callmeirresistible HC CIt’s been far too long since Susan Elizabeth Phillips graced the pages of AAR and I couldn’t be happier to report that, at last, she’s back.  One of the most beloved writers of contemporary romance, SEP marks the release of her latest (and thoroughly charming) new release, Call Me Irresistible, on  January 18th.  To celebrate we’ve got five copies to give away, courtesy of Harper Collins, and the first interview at AAR with SEP in over a decade.

To enter for your chance to win, just comment to this post by 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, January 13th.  A few caveats apply:  Due to high postage costs, this giveaway is open only to readers in the U.S.and Canada.  Please comment only once and, if you review for another Web site or blog, please don’t enter.  Winners will be notified by email on Friday morning and will have 24 hours to respond.  A new winner will be selected on Saturday morning for any winner who hasn’t responded.  Good luck to everyone and, without further ado, let’s hear from SEP.

– Sandy AAR

Susan, first of all, thanks so much for giving us a little bit of your time.  You have a lot of fans here at AAR who are going to love hearing from you.  First of all, could you tell our readers a bit about the plot of Call Me Irresistible?

Love to!  Ever since I wrote Lady Be Good, readers have been after me to write Ted Beaudine’s story.  In Call Me Irresistible, Ted is Mr. Perfect, and Meg Koranda is Ms. Screw Up. Meg knows she’d done the right thing when she breaks up Ted’s wedding to Lucy Jorik, the daughter of the former President of the United States, but no one else agrees, and she quickly becomes the most hated woman in town. A town where she’s stuck with a broken down car, an empty wallet, and a very angry bridegroom… (Ted and Meg are a match made in heaven!)

Unlike a lot of writers, your fans are divided on what is their favorite book by you – something that’s a tribute to you as a writer since there is no overwhelming favorite.  For everyone who supports Nobody’s Baby But Mine, there’s someone else who loves Heaven, Texas (my favorite).   And, since you had a total of nine books placing in the Top 100 Romance Novels poll as voted by AAR readers, you’ve hit the ball out of the park (or kicked it right between the goal posts) a great many times.  As the author, do you have a favorite?

I love that there’s such diversity of opinion about my books.  And there’s not much of a pattern. I’ve lost count, for example, of how many readers have begged me to write another Chicago Stars book and then told me their favorite is Kiss An Angel, a book that doesn’t have a football player anywhere in sight. As for me… My favorite book has to be the one I’ve just finished or it doesn’t leave my desk.  (At the moment, I’m so in love with Ted Beaudine I can’t see straight.)

What type of hero and heroine are you favorite to write?  And do you have a favorite hero and heroine?

My good ol’ boy heroes are the easiest for me to write, but I love the brooding guys, too, like Ren Gage in Breathing Room and Bram Shepard in What I Did for Love. Also, see aforementioned comment about Ted Beaudine (Does this make me a skank? Please don’t answer that.)

Even though I was a football cheerleader back in the Medieval period, I don’t have the first clue about football, yet I love your Chicago Stars books.  Is it true, as SEP legend goes, that you were almost as clueless when you first began to write about your team?

I wasn’t clueless, just never all that interested in the game.  I doubt I watch four games year. I am, however, fascinated by the life of these players and their oversized egos, how they deal with both sudden wealth and celebrity. I also love all the front-office stuff that goes along with professional sports.

SEPIn What I Did for Love, your heroine Georgie’s circumstances certainly brought Jennifer Aniston to mind for a lot of readers.  And I have to admit that Mad Jack, the legendary rock star, of Natural Born Charmer made me think of Bruce Springsteen. Maybe that was just wishful thinking on my part since I am one of Bruce’s biggest fans, but I pictured the Boss as I read the book.  Am I way off base (especially on the second one since I don’t believe it’s widely speculated) or do you ever picture celebrities as you’re creating?   And, if so, any other “identities” you’d like to spill?

Re: Bruce…. Yes, Yes, Yes!  He was totally in my mind when I wrote Jack Patriot, and I hardly ever picture celebrities when I’m working.  As for the Jennifer Aniston thing… Celebrity love triangles have always fascinated us, and there have been lots of them over the years, but Georgie is definitely not Aniston.

I don’t usually picture celebrities as I read either and Bruce came through loud and clear for me. One of my favorite questions to ask authors is what kind of books they like to read in their leisure time.  And, while we’re on the subject, who are your favorite authors?

Lately, I’ve been reading a lot of non-fiction. Just going through one of those phases, I guess.  I loved A.J. Jacobs The Year of Living Biblically, Susan Casey’s The Wave. The Hunger Games trilogy was an amazing reading experience. As far as fiction, I’m a huge fan of well-done romance and non-depressing women’s fiction.

What’s next for SEP?  And any idea how long we’ll have to wait?

Anyone who reads Call Me Irresistible will have a good idea where I’m headed next. Lucy Jorik, the runaway bride, definitely deserves her own story, and I’ve already written about 300 pages of it.  With two book tours scheduled – one in the U.S. at the end of January and one in Germany at the end of May – I’m going to lose a fair amount of writing time, so I’m not sure when it’ll be done, but I can’t wait to see how Lucy’s story turns out!

Thanks to SEP for taking the time to answer my questions and to Harper Collins for the books to give away.  Remember, to enter to win, just comment to this post by Thursday, January 13th at 11:59 p.m. eastern time.