Hey guys, this week I had the privilege of meeting and interviewing the lovely Lyla Payne, with thanks to Bloomsbury Australia. Lyla is currently down in Australia with her friend and took some time to visit Bloomsbury HQ in Sydney.
The wonderful Sonia from Bloomsbury reached out to a Jaz @ Fiction in Fiction in Fiction and I to come into the office so we could meet Lyla and have a quick chat over some snacks. We both managed to do a quick interview, but the rest of the time was spent chatting books and comparing life in the US with life in Australia.
The standout topic that was discussed revolved around university life, and what being in a sorority/fraternity was really like. Was it as crazy as the books/tv shows/movie suggests? Answer: Yes and no. Unfortunately, this was discussed after we asked our ‘real profesh’ interview questions (read: lel) so I don’t have it recorded.
Other than that, please welcome *drum roll* . . . Lyla Payne!!
1. The NA genre generally focuses on contemporary romance settings. You broke away from that with your Lowcountry Mysteries series. Is there a different genre within NA that you would like to tap into?
My young-adult books are science fiction, so I think it will be really fun to explore sci-fi in NA. Unfortunately the NA genre hasn’t really changed even though other authors have tried, like in Red Hill with zombies. It seems like the NA readers just want romance.
2. Mistletoe and Mr Right is set in beautiful Ireland. What influences the backdrop for your books and how do you capture the culture of these countries through words?
I actually went to Ireland and I stayed in the place where the book is set. I did not have a book planned set in Ireland when I went there, but the editor at Spark approached me and asked if I would do a Christmas novella, and I said yeah … I can set it in Ireland! It’s a really beautiful place … and everybody really likes Irish boys and their accents, so I thought it would be good.
3. What is the inspiration behind your novels and characters?
Gosh, sometimes it’s people I know, sometimes it’s people I wish I knew. Jessica from Mistletoe and Mr Right is a little bit of my college friends, who were pretty uptight. I went to a private school in Texas and the joke was that most of the people there were there to get their MRS degree. So, to get married and find a husband. I feel like it’s changing in other parts of the States, but in the middle parts its very much still like you’ll get married and settle down and have kids. Jessica is a little uptight like that, she has a plan. I know a lot of girls like that. The south is still very traditional, a lot of people get married straight after high school.
I found that between 20-30 was when I changed the most. If you got married when you were 21/22, you kind of have to hope that it works out, y’know? Because you both will change and grow. I dunno, that’s my two cents. Jessica and a lot of reviewers are like ‘she’s crazy’, and I’m like I know a lot of girls like her.
4. Are there standout characters that constantly call to you, refusing to accept that you’ve finished writing their stories already?
Yes, like you mentioned the Lowcountry series and the main character in that, Gracie, I feel like she has a lot more stories to tell. Sometimes a series is over, but it’s still hard to put it down. My first series was a four book YA series, and I feel like this sometimes. I don’t think I will go back to them — I’m happy about how it ended, but it’s kind of hard to say goodbye when you spend so much time with the characters.
5. What book or series do you wish you had written?
Probably the Shadow and Bone books, I’m totally jealous of her and her writing. I love really great villains, and I really want to write a really great villain someday.
About Lyla Payne
I’ve been publishing New Adult romance novels for a little over a year, starting with Broken at Love and continuing with the rest of the Whitman University series. I adore telling stories, discovering the little reasons people fall in love, and uncovering hidden truths in the world around us – past and present.
In my spare time I cuddle my two dogs, pretend to enjoy exercising so that I can eat as much Chipotle as I want, and harbor a deep and abiding hope that Zac Efron likes older women. I loves reading, of course, along with movies, traveling, and Irish whiskey.
I’m hard at work, ALWAYS, and hope to bring you more Whitman University antics and at least one more Lowcountry ghost tale before the end of the year.
If you want to know more, please visit me at http://lylapayne.com
If you’re a fan of Young Adult fiction—science fiction or otherwise—please check out my work that’s published under the name Trisha Leigh. http://trishaleigh.com
And of course, I couldn’t leave without a selfie, so here’s one of Lyla, Jaz, Gen and I after a great afternoon of book chat.