About SEP: Let's hear from the author in her own words, about things she wants you to know about her. Nothing ordinary about Susan Elizabeth Phillips, so why should her bio run the standard course.
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 grown, and I couldn’t be prouder of them or their families.
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.
IDIOTS’ LUCK. 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, 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 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.”
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 be 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 big 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.
|SEP with pal Jane Evanovich|
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 re-energized my career.
A GOOD FAIRY WAVES HER MAGIC WAND. Her name is Carrie Feron, and she’s the Executive Editor 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 best seller 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.
|Susan and Jayne Ann Krentz|
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 update my web site the first week of every month. I love keeping in touch with everyone, so I’m also active on Facebook and my website bulletin board. (If you see a post from SEP, you know that’s me!) Be sure to sign my guest book if you’d like to receive my newsletter when I have a new book out. Now go hug somebody special!