Monday, April 5, 2010

Guest blog: Susan McBride

This blog has been on the back burner for awhile, and I'd like to thank Susan McBride for being such a good sport about all the delays. :) Her new book, I have to say, was probably one of the cutest I've read in a while. (Sure helped get me through jury duty *cough* though I can only imagine what people thought seeing me read it, hehe.)

We hashed out a nice post and contest for my readers. And I've really enjoyed speaking with Susan, the last few (thanks, Susan!). And so...now, without further ado, I'm turning the mike over, so...please welcome, Susan McBride!
***

You Can’t Judge a Cougar by Her Stripes
by Susan McBride

Yes, I know: real cougars don’t have stripes or spots (not the animal kind anyway). They’ve got gold fur and big paws and think Ashton Kutcher would be mighty tasty for breakfast. But I digress. What I want to talk about are the misconceptions about THE COUGAR CLUB, my debut in women’s fiction that came out on February 1. For the first time in my career—after five humorous mysteries and two young adult novels—I saw ugly comments online about a book I wrote even before it came out, stuff like, “Do I really have to assign a book called THE COUGAR CLUB?” (Girl Scout’s honor, that’s a real Tweet from the fiction editor of a venerable publishing trade magazine, which didn’t end up reviewing COUGAR as promised.) And there were remarks along the lines of, “How dare this woman write such filth! How demeaning to her sex! This belongs in the DUMP.” (I’m paraphrasing, but the writer of one of those nasty pre-pub comments on my local newspaper’s site did capitalize “dump,” and I did envision her screaming while she typed it.)

I started to wonder if anyone truly believed the old maxim that you can’t judge a book by its cover anymore, because people were judging THE COUGAR CLUB before it even made its way onto bookshelves. Honestly, I never imagined that a word like “Cougar” could stir up such negative emotions. I’m a 45 year old woman married to a 36 year old guy, so I’ve been called a Cougar since our first date five years ago. Maybe I’m weird, but I found it funny, not insulting. I never hung out at watering holes in my leopard print hot-pants, on the prowl for a nubile frat boy. I’m more of an “accidental Cougar,” I guess, since meeting Ed happened purely by chance.

I think that’s what makes writing so much fun for me. I love busting stereotypes, in real-life and on the pages of a book. The women in THE COUGAR CLUB aren’t certified, card-carrying Cougars any more than I am (well, except maybe for Carla, who’s as much a Diva as a Cougar). Creating the characters in THE COUGAR CLUB—Kat, Carla, and Elise—gave me the opportunity to show the world how viable and amazing three 45-year-old women can be, even when their respective mid-life crises try to trip them up. I wanted these lifelong friends to reconnect at a time when they need each other most. As the book begins, Kat’s a successful ad agency exec, Carla’s a beloved anchorwoman, and Elise is a dermatologist with a thriving practice. Then Kat gets down-sized, Carla realizes the station’s GM is about to replace her with a newer model, and empty-nester Elise believes her plastic surgeon husband has lost interest.

The story is driven by their relationship to one another and the support they lend each other, through thick and thin. They live by the motto that you’re never too old to follow your heart while struggling with being middle-aged in a society that doesn’t treat middle-age kindly. Like so many of us, they’re seeking passion, in their careers and in love; and each of them, in different ways, finds it.

As a woman who found true love after forty and whose career came into full bloom after forty, too, it’s my great hope that readers of THE COUGAR CLUB will look past the C-word in the title (if it offends them!) and discover the humor and warmth that form the gooey caramel goodness at the center of the book. COUGAR isn’t so much about, well, Cougars as it is about celebrating life at any age. As Kat Maguire puts it:

Aging gracefully isn’t about aging gratefully. It’s about living life with your engine on overdrive, making love with all the lights on, trashing your diet books, and diving into the chocolate cake.

To that, I say “Amen!”
***
Me too! So, for a couple more things here; the contest: To enter, please leave a comment, and your email address so I can contact you if you're chosen (your name-at-host.com is fine;and, US and Canada snail mail addresses only, please). And if you have not, please Follow Café Pearl with the google follow button to the right there. After all that's done, I'll pick the winner on Wednesday morning. :) Good luck!


All righty, a few more things. You have seen her book cover, right?


And how about Susan's cute videos?

on The Cougar Club:





and an interview with Susan McBride conducted by LipstickNLaundry





:) Cute huh? Well, go check out her new novel (links are in the Amazon banner to the right, or ...wherever you usually buy books. And...Thanks again to Susan McBride for the great post (and lastly to Jessica Rabbit for introducing us!). :)And thank you for reading. I hope you've enjoyed this guest spot!
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