There’s nothing we love more than diving headfirst into a good book and losing all our senses in a fictional world. We never cease to be amazed by all that a good book can offer, and most recently, we’ve been exploring The Summer Getaway by Susan Mallery!
You can read our review of the book here, and trust us when we say it’s a MUST READ!
But we all know the real reason you book-bees are here today – the author herself! In light of the release of The Summer Getaway, we got to ask Susan some of our most burning questions about herself, her career, and of course, the newest addition to her repertoire! We’re so giddy that we can’t even wait anymore, so let’s get to it!
-Hi Susan! First of all, thank you for talking with us here at The Honey POP! For the readers that are new to you and your books, can you tell us a little about yourself and your writing?
I love when new readers discover my books! My name is Susan Mallery, and I write stories about the most important relationships in women’s lives—families, friendships, and romance. My characters are the types of people you’ll recognize, dealing with the kind of true-to-life situations that bring drama to our daily lives. (But a little more dramatic than real life, and probably a little funnier, too.) My job is to take you on an emotional journey in a way that will make your world a happier place.
-How did you get your start as an author? Did you always have the dream of being a writer?
I was always a reader, but I didn’t even consider that being a professional writer was a possibility for me until I was in college. I thought writers had to be more worldly and sophisticated than a girl who grew up in LA—I thought they had to live in France, wear black turtlenecks, and smoke cigarettes.
I was studying accounting, but in my free time, I signed up for an evening adult education course titled “How to Write a Romance Novel.” By week six of that eight-week course, I knew I didn’t want to be an accountant. I wanted to write books. I did finish my degree, but I never worked as an accountant because I sold my first book straight out of college and never looked back.
-Who are some authors that have inspired you and your writing over the years? Any book(s) by them in particular that you find yourself drawn to and rereading over and over again?
Debbie Macomber has been a big inspiration to me over the years, especially when she suggested that instead of writing a series based on a family, I should write about a town because the series could continue longer. Based on that advice, I started the Fool’s Gold series, which grew to 30 novels and novellas.
Debbie also had so much confidence in me that she bought me a bottle of great champagne for “when” (she said “when”) I hit #1 on the New York Times bestsellers list. When I did with Thrill Me, I raised a glass to her.
Because of my experience as a writer, it’s harder for me to be swept away by a book these days, so when I am, I know it’s truly magical. The first time through, it’s all about pleasure. When I read it again, I try to analyze why it worked so well for me. A few recent rereads include Same Time Next Christmas by Christine Rimmer, When Stars Collide by Susan Elizabeth Phillips, The Country Guesthouse by Robyn Carr, The High Tide Club by Mary Kay Andrews.
-Your career spans over about 20+ years, and over that time, you’ve written over 170 books! That is amazing! Out of all of the ones you have written, do you have a book or book series that is your favorite or one that you feel is the most special to you?
I could never narrow it down to just one favorite, but I’ll give you five I have loved, in no particular order…
● The Friendship List – Such a fun book to write! Every day, I went to work anticipating the scenes I got to write that day.
● The Vineyard at Painted Moon – I was nervous when this book came out because I took a big risk, but many readers have told me that this was the best book I’ve ever written.
● Sisters Like Us – One word: Lucas.
● Daughters of the Bride – This book was a gift from the universe. The story came to me fully formed, and that almost never happens.
● The Summer Getaway – A mental vacation in the shape of a book. This story really is a getaway for readers at a time when we need one.
-Can you tell us how you came up with the idea/inspiration for The Summer Getaway?
The spark that led to The Summer Getaway is something no one would ever, ever guess. I had an idea to write a story about a woman who has fallen in love with an oil painting and goes in search of the artist, sure that they will share a deep connection. Instead, she discovers that the painting means nothing to him. He paints the same scene over and over again because it sells.
But there’s no artist in The Summer Getaway. No contemporary oil painting. While brainstorming the book, the idea morphed beyond recognition from that initial spark. Inspiration is a funny, ineffable thing. You don’t know where it will lead. All you can do is loosen the reins on your mind and let it run.
I couldn’t be happier with the end result. The Summer Getaway is a heartfelt, emotion-filled story of one woman’s triumph over self-doubt. Robyn is nurturing and fiercely loyal, and I love her.
And I might still write the guy with the painting…
-A lot of authors/writers put pieces of themselves into the characters they create, are there any in The Summer Getaway that mirrors yourself in any way? How do you go about creating your characters for each of your books?
If you read a few of my books, you’ll get a good idea of my values and core beliefs—that we should do the right thing even if it’s hard, that love is transformative, that the family we choose can make our lives complete—but my characters aren’t really based on me. They are fully formed individuals who do and say things that sometimes surprise me, and that I sometimes disagree with. They take on a life of their own.
–We absolutely LOVED reading The Summer Getaway! The character development throughout the story was incredible to watch unfold especially, in our opinion, with Harlow! Which of the characters in the story is your personal favorite? Which one do you think had the greatest character development?
Thank you! I’m so glad you loved it. That makes me very happy!
For those who haven’t read the story yet, Robyn is the main character of the book, and Harlow is her daughter, who is being a pain in the beginning because she’s making unreasonable demands while planning her dream wedding. Harlow’s twenty-two, but a young twenty-two. Too young to get married, Robyn thinks, even though she herself was even younger when she married her kids’ dad.
Robyn was the character I identified with the most strongly. She’s one of those moms who has given everything to her family, putting off her own dreams to the point where she hardly even remembers that she had dreams in the first place. Our tagline for the book has been “It’s hard to get away when you’re the heart of the family,” because when Robyn decides to take a minute for herself—to hit reset—everyone she loves follows her clear across the country, one by one. She is their center of gravity. I just adore her.
But yes, I do think that Harlow probably had the steepest learning curve of them all. She grows up in this story.
–The Summer Getaway really emphasizes the importance of family (more so not taking them for granted), communication, understanding, and self-awareness. If you had to choose one important element of the plot for readers to take away from this story, what would you hope they learn from Robyn and the rest of the Caldwell family?
I don’t really write stories hoping that readers will learn a lesson. I want readers to just let themselves to swept away in this emotional journey, to feel what the characters feel, and to close the book with a happy sigh at the end. But if, along the way, the closeness of the Caldwell’s, the way they love one another through anything, makes you appreciate your own family a little more, well, I wouldn’t object to that.
-We love learning about the books our favorite authors read. What are your top 3 current favorite reads or top 3 books on your TBR list?
One of the perks of being a writer is getting an early look at some anticipated reads. Two books I’ve loved recently that I was able to read before they came out were The Bodyguard by Katherine Center (July) and The Best-Kept Secret by Tawna Fenske (available now), and one that I’m looking forward to but haven’t read yet is Summer at the Cape by RaeAnne Thayne.
–If you could give any bit of advice to up and coming writers/authors, what would it be?
Don’t give up. You never know if the next book you write is going to be the one that sells. The world is filled with very talented writers who let go of the dream too soon. If you want this, keep at it.
We love everything about this and can’t wait to add some of her fave books to our TBR list! Do you have a favorite Susan Mallery book? Have you picked up your copy of her new book, The Summer Getaway, yet? Let us know in the comments below or by tweeting us @TheHoneyPOP! You can also hit us up on Facebook and Instagram!
Don’t forget to order your copy of The Summer Getaway here!
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