Thursday, August 12, 2010

Interview with Susan McBride and book giveaway!


Susan McBride has recently joined the chick lit scene with "The Cougar Club" (reviewed here). She has previously written mystery and young adult novels about debutantes, such as "Blue Blood." Along with writing about "cougars," Susan has become an accidental "cougar," having caught the eye and heart of a man 9 years younger and getting married to him in 2008.

Melissa P. and I have something in common with Susan too. We all grew up in the midwest (Missouri, Illinois and Indiana for her, Illinois for us). Susan also spent some time in the south and east before heading back to the midwest and calling St. Louis her home for the past 15 years. We had the opportunity to interview this dynamic woman about her book and herself and found out some fun and interesting things. She has also offered to give away three signed copies of "The Cougar Club" to some lucky readers.

MP: "The Cougar Club" is your first women's fiction novel and your second, "Little Black Dress," is scheduled to be released in the fall of 2011. Do you plan to continue writing women's fiction?

SM: Most definitely! After COUGAR came out, I signed with HarperCollins for two more women’s fiction books, including LITTLE BLACK DRESS. So I’ve got one more to do after I turn in LBD, and I’m very excited about that. I’ve always wanted to write women’s fic, and it’s so exciting that I’m actually doing it!

MP: Did you experience any challenges while writing "The Cougar Club"?
SM: THE COUGAR CLUB was challenging in several respects. For one, I married a guy who’s nine years younger. When people hear that, they think the book must be autobiographical (actually, my real Cougar sister thought it was about her!). While my own situation of being an “accidental” Cougar inspired the novel, there’s none of my life in there. The fun of writing fiction is making things up. Although tiny bits and pieces of my experiences—or experiences of family and friends—might work their way into one of my novels, pretty much 99% of everything comes from my imagination. I did have trouble with the first draft being too superficial and more about the whole Cougar phenomenon. I wanted the book to be funny but about real-life changes as we grow older. So what it means to be over forty in our society and what happens if you fall in love with a younger guy (or end up alone, pursuing another kind of passion entirely). So I revised the entire book, re-doing whole chapters completely, and I’m very happy with how THE COUGAR CLUB turned out. It’s truly about the deep friendship of three 45-year-old women—Kat, Carla, and Elise—and what they’re going through on a lot of different fronts, not just in their love lives. Any woman over forty, or any woman for that matter, will find something relatable in these three ladies’ stories.

MP: After waiting almost a decade for your first book to be published, how did you celebrate when the day finally arrived and all of your hard work was rewarded?
SM: Yep, it was a long time coming! I wrote a manuscript each year after my college graduation, and it wasn’t until the eleventh book that I signed a contract with a small press after winning a contest they sponsored (with the prize being publication). It was a wonderful day getting that call, saying, “You’ve won, and we’ll be putting out your book.” I’m sure I jumped up and down and blabbed to everyone I know. I remember selling, like, 150 books at my first-ever signing (at a Barnes & Noble that no longer exists!). I felt equally thrilled when I signed my first contract with HarperCollins for my mysteries…and each contract I’ve signed since. It still seems crazy and wonderful to think I’m doing what I love for a living. Yes, it took a long time to even get where I am (and I still have so many goals ahead of me); but it was worth it.

MP: If you weren't a writer then what would you be doing?
SM: I can’t imagine not writing! It’s so much a part of me.

MP: What inspired you to to write the Debutante Dropout Mysteries?
SM: The inspiration behind that series was being a sorority pledge in the 1980s at the University of Texas with a bunch of Dallas debutantes. They would practice their curtsies in study hall and gab about their new BMWs that Daddy bought them “just because” or their recent trip via private plane to their house in the Caymans. I wasn’t a debutante, so I felt out of place. I had a ball writing about Andy Kendricks, who was raised in chi-chi Highland Park by her Chanel-wearing mother and who refused to debut. It’s fun even now when people discover those books and tell me they chuckled all the way through the series.

A little known fact: the first of my Deb Dropout Mysteries, BLUE BLOOD, was initially called STABBED IN THE BACK and then DEATH AND THE DEBUTANTE DROPOUT. I wrote it a handful of years before it sold to HarperCollins because I loved chick lit novels and I loved mysteries. So I combined the two when it wasn’t really popular to do it. But once Bridget Jones’ Diary hit big and Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum books became so popular, the doors opened for chick lit mysteries. BLUE BLOOD was one of the forerunners of that trend, and some booksellers didn’t know where to shelve it. So it was often placed in both the Romance and Mystery sections, which I found rather cool.

MA: If "The Cougar Club" were made into a movie, who would play Kat, Carla and Elise?
SM:I’ve actually thought about that! How about Courteney Cox, Jennifer Aniston, and Lisa Kudrow from “Friends”? I think they’d be perfect! Just don’t ask me which actress should play which character. I haven’t figured that out yet. ;-)

MA: What is your favorite thing about living in St. Louis?
SM: I’ve been in the Lou for 15 years now, and my roots are buried in the dirt. My mom grew up in St. Louis, and my grandparents lived here so we’d visit a lot. I moved around every few years when I was a kid (my dad worked for IBM = I’ve Been Moved), and I’m very happy to stay put. My husband is from here, and we love it. St. Louis is a city with a small-town feel.

