breakfast and a hot chef can steal your heart. Her husband stole hers the first day of class at the Culinary Institute of America. They live in Western New York with their three children, one gerbil, four fish, a tortoise, and a beagle. Amanda spends her days teaching pastry arts classes and her nights writing sexy contemporary romance. If she isn’t baking or writing, she can usually be found reading a book and trying to get out of cooking dinner.
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I was writing the third book in my Hot Nights series for Entangled Brazen when I asked my editor for a deadline for another contracted book: IMPULSE CONTROL. I hadn't given a thought to the book. I didn't even have a concept other than knowing the hero needed to be an Aries. I'd jumped at the chance to write a book about my star sign when the spot in the Men of the Zodiac Series was offered, and then I happily went about my business and forgot all about it. You know where I'm going with this, right?
The book was due in a couple of months.
Doable, but just barely since I was working nights teaching a pastry arts class at a community college. And tutoring SAT prep on the weekends. And I have three kids. Fortunately, inspiration struck when I decided to write a Bear Grylls-type hero, and Russ Donovan, the Wild Man, was born. The tropes fell into place when I paired him with a Martha Stewart-type heroine: opposites attract, enemies to lovers, reformed playboy (because I love my playboys), and a touch of ugly duckling. After that, IMPULSE CONTROL practically wrote itself. The chemistry between Russ and Susannah is hot enough to turn snow into steam on their mountain climbing trip. They challenge each other constantly, knocking each other out of their comfort zones. Russ is larger-than-life, a survivalist, twice-voted toughest man alive, and a former Green Beret, while Susannah is an everywoman mom with a fourteen-month-old baby and the insecurities that go along with pregnancy-related body changes. When they get into a sexy show-and-tell with their scars, my keyboard—and my heart—nearly melted! It was fun to write the scenes where Russ leads Susannah to the top of a mountain, allowing her to realize she is capable of so much more than she thinks, but my favorite moments in the book happen on her turf, when Russ is forced to cope with domestic realities—like a fully-loaded diaper and a restaurant meltdown.
Real life stuff. Good stuff. Truth.
I love to strip away protective layers to reveal moments of truth between my characters, genuine moments, raw moments, the little bits of honesty and vulnerability that create connection. We've all got issues, baggage, and wounds, and when we find the person who accepts us, even honors us, for our perceived flaws as well as our good qualities, that is magic. I love to create those moments in my books. Actually—I think that's what I seek in life, period. Connection. Shared experiences. A call out into the universe “This is what I feel. Do you feel it, too?”
Whoa. That was kind of deep! You'd never guess I write super-sexy, light-hearted contemporary romance, would you? Or maybe you would since romance is all about connection. I'm glad to have found that real-life connection with my husband of fifteen years who is patient with my obsessive need to always have several works of my own in progress while keeping a book boyfriend on tap on the bedside table. Like the Aries hero of IMPULSE CONTROL, I love a challenge. I've found my perfect quest in creating new characters and worlds for them to live and love in. I'm excited for readers to meet Russ in IMPULSE CONTROL, the first book of the Men Of The Zodiac Series, and all the other heroes as the books release each month of 2015!