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Dylann Crush is on this episode of Steam Scenes! When Dylann joined her local writer’s group, the pastor’s wife encouraged her to add some steam to her very first romance. The door’s been wide open ever since. We talk about old flames, first times, and tons of happily ever afters! 

 

Tons of places to connect with Dylann online:

https://www.facebook.com/dylanncrush

https://www.facebook.com/groups/CrushinItCrew

https://www.facebook.com/RomanceHappyHour https://www.facebook.com/groups/RomanceHappyHour https://www.facebook.com/RomanceChicks

https://www.facebook.com/groups/romancechicks https://www.facebook.com/groups/2330868830503902

https://www.instagram.com/dylanncrush/

https://twitter.com/DylannCrush

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/dylann-crush https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14433970.Dylann_Crush https://www.amazon.com/Dylann-Crush/e/B015LYG5TO

https://www.pinterest.com/dylanncrush/

https://www.tiktok.com/@dylanncrush

Transcript

Elle
Joining us today on Steam Scenes we have USA Today bestselling author Dylann Crush. Dylann writes contemporary romance with sizzle, sass, heart and humor. A true romantic, she loves her heroines spunky and heroes super sexy. When she’s not dreaming up steamy storylines she can be found sipping a margarita and searching for the best Tex Mex food in the upper Midwest. Dylann co hosts Romance Happy Hour, with live episodes every second and fourth Thursday of each month. And is a founding member of the Romance Chicks Group where authors and romance readers can connect. Although she grew up in Texas, she currently lives in a suburb of Minneapolis St. Paul, where it’s probably snowing, with her unflappable husband, three energetic kids, a clumsy Great Dane, a lovable rescue mutt and two cats. She loves to connect with readers, other authors and fans of tequila. I raise my glass to you. Welcome to Steam Scenes. Dylann, thank you so much for being here.

Dylann
Thank you for having me. Gosh, that sounds really long when you’re listening to someone else read it.

Elle
It’s actually not though. It’s super short, don’t even worry about it’s just hard listening to somebody like talk about like you, you know, like yourself.

Dylann
Yes, feels slightly awkward.

Elle
So hey, I have a quick question about Romance Happy Hour. Is that a Facebook Live thing? Like how do you do that? I need to hop over.

Dylann
So yes, we would love to have you. It’s kind of all over the place. So we do a Facebook Live show two times a month on the second and fourth Thursday. And we stream that into onto our Facebook page. And then when it’s done, we put the video up on YouTube. We have a podcast, Romance Happy Hour podcast that can be found on Spotify, Apple podcasts, wherever podcasts are that you want to find your podcasts. And then also it’s on our website.

Elle
Very cool. I’m definitely gonna go check that out. Because I love a good podcast, obviously. And absolutely think I’m like kind of intrigued by the whole Facebook. I don’t go live on Facebook very much. I feel so awkward. But I love kind of like seeing how other people do it. And you know, and I need to do it and I need to get used to it. So, you know.

Dylann
You get over it pretty fast. And we’ve had everything that could go wrong, go wrong. That’s one of the joys and challenges of going live. I have a co hostess Dawn Luedecke. And I mean, we’ve lost the ability to talk to each other. We you know, her speaker will or her microphone will go out we can’t hear each other. One time we all got kicked off and our poor guest was there by herself. You know, I mean, it’s just…Yeah. But that’s also what’s fun, because it’s you know, we just roll with it. And usually we have a cocktail or two. Well, everything’s going on, and it just kind of takes the pressure off. So, uh,

Elle
Oh, okay. Yeah, of course. Happy Hour. What was I thinking? Or course you’re going to have a cocktail? Holy shit. Of course.

Dylann
Yeah. A drink of the week. So make sure you stop by the website. I think the last one I put up it was my turn. We take turns. And so I put up an Irish Chocolate Martini. Oh, it was really really, really good.

Elle
Wow. Okay, yeah. Step up my booze game.

Dylann
Well, we’ve been doing this for two years. So if you look at our website, there are a lot of cocktail recipes.

Elle
Again, thank you for being here, Dylan. And I guess we’ll just to start off, I’m very curious. When did you realize you wanted to be a writer? Have you always known?

Dylann
Oh, I think it’s been, you know, I get this question a lot as an author. And I mean, I think like, most of the people that I’ve heard answered this, you know, it’s like, part of me always knew. I wrote the bad poetry in my teens. I used to write little stories. I’d make up stories. I went to Catholic school, and we had to go to church every morning at 8am. And so you know, while I sat there, I would zone out in my head and make up stories. But I didn’t really seriously start pursuing it or thinking I could do something with it until, you know, I mean, just a few years ago, I think like 2015, I started really writing, thinking that I could publish.

Elle
Did you? You don’t you can actually you can absolutely be like, Yeah, I don’t want to talk about that. But I’m curious. Did you have another career prior to your writing career?

Dylann
I did. I had several careers.

Elle
Yeah, really do tell. I mean, no, we don’t have to. But I’m just kind of curious if any of them dovetail into writing or help you in any way.

Dylann
A little bit. I mean, I was a marketing major in college and so you know, when it comes to sales and marketing, you’re always looking for the story because, you know, emotions sell. And so, you know, I mean, I think that helped me a little bit. But I mean, I don’t want to tell you exactly how old I am. But I’ll just say the internet was pretty much like invented after I graduated from college. And so, you know, like, the whole selling online and marketing online, and, I mean, everything changes. It seems like with marketing nowadays, yeah. You know, I mean, where was TikTok two years ago. Right.

Elle
Right, exactly.

Dylann
So I think, you know, it’s hard to keep up. But yeah, I would say, I have a little bit of background in marketing, but selling books is different than anything I’ve done before.

Elle
Yeah,, I would definitely agree with that. So. So in 2015, you, I’m guessing before 2015, was when you actually sat down to write your first novel. What made you say, Hey, you know what, I think I’m going to do this?

