Behind the Book with Amanda Usen

MMTM_500I put a lot of myself into my books, more than I usually admit. Oh, sure, most of the food is stuff I’ve been making for years, and I put the recipes on my website for hungry readers. However, there are parts and pieces to MAKE ME, TAKE ME that I’ve never shared the whys and hows for—scenes I fought tooth and nail to keep in the book or things that delight me every time I read them for weird reasons only known to me. Authors try to make it look easy—and maybe it IS easy for some—but finishing and polishing a book is a brutal act of faith for me. These five small things were huge. Without them, MAKE ME, TAKE ME might have been called NEVER MIND, NO WAY, and I never would have make it to THE END.

1. The grand grovel. I wanted to write a book where the heroine had to make the grand gesture at the end. I’ve written a lot of books where the men did the groveling in the last scene, and I wanted this book to be different. I wanted Betsy to be more flawed than her hero, yet I wanted to keep Quin uber-Alpha. This probably explains why they spent so much time in bed…

2: The tea leaf reading is real. Before I got married, I had my tea leaves read at The Bottom of the Cup Tearoom in the French Quarter. It was recorded, and I listened to it again before I wrote MAKE ME, TAKE ME. Betsy’s reading is mine, nearly verbatim.

3. The sister fight is real, too. Well, the emotions are real. My sister and I got into it hardcore about a year ago, and I used that experience to write the sister scenes in MAKE ME, TAKE ME, which is dedicated to her. She might kill me when she reads it, but the sister fight is a love story, too.

4. Once upon a time, I let a man put me on my knees. I let him break me, and I still can’t believe it. At a critical point in plotting this book, I realized those dark memories would form the core of Betsy’s psyche. I kept writing so that I could put Betsy on her knees. And pick her up.

5. The sex. MAKE ME, TAKE ME has more sex scenes than I’ve ever put in a book. My editor and I even deleted one and combined two more, and Betsy and Quin still throw down right and left. Whenever, I lost faith in my process, I focused on turning all that scorching heat into true love.

In Brazen books, the romance begins in the bedroom, but it ends in the heart. When it comes down to it, I always finish the book because I believe in love!


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