I’m on the blog tour for Susan McBride’s latest, The Cougar Club, and you’ll see my review on February 17th. But today she has agreed to stop by an answer 10 questions for us and to offer an autographed book for one lucky commenter. Details at the end of the interview. She was so gracious and sweet that she is offering this book even though I already had one to give away (this second one will be offered when I post my review). Stop by Susan’s wonderful website and you’ll find information on all of her books and upcoming events, I only wish she was coming a bit closer to Cleveland 🙂 On to the questions…
1. In your YouTube video you say that you wanted to write about women like you. How are the women of The Cougar Club like you and which one is closest to the real Susan?
The women I know in their 40s and 50s are vibrant and funny with rich, full lives. Some have raised kids, gone back to school, suffered through divorces, or had to pick themselves up after losing a job, and yet they always hold their heads high and move on. I love that spirit. It’s inspiring. That’s what I wanted to infuse into the characters of Kat, Carla, and Elise in The Cougar Club. I definitely share Kat Maguire’s desire for true happiness and her need to surround herself with people who love her unconditionally. She’s far braver than I am though when it comes to taking risks in relationships. Carla Moss is a 45-year-old anchorwoman who’s feeling the pressure to maintain a youthful appearance for her audience. I don’t think I could ever live in the public eye like that. I’d hate to be judged by the lines on my face rather than by the quality of my work. Elise Randolph is much softer than either Kat or Carla. She’s put her heart and soul into raising her son for 18 years, and now he’s off at college. She doesn’t realize till he’s gone that there’s a big empty space between herself and her husband. She loves being a dermatologist but doesn’t want to feel married to her work. Hmm, all the women are 45, and I’m 45; but while there may be bits and pieces of me in each woman, none of the three IS me. Although my husband would like to think that the cute hockey player in the book is him! So, shhh! Let’s not tell him anything different. 😉
Probably one of the driving forces behind my writing The Cougar Club was my disgust at how the media depicts women over forty. We’re either Botoxed-to-death Barbies desperate to stay young or faux-tanned, cleavage-bearing nymphomaniacs. I have a true Cougar sister who’s 46 and fabulous and has never dated anything but younger men (or so it seems!). I’m an “accidental Cougar,” having met Ed–who’s nine years my junior–when I was a St. Louis Magazine “Top Single” in 2005. We were married two years ago on February 24, and we’re incredibly happy. Age isn’t an issue with us. My wish would be that readers of The Cougar Club come away with the idea that you’re never too old to follow your heart, whether it be in your personal life or your career.
2. You’ve written mysteries, young adult, and women’s fiction. Which one interests you the most right now?
I will never say “never” as far as writing in any genre again, whether it’s mysteries or young adult (and I do have one YA book left to write on my Random House contract), but right now I’m in love with women’s fiction. I had such a blast telling the story of women my age in The Cougar Club that I’m dying to do it again. I’m working on a proposal now, so we’ll see how things pan out!
3. I’ve read that you wrote many manuscripts before getting published. Have you gone back and tried to publish them now that you are established or are they safely tucked away in the bottom of a desk drawer?
Oh, gosh, I wrote 10 manuscripts in the 10 years after I graduated from college, and none of those were published. But they were all great practice for me. I tried my hand at a variety of genres and different points of view, and it helped me better learn my craft. I haven’t had a chance to resurrect any of those unpublished manuscripts as I’ve had such tight deadlines these past 10 years. But you never know! There are a few I’d like to revise one day if I ever get the chance.
4. Do you have any rituals or routines when writing?
I do like to write in my pajamas or sweats so I’m comfortable. If it’s gray or rainy outside, all the better! I concentrate best when it’s kind of dark in my office. I like to get emails and business other than actually working on a novel done in the morning then do the creative part after lunch. I used to love to write at night, but that kind of bit the dust once I met Ed. But I do wake up in the middle of the night fairly frequently when I’m in the middle of a book. My brain just doesn’t stop. So I keep a notebook on my desk, at my bed-side, and in my purse. Like the Boy Scouts, I’m always prepared.
5. Who is your favorite hero in literature?
I have to say that I adore Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With the Wind. The girl does whatever she has to in order to survive. She gets her heart broken over and over, but she picks herself up and moves on. If she screws up, she tells herself, “tomorrow is another day,” something I need to do more often! She’s a bulldozer disguised as a Southern belle, and I love that!
6. What’s the last book you read?
I’m in the middle of reading According to Jane by Marilyn Brant, and I’m thoroughly enjoying it. I’ve recently read The Sugar Queen and Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen, which I’m crazy about. The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein had me sniffling back tears at the end. So many good books out there! I wish I had more time to read.
7. What is your favorite non writing and reading activity?
Anything I can do with Ed! We love going to movies, to hockey games, or out to dinner, poking around flea markets, bowling, roaming the Botanical Gardens, or visiting Big Cat Country at the zoo. We have a lot of fun together, even if we’re watching DVDs at home.
8. I love quotes. Do you have a favorite?
I’m gazing at a plaque I have hanging over my file cabinet that says, “Well behaved women rarely make history.” I’m trying to make that my motto!
9. Who would you choose if you were trapped in the life of one fictional character?
Wow, that’s a tough one. I think I’d want to be Eloise from the Eloise children’s books. She is a cool chick and very smart.
10. And finally, what are you working on now?
I’m finishing up a proposal for my next women’s fiction book, and I’m waiting for word on a few young adult proposals that I turned in awhile back. So I’m trying to enjoy this brief time when I’m not under the gun of a deadline, because it happens so rarely! Although I’m equally anxious to get started on something new. I just love to write!
Okay, now for the giveaway. Susan will be sending one lucky commenter a free autographed copy of The Cougar Club. How easy is it to enter? Leave a comment with an email address and you are entered. I’ll randomly select a winner on February 17th when I will start a second giveaway for this book 🙂