Dylan
Well, I actually, I have three kids. And so I was at the playground opening for my daughter’s school, they just put up a new playground and school was starting, and she was going to be an all day school. And I was there with a friend and her youngest was going to be an all day school. And I asked what she was going to do, you know, with all of her free time now. And she said that she actually was going to work on a book that she’d been working on for the past couple of years. But now she’d actually have time to focus on it. And I said, Oh, my gosh, I’ve always wanted to write a book. And so she said, you should join a writing group. And so I did. And I had no idea what I wanted to write. But we just started meeting monthly. And my first book kind of came out of a prompt, because we took turns kind of coming up with writing prompts every month. And my prompt that I came up with was Stacy’s getting fired, write it from her boss’s point of view, her point of view, and the omniscient point of view. And I sat down and started writing my scene and she didn’t get fired. She walked in on her boss and her best friend, kind of getting busy. And it kind of took off from there. And then they said, What happens next? And like, well, I don’t know. And so yeah, for about a year, I would sit down like once a month, because we met once a month, I’d sit down with a glass of wine, and you know, I’d write out a scene and I bring it to them. And they would laugh and say, ooh, you know, you have to bring more next month. And so I, I just kept doing that until I finally got to the point where I had, you know, like, 65,000 words, and I thought this could maybe be a book.

Elle
So at that point, have you just abandoned the prompt thing? And you just were going off on your own and sort of writing this book? Yep. Sure, what book did that become?

Dylan
It is not published. So it’s, because when I was done, you know, I said, I think maybe I want to look into publishing. So then I went to the library, and I got that huge Writer’s Market, you know, that thick book. And then I brought that home, and I thumbed through it and I returned it and said, nevermind, like this sounds like way too much work. Very overwhelming. But then I started writing the next book, because I was kind of hooked. And so that’s the book that I ultimately got. And at that point in time, you know, I, I was too afraid to try self publishing, because I didn’t know that what I’d written was even any good. And so I, I wanted to go through the process of, you know, querying agents. Looking back, I’m like, Oh, my gosh, why did I put myself through that agony? But, but so as the second manuscript that I wrote that I actually got an agent, and then a publishing deal and all that. So the very first manuscript, I’ve shared little bits and pieces of it in my reader group, but it is as of yet still unpublished.

Elle
Is there a reason why? Do you just feel like eh, it’s my first book? Or are you just not ready? You don’t think that it’s right for the market yet? Or I’m just kind of curious.

Dylan
Well, it was, you know, now looking back, I can see a lot of the things that I did wrong. So for a romance, it was single POV It was 110,000 words.

Elle
Wow.

Dylann
Yeah, cuz I didn’t know when to stop. You know, I didn’t know what story structure was. And you know, I was maybe 75% of the way through and I thought it should probably have a point and I realized what I was looking for was, you know, like a character arc. I had no clue what I was doing. And I still love the story. It’s, it’s a story about, you know, as most of our chicklit heroines are down on their luck, and she works for a plumbing company. And she ends up having to work with the new celebrity person who is the front man for a boy band that, you know, went defunct two years ago. So there’s a lot of humor in it.

Elle
That’s fun.

Dylan
Yeah, there’s a lot of fun. I mean, I think when you when you don’t know what you don’t know, there really aren’t any restrictions. And so I had a blast writing that book. And it was, and you can tell it was all over the place. But, you know, it was just my first taste of Wow, I can actually write something. And you know, every time I would bring it to my writing group, they would laugh. And I just mean, I got hooked on that feeling of writing something that other people enjoyed.

Elle
So is that what sort of kept you going? Because you said you really loved it, or was that even just the process of writing, where you were like, wow, I miss not doing that every day, I want to keep going.

Dylan
I think a little bit of both. During that time, I was not working full time, I was working very, very part time, I still had one kid at home, and not to give too much information. but, my first boy. And he was a very, very, very challenging kiddo. And so there was just a lot of, this was like a bright spot. For me, I felt like, you know, I kind of lost contact with a lot of friends, my son took up so much time and energy, we just had a lot of things that we had to work on and appointments and different programs and therapies and stuff that we were doing. And so I felt like my writing was kind of my own escape. And so I think that’s what really kept me going was I had this one thing, you know, that that was mine, just mine that I could look forward to.

Elle
And why romance? Because you’re in a writers group, and you have these prompts that are pretty, I mean, pretty general, it could go in a thriller direction or horror direction, what drew you to romance?

Dylann
I think, again, it was kind of in this, you know, I don’t want to say was an, you know, this horribly dark period. But you know, there’s just so many things that I had no control over, in going on in my personal life that I just felt like life is just so hard. You know, I wanted that happy ever after. I wanted to make people laugh. I wanted to make myself laugh. And I think I mean, just the humor minute, I’ve always loved having humor in my writing. And I just felt like it was my own. Like I said, my own little escape. So I love with romance. I mean, you know that they’re gonna kind of put you through hell all the way through the book. But you know, you’re going to get that happily ever after or that happy ending?

Elle
Yeah, you know, you’re going to be satisfied at the end. No matter what kind of crap they throw out.

Dylan
Yeah exactly. I craved that.

Elle
Yeah, yeah.

Dylann
I wanted to know that everything was going to be happy, everything was gonna work out.

Elle
At the time, or even before were you a big romance reader? Or did you just kind of stumble into the genre?

Elle
A little bit of both. So I read everything. I was an avid reader when I was younger, and my parents were both huge readers. And so we had, you know, floor to ceiling bookshelves in our family room. And I would just sneak books off of there. So I was reading, you know, Danielle Steele, and Sidney Sheldon and Jackie Collins, when I was, you know, like 12/13 years old. And so I would say, you know, I mean, my first taste of kind of romance and, and the naughty bits, you know, was probably when I was in, you know, middle school, high school. And then of course, we had that copy of forever by Judy Blume that everybody passed around with the highlighted passages. So, you know, I guess, I guess, sucked into it then. But then I read a lot of, you know, more like book club fiction, literary fiction. I read, I guess, more of that, through college, and afterwards and everything. And then I kind of, you know, came back to romance just again, I just wanted something happy. So many of those books because it was in a book club, and, you know, with three kids and everything else and work. I mean, I was doing good to even finish one book a month. So it’s not like I had a ton of time to read. But I mean, I would just, you know, pour hours and hours and hours and like 400 pages in and I would just be left with this empty feeling like an unsatisfying ending, or, you know, they leave you hanging and you don’t really know that like, Oh, they want you to draw your own conclusion. I’m like, No, I need to know what happened.

