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The Stepsisters by Susan Mallery
Genre: Women’s Fiction | 416 Pages | Published: May 25, 2021 by MIRA
Thank you to NetGalley and MIRA for the gifted digital ARC of Susan Mallery’s latest novel The Stepsisters and the opportunity to be a part of the book tour launch. Today I’m excited to share a fun Q&A with Susan Mallery. I’ve also posted my review of the book so go check that out once you’ve read the interview!
Q and A with Susan Mallery, author of The Stepsisters
Love the cover of THE STEPSISTERS. Summer Sun! Tell us what your new novel is about.
THE STEPSISTERS is the story of two women falling into friendship. Daisy and Sage’s childhoods intersected for a few years, when Daisy’s dad was married to Sage’s mom. The girls were classmates and rivals but never friends, not even when they lived together, and certainly not after their parents divorced. As teens, Daisy had a crush on Sage’s boyfriend Jordan. After graduation, Sage left to live a more glamorous life in Europe, and Daisy married Jordan.
The story starts when the stepsisters are in their thirties. Daisy’s marriage is in trouble, Sage is back in LA from a life that was not nearly as glamorous as it appeared from the outside, and their shared half-sister needs their help. As they get to know each other as adults, they uncover long buried secrets, begin to see the events of their past with new eyes and discover they might even maybe like each other. Until one of them does something that could forever sabotage any chance of a forever friendship.
There were so many moments in THE STEPSISTERS that stabbed me right in the heart while writing. Daisy is one of those heroines you root for from page one, a nurturer at heart. She’s such a caring mom, you can’t help but love her. Sage has sharper edges—and a sharper tongue—but she had a harder life. I don’t want to say too much, so I’ll just say that this is the kind of book that’s going to stick with you in the best possible way.
What makes stories about women’s friendships so compelling?
Friendship stories are compelling because they’re relatable, aspirational and infinitely variable because no two women are friends in the exact same way. Most women are hardwired to crave connections. It’s a primal need, to be part of something larger than ourselves. To feel known, cared for and cared about, loved, accepted. Friendship stories feed that need as we’re reading—especially over the past year when so many people have felt isolated during the pandemic. As we read, we recognize ourselves and our own friends, and we internalize lessons about respect and opening our hearts.
Do you have to do any research to write your novels, or is it all living and observing?
I definitely do research, though the amount depends on the book, of course. In The Stepsisters, Daisy is a nurse anesthesiologist as a direct result of conversations I had with a nurse anesthesiologist. My original plan was that Daisy, the daughter of a doctor, would be a doctor herself. But while talking about the realities of an anesthesiologist’s life and schedule, I realized that it wouldn’t work for the character I had in mind. So before I wrote one word, my research took her in another direction.
The book is dedicated to the woman who took the time to help me.
You’ve written so many novels. Of course, THE STEPSISTERS is your current favorite novel, but which book do you love the most?
I have many, but two spring immediately to mind because they were so much fun to write—Daughters of the Bride and The Friendship List. Daughters of the Bride was the only book that came to me fully formed. When I got the idea, I knew everything—I knew the mom and each of the sisters. I understood them. That book was a joy from start to finish.
I had to work a little harder to plot The Friendship List, but once I had the plot down and got to the fun part (writing the story), every day was a good writing day. With most books, there are five or ten scenes that I can’t wait to write, but with The Friendship List, it seemed like every day I got to write a scene I was really excited about. When I write, it’s almost like a movie playing in my head, so it’s very entertaining for me to see what the characters say and do as the scene comes to life.
THE STEPSISTERS was a different kind of pleasure—more internal conflict between the characters because of their history with each other, which led to such a heartwarming, soul-satisfying ending. I couldn’t do anything for a couple of days after finishing this story because my mind and my heart were still in it too deeply. I think it will stick with you, too.
Any tips for wanna-be writers?
Never give up. The world is full of incredibly talented writers who didn’t want it enough to keep going no matter what. The middle of a book is always hard, which means you’ll never finish a book if you can’t get through the middle. You’ll never sell a book if all you can write are great beginnings. You have to keep going, keep learning, keep improving. Try different methods so you can figure out what works for you. Write a great story, and readers will find you. And then write another. And another.
About Susan Mallery
#1 NYT bestselling author Susan Mallery writes heartwarming, humorous novels about the relationships that define our lives―family, friendship, romance. She’s known for putting nuanced characters in emotional situations that surprise readers to laughter. Beloved by millions, her books have been translated into 28 languages. Susan lives in Washington with her husband, two cats, and a small poodle with delusions of grandeur. Visit her at SusanMallery.com.
- Website: https://susanmallery.com/
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