Jeff & Will announce the availability of this year’s Pride cards for members of the podcast Patreon community. They also discuss the TV projects being developed based on Adam Silvera novels.
Layla Reyne and Jeff talk about the conclusion of the Fog City series, including a deep dive on the final books, Queen’s Ransom and Silent Knight. Layla talks about how she got back into writing in 2020 by writing these books, the fun she had bringing in so many cameos from the Whiskeyverse, and the books she’s got planned next. Layla’s got a few book recs too.
Big Gay Fiction Podcast is part of the Frolic Podcast Network. Find many more outstanding podcasts at frolic.media/podcasts!
Here are the things we talk about in this episode. Please note, these links include affiliate links for which we may make a small commission at no extra cost to you should you make a purchase. These links are current at the time the episode premieres, however links are subject to change.
- 2021 Pride Cards Info on Big Gay Fiction Podcast Patreon
- Episode 291 – Adam Silvera’s “Infinity Cycle” Continues on Big Gay Fiction Podcast
- They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera on Amazon | Kobo | Libro.fm
- More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera on Amazon | Kobo | Libro.fm
- Episode 193 – A Trip to “Fog City” with Layla Reyne on Big Gay Fiction Podcast
- Layla Reyne Interview
- Layla Reyne: website | Facebook | Facebook Group | Twitter | Instagram
- Fog City series by Layla Reyne on Amazon | Libro.fm
- Queen’s Ransom by Layla Reyne on Amazon
- Silent Knight by Layla Reyne on Amazon
- Agents Irish & Whiskey series by Layla Reyne on Amazon | Kobo | Libro.fm
- Trouble Brewing series by Layla Reyne on Amazon | Kobo | Libro.fm
- Variable Onset by Layla Reyne on Amazon | Kobo | Libro.fm
- Cinnamon Roll by Anna Zabo on Amazon
- Bold Brew series by various authors on Amazon
- Perfect Matcha by Erin McLellan on Amazon
- Puppuccino by Allison Temple on Amazon
- The End Game by Riley Hart on Amazon
- Redhot Sugar by Connor Peterson on Amazon | Kobo
- Rare Vigilance by M.A. Grant on Amazon | Kobo (pre-order until June 22, 2021)
- Big Gay Fiction Podcast on Patreon.com
- Big Gay Fiction Podcast patrons on BGFP website
- Libro.fm website (use this link to receive your Big Gay Fiction Podcast special offer)
- Frolic Podcast Network website
This transcript was made possible by our community on Patreon. You can get information on how to join them at patreon.com/biggayfictionpodcast.
Jeff: Coming up on this episode, Layla Reyne is here to talk about the conclusion of the “Fog City” series and what comes next.
Will: Welcome to episode 309 of the Big Gay Fiction Podcast, the show for avid readers and passionate fans of gay romance fiction. I’m Will Knauss and with me as always is my co-host and has been Mr. Jeff Adams.
Jeff: Hello everybody.
As always, the podcast is brought to you in part by our remarkable community on Patreon. Thank you to Rebecca for recently joining the community. If you’d like more information about the bonus content we offer our patrons go to patreon.com/biggayfictionpodcast. And with pride month, right around the corner we are gearing up to send our annual pride cards to our patrons. If you’re a member of the community and would like to receive a card, make sure to check out our post on Patreon with all the details before May 31st.
Will: [Breaking news sound effect.] Here’s some breaking news for fans of gay fiction.
Jeff: That was wonderful little intro. I may just save that for the sound effects library so I have it for future episodes.
So there was some great news for Adam Silvera fans this week. His novel, “They Both Die at the End,” which is riding high once again on the New York Times Bestseller list three years after its original publication, has actually been optioned for a TV series and possibly the best news of all is that Adam is actually attached to the project to write the adaptation for it. You may remember what I talked to Adam back in episode 291 that he wanted to return to the Deathcast universe, and now it sounds like he might be doing that in both book and TV form. Now, some fans may recall that this has been previously optioned for TV, and it’s really great to see this project moving forward again.
It’s actually, Adam’s second TV adaptation that’s in the works because there’s also one that’s in progress for his book, “More Happy Than Not,” which is now in development with the same production company that just picked up “They Both Die at the End.” So, I really can’t wait to see these two projects come to fruition.
Will: Congratulations to Adam and I’m happy because that means there’s more great television for us to watch.