Elle
I hate that. I really hate that. I’m sorry. I really hate that. Oh, you’re supposed to go and think about it. No, I don’t want to think about it! I want to know what happened.

Dylann

There’s too many other things I have to think about. Serve up to me. Don’t just want it right there.

Elle
Finish the damn story for me. Yes.

Dylann
I didn’t want to have to think too hard. I just wanted, you know, like I wanted an ice cream sundae in book form that would just be satisfying and calorie free. And that’s what I wanted.

Elle
So do you remember the very first romance book you’ve ever read? If you don’t, not a lot of people do it, some do, some don’t. So, if you don’t it’s totally cool.

Dylann
I don’t remember the very first, but I will tell you that I think I just am aging myself so much here. So, summers, I used to ride my bike to the used bookstore. And this was probably like, I don’t know, three to four miles from my house. And I would come home with just you know, like huge grocery bags full. I balanced them on my handlebars. And I remember one of the books, I got hooked on this one author, and it was Jennifer Wilde. And she wrote these, like, you know, total bodice rippers historical, I mean, everything that, you know, modern authors would say, Oh my gosh, I would never put that in a book. I mean, these books were totally loaded with that. And I just remember that was the first author that I really, you know, got totally caught up in and, and years and years and years later, when I first started writing romance. I looked her up and I found out she was a guy. And it just totally blew me away. Yes, it kind of explained a lot too.

Elle
Little a little bit of questionable like misogyny going on there.

Dylann
A little bit. Yeah. And, and because I found one of those books, because that was in Texas. And I found out that Jennifer Wilde was actually a man and lived in Texas, which makes sense why I would find them in Texas. But I found one up here when I was at, I don’t know if it was Half Price Books or somewhere and I picked it up and I re-read it. I was like, Oh my gosh, you know, I mean, looking through the lens of you know, how having, you know, half a lifetime behind me now versus you know, me at my impressionable you know, whatever I was 12 years old or 13 years old. Yeah, it was much different. So I think, you know, definitely our lens changes as we pass through life and different things happen. But yeah, that was my first one that I got really hooked on. And that was historical, which is kind of funny.

Elle
That is really funny, because you don’t write historical.

Dylann
I do not. It’s intimidating as hell. I listen to your show with Kate Baden. And I mean, I bow down to her.

Elle
I mean, her research the research rabbit holes and, I love research, like, honestly, I would be I like, I’m always going, you should have been a librarian because I just can go down. I love the research rabbit holes. I would never write, I would never write, I would just dig into that research. And I would just would never, I would be like, I would never get a book out.

Dylann
Well, and I’d be so afraid of getting something wrong. You know? I mean, I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t even want to. I would embarrass myself by even trying to say something here. You know, as far as like, what’s the difference between a Duke and uh, I don’t know.

Elle
Who the hell knows? Yeah.

Dylann
I don’t even know.

Elle
You know, just to sort of jump back a little bit about the books that we read when we were younger. I was a huge Sidney Sheldon fan at 10. Like what? You know, and I enjoy Jackie Collins. But Sidney Sheldon was my go-to and I actually have maybe a year or two ago, maybe more, I picked up one of his books on Kindle. And I’ve been trying to read it again. And it’s so funny to see how much things have changed, like how quickly things especially in like that, in the genre world change because it’s a little slow, a little plodding. You know, it doesn’t have the speed at which romance, romance and thriller writers really right now, you know, it doesn’t have this it’s kind of like watching you know, an old movie. Very different thing.

Dylann
Yep. Yeah, it’s definitely changed.

Elle
So for you, I’m gonna start digging into the naughty stuff. What makes a sex scene? Good. What are you looking for?

Dylann
So I mean, I think I mean, sex is, you know, I mean, it’s, it can be pretty mechanical, you know, I want something that’s beyond like insert, tab A into slot B. It’s got to have the emotion with it for me and reading or writing about one couple. Having sex shouldn’t be the same as you know, the next couple that they’re definitely because they both want different things. out of it, they both have different, you know, experiences and emotions and things that they’re bringing into it. And so, you know, I, I guess I’m looking for something that’s unique to that particular couple. And it’s not just a scene that could be lifted from any book and inserted into another.

Elle
Right. It’s actually about it’s actually something that is very specific to the two people that are involved in the right and the situation. I’m curious, do you did your first your very first book, did it have steamy scenes?

Dylann
Oh, we’re gonna talk about that, huh?

Elle
Yes, we are. Oh, yeah, we’re, we’re going there. Yeah, we’re totally going there.

Dylann
So it, it didn’t for a long time, because so this group that I was in was not romance writers. The woman that started it was writing women’s fiction. And she went on to get her MFA. And she writes beautiful, beautiful literary fiction. One of the other members of our group was a pastor’s wife, who wrote beautiful poetry. And another member was from Ireland. And she wrote, like, wonderful political essay kind of things.

Elle
That’s a diverse group of writers.

Dylann
It’s a very diverse group. Another one of them wrote plays for her church.

Elle
Oh, my God, wow.

Dylann
Yeah. And so when I started writing this, and I just kept feeling like, oh, gosh, I’m gonna have to go there, you know, but I didn’t want them to read it. Because, you know, we’d gotten to know each other. And I mean, this is like a pastor’s wife, and you know, somebody who was in charge of, you know, the children’s education at her church. And, and so, you know, I kept telling them, I was, like, I think it’s, I think it’s headed that way. And finally, it was the pastor’s wife that said, You know, based on where this is going, I really think you need a sex scene here. And I think you’d write a really good one. And so that after that, then there was pressure. And so so I did, I did go there. But it was not at the midpoint, because I just kept pushing it and pushing it and pushing it off, because I was terrified to write it and have them read it.

Elle
So what was terrifying you? The expectation like of having this, the women in this writers group that you were in actually read it, it wasn’t a discomfort on your end about writing it?

