The first romance novel Susan Mallery ever read "I borrowed without permission from a friend's mother." And she loved it.
While in college she saw the local adult education center had a course in how to write a romance novel. "I finally took the class and it truly changed my life," she says, deciding that this was what she really wanted to do.
Now a best-selling romance novelist, she's headed to Katy Budget Books to appear there on February 25 timed to coincide with the release "Evening Stars," the final book in her Blackberry Island trilogy, published by Harlequin.
In the latest installment while one character sees the island off the West Coast as a place of retreat, another feels trapped by it. The only guarantee that Mallery gives her readers is that there will be a happy ending.
Mallery, whose first two books in the series have sold more than 400,000 copies, will be here for an afternoon luncheon as well as an evening book club event open to all and a lot of her fans are expected to attend.
The writer, who lived in Houston in the early '90s and is now based in Seattle, says she was in line to become a CPA, even had a job offer with benefits while still in college, but she decided to try writing romance novels first (because she'd always really liked reading them) and gave herself two years to get going.
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She sold her first book within three months of graduation. "By the two-year mark I had sold seven books," she says. She says she promises "a happy ending," but her plots take a lot of different routes to get there.
Unlike some other authors, Mallery who maintains a Facebook page, says she welcomes the social media aspects of being a successful author. "Writing is really isolating. This way I get to be friends with 50,000 people and I don't have to put on makeup," she says. "After all these years of being by myself all day working, I finally get to be social and I really like it a lot."
In fact, she's already got fans doing the "heavy lifting" by helping her name businesses around town in her upcoming series entitled Mischief Bay -- "It's much bigger [than Blackberry Island] so I'd be able to stay there a long time."
Katy Budget Books, 2450 Fry Road, 12:30 - 2:30 p.m. book signing and light luncheon, 6 to 7 p.m. meet and greet with the author; 7 to 8 p.m. book discussion with the author and the I'll Take Romance Book Club. Free.