Mary Sullivan

Mary Sullivan grew up amid the cultural pop and fizz of a large city. Despite this, she writes about a small fictional town called Ordinary in Montana, and populates her stories with cowboys and ranchers. When she read her first Harlequin Superromance, she knew she wanted to write these heartfelt stories of love, hope, relationships and happy endings. Harlequin published NO ORDINARY COWBOY in June of 2009. Both it and her second book, A COWBOY'S PLAN, are award-winning novels.

Her fourth Superromance, BEYOND ORDINARY, is in the bookstores now.

Angel Donovan limped home to Ordinary, Montana, on her wounded Honda Gold Wing, pulling to a stop on the side of the highway a couple of miles shy of town.

Out of gas.

She tugged off her helmet and, with one strong swing of her arm, heaved it into the closest field where it rolled across dry soil beneath yellow wheat, its red gloss disappearing under the dirt it picked up.

She unhooked her saddlebags and took out a can of lighter fluid she’d bought in Bozeman and sprinkled it over the bike. It glowed golden in the horizontal rays of the setting sun, its chemical scent a counterpoint to the dry, earthy aroma of the fields.

Striking a match on the denim across her thigh, she threw it onto the bike where the lighter fluid ignited with a satisfying whoosh.

So begins Angel’s ignominious return home. Her attempts to outrun her past have failed. Back home, she feels the weight of who she used to be looming. But there’s one person who sees beyond her former wild-child self—Timm Franck. Too bad he’s also the one person she’s wary of…with good reason. Thanks to his journalistic skills, the private details of her scandalous upbringing are a matter of public record.


MAUREEN: Which of your characters would you most like to invite to dinner, and why?

MARY: Definitely, Janey Wilson from A COWBOY’S PLAN. She’s a young Goth woman who’s had to deal with too much adversity in her young life, including a rape at fourteen and then delivering and keeping the child conceived from that rape, then losing her little girl six years later to a car accident. No twenty-two-year-old should have to experience so much so early. And yet…despite the maelstrom of emotions this all engendered in her, and the tough attitude she cultivated to survive, she lives a life of hope. She falls in love with a whimsical candy shop in small-town Ordinary, Montana, while she also falls for the shop’s owner (a preacher’s son), dishing out sweets while wearing shovel loads of black mascara, plenty of face and body piercings, and big black Goth boots. A study in contrasts, she’s strong, but also achingly vulnerable. I LOVED writing her character. Apparently, readers must have, too, because this book won the 2011 Booksellers Best award for Long Contemporary.

MAUREEN: What soundtrack or playlist do you recommend for your current release?

MARY: Both Shawn Colvin’s and Alison Krauss and Robert Plant’s versions of Roly Salley’s Killing the Blues, one of the most beautiful songs ever written, in my opinion. Every day before working on Beyond Ordinary, I used it to put me into the mood for writing, but then had to turn it off while I wrote. I can’t chew gum and write…I mean, listen to music and write at the same time. Too distracting. Guess I’m not much of a multi-tasker!

MAUREEN: What’s your favorite movie of all time?

MARY: Out of Africa.

MAUREEN: What’s your favorite book of all time?

MARY: Mrs. Mike, a novel by Benedict and Nancy Mars Freedman set in the Canadian wilderness in the early 1900s. I read it first as a young teenager and have re-read it many times since. It’s based on a true story of a young woman who travels from Boston to visit her uncle in Canada, falls in love with and marries a Mountie, and travels with him by dogsled to northern Canada. The details of how tough life was in the far north at that time are fascinating.

MAUREEN: What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing?

MARY: You mean besides the fabulous wealth and jet-setting around the world to private parties in Rome and Paris? And the multi-billion dollar movie deals? Sorry, got carried away in my daydreams…

I wanted people to read one of my books, finish it, sigh and say, “That was a really good story.” Judging by feedback, that’s how some readers feel when they finish my stories and that warms my heart.

