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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Author Interview: Amanda Usen, author of Scrumptious

image1. Welcome to Books Like Breathing! Please tell us about Scrumptious.
Thanks for having me today! I love the name of your blog – books are necessary to life and happiness for me. If I’m not in the middle of a book, I get a little itchy, and being published is a dream come true. Scrumptious was born from my experiences as a professional chef and a lover of men who know how to get the job done right. It’s a hot chef romance about a chef and a pastry chef, battling for bragging rights in the kitchen – and losing their hearts.
2. You’re obviously a food lover (like myself). How much did food and cooking inspire you while writing Scrumptious?
I think about food constantly! My husband and I met in culinary school, so we cook all the time. We’ve built our life around food, and I think it shows in Scrumptious. When Joe and Marly are on the hot line, they cook foods I’ve cooked in restaurants. In fact, Marly’s entire dessert menu at Chameleon is made up of recipes I’ve been using for years. I actually won a recipe contest with the chocolate cheesecake in Chapter Two (G: I would beg like a child at a toy store for that recipe Open-mouthed smile)! When they cook for each other, they make the things my husband and I prepare at home. I love to make Thai dumplings with my kids, and I made red curry just the other night. My husband’s salmon BLT inspired the seductive sandwich Joe makes for Marly. Trust me, it works! The characters created the story, but food plays a huge role in their lives – just as it does in mine.
3. Which actor and actress would you pick to play Joe and Marly?
For Joe: Johnny Depp circa 2004 Vanity Fair. He’s sitting in a wingback chair with a look on his face that says “been there done that and it’s going to take a lot to get my attention.” For Marlene, I have a picture of one of the Olsen twins, drinking a martini. She is beautiful, jaded, but hopeful, too. Joe and Marlene aren’t expecting love, they don’t even want it, but they can’t escape it. They have a lot of fun trying, though.
4. What are you working on now? Anything interesting? image
Let’s see, I just test-cooked a recipe for a pumpkin-amaretto-star anise crème brulee (G: I am dying to beg for that recipe but I won’t Smile). Oh, wait, you meant book-wise? Edits for Luscious have been delicious! I can’t wait to share Olivia and Sean’s story. They deserve their happy ending.
5. Short answers:
    --Chocolate or Vanilla? Bittersweet chocolate, 65-70% cocoa solids is perfect!
    --Sweet or Savory? Sweet.
    --Favorite scent: Lemon zest. Absolutely.
    --Literary character I most want to be: See, this looks like an easy question, but it forces me to admit that I’m not a classics girl. Sigh. Fine, I don’t want to be Elizabeth Bennet or Jane Eyre. If I have to choose within the canon, I’m going to end up as the madwoman in the attic every time (G: Amen!). Outside the canon? I want to ride one of Anne McCaffrey’s dragons. I want to live in one of Jean Auel’s caves. And if you can get me into J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series, I will love you forever.
    --Literary character I most want to hurt/maim: Let me at Dolores Umbridge. I understand Umbridge had the courage of her convictions, but she was WRONG! Oh, drat, that’s not exactly literary, either. Give me Mr. Rochester, then. He’ll be cooking breakfast for Jane before I’m done with him.


  1. I have to repost my comments from this post because I had to delete Intense Debate and did not know that their Import/Export feature for Blogger was a big giant FAIL!

    From Amanda Usen: The pumpkin brulee is in Luscious, the sequel to Scrumptious! I'll put it on my blog soon. As for the chocolate cheesecake...I'll share that one in time for Valentine's Day. It's complicated, but totally worth it!

  2. From Me:
    That sounds lovely. Anything that combines pumpkin, amaretto and anise is great in my book. I would add nutmeg or ginger to the sugar topping because I'm not normal like that. I am already with the hungry brain just thinking about it :)

  3. I love Anne McCaffrey and Jean Auel and anything with dark chocolate in it too!

    I also love the books of Kathryne Kennedy - the perfect blend of fantasy and romance in interesting historical settings.

    Amy in NYC



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