PaperBackSwap Blog

Author Interview with Celeste Bradley & Susan Donovan

Jerelyn’s (I-F-Letty) Interview with Celeste Bradley and Susan Donovan


Jerelyn: I would like to thank and welcome Celeste Bradley who is the author of 15 historical romance novels and Susan Donovan who has 13 contemporary romance novels under her belt to the PBS blog.   This is a unique experience for me interviewing two authors.

They are co-authors of a new novel, A Courtesan’s Guide to Getting Your Man, which will be released May 24, 2011, by St Martin’s Press.

Hi PBS! We’re very happy to blog here!


Jerelyn: Will you tell us how you became writers?

Celeste: I became a writer by accident. I’ve always been creative and I worked as a professional artist for years before writing my first page, but I’d given up my studio to stay home with my darling babies–and I lost my tiny little mind with boredom. Love babies, don’t love Baby-Land! I read a wonderful romance and wondered if I could create something so rewarding. That book, FALLEN, sold within a year and was nominated for a Best First Book award by the Romance Writers of America. I suggest that everyone who loves words and stories give writing a try.

Susan: I majored in journalism in college and worked as a newspaper reporter for many years, but I’d always told myself I’d have my first novel written by the time I was forty. (Which, when you’re twenty-five, sounds like it will never actually happen to you.)  Anyway, one day I was thirty-nine and figured I better get to typing.  I am not a patient person – just ask anyone close to me – so I gave myself one year to get a publishing contract and an agent. Looking back, I suppose I was a bit hard on myself, but it worked. Within a year I’d written close to three novels and had an agent and a two-book contract with St. Martin’s Press. I’ve been writing ever since.


Jerelyn: How did this collaboration come about?

Celeste: Susan called me up with a great idea about two women in different times and how the lessons of the past can teach us to live in the present. We ruled out magic antique shoes and haunted houses and decided that what we needed was a diary, a shocking, secret expose of a life lived without boundaries and without fear.


Jerelyn: Would you tell us about A Courtesan’s Guide to Getting Your Man?

An uptight young museum curator, Piper Chase-Pierpont, uncovers the secret memoirs of a famous Boston abolitionist and discovers that this respectable local icon had a past that would set the historical record on fire! This diary offers an intimate entry into our courtesan, Ophelia Harrington’s soul and provides a way to tell the raw and scorching truth about an astonishing life. For our modern character, Piper, this truth causes a paradigm shift of tectonic proportions!


Jerelyn: You both write very strong but quirky characters that are in no way perfect. What draws you to write about such women?

Are there any other kind? All women are strong–we are wired to take on the world, not to mention feed it and diaper it as well! And I think everyone is quirky–some of us just do a better job of hiding it. We are inspired by ourselves, each other, our friends, our families and sometimes even our pets!


Jerelyn: Are you funny in real life? Does it just pop out in your writing?  I can’t imagine you sitting down to write and saying “funny time”

Celeste thinks Susan is flat-out hilarious. Susan thinks Celeste is funny in a sly way. We keep each other thoroughly entertained!


Jerelyn: I would like to ask you about some of my favorite characters.

Jerelyn: Susan, I must admit to you that I had never read your books, I am a history girl after all.  But I went out and bought a few my first one was Take a Chance on Me.  I read most of this out loud to my husband because he kept asking me what’s so funny.  I loved Hairy he has to be the most unique character I have come across for a very long time.  Where did Hairy come from?

Susan: Ah, my man Hairy. I loved that little Kotex-wearing dog. He was a particularly homely Chinese Crested with skin allergies and incontinence, and he witnessed a murder. I made him up, of course, but in order to get his personality right I spent a day at a Chinese Crested dog rescue in Maryland. Yes, they are the ugliest creatures God ever put on this earth, but by the end of the day, I actually started to think of them as cute. Hairy was crucial to the story in “Take a Chance on Me.” Despite his many outward flaws, he was sometimes downright Zen compared to the human characters in the book.


Jerelyn: Celeste, I loved Button from your Liar’s Club series, but Melody from your Runaway Bride’s series stolen my heart.  I read parts of this out to my husband for the same reasons I stated above.  Where did she come from?  BTW my favorite scene is when she comes out in her Pirate get up.  Oh and Gordy Ann hysterical!

Celeste: I love Button! I think he needs his own fan page.