Dylann
Um, maybe a little bit of both, I think it was just knowing that, you know, when you write something, and you kind of put it out there, and you know, people buy it on Kindle, or, you know, they buy it at the store, and you don’t have to actually, like, see them as their reading it. I mean, we would get together and they would read it while we were all together. And so, you know, it was that feeling of watching them and their reactions, because we’d get together and we’d pass pages, and then everybody would read, you know, quietly, we didn’t have to read it out loud, thank God. But they would read it. And you know, I would sit there and I’d be able to see their faces as they were reading everything.

Elle
Yeah. And so that would be weird. Like, yeah, I’m watching them waiting for the reaction. Yeah.

Dylann
You know, when are they? You know, are they comfortable with, you know, like, different words? Did I go too far? Did I not go far enough? You know, I mean, that kind of thing. And obviously, I got past that, because now I’m, you know, like, what, 10 or so books in and they all are open door.

Elle
So when you get that sort of like the approval from a pastor’s wife and you Okay, like I’m gonna, I’m going to do this. When you sat down? What was that like for you when you sat down and wrote your very first one?

Dylann
Well, there was wine involved. For sure. I think it’s just very intimidating.

Elle
It is. Isn’t it?

Dylann
Yes. Because I could read. I mean, you know, by that time, I’d read like all the 50 Shades books, and I mean, I was not averse to reading it at all, but just yeah. Like, I think every author has, you know, like, what do you call it? You know, are you just the terminology even, you know, I wasn’t really sure what I even wanted to call it or kind of how far I wanted to go. Because, you know, I mean, obviously, if you’re used to be, you know, like the purple prose, which of course, I mean, I don’t write purple prose, but, I mean, some of the books that I I grew up reading, they were all you know, he she’s his manhood and oh, yeah, you know, I mean, her Yeah.

Elle
Screaming violet.

Dylann
Yeah.

Elle
What was going on there? Yes.

Dylann
She opened up, you know, like, like the petals of a rose, curling or you know, I mean, whatever. And so, you know, I didn’t want to write that.

Elle
But it’s hard to find words. You’re absolutely right. It is. It is so hard to find, you know, how many words are there for penis? How many words are there for vagina? You know, and then you also, you know, so you kind of have to mask it, but then you’re like, Well, why am I masking it because I should just be open about it? The struggle is real. And I notice that every time I sit down to write them.

Dylann
I don’t I think you just have to figure out kind of where you are, and what you’re comfortable with. And I mean, now, I, I have no problem. I mean, there are very few words I wouldn’t use, right? If I needed to, I mean, again, it’s driven by the characters. If I’m writing, you know, a guy, that’s a total player that is, you know, used to getting his way in the bedroom and is pretty alpha. I mean, he’s gonna use different terminology than my beta hero that, you know, maybe hasn’t had sex in eight years, or something like that. So I think it’s all driven by the character.

Elle
You write alpha heroes and beta heroes, which do you prefer? Do you have a preference?

Dylann
I like reading alpha heroes, but I have a hard time writing them just because my husband is a total utter beta. Well, I mean, he can alpha up if he needs to. But you know, I mean, he’s like a total cinnamon roll. I mean, he’s just yeah. So so I don’t have the experience of you know, being I guess directed around by an alpha all that much. Yeah. And I just think there’s i don’t know i think betas. betas are underrated. But I think you know, there’s the third one, right? That’s is it people call it like gamma, or?

Elle
I didn’t even realize there was a third one.

Dylann
Well, the third one is like the elf Hill alpha up when he needs to, but you know, he’s a beta with his heroine or whatever. He’s softer and more sensitive. And so he’s kind of the best of both worlds. So that’s what I like.

Elle
Yeah. Yeah. I love writing the betas because honestly, I think that they break your heart in the best possible way. As opposed to the alphas who just kind of break your heart.

Dylann
Exactly.

Elle
So you have a cowboy series, and then you have your but all of your series are set in small towns, is that correct?

Dylann
Um, for the most part, so I did just release a book called getting lucky in love. That’s part of the Love Vixen series. And that’s actually set in Chicago.

Elle
Oh, good. Because I’m very sort of curious. I wanted to dig into the whole small town romance versus urban for a minute, because I’m actually trying my hand at a small town romance for the first time, my settings are always urban, always, always. And I’m just kind of curious for you, like, what do you love about them? Like, why did you start with small town?

Dylann
I adore writing small towns. And I think what I love most about it is this is the town itself becomes a character. And then, you know, I mean, in small towns, everybody knows every everybody else’s business. And they’re all I mean, you know, there’s the gossip mill, somebody knows something that you did that morning, you know, before you even get home for lunch, because it’s just word travels that fast, right. And so I think, you know, just like, the town becomes a character, there are a lot of busy bodies, there’s a lot of quirky characters you can use in a small town, everybody kind of knows each other. So it just, I think it makes it a lot more fun, it feels like more like a tight knit community. Right. And so, and you get to also get into some pretty fun settings. True. So, you know, you don’t have a lot of like barns or things like that in, in big cities, you can get in some interesting situations.

Elle
So since you’ve written you know, both in urban settings and the small town settings, do you find that the romantic moments shift because of the settings that they’re in?

Dylann
I don’t know, if they shift so much as it’s, you know, everything needs to be unique to the setting and the world that you’re building. And so, you know, I mean, in Chicago, we had, you know, public transportation we had, you know, just figuring it, like they go down to Navy Pier and so you know, you have just I guess a different different landmarks and things then you would, I think it’s also at least for me, in a small town, I like to make most of my town certain normally based on a real town, but you have a lot more freedom when you’re writing in, you know, a fictional small town than you would if you’re writing and say, you know, like, I don’t know, the Upper East Side of Manhattan, because there are going to be people that live in the Upper East Side of Manhattan, and they’re going to know if you put, you know, a Starbucks on the corner of this corner and there’s not one there or things like that, you know, I think that that’s a little intimidating because, of course, we love to write in all of these great locations, but you know, I haven’t I haven’t lived in the Upper East Side of Manhattan and So I would be, you know, I’d have to be very careful about making sure I got all that right and doing my research. So I think small towns, for me, I love making up small towns, because then you can really give them the personality.

