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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Interview with Amanda Usen, Author of Scrumptious

Please help me welcome Amanda Usen for a visit today!

I see that you have clearly incorporated your cooking experience in your writing so I don’t have to ask that question. So let’s start with some “craft questions.”
Q1. How did you develop your writing craft from poetry to romance??

            No matter what form I use, romance always creeps in. I think all good writing provokes thought or evokes emotion, whether it is poetry, fiction, non-fiction, song lyrics or blog posts. When I’m in poetry mode, I spend hours, days, sometimes weeks, choosing perfect words to convey meaning and emotion. Romance writing is certainly a more expanded form, but I’m still trying to do the same thing – evoke emotion. I’d write faster if I didn’t spend quite as much time looking for the perfect word, but I’m not sure that’s a skill I am able to develop!
Q2. Which authors have influenced you most how?
            I became a big Judith Krantz fan during my formative years. Her characters are bold, smart, creative, sexy and so much fun to read. I’m also a huge fan of Anne McCaffrey’s work. Her kick ass heroines and world-building definitely inspired me. I read for entertainment; it’s one of my favorite things to do. In writing this hot chef series I wanted to write books that would be fun to read, books like the keepers on my bookshelf.
Q3. What are some of the best tip you’ve received on writing?
            The old standbys work for me: write what you know, show - don’t tell, don’t write the boring parts, and cut the first (and maybe second and third) chapter. Nora Roberts once said, “I can fix a bad page, but I can’t fix a blank page.” I remind myself daily that some words are only necessary to get me to the right words. I may struggle for perfect words…but any words are better than no words!
Now some Questions related to Scrumptious specifically:
Q4. Is there an ancillary character you had the most fun with? 
            Olivia, the heroine’s best friend, gave me fits – so I gave her a sequel. In SCRUMPTIOUS, she’s hurtling through crisis after crisis but it isn’t her story. I enjoyed using her cautious personality as counterpoint to my impetuous, grand-standing heroine. Olivia is straight everywhere Marly is curvy, which made her an interesting challenge.

Q5. Please share one surprising thing about your experience writing this book, or about something else related to your career as a writer.
            I have leaned that my procrastination is born out of fear of failure. I always thought I was lazy! I really wish I had known this in college when I would wait until the day the paper was due to write it. *head desk* There are many things that keep me out of my writing chair and they all have something to do with fear. Mostly I’m afraid that I suck, but I also fear rejection, not doing justice to my characters, lack of conflict, lack of motivation, boring sex scenes, blowing deadlines and looking stupid.
The list of reasons not to write goes on forever. In SCRUMPTIOUS, Joe says to Marly, “If you don’t try, you don’t fail, huh?” I can’t go back and start my college papers earlier, but I can be aware of my fears and write anyway.
 Q6. How did you celebrate the sale of your first book? 
            With champagne! My husband and I will use almost any excuse to open a bottle of bubbly. And buy steaks, make chimichurri, and whip up a chocolate cheesecake. Trite, but true – we’re chefs and we celebrate everything with food and drink. We couldn’t quite afford Disney, so we took the kids to Splash Lagoon instead. We continued to celebrate there with rum drinks served in plastic coconut cups, necessary because it was freezing in February. That is the last time I put on a bathing suit in winter!
 And we’ll round out with some questions about you... more or less.
 Q7. Which word(s)(up to three)would you use to describe yourself and your personality?
           Funny! I think I’m hilarious. The only person I consistently crack up is my big sister, but one day…the world will know. J
Q8.  Do you have any other books in the works? Goals for future projects?
            In LUSCIOUS, the sequel to SCRUMPTIOUS, Olivia and her lawyer spend a romantic week in Italy discovering passion as well as a family secret. At the moment, I’m writing the third book (with its as-yet-unidentified ious-ending title) which will bring readers back into a smokin’ hot Western New York kitchen. Colin and Gia are scene stealers and I can’t wait to explore their story.
Q9.  If you could have readers finish a sentence what would it be? 
     I can’t resist…                                
Thank you so much for sharing!

Thanks for having me on your blog today! I had a great time answering your questions.


  1. Loved the interveiw. I think that it is amazing that you use your cooking experience in your books. I have added your books to my wish list! Thanks for sharing and to answer your question, I can't resisist anything chocolate!

    1. Thank you, Johanna! I hope your wish comes true and that you enjoy Scrumptious. I can't resist chocolate...or caramel...or coffee. But I usually go with chocolate!

    2. Thank you, Johanna! I hope your wish comes true and that you enjoy Scrumptious. I can't resist chocolate...or caramel...or coffee. But I usually go with chocolate!

  2. These books sounds delicious! I can't resist chocolate.

    1. I love all chocolate, white, milk and dark. And all together! Thanks for stopping by, Margaret!

  3. Hi Amanda,
    I too think your cooking experience is a wonderful add in to your books. I have the books on my TRL. I love the cover also. :)Wow, chocolate cheesecake sounds really delicious right about now. lol Loved your interview.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

    1. I plan to get that chocolate cheesecake recipe up on my blog by Valentine's Day! Thanks so much, and I hope you enjoy the book.

  4. I forgot to say what I can't resist. Any dessert with chocolate and raspberry. Delicious.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com


Your comments are always appreciated!


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