go on a series of non-dates, that “no kissing” part turns out to be the challenge of their lives!
I had so much fun writing BEST OF MY LOVE and playing with the differences between men and women. I think this is one of my funniest books yet, while still giving readers all the feels they’ve come to expect from my books. Emotion + humor = happy reading!
How important is setting to your story? Very. Fool’s Gold is a small town with a vibe all its own—quirky, charming, supportive to the point of being a little intrusive. (Sometimes a lot.) For many years, Fool’s Gold had a man shortage, and the strong, capable women in town stepped into the leadership roles and took care of business. The chief of police is a woman, most of the city council members, and of course, Mayor Marsha with her almost mystical intuition. The books I set in Fool’s Gold, including BEST OF MY LOVE, couldn’t be set anywhere else. The town defines the characters, and the characters define the town.
Which is more important characters or setting? Characters, always. The town is a backdrop, one I love, but what really interests me are the dynamics between people.
Do you read the same genre you write? Romance is still my favorite thing to read, but while I’m writing, I don’t read the same genre I’m writing because I don’t want to be influenced. So I read romance in my rare breaks between books or when I’m writing women’s fiction, such as THE FRIENDS WE KEEP, which came out earlier this year. While I’m writing romance, I often read young adult.
Do you have a reoccurring theme to your books? The theme I keep coming back to time and again is finding family. I’m an only child, so I’ve always craved close connections. I’ve made my own family, one friend at a time. My characters do this, too, which is why friendships are such an important part of all of my books. Romantic love is wonderful, but life wouldn’t be complete without friends, as well.
What social media do you participate in? Oh, I’m everywhere, but especially on Facebook. Every day, I check in with my friends on Facebook. Readers can leave messages there for me. I read every message and respond personally to as many as I can. I also share a romantic or funny quote of the day, have live Q&As, hold contests, and more. Readers can connect with me at Facebook.com/SusanMallery. http://www.facebook.com/susanmallery
If you’re not on Facebook, here are the other places you can connect with me online: www.SusanMallery.com www.twitter.com/susanmallery www.instagram.com/susanmallery www.pinterest.com/susanmallery plus.google.com/+SusanMallery www.goodreads.com/susanmallery
What’s next for you? Next up is a book of my heart, a story that came to me almost fully formed, with characters who refused to leave me alone until I wrote their story. It was a pleasure to write from start to finish, filled with scenes I couldn’t wait to write. DAUGHTERS OF THE BRIDE is the story of three women whose mom is getting married—and none of them even have a date to the wedding! It’s filled with romance, family drama, wedding planning, romance, adorable dogs, humor…and did I mention romance? DAUGHTERS OF THE BRIDE will be out in July.