Don’t you wish your book club read sexy books? Lots of us are in book clubs and let’s face it, sometimes the books are a little dull. Award-winners, but not necessarily fun. Much less sexy. That’s the premise I started from.
When marketing exec Georgia Malone’s book club decides to read a sexy book—historical erotica titled The Sexual Education of Lady Emma Whitehead—she’s surprised to find herself identifying with the heroine and getting drawn into the story.
She’s similar to Lady Emma in a couple of ways: Georgia is a young widow, and she’s never experienced orgasm. She’s the opposite in another way: Emma was in an arranged marriage to a man she didn’t love, whereas Georgia married her soul mate and has trouble imagining finding another man she’ll care for in the same way.
She can’t quite believe it when her own life starts to take a parallel course to Lady Emma, who has succumbed to the seduction of a French count who wants to educate her in sensual pleasure. Hockey star Woody Hanrahan, the figurehead of Georgia’s new campaign, is no suave count; he’s all rough edges and cocky charm. Her brain says he’s not her type; her libido disagrees. And Georgia finds herself embarking on a sexual education of her own, at the hands of this most unlikely teacher.
Can a newly minted dirty girl write her own happy ending—and win not just Woody’s body, but his heart? Well, I do write romance, so you can figure out the answer to that question!
How did you come up with the title?
A number of years ago I read The Dirty Girls Social Club by Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez, and thought both the book and the title were great. When I came up with the idea of a women’s book club that decided to read sexy books – and each time they do, one of the women has an erotic, romantic adventure –the title of my book (and series) sprang into my mind.
Where were you when you got your first book contract? Who did you tell?
It was the spring of 2005, and I was at home, first thing in the morning, checking email in my PJs. Aspiring writers all dream about getting “the call,” but my notification was by email. All the same, it was pretty darned exciting, after all the years I’d been trying to get published. The first person I told was my guy, who was still in bed asleep. Bless his heart, he went and got a bottle of Dom Perignon champagne from a hidden spot in his office. He’d bought it a long, long time ago, for when I made my first sale. By the time I finally did it, it was a pretty good vintage! I also celebrated by buying another bottle of Dom myself, and sharing it with the critique group that had helped me so very much.
What is your guilty pleasure?
I’m not sure it’s a guilty one, but I’d say champagne. Or, to be more accurate, sparkling wine – because, after all, who can really afford champagne on anything except those extra-special occasions? I’m a great believer in celebrating all the steps along the writing journey with bubbly wine. Teeny bottles of Henkell Trocken for the little stuff, and full-size bottles of something a little ritzier for the bigger events. Graduating up to Dom for those incredible, once-in-a-lifetime events like my first sale!
Do you work on one project at a time or multiples?
Ideally, I’d work on only one, but that’s not usually how it works out. If I’m lucky, I’ll only be writing one at a time. But during that period, I’ll likely get copy-edits on another, maybe page proofs of yet another, and be working on promo for even another. It does get a little confusing.
How long does it usually take you to write a book?
The idea’s often in my mind, coming together, before I start writing. Usually, I have to provide a synopsis before going to contract, so at that point I have to come up with some kind of story, which is my best guess at the time because I’m not really a plotter. I prefer to discover my characters and story as I write it. Once I start writing, it’s usually about four months. So, typically I write three books a year.
Do you set timelines when your writing or write when the feeling hits you?
I work back from the deadline (either a contract deadline or a self-imposed one), figuring out what I need to accomplish by what point, allowing time for critique group meetings and for multiple revisions. I track progress on a weekly basis, so I’ll know if I start to get behind. On a daily basis, I don’t set a word, page, or hour target, but I try to write about 5-6 hours a day, except for the 2 days that I’m at my day job. When I say “write,” I’m using the term loosely. I intersperse writing with stretching, making tea, doing the laundry, and so on. Not only is it healthy to get up from the computer, but moving around helps get the ideas flowing.
What do you do to get in the mood to write?
There’s no one thing. Plunk my butt in the chair. Go for a walk. Take a shower. Mostly, just try to get into the minds of my heroine and hero, and hope that they’ll take over and write the story for me!
How many books have you written? How many have been published?
I don’t know how many I’ve written because I never wanted to keep track. To have X number of unsold manuscripts is just depressing! It’s negative energy, and I try to stay positive. I’ve sold 16 single title novels, 5 novellas in anthologies, and 3 Spice Briefs.
The Dirty Girls Book Club is published under a new pen name, Savanna Fox. Why do you use more than one pen name?