Will: So recently you, dear sir, had the chance to talk to one of your very favorite authors.
Jeff: I did. And I really have to admit, this is one of the more fan boyish interviews that I’ve done on the podcast. I really try to reign myself in, regardless of who I’m talking to, but that did not happen here too well.
If you’re a fan of Layla Reyne’s “Fog City” series and her extended Whiskeyverse that encompasses her “Agents Irish and Whiskey” and “Trouble Brewing” series, then you’re going to fall right into what we’re talking about here as we focus on the last two books in the “Fog City” series with “Queen’s Ransom” and Silent Knight.” But if you need some “Fog City,” 101, I suggest you head back to episode 193, where we talked about this series just as it was starting out back in June of 2019.
For this interview, we dive in head first to these final two books, and we also get some details on what she’s working on next that will further extend this big universe of characters and books that she’s created.
Layla Reyne Interview
Jeff: Layla. Welcome back to the podcast. It’s wonderful to have you here.
Layla: I’m happy to be here. Hi.
Jeff: Oh, we have so much to talk about with “Fog City” wrapped up.
Layla: I can’t believe it.
Jeff: What an ending. Oh my God.
Layla: I brought everyone out to play.
Jeff: You did, and it was so awesome. So, I want to warn everybody as we get started, that there could be spoilers here because there’s a lot to talk about and we’re going to try to tread lightly, but maybe not. So just be forewarned and we’ll do our best.
Layla: It’s a book five.
Jeff: It’s a book five and it really ties things together and the Whiskeyverse plays a lot into book five. I swear everybody you could have possibly had, has a cameo. First off though, what was it like to finally wrap up this series that started as that wonderful three books and then got these great additional two books at the end?
Layla: I was really happy to do it, as soon as both Helena and Holt hit the page in the original trilogy, I knew I wanted books for them.
As soon as Brax hit the page, he was going to have a book and then when Brax and Holt got on the page together it’s like, that’s it – we’re done. And I knew that was five. I knew that was the last book. There’s a plot point that we probably shouldn’t spoil that one, but I knew that was going to get resolved in the book five, and I think particularly, as I was writing through the trilogy, and looking back at it, Holt is the one who got just stepped all over the entire thing, but I mean, all the betrayals that lined up and so it was his time to take control and have his moment.
And then for Helena too, you see her in the trilogy, ascended the ranks, so to speak, to become the queen. And so in her book, in “Queen’s Ransom,” she has to figure out how that works for her. And the whole family has to figure, need somebody on the outside. Right? Like there’s so like between, the law enforcement angle, part of the family, and then the not lawful part of the family, it’s still all tangled up.
And there was no grounding force. And, you know, Hawes kind of has that talk with Celia in “Queen’s Ransom” about, we all need you. And they all needed somebody who was outside and, she kind of knew what was going on. So it didn’t cause an issue, but she also was a grounding force. So I liked, playing both aspects in “Queen” of really grounding the family.
And I think that grounding was needed when you got to the last book and really as an ending, a tie up and also jumping off point.
Jeff: Yeah, it does so much, but it does it so well, to tie it up and to give you the idea of where it will go now. Going back to, I mean, we talked about “Fog City” a long time ago and you’d written the trilogy and then you had a little gap in the writing, and then came back to these last two. Did your thoughts on those last two books change in that in between time when you had finished the trilogy and then moved on to these?
Layla: So in two different ways, Helena’s book completely changed. I had a different plot for what her book was. It was always going to be Celia. But there was a different plot. I started to write it. They weren’t on the page together. It was too insular to the Madigans and not enough of their relationship and not enough of Celia’s journey.
And so it was more about the parents and it just got way too… I was 15,000 words into it, I was like, no, this is not working. And there’s 12 scenes here and there in four of them together, this does not work. That one completely morphed. I made that one simpler in its plot and more focused on the romance. And so, it completely changed in the general scope of what the plot was in that time.
“Silent Knight” changed, Holt and Brax’s book, not at all in the plot, that was always going to be the plot, the way the story was told. And for those who haven’t gotten it yet I mean, this is already out there.
The first part of the book is past from Brax’s point of view, it’s them getting to know each other, how their friendship came to be. And the second part of the book is Holt’s POV in the present. And it picks up about three months after the events of “Queen’s Ransom,” which is about almost a year after the events of the trilogy.