Elle
Yeah.

Dylann
I mean, you could do that too, with a big city. But I think it’s a little harder to believe that, you know, there’s this huge city of 3 million people in the US that no one’s ever heard of, you know, if you try to make up a huge city.

Elle
Right. And so you’re it’s sort of, I guess, I guess, as you had sort of said that the small town aspect the small town becomes a character. I do you think it’s a little bit harder for the for the city location to become a character, right?

Dylann
Well, yes. And no, I mean, getting lucky in love takes place in Chicago, and it’s around St. Patrick’s Day. So you know, there are having been in Chicago around St. Patrick’s Day. I mean, there’s a lot of things that are unique to Chicago, they die the rubber green, you know, I mean, there’s so I mean, I think there can be things that are unique. And when you get into some of those big cities to like, if you’re writing about, you know, LA, different neighborhoods, right, so you’ve got different parts of the city that almost become a character, like a small town. So I think you can, but I think writing big cities has been a little intimidating to me, just because I don’t want to mess it up. I also really enjoy small towns, too. I mean, I love it. Yeah.

Elle
Yeah. So I’m actually having a lot of fun writing the small town, like, a lot more fun than I thought I would. And I do think it is because I do have that freedom of location, like, I know what town it’s based on, but I can make it up and I can move buildings around, and I can change the town square, and I can you know, and I can mate so I can sort of mold it and make it more, you know, unique to what I need. Um, you know, I just think that I need to layer in more quirky, more of my quirky characters, which I haven’t quite done yet. But I’d like

Dylann
Well, and you have to make sure that when you do make up a town from scratch, you have to make sure that you like draw a little map, even if it’s just for us so that you don’t mess up your locations, because readers will call you out on that if you had the bed and breakfast was on the corner of Main and Elm. And then in the next book, it’s on, you know, Fourth Street like yeah, make sure that you keep track of that stuff.

Elle
So before we dive into your, into your steamy scene, I’m curious, do you have a specific process for writing it like, you know, you’ve got a steamy scene coming up, you’re gonna you brew a cup of tea, you have a glass of wine you like, Is there a process for you, or it’s just another part of the work and that’s and you just keep plowing forward?

Dylann
I think it depends on what kind of mood I’m in. You know, I don’t have to like, light a candle and turn the lights down or anything like that. I mean, if it’s coming, and I mean, I just roll with it. If it’s, you know, part of my word count for the day, I tend to go on daily word count. And so, I mean, I just tend to roll into it. And then if, for some reason, you know, not feeling it that day, or I feel like, you know, I’ll just maybe kind of write the highlights of it, and then skip over, but I’ll do that with any scene if I’m not super feeling it. So it’s not just a sex scene. But normally, I just like nowadays, it’s just, you know, I used to have to really kind of gear myself up for it and mentally prepare, and you know, just kind of psych myself into it. But now, it’s just another part of the book.

Elle
I’m curious how many books in do you feel like it got to that point for you, where it was just another part of the book?

Dylann
Um, well, I guess we maybe two or three. The second actually the second book, so I wrote that first one. And, you know, it took me like, 75,000 words to even have them do anything together. And then the next book I wrote, I think there are like seven sex scenes. So I guess I took to it really quickly. So it didn’t take long.

Elle
Wow! There are seven? That’s awesome. Was that is that unusual for you? Or do you usually write that many?

Dylann
I don’t normally write that many. I mean, I normally, you know, I again, it depends on the book. So some of my books might have like one big one. And then you know, like, kind of a smaller one or there might be like two or three but yes, seven was a little extra for me.

Elle
I yeah, I sort of I struggle with how many because I’m like, I know that readers, I think readers enjoy them. I’ve been led to believe readers enjoy them. But you also need to be in service of the story because sometimes I’ll be like, Oh, wait, I only have one. Is that enough? Maybe I should slide another one in somewhere, you know, and so I’m just kind of curious how you balance that?

Dylann
I think, for me, it’s all driven by the story. That particular book. And that one is only published on Radish right now, but it will be coming out in a full size book later on this year, I hope. But that one, she’s an erotic romance author, and she is working as a professor at a university. And she’s paying off all of her student loans by writing erotic romance. And so it’s a big secret because her mom is a Christian, inspirational author, and her stepdad is a televangelist. And so, and she’s lost her muse, and she finds him in the form of this hot, sexy bartender. And so basically, every time they have sex, she’s writing it into her book.

Elle
And what a wonderful concept.

Dylann
That one was a blast to write. And so that one, I mean, it just, you know, because of the subject matter. I mean, she was using all of that, for her own purposes. And so, you know, they, they got it on pretty early, and it just kept going.

Elle
I’m just kind of curious, because Radish is a different platform. So it’s not, you know, you release serially on radish. Correct. I mean, obviously, yes. Probably sitting up there, you know, completely finished at this point. But I’m wondering did that did you know that that was the platform that you were going to be publishing that particular book on, because I’m just kind of curious if that affected, the story that you conjured, you know, the way that you wrote by putting it up on one platform versus, you know, just straight-up publishing up,

Dylann
I did not know that that was going to go on Radish in the beginning. That was the book that I got signed on with my agent. But then when she went out to sell it, it didn’t sell. And so I actually sold a different book, which was All American Cowboy. That was my first full length book that was published. And so then, that was Cowboys, small town cowboys. And so then this book was, you know, kind of, uh, not exactly the same kind of a tone, because, you know, there’s a lot steamier the characters were a little bit younger. And so I wasn’t really sure where I wanted to go with that, because, you know, I was kind of writing small town cowboys at the time. And so I decided it was already done, I decided I’d put it up on Radish and just kind of see what happened until I figured out what I wanted to do with it. And, and so I didn’t write it for Radish, although there’s a second book in that there’s a second season. The first one is Betting on the Bad Boy. And the second one is Betting on the Bartender. And so they’re both those are both up on Radish.

Elle
Okay, all right, cool. Okay, so are we ready to dig into your scene?

