A Letter from Susan Elizabeth Phillips to Jennifer Crusie
It’s once again time to talk about how wonderful you are. No, wait… My new book, Call Me Irresistible, is coming out on January 18, 2011, so it’s time to talk about how wonderful I am. Except I shamefully tried to do exactly that in our last interview, which was about you and your fabulous Maybe This Time, which was such a delicious read that I devoured it in one evening. Truly. It was better than chocolate, so funny and heartwarming, which, let’s face it, is a hard task for even the most gifted writer to pull off, but you did it, babe, and I have no idea why I tried to sabotage that interview. I’m ashamed.
Back to me. So go ahead. Ask me some questions. Make them easy. I’m not half as smart as you. But I’ll put my banana bread up against yours any day.
A Letter from Jennifer Crusie to Susan Elizabeth Phillips
My banana bread leaves your banana bread sniveling in the pan from its inadequacy. However, I might write another book again someday and then you’ll owe ME an interview, so I won’t mention that. HA. And I will be Adult and not make the interview about me.
Amazon Exclusive: Jennifer Crusie Interviews Susan Elizabeth Phillips Jennifer Crusie:
Welcome to Jennifer Crusie’s interview with her Close Personal Friend, Susan Elizabeth Phillips. I’m Jenny Crusie and I’m thrilled to be interviewing Susan because she’s not only my Close Personal Friend, she’s also the Queen of Romantic Comedy! Oh, and because she has a new book coming out. And because that’s what Close Personal Friends do. So Susan, tell us about Maybe This Time
Susan Elizabeth Phillips: Sigh… Once you tell your Close Personal Friend how much you love her book, she never lets you forget it.
JC: Sorry, sorry, I meant Call Me Irresistible. What was I thinking? Probably that “irresistible” is a bitch to spell, unlike “Maybe,” “This,” and “Time.” So you have a new novel coming out FINALLY. Not that I’ve been impatient or anything, but ye gods, woman, you have fans and none of us are getting any younger. What took you so long? And when do I get my Close Personal Friend of Susan Elizabeth Phillips copy?
SEP: So glad you pointed out the difficulty of spelling “irresistible.” Where was my brain? As for taking so long… Writing is hard! Didn’t anybody ever tell you that? (An advanced copy of the book is coming to you in the mail. Along with a truly superb loaf of banana bread.)
JC: Sorry, sorry, I’m just thrilled that Call Me Irresistible is coming out. Finally. For one thing, I get to see some of my favorite characters again like Meg from What I Did for Love and Lucy from First Lady, not to mention Ted from Fancy Pants and Lady Be Good. Is it fun for you to revisit them? (Not that I care, it’s fun for me, so bring them back anyway, that’s what I say.) Oh, and will readers have to have read all those books to understand this one? Because if so, good marketing.
SEP: I love revisiting old characters. Just like revisiting old friends. (Not that we’re old. Or even remotely mature.) The thing about my books is that they all stand alone, even those with familiar characters. And, boy, does Call Me Irresistible have a lot of familiar characters. If readers want to pick up the older books, more power to them. But they don’t have to. That would be like homework. Except more fun.
JC: You remember back when I told you not to marry Charles and you got all huffy about it? Meg does the same thing to Lucy in this book and she listens. What kind of heroine tries to break up her pal’s wedding? (Tell Charles I said hi.)
SEP: My husband’s name is Bill, not Charles. (This interview isn’t going nearly as well as I’d hoped.) Meg, the heroine of Call Me Irresistible, sees clearly what Lucy Jorik, the bride, can’t—that Lucy and Ted Beaudine aren’t the perfect match everyone believes them to be. Lucy flees her wedding just as she’s supposed to be saying, “I do,” leaving Meg to face the wrath of Wynette, Texas… and Ted Beaudine.
JC: Okay, the last time I saw Ted he was a kid, so his appeal as a leading man wasn’t evident (cute, though) but now he sounds like The Perfect Man: a civic minded, athletic, sweet, rich genius. Did Meg turn into superwoman in between books to earn this paragon? Because I’m feeling inadequate enough without having to live up to a Perfect Heroine.
SEP: Not to worry. As you pointed out, Ted really does have it all: looks, money, charm, and that annoying genius I.Q. As for Meg… Unlike our sexy paragon of a hero, Meg is so deliciously imperfect. Kind of a screw-up, although her heart’s in the right place. She also has big problems. She’s broke, stranded, and unemployed in a town where everybody’s out to get her…and where Ted Beaudine holds all the power.
JC: What is it with you and Texans? Not that I have anything against Texas except, you know, politics, but you’re practically a tumbleweed groupie. Did you have a great one-night stand there that you’ve never quite let go of? Did you look across a room and meet the eyes of a tall, dark ranger and then Charles made you play golf? Because your erotic fascination with that state is well-documented. Give us all the details. And pictures. Pictures or it didn’t happen.
SEP: My husband’s name is NOT CHARLES, it’s BILL! And who are you calling a groupie? I seem to remember a certain wild night, a certain famous rocker… I’ll say no more. As for my Texas settings—and no offense to my Lone Star friends—but that state is a writer’s dream. You can make any dang fool thing happen in Texas and readers will believe it. Thank you Sam Houston and all your fine descendents.
JC: I never had a chance to be a groupie once you told him I threw rolls at you. You asked me some really good questions in our last Amazon interview (smart, talented, and beautiful; you really do have it all, oh Queen of the RomCom), so I’m throwing two of the best back at you: “How do the stories you want to tell now differ from the ones you wanted to tell when you started writing? How are they the same?”
SEP: Do I detect a little sarcasm with all these Queen references? I should never have borrowed your tiara. Great, insightful questions, by the way! (Please don’t bring up the roll incident.) My core story will, I think, always be the same. I love books that make me laugh and get a lump in my throat, sometimes on the same page. I love sexy heroes, funny heroines, and happy endings. Basically, there’s not much difference between what I used to write and what I write now. Except now I’m a lot better speller.
JC: Thank you, Susan for these insightful and fascinating answers. And now for our last question: WHAT’S NEXT? Tell me all about what you’re working on so I can harass you so you can finish it faster and I can read it. And because I’m a pal, proofread it.
SEP: I’m not giving too much away by saying that, by page thirty of Call Me Irresistible, Lucy Jorik has fled her wedding, and we don’t see her again for the rest of the book. Leaving us to wonder… Exactly what happened to our runaway bride?