And I didn’t know that was going to be the first part. I didn’t anticipate telling the first part the way I did and the structure. But I mean, I got hit pretty hard by all of 2020. I lost the mojo and what really, I started out in writing fan fiction. A lot of my fan fiction was vignette style.
Where it was those quick, short little stories of here’s a moment in the characters lives. And that’s what got me writing again in 2020 and doing that for Holt and Kane. And it just, it worked for them and it worked for me. And I don’t know if these books would have happened if not for it.
Jeff: It worked for me too as the reader. I was surprised when I opened the book and it’s a 14 years in the past. I’m like, okay, that’s interesting. And then it kept moving forward and getting us closer and closer to the future. And I’m like, this is just brilliant because you see how these two came together.
And you got their meet cute, which, you know, could probably say that somewhere back in “Fog City” that sort of, maybe happened for some readers, but this was their meet cute back here in the past. And then we got all this great stuff that built Brax and Holt in a way that I now can imagine the story without it.
Layla: Yeah. Now you need it for multiple reasons. Right? When I started this story, it was just going to be a prologue of this one scene from their past. And then when I started to write. I realized you needed a more, for multiple reasons, to understand why Brax stays through all of this.
To really solidify that connection because he is an officer and one, he’s an officer in the military, and then he becomes a police officer and why is he tangled up with a bunch of assassins and why does he stay tangled up with a bunch of assassins for this long? And so there needed to be this ground, like why, what is the connection and how strong is it to keep him tied in and then for hope to his demisexual, you needed that.
To be demi, it is a building of the trust. It’s a building of the relationship before the love comes. And so that buildup is absolutely necessary for understanding where discovering his own sexuality and then in the present to where he realizes he’s in love with his best friend.
Jeff: And the trust thing for Holt is such a big deal when you tie it back, as you mentioned to all the betrayal that happens in the original trilogy, because he is stumped on it and yet through it all, he somehow knows that Brax isn’t going to stomp on him. If they could just both get over that thing.
And this is a thing that happens so much in romantic suspense. It’s like, you’re going to be better off if I’m not here.
Layla: And they’re both trying to, they’re, you know, the lines from the book and it’s actually on the back of the paperback. “I won’t let anything happen to you. I’ll protect you.” Those are said in the trilogy. And then again, you see where they come from in the past. And it cuts both ways for both of them.
And so, they’re just trying to protect each other and that comes from a long history of doing that. On both sides. So, but yeah, mean, Holt he had Helena and Hawes. To, I mean, the kid, the siblings were generally, always had each other’s back, but yeah, dude got stomped on. It was, and he never got to be angry.
He had Lily, his daughter to worry about, he had the family to worry about he’s the one at the comms. He’s always monitoring the situation. He’s the liaison with the cops because his best friend is the chief of police and he didn’t get to be angry. And he of all of them have the right to be the angriest.
And then you come after his best friend. Finally, he Hulk smashed. He literally Hulk smashed.
Jeff: And I love that you wrote those very words into the Hulk smash idea was right there on page.
Layla: Yeah. I mean, it was this big ginger giant and he was done. He was so done.
Jeff: Did you all along that Holt was demi or did that rise up as you sorted out “Silent Knight?”
Layla: Oh, I knew all along in the trilogy. I don’t know that I knew right when I wrote “Prince of Killers,” but I knew it in the trilogy. By the time I got to “New Empire,” that was going to be it. There’s a conversation with Hawes where he talks about the first time he met Brax and he says, I’ve only ever loved two people and that way. And so that’s Emilia and Brax. And because those are, those were the connections. Cause Emilia does play a big role in him understanding his demisexuality and again, betrayals cut really tough when the heart of your relationships are trust.
And I wanted more representation all the way across the queer spectrum. And so I was really happy to be able to portray the demisexuality with Holt.
Jeff: This is a very queer series. Not just in your main characters. I mean, you’ve got support characters, like Jax who is such a favorite of mine.
Layla: Yeah they are a lot of fun, and then just complicated as you’ll find out more.
Jeff: They’re complicated, but they’re willing to jump into anything. There’s no fear there.
Layla: And super smart. And yeah, willing to dive in and get their hands dirty. And also loyal, right? I mean, these they’re assassins/bad guys, but the loyalty that they engender with people because they are too right. I mean, they will stand up for you the Madigans. So, and that’s very apparent with Brax, like what, they’re the links to which they’re willing to go because he has showed them the ultimate loyalty.
