It’s my great pleasure to have the author of Into The Fire, Amanda Usen here with us today at My Written Romance. Into The Fire is the first in Amanda’s new series, Hot Nights.
You can read my review of Into The Fire here.
And now for the interview:
Hi, Amanda and welcome to My Written Romance!
Tell us a little bit about yourself
I’m a romance reader, pastry chef married to a chef, mother of three, and lover of all things beverage. I met my husband in culinary school and we’ve been cooking together for (holy cow) seventeen years. I set my romances in the kitchen because I love writing hot chefs!
Can you give us the Cliff’s Notes version of what your book is about?
A crush that turns into a hot one-night-stand. She freaks out, takes off and does something that makes him think she lied to him. He’s hurt, so he does something worse. Six months later, he needs her help and is willing to pay any price. She needs money and wants revenge. They can’t keep their hands off each other, so they have a one-night-truce. For only 200 pages, it’s pretty plotty and there’s a twist at the end, so let me just say there is sexy feuding, daddy issues, the hottest sex I know how to write without going all 50 Shades, betrayal, groveling, and true love. The End!
What is it that you love about this book, and in particular your hero and heroine?
I love Into The Fire because it is fun. I wrote it FOR fun. I wanted it to BE fun. I packed it full of things I would love to do – like have sex BEFORE dinner and then stuff myself silly on a restaurant tour through NYC while wearing stretchy pants. I love Lila because she’s an underdog. I identify with her struggle. She’s talented and awesome, but life doesn’t always make success easy. I love Jack because he’s got a chip on his shoulder. Give me a man with something to prove, and a heroine who knows how to push his buttons, and I am a happy woman. So much fun!
What is your favourite part of the writing process? Is it creating characters, world-building or is it typing The End?
My favorite part is The Zone. There are moments during writing when the characters crack me up, wring my heart, or tick me off. In that moment, I’m there with them, laughing, crying, cursing, and I know I can bring a reader into the scene with us. I am a reader, first and foremost. Books have been my friends, since I learned to read. I strive to create fun moments of connection, and when I hit The Zone it makes all the not-so-fun aspects of being a writer totally worth it.
Who is your writing superhero – the author or writer who inspires your own work? Why?
When I grow up I want to be…Judith Krantz. I read her books during my formative years, and they were so much fun! Super-sexy, great characters, conflict galore. Pure awesome.
Outside of writing, what do you do to relax?
I love yoga. A couple hours of shining my heart forward probably doesn’t balance out the dozens I spend crunched over a keyboard, but it feels like it does! I also enjoy drinking beautiful cocktails with my husband…in moderation. And I read. My ultimate indulgence is reading in the middle of the day when I should be writing!
What’s next for you?
I’m noodling on Book Three in the Hot Nights series. I’m not a plotter, so I have to wait for all the details to rise from my subconscious. I got a good chunk of motivation on paper this morning. Betsy is a “stick to the plan” kind of woman, but what fun is that? I needed to figure out a good reason for her to say one thing, but do another…up against an alley wall. *wink* I’m teaching pastry arts in the fall, so that will give me a chance to work out the kinks in some of the recipes for Book Two, namely an oatmeal cream cupcake!
Amanda Usen is offering winners a chance to at some wonderful prizes during the Into the Fire Blog Tour.
Grand prize: $25 gift card (Amazon, B&N, or The Book Despository) and gets to name Betsy’s hero in Book 3 of the Hot Nights series & give him 1 author-approved trait.
Runner Up: $15 gift card (Amazon, B&N, or The Book Despository) and the chance to pick a dish to go into book three of the Hot Night series (Amanda will also share the recipe on her website).
Consolation Prizes: 5 random winners will get Amanda’s favorite kitchen tool: a mini offset spatula.
Simply fill out the rafflecopter form provided below for your chance to be entered.
Here’s a little bit more about Amanda!
Amanda Usen knows two things for certain: chocolate cheesecake is good for breakfast, and a hot chef can steal your heart. Her husband stole hers the first day of class at the Culinary Institute of America. She married him after graduation in a lovely French Quarter restaurant in New Orleans, and they spent a few years enjoying the food and the fun in the Big Easy. Now they live in Western New York with their three children, one hamster, two guinea pigs, a tortoise, and a new-to-them beagle. Amanda spends her days teaching pastry arts classes and her nights writing romance. If she isn’t baking or writing, she can usually be found chasing the kids around the yard with her very own hot chef husband.
Where can you find Amanda on the web?
Want chimichurri, chocolate cake or Chicken Alighieri? Visit Amanda at http://www.amandausen.com, where you can find recipes for many of the yummy dishes in her books. She can also be found on Facebook (AmandaUsen) and Twitter (@amandausen) if you want to chat about romance, writing, or recipes.