Melody was inspired in part by my own beautiful daughters, who were the most angelic little nightmares you could imagine! Since they were in their teens, I brushed up on my toddler knowledge with the child of some friends. Little Frankie Jean IS Melody–incredibly smart and darling and destined to give her parents a heart attack!


Jerelyn: Do you have a favorite character?

Celeste: My favorite character will always be Izzy Temple, from my first novel Fallen. She was like a best friend!

Susan: Hairy, of course!


Jerelyn: Do you think sites like PaperBackSwap are helpful to authors?

Absolutely! We love it when people swap books! Being able to test-drive a new author through swapping or using the library might create a life-time reader for that author. The discussion forums are full of great information on old favorites and new releases. We have lost much work time to browsing PBS!


Jerelyn: How do you feel about the role of social media in the marketing of your work?  Is it helpful or just another distraction, from what you really want to be doing?

Celeste: Before I became used to Facebook, for instance, I thought it must be a terrible distraction and I couldn’t understand how people could spend so much time on it. Now, however, I can’t wait to visit with my FB pals! So, yes, it is a huge distraction, but I have never been in such close touch with my readers before.


Jerelyn: What do you read?  Do you have an auto-buy author?

Celeste: I read everything. I read biographies, romance, sci-fi, crime, a little horror, history . . . I could go on for hours. Auto-buy author: Kate Atkinson, a UK mystery author. Her characters are so rich and real.

Susan: I love Darynda Jones! I can’t wait for her next book!


Jerelyn: Thank you both very much!

You’re very welcome! If your visitors would like to test drive A Courtesan’s Guide to Getting Your Man, our publisher, St. Martin’s Press, has rereleased two of our novellas (Celeste Bradley’s “Wedding Knight” and Susan Donovan’s “Have Mercy”) in e-book form for $1.99 — and it includes a WHOPPING big excerpt of A Courtesan’s Guide to Getting Your Man!


If you would like to read more about Celeste Bradley and Susan Donovan you can go to their web sites at http://www.celestebradley.com/ and http://www.susandonovan.com/.


Celeste Bradley and Susan Donovan have generously offered a copy of their book, A Courtesan’s Guide to Getting Your Man to a member who comments on this interview. A winner will be chosen at random. Good Luck!

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14 Responses to “Author Interview with Celeste Bradley & Susan Donovan”

  1. Nancy W. says:

    Great premise of a book! I have never read either of these authors before and yet I jumped in the wish list line back on 9/30 for this one, based on a preview online.

  2. Issa S. (Issa-345) says:

    Great interview. So wondeful you took the time to chat to us PBS folks. I’ve read both of their books and have enjoyed them much.

  3. Jerelyn H. (I-F-Letty) says:

    Yes thank you both so much!

  4. Bonnie (LoveNE) , says:

    Jerelyn, once again you hit a home run! Looks like 2 more authors to add to my list! Thank you both for your time!

  5. Vicky T. (VickyJo) says:

    Another great interview Jerelyn…thanks ladies for introducing me to your work!

  6. Colleen J. (shukween) says:

    Well done, Letty—it appears that your interviewees are quite entertaining and just the type of ladies we’d welcome on the HF thread! I will download one of the novellas presently. I just love Celeste’s suggestion about those who love words and reading to give writing a try—that is my big retirement plan and I have that thought often. Cheers!

  7. Jennifer Acker says:

    I recently joined PBS and I love it. I subcribed to the blog shortly after I joined and I love reading the posts about different books and the author interviews. Thank you!

  8. Eileen S. (ebs427) says:

    Thanks for sharing your time with pbs readers! I will definately be looking for your books – they sound like a good read.

  9. Elizabeth B. (Cattriona) , says:

    Thank you both for taking the time to chat with us here on PBS. Now I’m intrigued by the kotex-wearing, murder-viewing Hairy, and will have to check him out. 😉

  10. Stephanie G. (thestephanieloves) says:

    Hi ladies! Really enjoyed the interview. A Courtesan’s Guide to Getting Your Man sounds fabulous…can’t wait to get my hands on it!


  11. Jeanne A. (amiaeagle) says:

    I loved reading your interviews. Much thanks! “Getting Your Man” sounds so different from most of the other story lines and I will be running out to read it soon. BTW Susan, I am in LOVE with your BEAUTIFUL squash blossom necklace. I am Cherokee and love anything silver and/or turquoise.

    Thanks for a great interview Jerelyn!

  12. Julie D. (ecomama) says:

    Having fun reading interviews and “meeting” new authors!

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