Jeff: It’s an interesting look at found family that we find so often in romance, that it really takes that to a whole different level in many ways, I think.
Layla: Even the people that have left them for one reason or another, Avery who was their top Lieutenant, you get a little bit of her background and how she came into the fold.
And again, even though her connection is not there anymore, necessarily to the fold, she has stayed in because of that found family aspect.
Jeff: What was some of the research that you had to do for the past in “Silent Knight,” because a good chunk of it takes place while Holt is deployed in Afghanistan.
Layla: The boards, all of the message boards, you look through and research. Lots of making sure that, titles were right. Ranks were right. I did take some liberties, right? Brax’s career path is not typical. That orientation position is not typical, and so doing that carefully. The style of it and being the vignettes as opposed to necessarily being full on day to day did help a little bit, and that it could be still focused on the relationship. And that just happens to be going on in the background. But it’s interesting because all of that’s going on still, when Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was in effect. And so there’s some tiptoeing around of what they can and can’t say and for Holt, it’s really hard because he comes from a family with Hawes and Helena who are very upfront with her sexuality and from San Francisco, which generally is very upfront. And so, he gets there, and he doesn’t think twice about mentioning those, his siblings and their sexuality and things like probably shouldn’t have said that. But then it gives Brax this little bit of I’m not alone.
Which he desperately needed after being in the military 17 years without having anyone to talk to.
Jeff: Back to “Queen’s Ransom” for a minute, because we got ourselves out of order just because I’m all about “Silent Knight” at the moment.
Layla: I wrote them out of order to be honest.
Jeff: That was one of the things I was going to ask, and we could start there since “Silent Knight” was you know, bringing you back in to writing after 2020. What was it like to now go back and write the book out of order and to do “Queen’s Ransom?”
Layla: I write out of order anyways. I’m that person.
Jeff: But probably not the person who writes completely out of order with the books, right?
Layla: Yeah, no. So I had to change a few little lines. They were kind of going in tandem, but there are times where “Silent Knight” would get further along than “Queen.”
And vice versa, but in writing through “Silent Knight” too, I understood better what Helena’s story should be and where Celia should be as that grounding force of the family. So it actually really helped. It’s how I write a book. I write first scene, last scene, and I needed to do that with the series too, to know where everything was going.
It also helped resolve the, with Helena’s story, me trying to make it more complicated. We didn’t really need that. That was a whole other layer of complication that the series didn’t need. And it’s also a story I could tell later if I wanted to. So it was, it was good. It opened up some stories for other characters as well that you’ll see later. And so, I was happy about that too.
Jeff: Celia is amazing because given what she already knew because of her brother’s connection to the family. She was not that reticent to. Bring her and her kids along for the ride?
Layla: No. And I mean, she lost her brother for 10 years in a way.
With what happened to Chris and his family and also him diving into undercover work for 10 years. And she doesn’t want to lose her brother again. Right. Particularly with what had happened with her ex she also wanted family around for her kids. And wanted their uncle there as well.
It was really important for her to stay connected to Chris. And there was no doing that without being connected to the Madigans. And so, the more she also was around them, they’re still, they’re a family and they’re tight and they protect their own. And ultimately, she has been protecting her own for all those kids’ lives because she’s effectively been a single parent.
And so, it was nice to have a support system. That’s what she desperately needed.
Jeff: I loved how their relationship just kept growing through the book because they’ve got that push and pull to like, you really need to stay away from me, but I’m really not. And here we go. But you opened with a bang with Helena showing up after being gone for a while and immediately having the repair shop, shot up, which is quite the opening. But then she’s right there. And those two, I love the dichotomy of how sweet they are and then how fierce both of them are, I mean, it’s two alpha women coming together, which was just awesome.
Layla: And fierce in different ways too. And that’s what I really loved is that Celia kind of surprised me. I probably went into that thinking she was more of a beta type character and oh no, she was total alpha character.
As I wrote more and more like that became clear, right. And that’s been her defense mechanism. It’s also just been, she’s taken care of those kids and her mom too. And so Helena is a good match for her. Helena is also going to be someone to stand up to her, to an extent.
Jeff: Anything you discovered as you wrote your first f/f pairing with “Queen’s Ransom” after so much m/m pairings through the years.
Layla: Not so much. I think the discovery of, it’s two alpha women, let’s go. That it was easier than I thought it was going to be to some extent because the character is still, it’s still a Layla story.