MA: Are you still close with your best friends from high school? If so, how has your friendship changed or evolved over time?
SM: I’m really not close with anyone from high school. I envy women who’ve had lifelong friendships (like the characters in THE COUGAR CLUB). I’ve made some great friends here in St. Louis, and I have other friends that I met through my books or online that live far away. It’s so amazing having that support system. It’s very much like family. I don’t think all friendships are meant to last forever. But when you find good friends who “get” you and who stick by you, you want them to be around as long as possible!


MA: You have mentioned that you are older than your husband. Are there generational differences that come in to play that you both have found humorous (such as misunderstanding, jokes between you, etc.)?
SM: We’re only 9 years apart so there isn’t really a generation gap (in my mind, that’s more like when you’re 20 years apart). Ed’s very smart and aware. His dad is a professor, and his mom was a teacher. So there aren’t many things I bring up in conversation that make him go, “Huh?” The main thing is that he shares my sense of humor, and we crack each other up all the time. We like a lot of the same movies and have very similar interests. The main thing that happens to remind me that he’s younger is how often he gets carded! About half the time we go out to eat, he’s asked for ID when he orders a beer. He’s 36 but he has such a baby face! I can’t wait ‘til he goes gray, that’s for sure.

MA: What is your favorite media portrayal of "cougars?" (Specific TV show, movie, etc.)
SM: Wow, it’s scary that nothing leaps out at me. Maybe I don’t watch enough TV or see enough movies! I think most Hollywood portrayals of older women and younger men use the stereotypical Cougar, like Samantha in “Sex & the City.” In real life, there are more cases where it’s incidental that women over forty end up with younger guys (like me!). I know with my generation of females, it’s less of a big deal to go out with someone younger, and younger guys are definitely more interested in older women. I don’t think Hollywood has caught up to that yet. I do know they nearly changed the name of “Cougar Town” because of the negative image connected to the C-word these days. I’m very glad they decided to keep it. Maybe Courteney Cox, playing a mid-forties woman who’s single and dating younger men will make people realize that’s just part of life now. Age isn’t as important as a lot of other qualities, like compassion, honesty, loyalty, and trust (just to name a few!).

If anyone wants to email Susan McBride or find out more about her books, they can visit her website or find her on Facebook.

Special thanks to Susan for a lovely interview and a great book that she has offered to give away.

Thanks always to Melissa P., whom I know will enjoy "The Cougar Club" as much as I did.




**Giveaway is closed**

How to win "The Cougar Club":
Please comment below with your e-mail address.
(Please note: Entries without an e-mail address will NOT be counted.)

For additional entries (each as a separate comment including your e-mail address, as well):
1. Please tell us: Which celebrity crush of yours would make you into a "cougar"?
OR
2. Please tell us: What is your longest friendship?
3. Follow this blog and post a comment saying you are a follower (if you already follow, that's fine too).
4. Post this contest on Facebook or Twitter or in your blog, and leave a comment saying where you've posted it.
5. Join Chick Lit Central on Facebook. (If you're already a member, let us know that too.)

Giveaway ends Monday, August 16th, at 6 pm EST.

51 comments:

Elisa P. said...

Sounds like my kind of read. . . lol

misseway@aol.com

Heather said...

Robert Pattinson is probably my "cougar crush!"
ra6352 (at) gmail (dot) com

Heather said...

My longest friendship is 25 years!
ra6352 (at) gmail (dot) com

Heather said...

I am a follower!
ra6352 (at) gmail (dot) com

Heather said...

I posted on facebook!
ra6352 (at) gmail (dot) com

Heather said...

I am a member of Chick Lit Central!
Thanks for a great giveaway!
ra6352 (at) gmail (dot) com

Sarah said...

Thanks for the chance to win:)

foxchick0323@live.com

Sarah said...

My cougar crush is probably Dylan and Cole Sprouse...they are such cuties :)

foxchick0323@live.com

Sarah said...

I am a follower!

foxchick0323@live.com

Sarah said...

I am a member on FB!!

foxchick0323@live.com

Bonnie said...

My celebrity crush is Alex O'Loughlin (Moonlight, The Backup Plan and soon-to-be tv series on CBS Hawaii Five-O)!
I am a follower!
intrepid9923@yahoo.com

Colleen Turner said...

I have always been curious how these cougar relationships work and the draw backs to being with someone much younger than you. Book sounds great!
Thanks,
candc320@gmail.com

Colleen Turner said...

My cougar crush would have to be Taylor Lautner from Twilight. I had no idea how old he was when the second movie came out and was all drooly for him. When I found out that he just turned 18 I almost choked!
candc320@gmail.com

Colleen Turner said...

