Molly Somerville loves her career as the creator of the Daphne the Bunny children's book series, but the rest of her life could use some improvement. She has a reputation for trouble that started even before she gave away her fifteen-million-dollar inheritance. Then there's her long-term crush on the quarterback for the Chicago Stars football team her sister owns—that awful, gorgeous Kevin Tucker, a man who can't even remember Molly's name!
One night Kevin barges into Molly's not-quite-perfect life and turns it upside down. Unfortunately, the Ferrari-driving riving, poodle-hating jock isn't as shallow as she wishes he were, and she soon finds herself at a place called Wind Lake. Surrounded by paintbox cottages, including a charming old bed-and-breakfast, Molly and Kevin battle their attraction and each other as they face one of life's most important lessons. Sometimes love hurts, sometimes it makes you mad as hell, and sometimes—if you're lucky—it can heal in a most unexpected way.
I MET MY HUSBAND
on a blind date. He was in college at the time, studying engineering. I blush to confess that, as an arty ex-theater major, I wasn't exactly sure what engineering was. To this day, he reminds me that I asked him if it had anything to do with "fixing toasters." (Okay, I wasn't too bright, but I had a good heart.)
I GOT PREGNANT
the usual way. Bill and I had been married for two years and wanted to start a family. He was out of town on business the night I went into labor with our first son, but he made it back in time to witness the birth. He was also at my side when our second son was born. Today, our boys are in their twenties and, next to their father, the loves of my life.
I STARTED TO WRITE
completely by accident. I taught high school until our oldest son was born, then quit to stay home. In 1976 my husband's job took us from Ohio to central New Jersey. My best friend Claire lived two doors down the street. Both of us were big readers, reading everything from literary fiction to the newly popular historical romance novels. We loved talking about the books—what we liked, what we didn't. One day, just for fun, we decided to try to write a book together. For three weeks, as we rode our bikes in the evening, with my toddler in the baby seat behind me, we plotted our story. Then we sat down with a yellow pad and began to write.
FOUR HOURS LATER
we'd come up with exactly three sentences. We had no idea how to write a book together, but we were getting a good idea how not to do it. Over the course of the next few months, we worked out a system. We'd get together to plot a scene, frequently role-playing dialogue. Claire would take copious notes, carry them to her typewriter, and come up with a rough draft, which she'd give to me. Sometimes I'd just change a sentence here or there. Other times, I'd throw out all of her hard work and start over again. Somehow our friendship survived.
With only half the manuscript completed, we got the phone number of an editor at Dell Publishing. Sweating bullets, we called her. She was a very nice woman; she asked us some questions about our book, and then agreed to see it, even though it wasn't finished. Unfortunately, she also wanted to see a synopsis. Synopsis? We barely knew what was going to happen in the next chapter, let alone at the end of the book. Knees trembling, we ran to the typewriter and came up with something, then spent the next few weeks typing a fresh copy of our manuscript to mail off.
THREE WEEKS LATER
the telephone rang. It was the editor. "I'm calling from Dell Publishing. We've read your manuscript. We like it. And Dell is prepared to make you an offer."
JUST LIKE THAT…WE'RE PUBLISHED!
I never tell this story at writers' luncheons for fear I'll have to duck flying French rolls thrown by an angry audience. It sounds so easy, but the market was red-hot then, and publishers were hungry for books. Unfortunately, it's not so easy now. It took us another year to finish the book, which was published in 1983 as The Copeland Bride, under the pseudonym Justine Cole. (I wanted to use Chastity Savage, but Claire wouldn't let me.) The book is now out of print, which is probably a good thing because it's not at all politically correct and I'd get deluged with angry letters if it were ever reissued. Still, I'm incredibly proud of it. Considering the fact that neither Claire nor I had ever written so much as a short story, we did a pretty good job, despite a couple of rapes here and there.
ABANDONED AND PREGNANT
(Actually, I wasn't pregnant, but I want to keep your attention in case you're getting bored.) Claire hadn't been bitten as deeply by the writing bug as I had. Her husband was transferred to the Southwest, and her dream of going to law school came true. She is now leading an exciting life as an extremely successful assistant U.S. attorney for one of our border states. I, on the other hand, had to learn how to write a book by myself.
SCARED TO DEATH
I plunged into another historical romance, which was eventually published as Risen Glory and has since been reissued by Avon Books as Just Imagine. This was my first book written as Susan Elizabeth Phillips, and, yes, that's my real name. Writing alone wasn't nearly as much fun as writing with a friend, but I had all these stories tumbling over each other in my head, and I didn't seem to have a choice. I went on to write Glitter Baby, my first women's fiction contemporary novel. Wow! The book had huge international sales and received a lot of attention in this country. I finally had a real career going.
in the Chicago area, I begin writing what I think of now as my "big books," Fancy Pants, Hot Shot, and Honey Moon. I loved these books. A bit more mainstream than what I'm writing now, each one took me at least two years to complete. All were published by Pocket Books and are still in print. As I wrote these books, I discovered my contemporary "voice." Unfortunately, although the books were doing well in the international market, it was taking me so long to write them that American readers didn't know who I was. I had to speed up! Luckily, I was finally developing enough self-confidence in my own abilities to relax a little.