And so, I liked that I could do that. I’m definitely looking forward to doing more. You got to do some different things. And, but a lot of it’s still, like I said, it’s still a little story.
Jeff: The thing that I found interesting back on “Silent Knight,” because you just talked about a Layla book, which to me almost always includes a good car chase or 10 “Silent Knight” really pulled back a little bit into the types of big set pieces that were there. There are things that get shot up. There’s I wouldn’t even call it a car chase. There are people speeding around trying to find where people have gone. Yeah. But you seem to pivot a little bit, the action and how the action played out in “Silent Knight.” What brought that on it at? What was that like? Cause it’s really different from not just in “Fog City” but even going back into the Whiskeyverse and “Trouble Brewing.”
Layla: Well, it’s a story. I mean, one, I wanted the two to make the back the past in the present to mirror.
Right. The past has its big action scene. The one with, when they were attacked and then the present has the big one at the police station and that’s the giant action scene. And so, one balance. And so that’s why there’s, they’re structured that way.
But two, this is a story about a hacker, so he’s going to solve the problems, doing what he does, which is hacking. Right. And also, it’s in his point of view and it’s been clearly established in all of the all three trilogy books and in Helena’s is that all three siblings are not there at the same time and an action scene.
I mean, that’s how it’s worked because there has to always be one of them outside. And so, he’s not there at the rescue at the end. It’s not his it’s in his point of view. And so, he’s not at that scene because one, he’s got something else that’s got to go do, which is my favorite scene.
Jeff: We won’t spoil that one.
Layla: It was so fun to write that. But I mean, he’s got that to do, and that’s his story. Right. It was more important for him to have that moment of that scene to come, to be able to move forward than it was to go do the action scene. Because that’s Holt’s story. And so that’s the other reason that plays out that way.
You might see the action scene in a bonus thing later from Brax’s point of view. Cause he’s the one that’s in that last scene of the rescue scene. but again, this is that present part is a story about a hacker. I mean, the whole thing is a story about a hacker. So, so was Jamie to an extent, but you still had all the FBI going on, whereas this is the hacker. The plot aspects are going to get solved with the hacking.
Jeff: Was it as fun as I think it is to bring in everybody into this book?
Layla: Oh my God. The FBI scene was so much fun to write. I write dialogue first. And there’s a scene where the siblings are together and they’re in the FBI building and Helena is just on fire with the snark, right?
Like did you ever hear the story about three assassins and FBI agents and the cop, they were all in the FBI building? Like it’s so funny. And it was great because this is the last, it’s a turning point. So “Fog City” is separate from the Whiskeyverse. But this is a turning point in the whole. They all exist in the same world. These people couldn’t not run into each other. Right. I mean, Mel runs everything anyways. Let’s all be honest.
Jeff: This is really all her universe.
Layla: It really is the Mel-verse. But it’s a turning point in the verse for where we’re going next. And so everybody got to come out and play and there have been connections with Holt and Jamie before, not in the same place, but you know, these two really good hackers. And there was that there was some back and forth not directly, but through Hawes and Chris and Mel in the trilogy. So it made sense for them to all be there together.
And Lauren gets to come out and play because she’s fun to play with. Yeah. So, and then Nic is the prosecutor. So of course he’s going to be in the middle of all this and Mel’s the negotiator.
Jeff: Quite possibly my favorite line was when they were in the FBI building and everybody walks out of the bullpen and I think it Brax who says, did they just leave the hacker in the FBI server room?
Layla: Yeah, that was fun. But he doesn’t care. I think that’s not the point right then, but then yeah, everyone’s got their mission from that scene, right? Like Hawes and Chris are running out to help Scottie and Mel’s on their trail and Aiden and Helena have to go do the law thing with Nic on the line.
And so, I just left them there and they get a nice, really cute moment with the two of them.
Jeff: Super cute and a nice little, Light moment in the midst of everything. And I’m just like, that was brilliant. And if you were going to leave a hacker somewhere, I mean, Holt’s pretty, pretty upstanding when he’s in the right setting.
Layla: And you’re right. It was the respite moment, like where you have to sit there and there is a lot going on. Like you need the humor, the moment of humor and the moment to breathe and catch your breath before things start to ramp up again from there.
Jeff: So in terms of, I keep going back and forth on what book we’re talking about in terms of “Queen’s Ransom,” do you have a favorite scene in the book that you can say what it was without giving up too much?