I am a GFC follower of the blog.
candc320@gmail.com

Colleen Turner said...

I "like" the Facebook page.
candc320@gmail.com

Sandy Jay said...

Thanks for the giveaway. This one is on my wishlist.

forwhlz at gmail dot com

Sandy Jay said...

I follow this blog.

forwhlz at gmail dot com

Sandy Jay said...

tweeted
http://twitter.com/ForWhlz/status/20998432692

forwhlz at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

I love to read stories of women's friendships. Really want to read this one because except for one time,I have always dated younger men. Also my husband is 9 years younger than I am!


CarolNWong(at)aol(dot)com

Anonymous said...

George Clooney is my "cougar crush".


CarolNWong(at)aol(dot)com

Anonymous said...

I follow this blog via GFC;


CarolNWong(at)aol(dot)com

Anonymous said...

My longest friendship is 52 years!!!! We met when we were 12!


CarolNWong(at)aol(dot)com

Anonymous said...

I am a member of Chic Lit Central.



CarolNWong(at)aol(dot)com

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

No need to enter me, my friend. I'm dropping in to say thanks for the e-mail. I've got this posted at Win a Book for you. (and my cougar crush? Definitely the Penguins' Kris LeTang. Hawt dude.)

AmandaSue said...

Sounds like a good read!

unforgetable_dreamer_always(at)hotmail.com

AmandaSue said...

My longest frienship is 10 years

unforgetable_dreamer_always(at)hotmail.com

Audrey said...

Thanks for the giveaway!
twigerina[at]hotmail[dot]com

avalonne83 said...

Great giveaway! I'd love to be entered.

Please count me in. Thanks.

avalonne83 [at] yahoo [dot] it

Katy said...

My longest friendship is 26 years - met on the playground in kindergarten!

mommyk18@hotmail.com

Anonymous said...

This sounds like such a fun book to read! I hope I win! :)

Mary said...

My "cougar" crush would have to be Taylor Kitsch. He makes me feel like a Mrs. Robinson.

mryward(at)yahoo(dot)com

Mary said...

I follow on GFC. (mamie316)

mryward(at)yahoo(dot)com

JHS. said...

JHS
Colloquium

jhsmail at comcast dot net

JHS. said...

Celebrity cougar crush: John Cusack, although he's not THAT much younger than I am.

I have always tended to like older men, but the older I get, the more I realize that I'm starting to like them younger because older than me is . . . well, really OLD. :-)

JHS
Colloquium

jhsmail at comcast dot net

JHS. said...

FB member.

JHS
Colloquium

jhsmail at comcast dot net

JHS. said...

Google follower.

JHS
Colloquium

jhsmail at comcast dot net

Simply Stacie said...

Please count me in.

simplystacieblog at gmail dot com

Simply Stacie said...

My longest friendship is 26 years.

simplystacieblog at gmail dot com

Simply Stacie said...

GFC Follower

simplystacieblog at gmail dot com

Simply Stacie said...

FB fan

simplystacieblog at gmail dot com

Tiffany said...

Oooh sounds great! Enter please! Schlarmette(at)gmail(dot)com

Tiffany said...

Fb fan! schlarmette(at)gmail(dot)com

Tiffany said...

Follower of blog schlarmette(at)gmail(dot)com

Tiffany said...

27yrs. We were born 9 mo apart and our moms were friends. We grew up together and no matter where we are or go we pick up right where we left off. Schlarmette(at)gmail(dot)com

Tiffany said...

Posted on fb! Schlarmette(at)gmail(dot)com

Marian Pearson Stevens said...

Fantastic photo of you Susan! The book sounds fantastic too! (member of CLC)

MarianSt@aol.com

Jess said...

jessicaliwin@gmail.com

I follow this blog and I am a facebook fan too. I am now in my longest relationship (5 1/2 years) and we're getting married in three weeks. :)

Susan McBride said...

Thanks, Marian! I love that photo, too. I think I'll be using it even when I'm 85. :-)

Thanks to everyone who's entering to win one of three signed copies of THE COUGAR CLUB. I am having a ball reading about your longest friendships and celeb Cougar crushes! I'm not sure who my celeb Cougar crush would be (although I must confess Rob Pattinson appeared in my dreams the other night...just don't tell my hubby!). ;-)

Cheers,
Susan

P.S. Thanks again, Melissa and Melissa, for doing the interview and cool contest! You rock!

piabernardino@bermillion.com said...

My crush who will make me a cougar is Zack Efron (who is now super buffed!)

I posted this in twitter and I am a follower. Thanks!

StereoQueenBee said...

My cougar crush is my bf... LOL and I am not joking! My longest friendship is probably 15 years. I follow your blog and I put this on Twitter. (@stereoqueenbee)

Melissa said...

I closed the contest at 6 pm EST and already picked the winners. Sorry to those of you who entered after that time.