This week's guest on Tuesdays with Friends is Susan McBride. I met Susan a hundred and two years ago (maybe not quite that long, but it's been a while) when I went to my very first writer's conference. I was nervous, actually terrified. I listened to her and the Deadly Diva's give a talk and managed to get up enough nerve to speak with them afterward. Susan was sweet, funny, and helpful to a newbie who didn't know enough to even know what questions to ask. I love her to death, I love her books, and I can't wait to meet up with her at another conference because wherever Susan is there's bound to be laughter.
Welcome to Tuesdays with Friends, Susan. Your book, The Cougar Club, comes out tomorrow. Thanks for stopping by KdBlog so we can help you celebrate.
KdBloggers, Susan's giving away, that's right as in FREE, a copy of The Cougar Club to a lucky commenter so be sure and drop her a line. You might be a winner.
Joining The Cougar Club
by Susan McBride
If you're reading this, it means The Cougar Club, my debut in women's fiction, has hit the shelves. No doubt, my mother and mom-in-law have already invaded their local bookstores, buying armloads and telling their respective cashiers, "This book is amazing! You must push it on customers!" I've written mysteries and young adult novels, all of them dear to me. But there's something very special about Cougar, and maybe it has to do with the fact that I'm an official member of the Club...albeit, an accidental one.
You see, I never prowled the city at night, wearing a tight mini-skirt and spray-tanned cleavage, hunting younger men (well, that's what I used to think a Cougar was--a contemporary and kind of frightening Mrs. Robinson with Botoxed forehead and a martini permanently attached to her hand). Honestly, I was lucky whenever I found time to date at all, what with trying to kick-start my writing career and working part-time as a medical transcriptionist. In fact, when I hit 40 and was still single, my mother started fretting that I'd end up a Crazy Cat Lady, cleaning litter boxes in my bath-robe and never leaving the house except to fetch the packages from QVC the UPS man left on my porch.
So it's my mom who inadvertently turned me into a Cougar, after submitting my name toSt. Louis Magazine and begging them to select me as a "Top Single" in 2005. I can see her letter now: "Please, help my workaholic daughter find a man. She's not bad looking, has good teeth, and isn't any nuttier than anyone else in our family." (Just kidding, Mom!) When St. Louis Magazine ended up picking me and putting me in the November 2005 "Top Singles" issue, I knew my life was in for a bit of a change. All of a sudden, I was going to parties sponsored by the magazine, letting myself be put on the auction block for charity, and turning into a veritable social butterfly.
I met a lot of very nice people in the process, but Ed stood apart from the rest. I almost didn't go out with him at first. I lost his business card, for one (though he cleverly emailed me through the magazine) and then someone freaked me out by telling me he was in his 20s (he does have a baby face). I had turned 41 a few weeks before the issue came out, and 30 was my bottom-line for guys. I didn't want to have to explain what Smurfs were or how life existed before texting (or have to burp my date after dinner!).
Turns out, Ed was a mere nine years younger, which was fine with me. I told myself, "Heck, have fun with him! Enjoy yourself! You don't have to marry him or anything!" After he took me to my first-ever hockey game and purchased me at that charity auction, I realized I loved being around him. He was smart and funny, and he knew a lot about so many things. He seemed quiet around others but he always had plenty to say to me. I don't know quite what I expected about seeing a younger man, maybe that I couldn't keep up, that he'd be allergic to my having a few wrinkles, that his family wouldn't like me. All fears were dispelled the more we got to know one another, and the more I understood, "This guy is great! We're good together! To hell with the age thing!"
Within about three months, I knew he was "the one." We bought a house together eight months after we met, and Ed stood by me when I was diagnosed with breast cancer that Christmas (which was when we got engaged!). We'll be celebrating our second wedding anniversary on February 24, and I can't imagine my life without him. I'm 45 now, and Ed's 36. Yes, he still has a baby face and frequently gets carded when we're out to dinner. Does it bother me? Let's just say, I'll be very happy when he starts to go gray! But he keeps me young, he makes me feel good about myself, and he supports me in whatever I do (plus, he's darned cute!). I believe that all things happen for a reason. If I hadn't married a younger guy, I wouldn't have been asked to write The Cougar Club, and that was the most fun I've ever had writing a book.
So when people call me a Cougar, I just smile and think, "They should be so lucky." ;-)
Susan McBride is the author of The Cougar Club, hailed as "a fun fantasy" by Publishers Weekly and a Midwest Connection Pick for February by the Midwest Booksellers Association. She has also written five Debutante Dropout Mysteries, including the award-winning Blue Blood and Too Pretty to Die, as well as several novels in her Debsyoung adult series. For more scoop, visit her web site at susanmcbride.com