NORA ROBERTS SAYS,
"I can fix a bad page, but I can't fix a blank one." I found the courage to fill my screen with bad pages on those days when my mind was mush, then trust myself to fix them later.
A FOOTBALL PLAYER COMES CALLING
—in my mind, at least. For a long time I'd been wanting to write about a woman who knows nothing about sports and inherits a professional football team. My first romantic comedy, It Had to Be You, was the result. This book carried me to my new publisher, Avon, and reenergized my career.
A GOOD FAIRY WAVES HER MAGIC WAND
Her name is Carrie Feron, and she's the Editorial Director at Avon Books. Thanks to her magic, It Had to Be You; Heaven, Texas; and Kiss an Angel were published within eighteen months of each other. Readers finally knew who I was, and, just when I thought things couldn't get any better, Nobody's Baby But Mine was released. I was signing books at a wonderful store in St. Louis when I got that news that, not only had it landed on the USA Today Top 50 bestseller list, but it was number fifteen! When Dream a Little Dream made the New York Times bestseller list, I was home by myself, which might have been a good thing because no one could hear what a fool I made of myself when I screamed.
IF I'M SUCH A BIG STAR, WHY AM I STILL WASHING DISHES?
Short answer—because they're there! (And nobody else is rushing to do them.) As the boys have left home, I've fallen in love with gardening—planning my garden in the winter and trying to execute those plans in the summer. I'm also an art museum junkie, so if I'm scheduled to come to your city on a book tour, you can bet I'll do my best to squeeze in a few hours at your local art museum. But I'm most happy when I'm wearing a pair of hiking boots and walking a trail somewhere in the world with family or girlfriends. With both sons married to wonderful women, family continues to be at the center of my life. I'll turn off my computer in a second to meet one of our sons for lunch or go off with my husband to romp with our two beautiful grandbabies. I love to travel, but can't let it interfere too much with my writing schedule. A dream trip with Bill walking through Tuscany inspired Breathing Room. I've also taken wonderful "Ladies Only" trips with my darling sister: Bermuda, Northern California, Santa Fe, Paris, London and most recently The Netherlands. In 2005 I hiked segments of the Coast-to-Coast walk across Northern England. Later, I walked through some of the most beautiful hills and villages of the Dordogne Valley in southwestern France, and in August 2007, I took my most challenging hike in Canada's magnificent Banff and Yoho National Parks. Wherever I go, I bring books with me. I love romance and "women's fiction/relationship books" and am a big reader of the genre.
MCSTEAMY'S GORGEOUS EYES
have nothing to do with this last paragraph, but if you're still with me, I want you to know that I do my best to keep my website (susanelizabethphillips.com) fresh. I'm also active on the Message Board. (If you see a post from SEP, you know that's me!) Be sure to sign up for my monthly contest and my newsletter, so I can let you know when my next book will be on the shelves. Now go hug somebody special!read more
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Cute, fun, romantic. There were some moments when I found myself annoyed with the characters' actions, but I think that was more because they were very different from me. Overall they were likable and funny, and the book was a quick, entertaining read.read more
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Susan Elizabeth Phillips knocks another one out of the park. This book was moving, hilarious, and tons of fun. I didn't want to put it down. Molly was just a teenager in It Had To Be You, but now she's all grown up. She has a tendency towards the impulsive when life gets a little boring and it really gets her into trouble with Kevin Tucker, the Chicago Stars Quarterback. The bulk of this story unfolds at Wind Lake, a campground owned by Kevin Tucker. One of my favorite scenes in the book took place at the campground. It was the softball game that broke out in the commons. It's hilarious and I loved it. I would highly recommend this book!!read more
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Veteran romance writer Phillips (First Lady; Lady Be Good, etc.) makes her hardcover debut with this consuming story of a star-crossed children's-book author and a football player. At 27, Molly Somerville is a struggling writer who eschews the inheritance left by her father, founder of the Chicago Stars NFL team, now owned by Molly's sister, Phoebe Calebow, and her husband, Dan, who act as Molly's surrogate parents. Creator of a series of Daphne the Bunny books, writer for a teen magazine and the perfect playmate for her nieces and nephew, Molly is still growing upÄshe even has a crush on Kevin Tucker, the handsome, reckless Stars quarterback. By coincidence, Molly and Kevin end up at the Calebow's vacation home, where they share an intense night that produces ill feelings and a pregnancy. They reluctantly marry, but shortly thereafter Molly miscarries. After a few months' separation, Kevin asks her to accompany him to a campground he recently inherited where he spent many unhappy childhood summers. He aims to sell the land, but as he watches Molly's wit return with her health, he finds himself changing his mind about the place and her. Snippets of Molly's writings serve as playful foreshadowing of the storybook plot, some elements of which are old hatÄthe heiress who gives away her money, a long-lost mother. Don't be fooled by the dusty title, however; this one is pure up-to-the-minute entertainment. Agent, Steve Axelrod. (One-day laydown, Jan. 23) Forecast: Phillips is the only four-time recipient of Romance Writers of America's Favorite Book of the Year Award, and her most recent novel, the mass market First Lady, hit paperback bestseller lists. With a big and smart push from Morrow, including a nine-city author tour, this book stands to be that rarity: a bestseller on national hardcover lists by a first-time writer to those ranks. A Harper Audio and large-print edition will be issued simultaneously. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved