Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Mystery in Everything

It's my pleasure to introduce Susan McBride, prolific author and a writer with vast experience and wisdom! Susan McBride's YA series debut with Random House, THE DEBS, features four prep school seniors in Houston clawing their way through their debutante season. A Fall 2008 Kid’s Indie Next Pick, THE DEBS has been called "GOSSIP GIRL on mint juleps." The second DEBS book, LOVE, LIES, AND TEXAS DIPS, will be out in June of 2009, and the third, GLOVES OFF, in March of 2010. Susan has penned five Debutante Dropout Mysteries for Avon, including TOO PRETTY TO DIE and BLUE BLOOD. She’s also signed with HarperCollins to write a trade paperback women’s beach book called THE COUGAR CLUB, about three forty-something women who date younger men. Visit her web site at for more scoop.

Last year was kind of a turning point for me in so many ways. In February of 2008, I married a really wonderful guy I’d met when I was a St. Louis Magazine “top single” in 2005. So I’m traveling far less than I did in the past as all I want to do is stay home, write, and nest! I turned the corner in my recovery from breast cancer as well, reaching “Year Two” of clear diagnostic tests and exams. With every year I move beyond my diagnosis and treatment, I breathe a little easier. I also saw my writing career segue from the mystery world into mainstream young adult fiction. In some ways, that might’ve been the biggest change of all.

Ten years ago when AND THEN SHE WAS GONE was published by a small traditional press, I couldn’t see very far ahead of me. I only knew that I loved being part of the mystery scene, appearing at conferences and conventions, meeting other authors, booksellers, librarians, and readers who appreciated the genre as much as I did. After OVERKILL came out in 2001, I’d made plenty of friends in the business, had found myself top-notch representation, and got busy creating my Debutante Dropout Mysteries for Avon. I put everything I’d learned as a small press author to use plugging my series, and I kept pressing “onward and upward,” as my agent likes to say. BLUE BLOOD came out of the gate running in 2004 and four more Debutante Dropout Mysteries followed, including TOO PRETTY TO DIE, the fifth and final installment released in February of 2008.

I’m not good at lingering goodbyes—I tend to get teary-eyed—so I experienced something like emotional withdrawal when I realized TOO PRETTY would be “the end” for awhile. Luckily, I couldn’t mourn for long. My gears had to shift to the young adult world by the time THE DEBS debuted in late August of 2008. It was definitely a new beginning, moving from HarperCollins to Random House, and delving into a genre I’d known little about when I’d signed the deal in 2006 to write about debutantes in my old hometown of Houston, Texas.

I tried not to dwell on all the mystery cons I was missing while I toiled away on LOVE, LIES, AND TEXAS DIPS, the second DEBS book. I kept busy hanging out with Ed and my family, doing local signings, attending SIBA in Mobile, AL, and speaking with YA authors at the Southern Festival of Books. But it still felt weird, like I was the new kid on the block all over again.

By now, I’ve written the third DEBS book, GLOVES OFF, which I turned in just before Christmas, and I need to start ASAP on a mainstream women’s novel called THE COUGAR CLUB to be published in trade paperback by HarperCollins in 2010. It’s exhilarating to dip my toes in new literary waters, and I don’t feel all that far removed from the mystery scene anymore because everything I write has some element of mystery in it. My DEBS series is full of secrets and lies, characters who want things they cannot have unless someone else’s needs or reputation is sacrificed. There are good guys and bad guys (okay, good debs and bad debs), and wrong is constantly battling right. Those are all things that make for a good, juicy mystery; all things I write about in my young adult novels. There truly is mystery in everything, which is one of the big reasons I’m so thankful for my mystery roots and the amazing foundation they’ve given me.


Robin Burcell said...

well, while we mourn your temporary "passing" from our grown up world, our loss is my daughters' gain!

All I can say is that she loved THE DEBS. And my two younger daughters are vying to see who will read it next.

As for THE COUGARS, you go girl!

Susan McBride said...

Aw, Robin, thanks! ;-) I can't wait to write THE COUGAR CLUB. I've been jotting down a million notes. Just waiting for revision notes from my editor for GLOVES OFF so I can get that done, turned in, and forge ahead (I can only seem to focus well on one thing at once!).


Robin Burcell said...

THE COUGAR CLUB! Clearly my short term memory is at that age... That's what I meant!

Scott Parker said...

As a Houstonian, I will definitely check these books out.

Susan McBride said...

Robin, hey, the title could very well change, as they often do! So you might end up being right about that. ;-)

Thanks, Scott! Hope you enjoy them.