Dylann
Oh, gosh, I don’t know. Are we?

Elle
I’m ready!

Dylann
I kind of feel like I should have a cocktail. But you know, we’re recording this at 10 o’clock in the morning.

Elle
So get your get your Mimosa ready. Here we go. So now this is from your book, Sweet Tea and Second Chance. Can you tell us a little bit about the book and then set up the scene that you’ve you’ve given me?

Dylann
Yes. So the book is a second chance, romance and Robbie and Cassie, they used to spend summers together. her grandparents she would spend summers with her grandparents and they shared property across the pond from where Robbie grew up. And so they would come together every summer and hang out all summer long. And it eventually turned into you know, they were each other’s first. They fell in love as they got to be older. And now she has come back because her grandparents have both died. She’s inherited the farmhouse. And she needs to fix it up and sell it so that she can make enough money to follow her dreams and open up a restaurant in Dallas. And of course, Robbie happens to be back in town taking care of his dad and he’s the contractor she hires. And so the scene that I’ve given you, they’ve kind of been fighting this attraction to each other all summer. I mean, she came into town and she’d been seeing someone and he’d been back in town and he kind of been seeing someone. So they both were, you know, not really available to each other. But now they’ve gone to Lake House in the Ozarks for a weekend with some friends. And his ex shows up even though he already broke up with her. She’s pretending like they didn’t break up because she still wants him back. And so Cassie has gone out and they watched fireworks for the Fourth of July and they’re coming back to the house where Robbie has been with. Who she doesn’t know is his ex Caroline because Caroline of course hurt her ankle waterskiing earlier in the day. So So she’s coming back to the house where Robbie was he’s just gotten back from the hospital with Caroline and That’s where this kind of happens.

Elle
Got it. Okay, cool. So, um, okay, so let me just sort of Here we go. And this is from Kathy’s point of view. So just yeah, and but I’m assuming because you right dual POV correct. So at some point, Robbie has a…we’ll see what Robbie thinks of all this.

Dylann
Robbie gets a say yes.

Elle
“Wait. You and Parker aren’t together?” Robbie studied me, his green gaze pulling at me. “No, but it doesn’t matter. We’re still doing the restaurant together. Our needs align.” Robbie snuggled closer, tossing a leg over mine. His hand rested on the sliver of skin between my shirt and shorts. “I think our needs are aligning pretty well tonight.” Although I wanted to fight it, my body responded to his, just like it always had. “I’m not talking about the need you’ve got aligned with my thigh. I’m talking about plans for the future. Parker and I share a dream. He’s got a vision.” But Parker’s touch had never sent chills racing up and down my side. The firm, physical evidence of his desire pressing against my leg had never thrilled me to my core. “What are you afraid of, Cassafrass? You were too chicken to kiss me back when I dared you.” “I’m not too chicken. There’s nothing between us, Robbie. There can’t be. We’re not the same people we used to be.” As much as I wanted it to be true, he could tell I didn’t mean it. He’d always been able to read me, to know me better than I knew myself. “Then you won’t care if I do this,” he murmured, pressing his lips against the firm set of my jaw. A million tiny prickles danced along my skin, and I grabbed a fistful of the comforter. “Nope, don’t care at all. Are you done?” His breath tickled my neck. “Just warming up.”

Elle
I love that moment. I just was like, oh God, honey, you can just pretend and pretend but this you know, this is so happening. So what struck me about this is, in particular, is that there were other people that these characters were involved in as people have history? Right? Like they’re gonna have other relationships and all that. And but you’ve actually have these other people. I’m assuming Parker shows up at one point in the book, or does or is he just discussed? he does, he does show. So you’ve got the people showing up in the book. And so I got I got called out on the carpet by a reader for something I put on a book that was not technically cheating. But you know, I guess they’re, you know, the hero and heroine weren’t together. It was, you know, part of a push, Paul. And there was absolutely no sex. But I was called out. So I’m kind of curious how you were able to structure these other relationships, so that they were satisfying for the reader but true to the character?

Dylann
That is an excellent question. And there are people that were not happy. Oh, really? Yes. Although, I mean, I made it clear. I mean, life’s messy, right. And so, I made it clear that, you know, Robbie had broken up with Caroline and Cassie had broken up with Parker. So, you know, in this moment, when they do get together, they are both unencumbered by other relationships. I mean, there’s still Parker and Cassie, were mainly together because they’re going into this restaurant together and he needs her money. Right? So you know, that was not it’s not, you know, like a definite love match or whatever. And then Robbie had pretty much been pressured by Caroline. She’s swallow springs royalty as what Cassie likes to call her because she was, you know, the pork producers princess. And all this, her dad owns half the town. And alliteration is perfect. Yes. And so. And so, you know, she’s kind of pressured Robbie. And they’ve kind of been dating. I mean, his heart has always gone to Cassie. But you know, I mean, he’s getting to the point where a lot of his friends are getting married. And you know, he’s kind of just got along with it. But he definitely took a stand and broke up with her. So but she isn’t used to taking no for an answer. So she shows up on this weekend to kind of bust everything up.

Elle
Right. So pushy.

Dylann
Yes. And so you know, they’re definitely broken up. But I think you know, it is life can be messy. And while you know, I’m 100% confident like in my mind, this does not constitute cheating because it’s very clear that they broken up. I do think that, you know, some readers don’t like that, that there’s even a hint that your hero or heroine, you know could have recently been involved with someone else or they don’t have feelings for the other people. You know, I’ve made that clear. But, but, you know, I mean, I think it’s not always so cut and dry.

Elle
Yeah. Because that is something that I’ve really struggled with, with not only writing romance, but also reading romance. Because, you know, as long as we get to the happily ever after, and I kind of understand if there was cheating beforehand between the hero and the hero, you know, the hero or the heroine had some cheating issues in the past or, you know, something like that, I can kind of understand that being a little bit icky. Because I guess, personally, I would be like, Oh, I don’t know if that’s the right relationship for me. But, but at the same time, like, people have pasts, people are coming out of things that can be difficult to extract from for, you know, whatever 1000s of reasons might be unique to that situation. And so I’ve always struggled with this idea that there seems to be like, you carry, you know, characters can’t have a life prior to the relationship they’re about to embark on through the writing of the book.

