ABOUT THE BOOKDebutante dropout Andrea Kendricks is beyond done with big hair, big gowns, and big egos—so being dragged to a high-society Texas wedding by her socialite mama, Cissy, gives her a bad case of déjà vu. As does running into her old prep-school bully, Olivia La Belle, the wedding planner, who's graduated to berating people for a living on her reality TV show. But for all the times Andy wished her dead, nobody deserves Olivia's fate: lying in a pool of blood, a cake knife in her throat—but did the angry baker do it? Millicent Draper, the grandmotherly owner of Millie's Cakes, swears she's innocent, and Andy believes her. Unfortunately, the cops don't. Though Andy's fiancé, lawyer Brian Malone, is handling Millie's case, she's determined to spring Millie herself. But where to start? "La Belle from Hell" had enemies galore. Good thing Andy has a BFF who's a reporter — and a blue-blood mother who likes to pull strings.
INTERVIEW WITH SUSAN McBRIDE
Susan, what’s your favorite thing about the writing process?
Being able to escape whatever’s going on in real life — my personal life or the crazy stuff in the newspaper headlines — and spending time with the characters in my stories. There’s so much in reality that I can’t control, but I can control what happens to the people in my books. That’s kind of reassuring, especially since I’m raising a little girl and the world is such a scary place. At least in my writing I can be sure the bad guy gets caught and there’s at least a semblance of a happy ending.
How long is your to-be-read list?
Endless! I have bookshelves filled with titles I’m dying to read. Unfortunately, since I had Emily three years ago, I only manage to read a handful of books a year as opposed to 2-3 a week. I’m sure that’ll change as she grows up and I get more time to myself (waaa! I’m going to be the sobbing mom in the parking lot when I drop her off at kindergarten in two years!).
Yep. Been there, done that! How long have you been a writer?
For as long as I can remember. I was a voracious reader as a kid, and I started writing stories as soon as I could hold a pencil. My mom has a collection of my tales from grade school, and I have three books I wrote in the fifth grade, one of which is a mystery called The Secret of the Forbidden Temple. It’s pretty much a Nancy Drew rip-off and probably why the protag of my Debutante Dropout Mysteries, Andy Kendricks, has a fascination with Nancy Drew! In between transferring colleges when I was 19, I wrote my first adult-length manuscript: an historical romance called The Thorn of the Rose. It was never published, but I did submit to various New York houses and got some encouraging feedback. But it took a decade after I graduated from college before my first novel came out. That was in 1999, and I’ve been writing steadily ever since. So I’m glad I didn’t give up!
If you could only watch one TV station for a year, what would it be?
HGTV. I am so addicted to home renovation shows and House Hunters. In my imaginary life, I’m an interior designer. I think that would be so much fun!
How often do you Tweet?
Never. I’m probably the only author alive who isn’t on Twitter, and I don’t regret it for a minute.
How do you feel about Facebook?
Mostly, I love it. I am so wrapped up with my daughter and my deadlines that I don’t have as much time as I’d like to catch up with friends. If it weren’t for Facebook, I’d be totally in the dark. Plus, it’s so fun to interact with folks you don’t get to see everyday (heck, or ever). When I’ve had a bad day or have parenting questions or want to divulge good news, it’s wonderful to have a place where I can share. Facebook is the water cooler for those of us who work at home.
True! That's a perfect description. What five things would you never want to live without?
That’s easy: my daughter, my husband, my mom, my cats, and trees.
Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
Both. I was shy as a kid but had to learn to overcome it once my dad had moved us for, oh, the fifth time. I still have that shy kid inside me, but I’ve become much more of an extrovert through the years. I don’t think I could have done as much public speaking about my books and my breast cancer experience if I were still a complete introvert.
Do you spend more on clothes or food?
Food, by far, and I’m amazed how often I have to go grocery shopping just to feed a family of three.
What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever had to write?
It’s a tie between Little Black Dress and In the Pink: How I Met the Perfect (Younger) Guy, Survived Breast Cancer, and Found True Happiness After 40. In Little Black Dress, I tell the tale of two sisters and a magical black dress that gives them a glimpse of their future when they don it. That one struck a lot of chords in me, as my sister and I are as different as the sisters in the book, Evie and Anna. The frustration Evie feels for Anna is so much what I’ve experienced with my sister that it felt more fact than fiction. And the things that Evie goes through in the story, like her miscarriage, actually happened to me as I was writing. People talk about writing “the book of your heart,” and I’ve always thought, “Hey, every book is a book of my heart.” But Little Black Dress truly was.
In the Pink is a short memoir of the last decade of my life: meeting my husband at 41, being diagnosed with breast cancer at 42, the miscarriage at 46, and finding I was pregnant with Emily at 47. My editor at HarperCollins asked me to write the book for their Impulse line during my pregnancy. The hormones probably had something to do with how emotional I was during that process, but also having to relive some of the biggest highs and lows of my life really hit home. So, of course, I laughed, I cried, and somehow I managed to finish just before I went into labor.
I'll be that's an amazing story. Have you ever been to a fortune teller? What did she tell you?
Yes, and I still need to call Julia and arrange for her to do my annual birthday tarot card reading, so thanks for reminding me! The first time I had my cards read was in October of 2005. I was told I’d meet a man and be in a committed relationship by February. Ha ha, I thought, as I wasn’t even dating anyone worth spit. But I met Ed in November, and we were inseparable by February. The cards have been wrong, too. I was told at a reading on September 27, 2011, that I would never have children (and I recall the date exactly because it was at an event for Little Black Dress!). I found out I was pregnant three weeks later, and it was such a good, healthy pregnancy. So I do love the fun of having my fortune told, but I realize in the back of my head that it’s not set in stone. Anything is possible.
What are you working on now?
The fourth River Road Mystery for HarperCollins called Come Helen High Water. It’s due March 1 and will be out next June. So I’d better get cracking!
Cake or frosting? Frosting (preferably chocolate!)
Laptop or desktop? Desktop (because I’m Old School)
Chevy Chase or Bill Murray? Bill Murray
Emailing or texting? Emailing (because I’m wordy)
Indoors or outdoors? Outdoors (unless it’s 100 degrees in the shade)
Sweet tea or unsweetened tea? Unsweetened.
Plane, train, or automobile? Train (we watch a lot of Thomas & Friends!)
About the Author:
Connect with Susan:
Website | Blog | Facebook | Goodreads