May 11, 2014

Susan Mallery makes the most of social media

‘When We Met’ is the author’s latest novel to benefit from reader interaction.

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The dedication of Susan Mallery’s latest addition to her “Fool’s Gold” series isn’t merely a tribute to her fans; it’s a thank you to her Facebook followers.

Part of the story in When We Met — the first of this year’s romance trilogy — revolves around changing the town’s rather risqué motto after its newest citizens point out the Urban Dictionary definition.

Mallery credits a Facebook fan with coming up with the alternative motto.

“Readers are very clever,” she said. “Far more clever than me.”

Since joining Facebook several years ago, Mallery has often turned to social media for names of characters or businesses. For example, a Facebook fan suggested the name “Brew-haha” for the town’s coffee shop.

“It’s fun for me because I get to be involved in this community and they help me do my job,” said Mallery.

A story she has been working on for release next year has a heroine who spent four years in the mountains. When she asked readers what they knew about life in the mountains, Mallery said they responded with 40 pages of ideas. She is sifting through them and, if she uses reader suggestions, she said she will note it in her acknowledgments.

Mallery doesn’t limit herself to social media for inspiration. She also likes to borrow unique names. The heroine in Before We Kiss, which is to be released later this month, is named Dellina Hopkins. Mallery said she met a woman named Dellina a few years ago.

Mallery has been writing since the 1990s, but it wasn’t something she always knew she wanted do. She holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from California State University-Northridge in Los Angeles. She said that about 18 months before graduation, everything changed.

“I took a class on how to write a romance novel,” she said. By the time the eight-week class had ended, Mallery said, she was sure that writing was what she “was meant to do.”

Still, she completed her degree requirements and was even hired as an accountant.

Ultimately, she called the recruiter and declined the job, explaining she wanted to write. She said that he told her that he wrote fantasy and had never had the courage to do anything with it.

Mallery said she expected the man to be angry with her decision, but instead he told her, “I’ll give you two years to make something of yourself.” If she didn’t, he said he would still hire her.

That conversation took place in May 1990. Mallery said she sold her first book that August. Two years later, she had sold seven books.

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