Dylann
Well, in Robbie and Cassie, I mean, they were each other’s first everything. And so you know, the history is there, there’s actually a super steamy scene in an abandoned church where they, you know, it’s a flashback. And so, like, you get that for the readers, they get that history. So there’s, there are a couple flashbacks in this book, which I think was also a risk because I think some readers don’t like flashbacks

Elle
My editor hates them. I put them in all the time. And she’s like, why, why?

Dylann
And I did pull quite a few out. But I did keep some in because I mean, I just I love that sex scene. It’s, it’s probably my favorite, but I didn’t want to send you that one. Because, you know, it’s, that was their first time and so they’re younger and, and all that and so, okay. But yeah, that definitely is is waiting for you in this book, if you choose to go there. But I think, you know, for me, it was more about them realizing that they are the perfect match for each other even though all these other things, you know, they’ve like tried to they’ve tried to move on. They have they’ve tried to date other people. They’ve tried to, you know, Cassie moved away. She, you know, didn’t want to come back. Robbie moved away. He came back. I mean, it’s just, I guess that was the message of the story is that they were totally meant for each other no matter what they tried to do to avoid it.

Elle
Okay, um, alright, jump down this little short bet here.

Elle
I licked my lips. Nice to see he was as turned on and struggling for control as much as me. I leaned back and sat up, squeezing his hips between my thighs. My fingers skimmed his navel and teased under the waistband of his boxer briefs. He didn’t move, just watched me slide them past his hips and down his legs. Unencumbered by underwear, all-grown up Robbie’s penis thrust into the air. I ran my palm along his length. He bucked into my hand then hissed and flipped me onto my back. Hovering over me, he yanked my panties halfway down my legs.

Elle
I just thought it was such a great insertion of humor. And I think you have you have this throughout the scene this like, like, you know, these insertions of humor that are so great. And the callbacks, I loved the callbacks to the fact that they were basically kids when they were together the last time. And so because there were a few references to grown up, Robbie, and pointing out, you know, sort of like moments of when he was younger, compared to what he is now. And I just really loved that there were those constant callbacks and it really did insert this humor into the story.

Dylann
Well, thank you.

Elle
You’re welcome. I don’t know that I had a question. I just wanted to say that

Dylann
I’m not sure how to respond.

Elle
I’ll just move on to the naughty bit here, okay.

Elle
His hips nudged my thighs. Gladly, they parted. Anticipation washed over me. I gripped his arms and adjusted my hips, impatiently waiting, eager to take this next step. His hard-on nudged my inner thigh then moved higher, making contact with the tiny bundle of nerves at my core. My hips thrust up and he slid inside. I couldn’t help myself, I arched my back, putting me in that awkward bridge position I’d never mastered in yoga. He wrapped an arm around my waist, cradling me to him. His hips retreated then drove into me again, and we fell back to the ground. Something inside me snapped. The feel of him finally, bittersweetly inside me was too much. Overwhelmed by the sensation, my hips struggled to find a rhythm. Robbie rocked back and forth, driving into me with an emotional force I’d never seen or felt before. My arms wrapped around his back, urging him on. We found a rhythm and the throbbing ache I’d been so desperate to relieve slowly morphed into a budding release. Robbie increased the speed, and I struggled to keep the pace. My ass rubbed against the carpet; the sting of a little rug burn was nothing compared to the sensation of having him buried deep inside me.

Elle
Again, like this such a great mix of humor and heart in this should be a little sarcastic spin a little snarky. And then she comes back to what she’s actually feel it, that sort of feeling. And I think that the reader or at least me, reader anyway, me as the reader sort of woke up to the fact that all of her snark was a total defense mechanism. Why is she pulling back from him?

Dylann
He scares the hell out of her. I mean, I think, you know, she, she has this dream that and I mean, I don’t want to give the whole story away. But, you know, she has never felt like she’s belonged anywhere her backstory. Okay, you know, her mom died when she was little and that’s why she has to her dead pawns are off on our grandparents every summer. And so, you know, she thinks that having this restaurant in Dallas is going to finally be the place where she’s going to belong. And so that’s why she’s fighting him so hard. I mean, she totally recognizes that you know, there’s still something between them and but she’s telling herself like no, you know, if I let myself go there, I’m never going to be able to to have this dream of mine finally become realized.

Elle
So I’m so one clicking this. I’m relating to her. Oh, my God. Okay, last little bit.

Elle
“Oh, Cass.” Feathery kisses brushed my temple, my cheeks, my nose. His hands raced up and down my sides. “It’s okay. Everything’s going to be okay now.” In that moment, caught up in the safe cocoon we’d created, sheltered from the world outside the door of that bedroom, I desperately wanted to believe him.

Elle
And just like that. You broke my heart. Right there. Just like that.

Dylann
But it’s a romance! You know it’s going to have a happy ending.

Elle
I know. But when I read that, and that’s the end. That’s the last bit you gave me.

Dylann
The end of the chapter.

Elle
I was like, oh, man, because…Oh, he’s he is your beta. Correct, Robbie, because he’s beautiful throughout this whole scene.

Dylann
He is he’s a mix. He does have some alpha moments. But yeah, I mean, he’s got readers loved him. I mean, he’s, I don’t know when he’s the kind of hero that I would you know, die for. He’s just, he’s got the humor. He He’s definitely got the sexy, you know, all nailed down. So yeah, I really enjoyed Robbie, he’s got to be one of my favorite heroes I’ve ever written.

Elle
Okay, I can Yeah, he’s what he’s wonderful. And this is like, you know, just this little bit from it. I was just like, yeah, I’m in love with him. And it’s like, Oh, come on Cass, give up your dreams.

Dylann
Oh, yeah, readers got mad at her. They loved Robbie. And they got mad at her for not, you know, for fighting it for so long.

