Author’s Corner: NY Times Bestselling Author Susan Mallery on ‘Already Home’
Susan Mallery has entertained millions of readers with her witty and emotional stories of women and the relationships that move them. In her latest novel, ALREADY HOME, Jenna Stevens, still reeling from a recent divorce, is unpleasantly surprised by the arrival of her birth parents. She was perfectly happy with the loving, traditional parents who raised her. Why, 31 years after giving Jenna away, is her birth mother suddenly so insistent on becoming a true family? Join Susan’s Members Only area at www.susanmallery.com for exclusive sneak peeks, short stories, and more.
Imagine this: Despite the fact that you know nothing about retail, you’ve signed an expensive three-year lease on retail space in your hometown. You’ve never even worked in a shop, much less managed one. It was an impulsive move, a reaction to a recent breakup. You’re in wayyyy over your head – so where do you turn?
If it were me, I’d console myself with comfort food, something carbalicious and packed with potatoes. At another time, I might feel guilty about gaining weight, but everyone knows that panic burns more calories per hour than a Stairmaster. So when you’re in post-relationship mode, you have to indulge in comfort food just to survive.
I’m pretty sure that’s a proven fact. Go ahead and quote me.
Jenna Stevens, the heroine of my latest book, ALREADY HOME, is in exactly that situation. She’s a classically trained chef who has lost her confidence in the kitchen, thanks to years of belittling from her ex, who is also a chef. She’s moved back to her hometown outside of Austin, Texas, but the moment after she impulsively signs a three-year lease on retail space for a kitchen supply store, she comes to her senses with a jolt. What does she know about running a store? Just because she knows the difference between whisking and mixing doesn’t make her qualified to own a business.
Now she not only has to deal with the emotional fallout from her divorce, but she also has to order inventory (and pay for it), remodel the space (and pay for it), hire a staff (and pay them).
While she’s in the midst of this very steep learning curve, Jenna is further derailed by the unexpected and unwelcome arrival of her birth parents. They’re the total opposites of the parents who raised her. Tome and Serenity are vegan, flaky, listen-to-signs-from-the-Universe people. Her adoptive parents are down-to-earth and traditional.
Now Jenna has to deal with two very different sets of parents telling her how to live her life, two new brothers, and dipping her toes back into the dating pool with a man who makes her breath catch in her throat.
Clearly, Jenna needs comfort food. The great thing is, she’s a chef, so she can whip together something wonderful without spending a lot of time or money. In fact, Jenna’s local Super Kmart has everything she needs to make her favorite comfort dish – all the ingredients, and the slow cooker, too. This is one of the most popular recipes on my website, www.SusanMallery.com.
Recipe: Slow Cooker Cheesy Potatoes
- 1 bag (30 oz) shredded potatoes
- 1 can cream of mushroom soup
- 2 C sour cream
- 2 C shredded cheddar cheese
- ½ C onion, minced
- 1 t dried thyme
- ¼ t black pepper
Mix together all ingredients in the slow cooker and cook on low for 3-5 hours.