Read on for information about the book and an interview with the author…. PLUS top that all off with a great giveaway! Then, be sure to check the other tour stops for more goodies and information!
Title: Into The Fire
Author: Amanda Usen
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: A Hot Night Series
Best Read in Order: N/A
Purchase Now: Amazon § Barnes & Noble § Kobo § iTunes
About the Book:
Jackson Calabrese has a lot of nerve. He beat Lila Grant in the Culinary Academy competition using her recipes. Now, he’s opening a restaurant and wants her help? Fine, she’ll fix his menu, but it’s going to cost him.
Heir to the Calabrese restaurant empire, Jackson can buy anything he wants, except creativity, so he buys Lila’s instead. He can craft perfect paella, but to take New York by storm he needs her innovative spark.
Skillets aren’t the only things hot in the kitchen, and an uneasy truce ignites into passion. They’re great in bed, but Jackson doesn’t trust her, and Lila is contemplating revenge. The restaurant opening approaches, the menu is completed, and the tables are set for one final act of betrayal. How can love bloom in the midst of such a hot mess?
Interview with Amanda Usen, author of Into the Fire
Firstly: Can you tell me a bit about your book ?
INTO THE FIRE is a sexy story about a one-night-stand that turns into double betrayal. Fast forward six months and the action picks up with Jack opening a restaurant and needing Lila’s help to make it the best menu in New York. Oh, baby! Add in revenge, passion, more betrayal, and a whole lot of Jack fantasizing about Lila naked and Lila dreaming about Jack…naked…lots of mouthwatering food and a twist at the end, and you’ve got it in a nutshell.
Where do your ideas come from?
The idea for INTO THE FIRE sprang from one line. “Personal Chef, at your service. What are you hungry for?” I imagined a woman answering the phone, and a man (with a dirty mind) laughing. What if she had to answer the phone like that every time because the company uses sex as a sales hook? What if she also had to wear a French maid uniform at work? What if, what if, what if! That’s how all my stories begin: with one spark of inspiration that razes my imagination until only the story is left standing…eventually. As you can imagine, there is a lot of burning in between “what if” and THE END.
SCRUMPTIOUS started with my own story, “What if a chef and a pastry chef fell in love? What if they were both players? What if they both wanted to run the kitchen?”
And LUSCIOUS? What if you really could just chuck it all, walk out on your life and everything and everyone in it? What if your hot lawyer didn’t want to let you go? I love the “what if” game!
Who leads your story direction – do your characters determine the direction, or do you maintain control and give them the lead ?
Control! Ha! I’m a pantser. My characters walk into my head, or a story I’m writing, and begin doing things. Once they do enough things, I know what my book is about. My only explanation for my writing process is that I’ve READ so many books, my subconscious knows what it is doing. Once I get about half the book written, I take control of the plane and land it because I now know what I’m writing. Or I think I do until I get a revision letter from my editors. Then I’m all like, ‘Right! That’s what I meant to write! Then I land it again.”
When you incorporate historical fact into your story – are you diligently applying the true history – or do you have elements that you ‘adjust’ to better fit your story / characters / sensibilities?
I try to stick to the facts, but the idea of writing an historical gives me hives. It would also give my husband, a history major, a laugh attack. Not my bag, baby!
The best piece of information you ever received about your writing ?
An editor once told me I’m gifted at writing “gripping, playful, real stories about real people.” I know it seems strange, but looking at my writing through her lens allowed me to put aside all the stories I felt like I should write, the trends, etc, and just do my thing. Keep it real, keep it me. It was validating and freeing. When I doubt myself, I think of her comment, and I keep writing my stories.
What do you like to read in your down time?
Paranormals are my go-to because I don’t write them, so it’s a total brain break: Darynda Jones, Thea Harrison, Kresley Cole. I also love Tiffany Reisz’s Original Sinners erotica series, but I beta read for her, so I’m a couple books ahead. As far as contemporary goes, I’m about to start Macy Beckett’s second Sultry novel. She writes sexy, funny, and sweet incredibly well!
What is your favorite guilty pleasure?
I have to pick one? Letting my husband cook. We met in culinary school, so he’s a chef, too. I’m usually home all day, but when he gets home from work, he cooks dinner. Don’t judge me – I said I feel guilty! He’s a fast, clean cook, and he likes to do it because it gives me more time to write. Plus, it makes me want to kiss him, so win/win, right?
Coffee or tea?
Coffee! Coffee gets me out of bed in the morning. Coffee gets me in the writing zone. Coffee makes me haaaaaaapppppppy!
Socks or slippers ?
Barefoot. Although winters in Buffalo are cold, so then socks AND shoes. Otherwise I walk around angry and don’t know why. I hate cold feet!
Dogs or Cats ?
Dogs, even though the one we have pees in the house (she’s a rescue) and barks and howls incessantly (beagle).
Chunky or creamy peanut butter? Chunky. I love texture.
First book you remember reading more than once.
I started reading romance when I was nine – Heart Under Siege – by Joy St. Clair. I read the hell out of that book! It was a Harlequin Presents. They didn’t seal the deal, but it was hot, hot, hot! I was hooked.
If you could choose any character – from your books or someone else’s to be your partner in a dance off – who would you choose and why?
If I hadn’t worked so hard to give Jack and Lila a happily ever after in INTO THE FIRE, I would totally tap Lila on the shoulder and ask to step in! Jack is naughty, funny, irreverent, and alpha. He’s got smooth moves and rough edges. He’s also very determined to be the best. I just know he’d get us to the final round!
What one thing would people be surprised to learn about you?
I have a tattoo! A big one! It took me 40 years to figure out what to get, but since I strive for balance between family and work, I got a tree. Rooted in the ground and reaching for the sky. It looks great with my mini-van mom look!
We know that characters are like children, and you aren’t supposed to have a favorite – but everyone does *even mothers*. Who is your favorite character in this story and why?
*whispering* Jack. Again, Jack. He’s got issues, and I’m such a sucker for a guy who acts like an ass because he’s secretly afraid he’s not good enough. I love bossy/wounded alpha so much! But I also love giving a character like Jack someone who can put him in his place. Hence Lila. It was a case of “I’m doing this for your own good.” You’re welcome, Jack. Anything for you!
Thank you for taking the time to answer the questions
Thanks so much for having me, Gaele! Your questions were awesome. 🙂 Loved the dance-off and peanut butter ones!
Now for the Giveaway!!
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.
About the Author:
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
Want chimichurri, chocolate cake or Chicken Alighieri? Visit Amanda at her Website, where you can find recipes for many of the yummy dishes in her books. She can also be found on Facebook and @AmandaUsen if you want to chat about romance, writing, or recipes.