Keira: “The world needs another reality dating show,” says producer Geoff Spielberg, apparently without irony, “and Fool’s Gold is perfect. You’ve got lonely women, I’ll bring the sexy men.”
What inspired the reality TV dating show? Do you play on how fans and nonfans view reality TV?
Susan Mallery: Fool’s Gold has a man shortage, which was discovered after the 2010 census. The women in Fool’s Gold had known about the imbalance for years, but suddenly, they were being talked about on the national news and worse, joked about on the late night comedy shows. Imagine how embarrassing it would be if your town was the subject of an SNL skit, which portrayed you and your friends as lonely, desperate spinsters who would do anything to land a man.
So I asked myself, “What would make this even worse?” (As a writer, I get to torture people for fun.) And of course, the answer was “a tawdry reality show.” With a producer who cares about nothing but the bottom line.
That was the inspiration for True Love or Fool’s Gold, the reality show that’s about to start filming in town. You can imagine how happy the women in town are that a bunch of men are coming to town looking for love. I mean, sure, they’d like to have more men, but not the kind of man who can drop everything to pursue fame. Men with a job and a sense of responsibility would be good.
Neither the hero nor the heroine of ONLY MINE are contestants on the show. Dakota Hendrix has a background in psychology, so Mayor Marsha asked her to help vet the contestants to keep the crazy quotient to a minimum. (If you’ve read the previous Fool’s Gold books, you know that no one says no to Mayor Marsha.) The Andersson twins of Alaska made the cut, and they’re cute, to boot. Unfortunately, their older brother Finn is determined to keep them off the show and get them back to college where they belong.
I think even readers who don’t watch reality TV will enjoy ONLY MINE because honestly, the book isn’t about that. The book is about Dakota and Finn, their seemingly opposite views of family, and their slow realization that what they want might not be so different, after all.
Keira: What is your favorite scene in the story? Did you have to cut anything out that you wish you could have kept?
Susan: I’m an emotion junkie, so my favorite scene in any book is always a major emotional turning point for the characters. In ONLY MINE, one scene that stands out is when Dakota learns why Finn feels compelled to try to control his brothers, even though they’re now adults. His parents died when he was a young man, and he shouldered the responsibility of raising his brothers. He wasn’t able to save his parents, but he thinks that if he can just get his brothers safely through college and into adulthood, he will have made his mom and dad proud. Dakota suddenly understands that his need to control comes from a place of love, but she also understands that Finn will never be happy unless he can learn to let go.
I have had to cut scenes I loved in the past, but I try to make those cuts without regrets. In the end, those cuts serve the greater good – a well-told story.
Keira: Tell us about the section on your site devoted to Fool’s Gold – http://foolsgoldca.susanmallery.com/ What can readers find there?
Susan: FoolsGoldCA.com is my gift to readers who have been so loyal to me. I’ve written several series over the years, but they’ve all had a predetermined number of books – usually about three or four siblings. I continue to hear from readers asking for more books in that series. Readers love to feel connected.
Debbie Macomber was the one who suggested I stop writing about families and start writing about a place. With a place, the story possibilities are infinite. (Debbie Macomber is like my Mayor Marsha – I never say no to Debbie! She’s a genius.)
I wanted to go even further than that. I wanted to create an experience for readers that goes beyond the books. On FoolsGoldCA.com, readers will find amazing bonus content such as between-the-books updates, stories and pictures from the characters’ weddings, Fool’s Gold magazines, a map of town, funny ads from local businesses… I could keep going, but the truth is, you have to see it to get it. Fool’s Gold is the Land of Happy Endings!
Keira: In FINDING PERFECT, which came out last year, Dakota was carrying around a big secret that was making her really unhappy, but no one in town could figure out what was going on. Will the answer be revealed in ONLY MINE?
Susan: Yes! Dakota is the kind of person who needs to work her way through a problem on her own, and come up with a plan of action before she tells anyone about it, including her sisters and her mom. They’re going to be very surprised when they learn what’s been making Dakota so sad. I think readers are going to love the take-charge way that she deals with the problem, too.
Keira: ONLY MINE is the 4th book in the Fool’s Gold series. Can it be read out of order? What about the other books – share with us some one/two line zingers about the previous and upcoming books to whet our appetites!
Susan: Yes, each book was written as a standalone. There are, of course, recurring characters from book to book to give readers the feeling of home, but you won’t be confused if you read them out of order.
ONLY MINE – September
ONLY MINE is a beauty & the beast story, with Dr. Simon Bradley playing both roles. He is the most physically stunning man that Montana Hendrix has ever met… on one side of his face. The other side of his face is scarred. But the scars run deeper than that. It will take the love of a happy woman and a tiny dog to teach the good doctor to open his heart.
Buy: Only Mine, Only Mine (UK)
ONLY HIS – October
Oh wow, what can I say about ONLY HIS? Every time I think of this story, two words come to mind… but I can’t tell you what those two words are without revealing a big secret. I will tell you that the two words made my editor extremely nervous at the synopsis stage. When she finished reading the book, she called me, laughing so hard she was crying, and said I had pulled it off.
Buy: Only His, Only His (UK)
“ONLY MINE…All Mine” Contest: One lucky winner will receive a signed “exclusive first look” at Susan’s new Fool’s Gold Christmas e-novella (so fresh it doesn’t even have a title yet) and a man shortage t-shirt. The contest will be open to all Members of Susan’s website who sign-up for a chance to win. It will begin August 1st and will end September 1st, 2011. Once the contest has ended we will randomly draw one lucky winner.