Elle
So no, but I can understand because she’s built a life, right? I mean, she’s built to life. And she’s got this dream. And she’s like, on the precipice of realizing this dream of opening a restaurant and she goes back, you know, to this place where she spent her summers where she essentially grew up. And like, you know, he’s there and it’s just, you know, it, that’s a push pull. And there’s, I mean, obviously, you know, it’s so funny. A friend of a writer, friend of mine, and I, we sort of like have, you know, our support or editor support network, because, you know, your editor always breaks your heart. And, and she had pointed out to me, because sometimes I struggle with conflict in my stories, and she pointed out to me, she’s like, our tropes are our conflict. Like, you’ve got to remember that.

Dylann
Exactly.

Elle
You know, and I was like, oh, okay, that’s true. So like, you know, so like, there’s her caught, like, that’s her built in conflict, right there is like, you know, she wants one thing, and he, she, her life is going this direction, his life is in the other and how do they How do they sort of rectify that and come together? To have that happily ever after? Exactly. Yeah, exactly. So is this why you picked this scene? Or this book? And because out of all your books, you know, this was the one that you wanted to share?

Dylann
I don’t know. You told me to pick one ad I was like, Oh. I mean, I went round and round and I asked to my reader group, which one should I send? Everybody had a different opinion. So I just I picked this one. This was you know, when they say like, what’s the book of your heart? Right, right. I don’t I don’t know that I necessarily have a book of my heart. But I will say this one is the one that I feel I feel really connected to because I based the small towns, smaller springs on a town that I used to go visit my grandparents in. I didn’t get, you know, like dumped up there every summer. But I spent a couple of summers there, you know, a couple of weeks in the summers there. And, and so the farmhouse that Cassie’s grandparents owned, you know, it’s like, in my head, a replica of my grandparents farmhouse. So I feel like this one, you know, just had a lot of me. And until though I did not have a Robbie that lived across the pond. But also, this book is the one that I woke up one morning, and I had the first line in my head. And I mean, that was magic. That had never happened to me before. And so I just, I don’t know, I think there were a lot of special things that kind of came together in this book.

Elle
So it’s, I think it’s beautiful. I’m really excited to one click the sucker when we’re done talking.

Dylann
And this was in Kindle Unlimited too. So I do have. So this is my indie series, I write for two different traditional publishers, I have series out, and then I do have an indie series, the small town. So you enjoy doing it yourself. The indie publishing? I do. I really, do. You have so much more control. And you know, I, I mean, I like it both ways, right? So I do like working with a publisher and having the experience of working with my publicist and my editor and getting such great feedback, where they do the covers, and they decide what’s going to sell and you know that so I do enjoy that. But then I also really love being able to, to pivot so quickly. You know, like these books, I can put on sale, I can do free days, I can give them away, I can you know, when you’re doing indie work, I’m in a couple of anthologies. I can do stuff with other authors, the love vixen project. That was there are 11 of us. There’s a book in the Love Vixen series that releases the first Friday of every month. And so you know, I couldn’t do something like that through a publisher. And I guess I could but you know, they would be organizing it and stuff like that. You just have so much more flexibility when you’re when you’re publishing yourself.

Elle
Yeah, yeah. So I’m curious is, I do want to talk about your latest release that came out in March 5, I’m Getting Lucky in Love. Is that part of the Love Vixen book series that you’re talking about? Okay, cool. Um, so tell me about it because I’m absolutely intrigued by the description.

Dylann
So the Love Vixen series is it was an idea that Elizabeth Scott and Jeanette Winters came up with are two of the authors that are participating. And they just were wondering, you know, what if we got a group of authors together and the whole backbone of the series is that all of the books revolve around either the hero or the heroine writing in to the Love Vixen and the love vixen is a relationship guru who’s gone global. She’s got a podcast and you know, videos and everything and so so the first book in the series is called let’s talk love and that kind of sets up the love vixen story. And then the rest of the books until December they all center around a hero or heroine who is written in for advice. And then in December, you’ll get the rest of the Love Vixens. That’s really cool.

It is it was super fun. It was really fun.

Elle
I loved your self help question that came in, that’s part of the description. This person has been friendzone This woman has been friend zoned and I’m sort of like curious you know, and she’s been offered a promotion and it’s going to be moved across the country and I’m sort of like oh, does she leave the soulmate behind or does she go and embark on this new adventure and find her real soulmate? It was like it was great.

Dylann
It was a lot so that one’s it’s funny because I don’t write well that once more friends to lovers but they’ve been friends for forever. And so you know, I don’t write a whole lot of couples who have been who have known each other since childhood but you know, Sweet Tea and Second Chances and then Getting Lucky in Love. They both kind of have a little bit of that although Violet and Griffin haven’t been romantically involved before, secretly in love with him for years, but there’s been no action.

Elle
So that sounds really really awesome. So Dylann, where can readers find you? Where do you live on the internet?

Dylann
Oh, I live everywhere on the internet. My website Of course. Dylann Crush dot com. And then I mean, I’m on Facebook. I’ve got a reader group Crushing It Crew. We do a monthly challenge in there where I’ve got some goodies to give away. On Instagram, newly on tik tok, although I haven’t found my feet on that platform yet.

Elle
TikTok. Sorry, I haven’t. I haven’t taken the dive. Yeah, I have not done it. Yeah.

Dylann
Let’s see I’ve got a newsletter, you can get the prequel novella, to the Lovebird Cafe series. It’s called lemon tarts and stolen hearts. And you can get that when you sign up for my newsletter.

Elle
Cool. And then I will have lots of links to perfect in the show notes so that people can you know, find you easier, but it’s always good to know. best place to find you best place where you are most active.

Dylann
Probably Facebook right now.

Elle
Okay. All right, cool. Dylann, thank you so much for doing this.

Dylann
Oh, thank you for having me. This has been a lot of fun.

Elle
Yeah, it was super fun to learn about your books, and I’m really looking forward to reading this.

Dylann
I hope you enjoy it. You’ll have to let me know.

Elle
Well, thank you for being here.

Dylann
Absolutely. My pleasure. And we’ll hopefully get you on Romance. Happy Hour soon.

Elle
I would love that. It sounds like super fun.