Lyla Payne on why she doesn’t stick to reading only one genre.

Man, does that question about what do you like to read give anyone else a mental hiccup? I mean … I always want to reply “I’ll read anything” but that feels like a cop-out answer, right? While it is true that I’ll read pretty much anything that falls into my hands, there are certain “go to” genres that I gravitate toward when I have some free time to read.

lyla payne

For me, it’s always one of three things: contemporary YA, gritty crime fiction, or some kind of epidemic-related story.

That said, I kind of hate genre distinctions!! As a teenaged girl, I would have wrinkled my nose and said “I don’t read science fiction!” But I loved Star Wars, X-Files, and A Wrinkle in Time was one of my favorite books. A few years ago I would have said (and totally believed) that I don’t enjoy reading fantasy. Some of my absolute favorite books in recent years? The A Song of Ice and Fire books by George RR Martin, the Grisha trilogy by Leigh Bardugo, and Graceling by Kristin Cashore. I picked up every single one of those books on repeated recommendations from friends, and I couldn’t be more thankful for their pushing.

If I was stubborn about reading only certain genres (and I still can be!), I would have missed out on some amazing stories. As an author, we face the daunting task of having to categorize our own books as one thing, when in reality, every book in the world is many things.

Not Quite Dead is, first and foremost, a ghost story – but you wouldn’t believe how many people insist they hate those! I hate the fact that it might turn people off, because the book is just as much, and equal parts, a mystery, a story about family, and a tale about growing up and finding a path, all steeped in the deep south. If people like ANY of those things, I really hope they’ll give the book a try (and hopefully enjoy it)!

Is there a genre you never read? Have you tried titles outside of your comfort zone and fallen in love with one? What makes you want to do that?


A broken engagement sends Graciela Harper crawling back to Heron Creek with her tail between her legs, but finds the sleepy little town too changed to set her life right. Not even her budding drinking problem can obscure her Gramps’s failing health, or erase the mental picture of her first love happily married to her childhood best friend. To top it all off, she’s having a heck of time convincing the town’s dashing young mayor of her unfit-for-dating status.

not quite dead

When the ghost of 18th century lady pirate Anne Bonny starts insisting on a near daily audience, Graciela has to confront something else she never expected — being certifiably nuts at twenty-five years old. Her brand new “I don’t give a crap” attitude makes it easy to dismiss the mysterious threats that seem to be tied to her search for more information on the long-dead pirate, but when her family becomes a target, Gracie knows she needs to find out why the ghost insists on being a constant, reeking companion.

If Graciela can put aside her prejudice against people without a pulse, she may discover that Anne Bonny’s problems are intricately linked with her own. The past harbors answers could help the cantankerous spirit find closure, but she is, after all, already dead. If Graciela doesn’t move fast, she might find herself doing the haunting, instead of the other way around.

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 hopes to bring you more Whitman University antics and at least one more Lowcountry ghost tale before the end of the year.

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