I do it because my publishers suggested it. Personally, I find it a little confusing since all my books are sexy contemporary romances, but I bow to the publishers’ wisdom. I have written as Susan Lyons for Berkley Heat and Kensington Aphrodisia, I have just become Savanna Fox with Berkley Heat, and I’m also Susan Fox with Kensington Brava, and next year with Kensington mass market.
Are you working on another book?
Always! The next one that will be published is Body Heat from Kensington Brava (writing as Susan Fox). When accountant/ manager Maura Mahoney is required to supervise bad boy Jesse Blue’s community service at Cherry Lane seniors residential facility, she puts him to work landscaping the garden—right outside her office window. As steamy fantasies turn to reality, can these polar opposites surmount the barriers between them and find a deep, lasting love?
The book I’m writing now is the second book in the Dirty Girls Book Club series, which is scheduled for next July. It pairs a confirmed city girl from Hong Kong with a rodeo cowboy/rancher. The working title is Dare to Be Dirty.
Where can your readers reach you?
Through my website at http://www.susanlyons.ca. I have a Contact form and readers can also subscribe to a monthly e-newsletter, Champagne News. I’m on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/SusanLyonsFox.
Do you have an excerpt from The Dirty Girls Book Club you’d like to share?
Of course! This is the scene where Georgia first lays eyes on the man she’s supposed to transform from a “sow’s ear” into a “silk purse.”
Off balance—literally, since the one-inch heel of her sensible pumps had snapped off in a sewer grate five blocks away—Georgia opened the door to one of Dynamic Marketing’s conference rooms early Tuesday afternoon. She stepped inside to see a good six and a half feet of naked male back.
Back, and backside. Naked backside. Naked, extraordinarily well-muscled back. And a tight, taut, amazing butt.
Well, all right, not entirely naked. She noted a thin “T” of black fabric. What self-respecting heterosexual man wears a thong?
No, wait. Shouldn’t the question be, Why am I gaping at a near-naked man when I’ve obviously entered the wrong room? She should be retreating quietly and sliding the door shut before anyone noticed her.
She was about to do exactly that when the naked giant said, “No straight dude’s gonna wear a fucking thong. I didn’t fucking sign on for this.”
“Woody,” a much calmer male voice started, in a placating tone, “now, just—”
“Woody?” Georgia exclaimed. This was Woodrow—Woody—Hanrahan?
“George?” That was her boss, Billy Daniels’s, voice. She hadn’t even noticed he was in the room.
“George?” the naked man said.
She was dimly aware of the calm-voiced man, someone she didn’t know, joking, “Is there an echo in here?” But only dimly aware, because the giant had swung to face her.
Her eyes widened. He was leaner than she’d thought a hockey player would be, but oh, my, did he have muscles. Shoulders, arms, torso, legs. Abs.
Her gaze traveled south and fixed on the front pouch of that skimpy black thong. She had never, not in ads or movies much less real life, seen a man who filled out his underwear so impressively.
The giant crossed powerful-looking arms across his broad chest. “Who’s George?”
“I’m George.” Her voice came out breathy because, let’s face it, the sight of him had stolen her breath. She forced air into her lungs and went on. “It’s a nickname. I’m Georgia Malone.”
Holding her hand out to offer a firm handshake, she stepped forward, forgetting that her right heel was no longer there. Her ankle wobbled, her knee buckled, her briefcase slipped, and she tumbled ignominiously toward the floor—only to be caught by one large, firm hand grasping her elbow.
“You’re a woman,” he said disbelievingly.
Woody Hanrahan no doubt intended to steady her. Instead, her heart jerked and her pulse raced like she’d been zapped by an electrified fence. Or a Taser.
Except, the heat that rushed through her, the tingles that darted across her skin, the pulse that throbbed at every pulse point, felt incredibly good, in a way she’d never experienced before, yet somehow recognized. Why did she— Oh, there’d been a similar description in a passage from The Sexual Education of Lady Emma Whitehead.
“George, are you all right?” Her boss’s voice was sharp.
“Yes, of course.” She answered automatically, belatedly realizing she was mere inches from that six and a half feet of muscled nakedness. From that black pouch, its skimpy fabric doing its best to contain all the masculinity inside.
His package. That was one of the less crude terms people used for male genitals. A package, wrapped in black—was that silk?—and just begging to be unwrapped.
No, wait—what was she thinking? Georgia Malone, the girl who had, without a moment’s hesitation, sworn chastity vows as a teen, did not think about unwrapping men’s private parts. Not unless there was a wedding night involved, which wasn’t likely to happen anytime soon—and less likely with this guy than with any other she’d ever met.