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  • Writer's pictureAmanda Aksel

The Story Behind the Story: My Two Husbands

I like to think that authors are story channelers. When I get an idea for a new story, it feels less like something I imagined on my own and more like an assignment from the Universe (Elizabeth Gilbert talks about this phenomenon in her book Big Magic). For me, these stories show up in quick flashes,

like lightning bolts of inspiration spurred by a phrase or song lyric or question I’m pondering.

Except for one—My Two Husbands.

This idea wasn’t so much a bolt of lightning as it was inspired by someone’s real life. Or should I say, a woman’s unique living arrangement. Back in 2007, I was an office manager at a real estate company. I had just received a call from one of our agents about a new listing she acquired. That’s when she told me the story.

“The client lives with her two husbands?” she said.

“What? She has two husbands?” I asked, thinking good for her!

“Not exactly. One is her ex-husband who lives in the room over the garage. They’re all one happy family. Somehow it works.”

One Woman

Two Husbands

Under One Roof?

Then I saw it, like a sitcom. You know, one of those with a live studio audience like Full House. What a great idea! All I had to figure out was who these characters were and how in the world would the husbands live in the same house so harmoniously.

At the time, I was working on a manuscript for what later became The Man Test. So the idea went on the backburner. For years, all it had was a title (My Two Husbands), the main characters (Natalie, Mark, and Jesse), and a location (West Palm Beach, FL). Why West Palm? Well, I knew my heroine would be a real estate agent, and I needed a place for her to easily sell lots of high dollar homes.

For ten years, the idea sat as a three page document on my computer just waiting for the right time. Then, in 2018, I saw other authors were having success with fanventure stories—releasing short episodes and allowing the readers to vote on what happened next. I wanted in and I knew My Two Husbands would be the perfect project for one simple reason—I couldn’t decide which husband Natalie would end up with. So why not let the reader choose?

I started by announcing the fanventure journey and let my readers vote on the husbands’ names (Earlier that year, I’d given one of the husband’s names (Jesse) to another book character still in the works). They voted on Jake and Kyle—men I’ve come to adore!

Aside from drafting Delia Suits Up, this weekly process of voting, drafting, editing, and releasing felt effortless. It was the most fun I’ve ever had writing because it was simply meant to be fun and entertaining. I had no idea it would become one of my favorites from my backlist (yeah, I play favorites with my book babies).

By the end of the summer, it was time for my readers to vote on Natalie’s HEA. Seriously, it was like watching an episode of The Bachelorette! I knew that both men were contenders but I didn’t realize it was such a close match for my readers. When the results came in, it was 49% / 51%. Practically a tie! A neck and neck tie!

But with that 1% difference, there was a clear winner.

Oh, you want to know? Was it Jake? Was it Kyle?

Sorry! You won’t find any spoilers here. If you want to know, you’ll have to read (or listen to) My Two Husbands to find out . . .

Other fun facts about My Two Husbands:

· Book theme song: 3 by Britney Spears

· Book vibe song: Escape (The Piña Colada Song) by Rupert Holmes

· Kyle and Natalie’s piña colada tradition was inspired by my tradition with my one husband when we go on Caribbean cruises.

· Natalie’s morning sickness when she gets her puppy, Lily was inspire by the morning after I got my first pup, Lani—crying on the phone to my BFF and everything.

· When Jake comforts a scared Lily outside of the kitchen, saying, “What’s the matter? Mommy’s cooking?” is what my husband would say to our dog cowering outside our kitchen when I cooked. She was afraid of the smoke alarm and I had been known to set it off on occasion. And by on occasion, I mean almost daily (In my defense, it’s near the stove and super sensitive).

· Some of my readers were desperately pulling for the story to end as a menage. It wasn’t. But I figured out a way to give them a little taste 😉

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