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Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Blog Tour: Broken At Love - Lyla Payne (Guest Post and Giveaway!)


ABOUT THE BOOK! - Broken At Love (Whitman University #1)
Broken at Love (Whitman University, #1)
When a knee injury ends twenty-year-old Quinn Rowland’s pro tennis career, he’s not only dumped by his hot Russian girlfriend but ordered to attend college by his disinterested billionaire father. A rich kid who’s not used to being disappointed by life, Quinn and his sociopathic half-brother Sebastian create a frat house game intended to treat girls how they see them—as simple game pieces to be manipulated for their pleasure.

College sophomore Emilie Swanson knows Quinn’s reputation—after all, he did send one of her sorority sisters into therapy earlier in the semester—but the game and his charm bring them closer together and soon she starts to believe there’s more to Quinn than people think.

But what if the more is something darker than a game of toying with emotions and breaking hearts?

Quinn and Emilie might be falling for each other, but there are secrets he’s not ready to tell—and lifestyle changes he’s reluctant to make. She willingly stepped on the court, but if Emilie finds out she started out as nothing as a pawn in Quinn and Sebastian’s twisted game, she might never forgive him.

To his surprise, Quinn finds that he might finally care about someone more than he cares about himself…even if that means letting Emilie walk away for good.



Every author has a different process for beginning a new project, and often times, each book starts out in a new and fascinating way. Sometimes, a story arrives as the germ of a plot. Other times, it’s a quote or a trope that suddenly appears in a new and interesting light. For me, it is generally the characters that arrive first, and Broken at Love was no different.
Quinn popped into my mind first, and is the result of my obsession with not only bad boys, but the idea that no character (in the hands of a skilled enough writer) is truly past redemption. Those characters that some might consider wholly bad or too evil to like have always ranked among my favorites—the ones you root for even when you shouldn’t, whose typically treacherous pasts have turned them into people even they don’t really want to be—and I jumped at the chance to spend time with my own.
Some of my recent favorites include:
Jamie Lannister (Game of Thrones) – I mean, seriously. George R.R. Martin is redeeming a guy who, in the opening pages of Book 1, slept with his twin sister and then tossed an eight-year-old boy out a window with every intention of killing him. In that moment, I would have laughed and laughed at anyone who suggested I would one day like him. I’m currently reading the 4th book in the series, and Jamie is one of my favorite characters. That’s talent, folks.
Chuck Bass (Gossip Girl) – No one got in Chuck Bass’ way more than Chuck Bass, not even his dastardly father. Even though he almost raped a girl in the opening season, and committed a litany of transgressions (including cheating, lying, serious loss of temper, and selling her for a hotel) against Blair, the love of his life, there was literally nothing that thousands of fans and viewers wanted more than to see the two of them get their happily ever after. Chuck and Blair are two of the most fascinating character studies (to me) on television.
Damon Salvatore (The Vampire Diaries) – He’s killed more than one very nice character, been a total d-bag to his brother, Elena, and several people Elena loves, and yet there is a strong contingent of fans who kept rooting for them to be a couple, even when Stefan is (was) clearly the better choice for a boyfriend. Part of it is that we all prefer the bad boy to the good one (at least in fiction), but underneath that, the seed of fierce love hiding inside Damon’s self-loathing had us all pulling for him from Season 1.
Some of my real life inspiration includes tennis players Andy Roddick and Bernie Tomic, as well.
I wanted Quinn to contain elements of all of these guys, but also to be his own, unique person. The core of Quinn is a secret that most wouldn’t guess—and it’s that no one hates Quinn Rowland more than Quinn Rowland. He doesn’t feel worthy of love, or affection, or forgiveness, because he’s never been shown those things, and also because he’s ashamed of his behavior since leaving the tennis tour. His emotional issues are deep-seated and complex, and his is a journey that leads him to a place where he can believe he deserves a woman like Emilie. I wanted her to be a big part of showing him that people can be trusted, but also for Quinn to find a way to believe in himself.
I’ve said this before, but if I didn’t succeed in redeeming Quinn, it’s not because his character is past redemption—no character is too far gone—it’s because I failed him as a writer. But I hope I didn’t!
As far as Emilie, people often assume that main characters are at least partially crafted from an author’s own personality or experiences, but not Emilie Swanson. She is pretty much the opposite of the girl I was in college, but she is everything I wish I could have been back then. She started out as perhaps Blair Waldorf inspired (though she doesn’t have nearly Blair’s penchant for scheming), but quickly evolved into the kind of strong, confident, determined girl that we should all feel like it’s okay to be.
Too many girls aren’t confident in their choices—be they a career, their feelings for a boy, or their sexuality—and I like that Emilie challenges the assumptions that knowing what she wants and going after it is a character trait that should bring her shame.
I’ve gotten mixed reactions to the character, one reviewer disgusted with her for being weak and constantly taking Quinn’s crap, and the next impressed by her determination and confidence. Everyone is welcome to their opinion, obviously, but as the author, Emilie never appeared weak in my head. She never went back to Quinn because she couldn’t live without him or her life would be ruined if he continued down his path of se;f-destruction—Emilie never put aside her own life or goals in order to pursue a relationship with Quinn. She’s simply a girl who wants a life with no regrets, so she couldn’t justify quitting when it came to a boy who might be the love of her life.
Too many people leave words unsaid, love unexpressed, kisses un-kissed because we’re afraid of looking stupid, or desperate, or simply because we’re not sure those feelings are mutual. In my mind, it takes a much stronger girl to put everything on the table while unsure of the outcome instead of walking away to spend the rest of her life wondering what might have happened if she’d had the courage to just try one more time.
So, that’s how Emilie and Quinn came to be! Quinn, the result of my desire to see how far I could sink a character and still redeem him, and Emilie, to write a girl who is everything I wish I (and more girls) would have the courage to be.
I’d love to hear what you think, and if you agree or not! Chat it up in the comments!
Author Bio:
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.
Broken at Loveon Goodreads

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