Author Spotlight Interview: A.M. Kusi
Today’s interview is with wife-and-husband author team A.M. Kusi. Their romance novels tackle hard issues but always deliver a happily ever after. We were honored to chat with Ash and Marcus about their latest books, writing style and exciting upcoming projects.
HG: You’re a wife-and-husband author team who writes emotional romance novels. Take us back to the beginning…how did you get started? Were you both writers before you teamed up?
AMK: I (Ash) have always been a writer. I used it as a form of escapism as a child/teen. I didn’t really write much during college and when I met Marcus until a few years ago. I had a dream with a story line and got inspired. I wrote it out and showed Marcus and he was like, “We need to publish this.” He immediately dove in learning about story structure and the backend side of publishing books, found me a writing coach, just super supportive.
We were actually non-fiction authors before this. We have a business writing about relationships for newlyweds where we share our own experiences, mistakes made, and lessons learned to help other couples. And you can see how well that ties in with writing romances.
HG: That’s awesome! What have been the challenges you’ve faced when creating together?
AMK: Plotting is where we butt heads the most. Ash wants to follow the characters and the inspiration and Marcus is very analytical and keeps the market in mind. We find a happy medium, and it always works out, but it’s always a challenge to get the first plot done.
HG: What inspires your stories?
AMK: So much. Life. Quotes. Songs. Characters in movies and shows. Questions like ‘What if”.
HG: Tell us a little bit about your actual writing process. When and where do you write?
AMK: Ash usually gets the main story idea, the characters pop into her head. We talk it out. She’ll envision the scenes in her head, usually with music on. Then she’ll write out what we call a chapter map. It’s the story plotted out by chapter. Each one has bullet points of what will be accomplished in each chapter. Then Marcus goes over it and we tweak it. We follow Story Grid, and have created a checklist that really helps us make sure we’re hitting reader expectations and telling a compelling plot. Things like wants and needs of the character are clearly stated.
We do character profiles for the main characters complete with emotional wounds and backstory. Their character traits, fears, and triggers. Then Ash gets to work writing. She does all the writing, and Marcus reads every chapter to critique and add the male point of view. It’s a team effort where we play off each other’s strengths.
AMK: The Orchard Inn series was the first contemporary series we wrote, so it’s lighter than the Shattered Cove series. We were trying to find our footing.
The Shattered Cove series is really where we found our writing voice and rhythm. That series is our heart and soul on the page. It’s emotional. It’s realistic. And it gets progressively steamier as the series continues. It’s diverse and focuses on real world issues that people deal with today. It’s more than romance. And each book focuses on different themes.
In A Fallen Star, the book 1 of the series which is free on all retailers, our hero is dealing with addiction and the heroine is trying to find the line between helping and enabling. Each book and set of characters are unique, and tackle hard subjects but in a sensitive way. Topics like immigration, racism, police brutality, healing after trauma, PTSD, epilepsy, LGBTQ, depression, mental health issues and so much more. All of it is wrapped in a love story with bits of humor that add to lighten up the dark moments. But many readers will tell you, grab the tissues!
We always promise a happily ever after and no cheating.
HG: Fantastic! I love that you tackle real life issues. Your latest book Hope Between Us, released earlier this month. Congrats! Can you tell us a little bit about the main characters and what readers will love about this story? Are more books planned in that new series?
AMK: It was bittersweet to release the last book of the Shattered Cove series. But it certainly isn’t the end for this town.
Brynn is in hiding with her child from the cult she barely escaped from. Her child comes out to her as trans in the hero, Aaron’s, office. He runs Hope Facility, a place for displaced LGBTQ youth to find safety and support. He offers to marry her in order to share his health insurance with Brynn and her daughter and help them change their names for their safety.
Their marriage of convenience turns into more as Aaron breaks down her walls one by one.
Aaron is the most patient hero with a heart of gold, but a dominant side in the bedroom—which is exactly what Brynn needs to let go. And Brynn is a survivor fighting for her independence and healing.
These two are a match made in heaven, but the demons from her past keep getting in the way of their happily ever after; and someone from her past threatens everything they’ve worked so hard to build.
HG: For fun, if Hope Between Us was turned into a movie, who would you cast as the main characters?
AMK: Oh, this is fun! The hero would be Idris Elba and the heroine would be maybe Olivia Wilde.
HG: Oh, great choices! What can you tell us about any projects you have in the works?
AMK: We are writing the first book in the Emerson Family of Shattered Cove now. It’s a four book series. Four siblings stories get told but there is an over-arching plot that’s sort of a murder mystery. The first victim is connected to the hero in book 1, Stepping Into Tomorrow, and each book you’ll get clues. Everything is solved in the last book, which will obviously be a romantic suspense. We are so excited!
HG: That sounds awesome! Switching gears, what do you enjoy doing when not writing?
AMK: We are usually working on our other business, or spending time with our two daughters. When it’s warm enough we head to the beach, or hike in the woods. If not, we’re probably cooking or reading.
HG: If you could ask your author idol one question, what would it be?
AMK: How they come up with all these amazing descriptive adjectives. Probably not what you’d expect, but the right words can invoke a strong feeling from the reader and do the work of eliciting the emotion from them. It’s an art for sure.
HG: Absolutely. For fun, before we wrap up, let’s do a fast five! First one…coffee or tea?
AMK: Tea for both of us.
HG: Bonfire or fireplace?
AMK: Bonfire under the stars!
HG: Are you a morning bird or night owl?
AMK: Marcus is a morning bird. Ash is a night owl.
HG: eBook or paperback?
HG: Tropical beach or rustic mountains?
HG: Fun! For readers that want to find out more about your stories and keep up with you, where should they go to connect or learn more?
AMK: The best place is our website, and readers can also follow us on:
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