Monday, August 22, 2011

Meet the Author: Susan McBride!

I am so excited to introduce you to Susan McBride, author of Little Black Dress, being released this week!  She is one of my Literary Locals and you may have seen her mentioned in my earlier article on the Independent Bookstore Cruise Part II.  Today, she shares with us a little bit about herself, her tips for aspiring writers, and so much more.  Let us give Susan a very warm welcome . . .


Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I was born in the Midwest but grew up all over, including the East Coast and Texas.  My dad worked for IBM, which we called “I’ve Been Moved” because we picked up stakes and resettled every few years.  It was pretty disconcerting, but I think it only intensified my love of books. I could pack those up and take them along with me wherever I went.  I had to get over my shyness as well, and I was a very shy child. I never lived in St. Louis when I was a kid, but my mom grew up here as did her parents and grandparents. My roots are in the Lou now, and I married a St. Louis guy.  So I don’t plan to ever leave!

When you were little, did you always want to be a writer when you grew up?

I don’t think I really ever imagined that “writer” could be a full-time occupation.  I loved books but I always thought I’d be a teacher or a lawyer.  However, at 19, I sat out college for a year and wrote a novel.  That’s when I knew it’s what I wanted to do with my life. I graduated with a B.S. in Journalism from the University of Kansas but never really worked as a journalist.  I knew I wanted to write fiction so that’s what I pursued, and I held some very interesting jobs in order to make time to write. I was eventually published by a small traditional press, and they put out two books before I signed with an agent who got me my first deal with HarperCollins.  I’ve since written five mysteries in my Debutante Dropout series, three young adult “Debs” books for Random House (one of which is in publishing limbo at the moment), and two women’s fiction titles for HC/Morrow (THE COUGAR CLUB and LITTLE BLACK DRESS).  I’ve got two deadlines this year, one for a young adult mystery (Random House) and another women’s fiction title (HC/Morrow).  So it’s a busy time, although every year seems busy to me!

What was your favorite childhood book and why?

I loved JOHNNY TREMAIN, about a boy involved with the Sons of Liberty during the American Revolution.  I’m such a history geek, and I always was. That book made me wish I could’ve been alive during the 18th century, hanging out with Sam Adams, John Adams, and Paul Revere.  I remember seeing the movie in school, too, and that just sealed it.  

You have published more than 10 novels over the years, with your newest Little Black Dress being released on August 23, 2011. Which has been your favorite to write and why does it rank so high?
I’d have to say that LITTLE BLACK DRESS has been my favorite so far.  Although if you ask my husband, he’ll say that my most recent book is always my favorite.  ;-)  But there was something really magical about writing it.  So much was going on in my life at the time—a lot of very emotional things—and I just poured my heart and soul into that book.  I have never cried while writing before, and I did with LITTLE BLACK DRESS.  And I got chills when I went back through it, re-reading.  It’s the first time that ever happened, too.

Share who or what has been your biggest inspiration in writing and life.

Hmm, I’d have to say my husband is a huge inspiration.  He’s just such a good guy and he’s so calm and patient.  He held my hand through my breast cancer diagnosis, through my mom’s breast cancer diagnosis, through a miscarriage, and other very tough moments.  We’ve been together almost six years, and I feel like so much has happened in that time period, maybe a lifetime’s worth of joy and grief.  He makes me very happy to wake up each morning and even more excited that I get to do something I love everyday (write!).  I always felt very satisfied with my life, but being with Ed takes it to a higher level. He inspires me to be a better person and to be a better writer, too.

For all those aspiring writers out there, what advice would you share with them?

Read a lot and often. Try to figure out why some books work for you and others don’t. Pay attention to the pieces of your own life and to the people around you.  Jot down ideas, observations, and bits of conversation. Be willing to write and write some more. Becoming proficient takes practice. It’s like any other profession where you get better and more confident the more you do it.  So don’t freak out if the first thing you write (or the second or third) isn’t ready for publication. You really do want to put your best foot forward.  Learn to take criticism and be open to revision.  I find the most exciting part of the writing process is actually revising!

When you are not reading or writing, what do you like to do?

Um, eat and sleep.  ;-)  I feel like I’m writing all the time and reading whenever I have a spare moment. I do love movies, and Ed and I have a lot of fun doing things like visiting the botanical gardens, going to flea markets, or even bowling.  

What literary destination would you most like to visit (real or imaginary)?

Confession: I’m dying to go to the Harry Potter theme park in Orlando!  I want to taste butterbeer, buy a wand, and act like I’m ten.

Where can my readers find you online (e.g., Facebook, websites, blogs, etc.)?

I’ve got a web site at, I blog with The Stiletto Gang ( and with the Girlfriends Book Club (  I’m also on Facebook with a “Books” page at and I have a personal FB page:

It’s great fun hearing from fellow book lovers so feel free to holler anytime.


Thank you so much Susan!  I look forward to seeing you at your release party later this week and picking up my very own copy of Little Black Dress to dive into!


  1. Great interview! I love the advice for aspiring authors. :)

  2. heidenkind ... Thanks for stopping by! I loved her advice, too!!


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