New York Times bestselling author Emma Chase stopped by XOXOAD to give us an inside peek at her writing process for her brand new novel in The Legal Briefs series, Sustained. Keep reading to see how this book was different from the others she’s written, and don’t forget to pre-order your copy of Sustained right now, since it comes out on Tuesday, August 25th!

9781501102073As a writer, I’m often asked how much of my real life makes it into my books. Because I write humorous contemporary romance, aka funny smut, this question is usually posed in tones varying from shy curiosity to dreamy admiration (after reading Tangled, all of my cousins decided my husband was quite the catch. Wink-wink).

But the truth is, my books and characters are generally not based on actual people, places or ahem – experiences – in my life.

Until now.

Because, in addition to featuring a super hot romance, my newest release, Sustained (coming August 25th) has children in it.

Six, to be exact – ranging from six months to fourteen years old. Kids are highly entertaining – at least the ones I know. I have two, but most times it feels – and sounds – like a lot more. It wasn’t a conscious decision, but so much of my own children’s voices and personalities went into the kids featured in Sustained. And so many wonderful (and some not so wonderful) memories were the inspiration for Jake Becker’s tender, sweet and hilarious interactions with them.

To give you a taste of the McQuaids, I’ll tell you a bit about my kids:

They’re smart, which is the ultimate double edged sword. Like the time I realized my two-year-old knew how to lock the door without ever being taught – because he did it when I stepped outside to pick up toys in the yard. Then he waved at me through the glass and proceeded to walk away. I can laugh about it now.

They’re kind. Like the times my daughter insisted on sleeping on the razor edge of her bed – so all the stuffed animals could fit under the covers. It would have hurt their feelings if any were left out.

They’re inquisitive. Like the time my son asked a man in a wheel chair at the mall, what happened to his legs – and then offered him the band aid from his own knee, because he was sure it’d make the man’s legs all better again.

They’re independent. Like the times I wanted to pin a note on their backs explaining to the world: I did not dress this child. They argued that if I got to pick out my own clothes, so should they. They made a good point – which sometimes meant winter boots in July and lots of clashing colors.

They connect the dots. Like the time, after finishing “family life” in middle school, my daughter came to the horrifying realization that every adult she knew with children had, in fact, had sex. This included her teachers, her aunts and uncles, her grandmother and grandpop, and yes – gasp – her parents. She couldn’t look us in the eye for weeks.

Although there’s lots of true-to-life funny times with the kids, Sustained is a romance through and through. A story about a self-assured, driven man brought to his knees by a beautiful, resilient woman. A man who wasn’t looking for a family, but found one anyway – and through them, himself.

And there’s something amazingly sexy about a big, tough tattooed guy caring for children. Bending his knee to go down to their level, holding them against his chest – protecting them, teaching them, loving them. Swoon.

Sustained was a joy to write. The characters made me laugh, made me teary-eyed, made me sigh. I’m so very proud of this story. More than any other book I’ve written, this one has a special place in my heart and I truly hope it will find a special place in yours.