Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Interview with Lyla Payne

All the way back in October, I was given the great opportunity by Bloomsbury Sydney to interview US new adult author, Lyla Payne. Thank you so much to Sonia for organising and Genieve for working after hours supervising!

I've been saving this interview + book review (keep an eye out on the blog tomorrow for review) of Mistletoe and Mr. Right for the festive season because well... duh?

Joy @ Thoughts by J has her interview up, we both asked different questions so you should definitely check out her post.

I admit that I was binge reading MaMR the night before the interview because I hadn't read any of Lyla's stuff before (guilty as charged) but after reading it I was so pleasantly surprised. You can see why in my interview with Lyla as she has a very different take on new adult.

Q: The “new adult” genre has gained lot of traction in the past few years, what does this categorisation mean for you?

Lyla: I think it’s really interesting, I think a lot of people assume it means hot, romance, with hardly any rules. But to me it’s more like, when you write young adult fiction it’s more about figuring out who you are, what you want to be but you still have a safety net right because you still live at home, still have your parents if you get in trouble. In college it’s different, you’re kind of transitioning into adulthood and figuring out how to take care of yourself and how to do things for yourself when you don’t have a safety net. There’s more risk involved. I think it can be funny too like you can’t make macaroni and cheese with water and things you learn when you have to make your own food.

Q: NA is sometimes known for its angsty and at times violent relationships. How do you feel about this?

Lyla: None of my new adult books have that and I think it kind of bothers me – I don’t really like the anticipation of the possessive, jealous, violent guys. A lot of people loved [this book] but I had to really make myself read it. I think part of it is that my first husband was really emotionally abusive so I don’t think that’s hot. I could see how people who haven’t lived through it could think that’s somehow like sexy if he’s super possessive. So it’s partially a personal thing but I don’t think we should perpetuate that as something romantic but people argue that’s escapism and fantasy and that’s fine too – it’s just certainly not for me.

Q: Reading Mistletoe and Mr. Right, I found you broke this stereotype with a bittersweet but light hearted read, how else do you break the NA stereotype?

Lyla: My other new adult series is the Whitman University series and I kind of gender flip it. Mostly, my girls are worse than my boys. Not in the first one though, Broken at Love is about a broken kind of guy. The first and the fifth book are about bad boys but the three in the middle are all just girls that have issues; girls that have abuse issues, girls that have confidence issues, things like that. So they’re kind of the ones struggling. What’s really interesting about it is that readers will not forgive the girls. Like for the same things they’ll forgive the boys for – a double standard. They judge the girl a lot more harshly for having problems and taking time to get over them. But I feel like that does make mine a little bit different ‘cause it’s not just the bad boys. My boys are pretty sweet actually.

[Joy and I sort of expressed our opinions on society/double standards/sexism about the readers not forgiving girls thing.]

Q: I like how Jessica chooses to abstain from alcohol. Was this a theme you really wanted to drive separate to Jessica’s control issues?

Lyla: Yeah I don’t necessarily have a problem with characters that drink but for Jessica it was more like she didn’t like the idea of not being in control. I feel like the scene in the book where she does drink too much is kind of like a growth for her character and to trust somebody else to get her home and take care of her.

Q: What makes sororities so popular in the US? Is it normal for someone not to join one?

Lyla: I think it probably depends on the school. I went to a really small university, there were only 7500 students when I was there and so it was a huge part. I think the bigger the university the less popular Greek life is ‘cause there’s more options for finding your tribe. A lot of girls join and then quit by senior year because you’ve made your friends. It was where I met my friends and segued into parties and stuff.


I loved Lyla's opinion on writing new adult and the way she breaks the stereotypes we've all come to know. We talked about some light hearted stuff like sororities and differences between college in the US and uni in Aus (how we have societies over here). There's also some pretty deep discussion too about abuse.

Thank you so much to Lyla for your time and thank you again Bloomsbury Sydney for this opportunity.

Also keep an eye out tomorrow for my review and a little Christmas something with it.

About Lyla

Lyla Payne has 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. She loves telling stories, discovering the little reasons people fall in love, and uncovering hidden truths in the world around us – past and present. In her spare time she cuddles her two dogs, pretends to enjoy exercising so that she can eat as much Chipotle as she wants, and harbors a deep and abiding hope that Zac Efron likes older women. She loves reading, of course, along with movies, traveling, and Irish whiskey. Lyla’s hard at work, ALWAYS, and hopes to bring you more Whitman University antics and at least one more Lowcountry ghost tale before the end of the year.

Lyla Payne is represented by Kathleen Rushall at Marsal Lyon Literary Agency.

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