|Susan Mallery is the author of more than 100 novels and has been the recipient of a Career Achievement Award from Romantic Times magazine. Raised in Los Angeles, California, she read her first romance novel at the age of 13. "I was hooked," she told one interviewer. "I still get that heart-singing feeling when reading a well-written romance." Still, she never even considered becoming a writer herself, naively believing that anyone whose name appeared on the cover of a book must be a glamorous creature given to wearing designer clothing and frequenting chic cafes. Instead, she studied accounting. "Columns of numbers are tedious--but the theory behind the columns of numbers? Just shoot me now," she once quipped. Although she had been offered a job at a large firm, she took an evening course in creative writing and decided to give herself one year to become an author. Writing under her maiden name, Susan Macias, she published FRONTIER FLAME in 1992, and that same year TENDER LOVING CARE, her first novel as Susan Mallery, also appeared in bookstores. Starting with category romances for Silhouette, she later branched out into historical and contemporary titles. Among Mallery's most popular books are those that take place in Fool's Gold, a fictional town in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. "The thing I love best about small towns . . . is the strong sense of community," she has said. "When you see the same people at the grocery store and the soccer field and the dentist's office, you get to know them a lot better. Readers [can] enjoy the same feeling with the people of Fool's Gold." Thanks to her many fans, she has never had to hold an accounting job.