Q&A with Susan McBride
Books on the House is beyond thrilled to have Susan McBride as our inaugural featured author. Better still, she has some delicious news to share with us. Read her Q&A to find out what it is. And remember to enter for a chance to win a copy of The Cougar Club. Winners will be announced Saturday!
Thank you for being our inaugural author at Books on the House! We’re so excited to be giving away copies of The Cougar Club!! Would you tell us how you came up with the concept for the book?
Thank you so much for inviting me, Misa! I’m thrilled to be here.
The Cougar Club idea came about in 2008 after I’d finished my mystery series for Avon and was doing the young adult books for Random House. My Avon editor and I kept in touch as we wanted to work together again. She basically asked at one point, “Would you write about Cougars?” because I’d met a younger guy in 2005 when I was a St. Louis Magazine “Top Single” and married him in 2008. I kept telling her stories about Ed and me going out, and him getting carded everywhere (he was nearly 32 when we met and is 36 now, and he just got carded yesterday at Macaroni Grill when he ordered a Peroni! Oy!).
I remember saying something like, “I’d love to write about three friends whose lives hit mid-life bumps, and they end up dating younger men. I’ll call it The Cougar Club.” The deal was struck, and I couldn’t wait to start working on Cougar! It was the most fun I’ve had writing in awhile. I’m just so tired of the media depicting single women over forty as Botoxed-to-death Barbies with faux tans who are desperate for love. My female friends over forty are nothing like that. They’re fabulous and smart and vibrant, and I wanted Kat, Carla, and Elise–my three main characters in Cougar–to reflect that. There’s such a double standard for men and women when it comes to dating, and I think it’s time we chucked it right out the window and moved on.
That’s a great story! You have 3 killer characters in The Cougar Club. Which of them do you identify with the most?
Hmm, that’s a tough one, because I don’t feel that I’m like Kat, Carla, or Elise, not to any great extent. Kat is far braver than I am, both in her career and with her heart. She left St. Louis in her twenties and followed the bright lights to New York City, creating a new life for herself there. Suddenly, she’s 45 and nothing’s turned out the way she planned so she goes back home to reconnect with her two childhood best friends, Carla and Elise.
Carla is the local girl made good. She’s the top anchor for a St. Louis TV station, and she seems to have the world by the balls. Only her boss–who’s also her ex-husband–wants someone younger in the anchor desk and is priming his new twenty-something girlfriend to take Carla’s place. Carla’s not about to take that lying down, and I admire the lengths she’s willing to go to in order to keep the job she loves so much. She’s the type of woman who garners all eyes when she walks in the room. I crave my privacy too much to want that kind of limelight!
Elise is softer than both Kat or Carla, and she sees herself as the one who’s done everything in the right order: graduating college, getting married, starting her career, having a baby. I’m definitely a perfectionist like Elise, and I often try to juggle too many balls in the air. Like Elise, I’ve come to the realization that it’s impossible to have it all, at the same time anyway. Something has to give. With her, it’s her marriage. I figured out early in my marriage that I want to be wed to my husband, not my job! So hopefully I’ve got a leg up on her!
Truthfully, I adore all three women. They may be middle-aged (or “medium young,” as I prefer to say!), but they’re not at all willing to give up on life or romance. If there’s any moral to The Cougar Club it’s that you’re never too old to follow your heart.
I’m sure you’re already hard at work on something new. What’s your next project?
Right now, I’m trying to finish a proposal for another women’s fiction book, and I’m waiting for word from my new editor at Random House about the fourth young adult novel that’s still due on my contract. So I have a feeling I’ll be back on deadline sooner than I’d like! For the first time in 10 years, I’ve had a little time to breathe and promote a book without feeling under the gun. But I just love to write so I’m beginning to get that itch again to start another project soon!
I understand you have some delicious news to share! Spill it!
In the meantime, I’m excited that Cougar is on MORE Magazine’s list of “February Books We’re Buzzing About,” and it’s a Midwest Booksellers Association Midwest Connection Pick for February. I’m appearing at the MBA meeting in St. Louis on March 21, so that’ll be cool. I am happy to do whatever it takes to spread the word about Cougar!