MAUREEN: What’s your favorite kind of story to get lost in?

MARY: Underdogs who triumph by the end of the book.

MAUREEN: What was the first story you remember writing?

MARY: When I decided I wanted to be a writer, the first book I wrote was about a pretty widow with two children who travels to northern Ontario in the early 1900s to cook for a bunch of men in a lumber camp. Hmmm. Sounds like I might have been influenced by Mrs. Mike’s story. Anyway, she falls in love with the camp foreman instead of a Mountie.

MAUREEN: What’s next for you as an author?

MARY: Harlequin just bought three more of my Superromances. Sigh. Lovely. More writing. More stories to invent. I’m in heaven.


MAUREEN: Why do you think cowboys appeal to so many readers?

MARY: Hmmm. What can I say about cowboys? Most of them adhere to a set of values and principles that makes them solid and responsible and dependable. They work hard in tough conditions, in any weather. And those cowboy hats make them all look great!

Learn more about Mary Sullivan at


Mary will give away a signed copy of Beyond Ordinary to one of today's commenters. Be sure to come back tomorrow to get to know Vicki Essex.


  1. HI Mary and story ladies!

    I have to say Mary, that has to be one of the most original Superromance openings I've ever read! WOW - a heroine on a bike is a start but setting that bike on FIRE!!!!!!? That's different. Can't wait to read your book.

    I totally agree with you about cowboys. I love a hardworking hero with values and muscles that look good in work jeans :)


  2. Welcome, Mary! Awesome interview! And yay, three more Mary Sullivan books are coming :)


  3. Hi Rach! I'm glad you liked the beginning of Angel and Timm's story!

    Muscles in work jeans? One of my favorite looks on a well-built man is denim jeans and a plain white t-shirt. Really, what else does he need? ;-)

  4. Hi Simone! I'm so happy to be here today. Thank you all for having me!

  5. Hi Mary!
    LOVE the bike burning.
    I winced but you had my full attention.
    Very powerful!

  6. Hi, Kimber! Yes, the thought of wrecking a bike by burning it is definitely wince-inducing. To make it worse--another teaser--the bike was nearly brand-new!

  7. Hi Mary,

    Woo hoo on three more books. Super Romance is a great line. And, I really enjoyed your interview.

  8. Hi Tammy! I love writing Superromances, probably because I love reading them so much.

  9. Welcome to GLIAS, Mary.

    Ouch on the bike, glad that part's fiction. But you sure got my attention. SO MANY STORIES, so little time to read. My TBR pile is growing and growing...

    Love Cowboys and you did nail why...there's just something about them that appeals to the good we want to see in people.

    (who is axiously awaiting the release of Cowboys Vs Aliens !!)

  10. Angie, you got it right. We definitely WANT to see good in others and are happy to find it wherever we can.

    Doesn't Cowboys VS Aliens look great? I can't wait to see it!

  11. I've actually wanted to see Harrison Ford as a COWBOY for a long time. Have anticipated this movie more than the end of Harry Potter. And my oh my having Daniel Craig too?!?! Woo Hoo !

    I know where I'll be if there's a midnight showing. Can't wait to be first in line.


  12. Hi, Mary, Welcome to GLIAS. Wow, my fingers are trying to find the words at who you would invite to dinner. You're downright mean to your protagonist, and you're absolutely right, no one deserves to have that much pain heaped on them at such a young age. Sooooo, can I come to dinner, too. I'd love to meet her.

    Cowboys. I think cowboys are popular because for the most part, they represent good, rugged and definitely not metrosexual. They don't fit in everywhere, so the only place they have that air of confidence is on the range and at home. They have both a strength and vulnerability that readers find particularly appealing.

    Thanks again for a wonderful interview.

  13. Angi, Harrison Ford AND Daniel Craig in the same movie! My, oh, my is right!

  14. Donnell, I love your analysis of cowboys--strength and vulnerability, yes.