Blog Tour: Staying on Top by Lyla Payne - Interview + Giveaway!

Sam Bradford has it all—he’s the #2 tennis player in the world, plenty of girls want to date him, and he’ll never want for money. At least, that’s what he thought until his accountant stole everything and disappeared. Interpol has no idea where to start, and neither does the American F.B.I., so Sam figures he’ll just have to take care of his body and play a few extra years to make it back.

When Blair Paddington, the accountant’s daughter and a friend of a friend at Whitman, shows up and claims she can help Sam get his money back he’s torn between wanting justice and the very real possibility that Blair is just as big a con man as her father. When she promises not only money, but justice, Sam agrees—but only if he can go along on the search.

The two of them set off on an adventure neither rich kid is prepared for—cheap hostels, the same clothes three days in a row, and nothing but a backpack of possessions—so they can fly under the radar as college lovers on a winter break. In spite of Blair’s shady family, her daring and resourceful personality strike Sam’s interest and he finds himself falling for the one girl he shouldn’t.

When they finally find her father, the truths that come to light not only make Sam question his affection for Blair, but could cost him more than money—if they can’t work together one last time, neither of them may be going home. Ever.

1-    When did you begin writing? Why did you decide to become a writer?

I started writing late in high school, the segued into writing screenplays in college (I have a film degree). I attempted my first novel, then abandoned it, early in my 20s. After seeing Pirates of the Caribbean (weird!) I went home and finished it within a few weeks and haven’t looked back.

I’ve always loved reading, and honestly, have always been a huge storyteller (or liar, as a child/teen). It seemed like a natural and more socially acceptable way to spin my stories!

2-    I love your Whitman University series, so I am curious as to what your inspiration was for the series?

My inspiration for the series was two things—my love for tennis and the fact that I missed Gossip Girl something fierce when it went off the air. Although several people have compared Broken at Love to Cruel Intentions, in my head Quinn and Emilie were always an homage to Chuck Bass and Blair Waldorf.

Whitman University itself is not unlike the private university I attended, and my fellow Horned Frogs will surely notice some direct parallels between campuses!

3-    What books or authors have influenced you the most in life?

Hard question! Madeleine L’Engle, JK Rowling, Emily Bronte, Jane Austen, for sure.

Both JJ Abrams and Nora Ephron, who wrote for film/television, continue to have HUGE influences on my work.

4-    What was the hardest part in writing the Whitman University series?

The fact that even though I love these kids, it’s fair that readers sometimes don’t. They’re not all that likable sometimes, and the biggest challenge to writing uber rich kids is that a lot of people think they’re not allowed to have problems. So, yeah. Particularly with Ruby, the heroine of By Referral Only, I’ve struggled with not defending my characters. Because I love her, but there isn’t much love for her out there in the world.

5-    How do you begin to organize your writing process when you are starting a new project?

I always start with characters—who they are, what made them that way, what they want, and what’s in the way of that. Plot is secondary, but I’m not a huge plotter up front. I always know how a story begins and ends, along with high points along the way, but I let the characters tell me how they get from one to another.

6-    Are any of your character's traits similar to you or to people you know?

Of course! No one is based on any one person, but I pull little quirks and personality tendencies from people I know. My college roommate sees a lot of herself in some of these girls, I’m sure. J

7-    What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

First of all, write. Sit down, every day, and put words on a page. Second, write what you want—not what people tell you to, not what you think is going to sell, and certainly not what’s flying off the shelves at the moment.

Oh, and work on thickening your skin. Your creative side won’t survive the business of publishing without it.

This or That:

1- Peeta or Gale? Peeta
2- Ron or Harry? Ron
3- Physical book or e-copy? Physical book, although I do buy ebooks when they’re on sale, or when they’re forever long (like Game of Thrones!)
4- Pen and paper or computer? Computer. I still jot notes and things like that, but it would just take too long to hand write anything substantial.
5- Prince William or Prince Harry? Harry
6- Beach or mountains? Beach
7- Cookies or brownies? Cookies

About the Author:

I’ve long had a love of stories. A few years ago decided to put them down on the page, and even though I have a degree in film and television, novels were the creative outlet where I found a home. I’ve published Young Adult under a different name, but when I got the idea for Broken at Love (my first New Adult title), I couldn’t wait to try something new – and I’m hooked.  In my spare time I watch a ton of tennis (no surprise, there), play a ton of tennis, and dedicate a good portion of brain power to dreaming up the next fictitious bad boy we’d all love to meet in real life.

Find Lyla at:


Post a Comment