Hi Susan. Thanks for joining us and sharing your latest book, Stealing Taffy. In 3 sentences tell us what it is about.
First off, let me say thank you for having me here on Night Owls.
Here’s a short description of the book: Selfish small-town beauty Tanyalee Marie Newberry has decided to turn over a new leaf and make amends to everyone she’s ever hurt, which might take a while. In the process, a one-night- stand becomes the love of her life. The novel is about family, second chances, and redemption.
You refer to your books as “brain candy for smart women”. What does that mean?
I’ve always believed that smart, stressed-out women deserve to unwind with a novel that lets them laugh as often as they sigh with delight. I try to write that kind of book --funny and sexy entertainment that doesn’t insult my reader’s intelligence, because my readers are smart cookies.
How did you go from newspaper journalist to award winning romance novelist?
One word: children. Once I had my two kids, continuing a demanding career as a newspaper reporter was no longer an option, especially because their father also worked impossible hours. So I decided I would try my hand at writing fiction, working from home. I was under the mistaken impression that writing fiction would be a low-key pursuit, something I could excel at in my spare time.
What I discovered was that writing novels is the most consuming, hair-ripping- out, frustrating activity there is. But I was hooked and couldn’t stop. Sixteen years later, I’ve written twenty-six novels and novellas and managed to do a decent job raising the kids, though I admit that sometimes it wasn’t pretty.
With the Night Owl Reviews headquarters being in the Pacific NW and you attending the Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, what is your favorite NW vacation spot?
Northwestern is located in Evanston, Illinois. It was so named because at its founding in 1851, Illinois was just that -- the country’s Northwest frontier. But I have a special place in my heart for the Skagit Valley of Washington. I got to spend some magical time there one summer, and it remains one of my favorite places in the world.
Please tell us about your family companion, your Labradoodle.
Gosh, where to begin? First let me say that this must be brief because Marley refuses to sign a release to take part in this interview. He’s a private kind of ’Doodle. But basically, he’s nine years old now, and still acts like a deranged puppy. His favorite things in the world are his bright orange bacon-scented ball and getting his ears rubbed. His best friend is Mojo Jojo, his mixed-breed terrorist sister. The truth is, she bosses him around something awful, but he’s never been happier.
What’s is next for you on the publication trail?
I am excited to say that sometime in 2017, St. Martin’s Press will release Breathless, the follow-up novel to 2011’s A Courtesan’s Guide To Getting Your Man (also published as Unbound.) Celeste Bradley and I wrote the historical/contemporary mash-up together. It tells the story of a kidnapped Regency England courtesan who washes up on the coast of Spain and the modern-day Harvard professor on the hunt for her true story. (Date to be announced.)
In the meantime, I have four Christmas novellas coming out November 1. Two are re-releases and two are new. The new novellas wrap up my two most recent series, The Bayberry Island Series and the Bigler, N.C. series.
1. “ His Christmas Cookie” (Bigler, N.C.) tells the story of a wedding-gone- awry during a Great Smoky Mountains snowstorm.
2. “The Mermaid Under The Mistletoe”(Bayberry Island) tells the story of two lonely souls who find each other during a holiday celebration.
3. “A Seaside Christmas” (Bayberry Island) This novella kicked off the Bayberry series and was originally released in 2013 as part of the Christmas On Main Street anthology with JoAnn Ross.
4. “Chestnuts Roasting” is a re-release of a 2003 novella originally entitled “Turning Up The Heat” part of the Jingle Bell Rock anthology with Lori Foster.
Do you plan to attend any conferences in 2016/2017?
I became very ill at the end of 2011 and since then, I’ve been sticking close to home. I hope to get back to traveling soon.
We hope you are back traveling soon!
You have published multiple series and books. For a new to you reader, what book do you recommend they start with?
I’m not sure there is one particular novel that is representative of a “Susan Donovan” story, but I’ve had many readers tell me that the first book of mine they read was Take A Chance On Me (2003, St. Martin’s Press) or The Kept Woman (St. Martin’s Press, 2006.)
Of course, Stealing Taffy would be a fine place to start -- except that it’s Book #3 in the series. So maybe a new-to-me reader should start with Cheri on Top (Book #1), followed by I Want Candy (Book #2), and then get to Stealing Taffy.
You know what? A new reader can start anywhere -- just as long as they start! :)
What series have you enjoyed most writing and why?
I don’t mean to avoid the question, but I just can’t answer that. That’s like asking me which of my two kids I love the most. The truth is, I’ve enjoyed them all!
No worrie. Thanks for stopping over and we wish you the best.