Date of Publication: March 2012
Michelle Sanderson may appear to be a strong, independent woman, but on the inside, she’s still the wounded girl who fled home years ago. A young army vet, Michelle returns to the quaint Blackberry Island Inn to claim her inheritance and recover from the perils of war. Instead, she finds the owner’s suite occupied by the last person she wants to see.
Carly Williams and Michelle were once inseparable, until a shocking betrayal destroyed their friendship. And now Carly is implicated in the financial disaster lurking behind the inn’s cheerful veneer.
Single mother Carly has weathered rumors, lies and secrets for a lifetime, and is finally starting to move forward with love and life. But if the Blackberry Island Inn goes under, Carly and her daughter will go with it.
To save their livelihoods, Carly and Michelle will undertake a turbulent truce. It’ll take more than a successful season to move beyond their devastating past, but with a little luck and a beautiful summer, they may just rediscover the friendship of a lifetime.
A Chat with Susan Mallery, Author of BAREFOOT SEASON
Kari: What inspired you to become a writer?
I’d always loved reading, of course. (Didn’t we all?) Books were my escape when I was a little girl, entertainment when I had nothing else to do. But somehow, being a writer never occurred to me as a valid career choice. Impractical. So I did the most practical thing I could think of – I went to college to study Accounting. If you think columns of numbers are boring, just imagine how tedious Accounting Theory could be!
The theory behind the numbers. Seriously?
While I was carrying a full course load, I took an evening adult education class called How to Write a Romance Novel. By week six, I knew this was what I wanted to do with my life. I’ve been very fortunate to make that dream a reality.
Kari: Where do you come up with the idea for your books?
Ideas come from everywhere. SituationsI find myself in, songs, movies, conversationsI’ve overheard. The tough part is building that spark into a novel-length story. Sometimes an idea doesn’t go anywhere, and I have to save it for another day, when it might merge with another spark and become something wonderful.
The spark that led to BAREFOOT SEASON, the first book of the Blackberry Island series, was a thought that flitted into my head from I don’t know where – a gift from the universe. What if you and your best friend fell in love with the same man, and then he proposed to her? You’re her best friend, so of course she wants you to be her maid of honor. And then… what if he tells you he chose the wrong girl? BAREFOOT SEASON deals with the fallout of this scenario, ten years later.
Visit Blackberry Island online at www.blackberryisland.com!
Kari: What is your favorite part of A Barefoot Season?
I love that there are no easy answers, no quick resolution. Michelle and Carly are caught in a tough spot. Neither one of them is 100% right or 100% wrong, which is how these situations usually are in real life. I love telling stories with about truly good people who fall on opposite sides of a very emotional issue. I think book clubs are going to really enjoy that aspect of the story. Should make for some lively discussion!
I also really adore the men of BAREFOOT SEASON. Michelle and Carly each get a love story in the book, and it warms my heart to see them end up with men who will treat them the way every woman should be treated.
Kari: What is your favorite book so far?
My favorite is always the one I’m working on at the moment. While writing a story, I live it. I cry when the characters cry. I make myself laugh frequently – which is a little psychotic, I know, but it’s SO. MUCH. FUN! All I can say is, it’s a good thing I don’t work around other people. They’d think I was nuts, just bursting out with random laughter.
At the moment, I’m working on the second book of the Blackberry Island series, a follow-up to BAREFOOT SEASON. That’s my favorite right now. No title yet; you’ll have to join my mailing list at www.susanmallery.com so I can send you an email on release day.
Kari: What exciting projects are waiting in the wings?
After BAREFOOT SEASON, next up is a quartet of Fool’s Gold romance novels from June through October – SUMMER DAYS, SUMMER NIGHTS, ALL SUMMER LONG, and A FOOL’S GOLD CHRISTMAS – plus an ebook novella called ALMOST SUMMER in May.
For those readers who are unfamiliar with the series, Fool’s Gold is a small California town in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. Fool’s Gold has become famous for its man shortage, so the women in town have set out to balance out the population by bringing more men to town.
2012 is the Year of the Cowboy in Fool’s Gold. The Stryker brothers will settle on the Castle Ranch, and Fool’s Gold will never be the same again! Readers can get a free desktop cowboy calendar here: http://foolsgoldca.susanmallery.com/cowboycalendar.html
Kari: Who is your favorite literary character and why?
For classic literature, I love Jane Austen’s Elizabeth Bennett. Elizabeth is a woman I would love to be friends with. She’s smart, a little snarky, and she demands respect from Mr. Darcy.
Kari: Just for fun, if you could be any animal, what would it be and why?
I would be a toy poodle. Specifically, my toy poodle Nikki, because she lives the life that every dog should live. I think every dog deserves to be spoiled. (By the way, I immortalized Nikki in ONLY YOURS, Fool’s Gold book 5. She’s the inspiration behind one of the therapy dogs in that book.)
Nikki is the official mascot of Fool’s Gold, California, so in honor of the Year of the Cowboy, here she is dressed up as a cow. She would do anything for me!