Layla: Yeah. It was a scene I wrote later where Helena comes home late at night and Celia is asleep and they have this really, she kind of comes in late. And has this really cute, like it’s soft, it’s a quiet moment. It’s probably the, one of the quietest moments I’ve ever written. I just liked it. It came later, like I needed that moment, and it just pulled the book together. I love when that happens in edits, when you figure out the missing scene and that was the missing scene. I also love when they spar. I loved that. I thought that scene was a lot of fun.
Jeff: What about in “Silent Knight?”
Layla: Oh, geez. You want me to pick a favorite? I told you my favorite and I can’t spoil it.
Jeff: I think you did. And it’s sitting in there with what Holt does it, the end that we won’t talk too much about it.
Layla: That’s not a scene with Brax. If I had a scene between the two of them. Again, it’s the quiet, soft scene, like when they are with Lily and Holt surprises him with the Hanukkah dinner. It’s not Hanukkah anymore, but at that point, they need that break in the middle of everything that’s going on.
And it is a tradition they have kept up since they were in the military where Holt first surprised him with that. And he missed it this last year in the books because of everything that had been going on and because of the tension that had been rising between them and after a near death, and he’s like, I don’t want to miss these anymore.
And it was you know, that was them, they’re really family scene and you could see where they were going.
Jeff: I really like how you write the kids in these last two books. I was trying to think back on the previous books. And we see family and children back in the Whiskeyverse and in “Trouble Brewing” there’s moments of kids, but here really looking at Celia’s kids, how uh, Lily has grown up to being able to have a few words. Just loved all of them.
Layla: Thank you. Thanks. It’s not natural for me. We don’t have kids. Yeah, really thank my editor for helping with that, because I have to get feedback from folks about that. I also wanted, even though this is a family of assassins, it’s still a family there, they are third generation and there will be more generations.
And this is they value family, and they want families like those kids are gonna be part of it all.
Jeff: So let’s look into the future. There’s a lot of stuff coming. Cause you mentioned this is a turning point and one of the turning points is very clear as you hit basically the last page of the book. Where would you like to start with where the future goes?
Layla: Well the immediately next project is not connected at all. It’s a standalone polyamorous romantic mystery. That’s been hanging out for a while on my hard drive, and I’m really excited to be digging into it and finally getting it into shape to, to publish. It’s I multiple aspects of reasons why it wasn’t ready to go yet. I think “Variable Onset” helped a lot because I. Got the romantic mystery down a little bit better that, that storytelling and what I needed to do there. And so, this feels a lot more like that, if that makes sense.
Then after that There are snippets of things, “Fog City” related that are coming, a little bit of foodie romance I do want to do, but yeah, I mean, as far as what’s next there’s kind of two setups.
I’m really interested to hear what folks want to see next. Marsh is a character that gets introduced who I’ve got some plans for. He is a friend of a very close friend of Brax and also Holt’s former CO. And so, he is going to get his story, which is fun. I’m really looking forward to that because it bounces around a lot because of what he does now, as far as location.
And then, yeah, there’s a setup for what I’m super looking forward to Brax and Mel, herding cats basically people we have seen that need a redemption arc. One thing that I have always loved, and I’ve made no bones about it is that Nic is my favorite character. And he started out as a foil, right. For Aiden and Jamie. And then I love him and a lot of people like him now. And I like playing the redemption arc.
You probably saw some of that with some characters already in “Silent Knight,” one in particular writing her, scene made me actually tear up. I want to tell some more stories with folks and I want to tell them across Whiskeyverse and “Fog City.” So, you’ll see some familiar faces romantic suspense and everyone’s got something to redeem for.
Jeff: So exciting, Just the whole thing. I’m looking forward to the polyamorous. romantic mystery too,
Layla: Set in small town basically like Southport, North Carolina, which is where we to go to the beach – fictional, but based on that, and someone’s murdering professors in a very Shakespearian themed away. And it’s second chance and best friends to lovers too. And I’m really excited about it.
Jeff: You’ve told stories in a few different ways now, because if you look at “Irish and Whiskey” and “Trouble Brewing”, and even at the original “Fog City” trilogy, you’ve told stories through that trilogy. So you follow that same couple of getting there happily ever after through the three books.
But then you do the one-offs like “Variable Onset” and “Queen’s Ransom” and “Silent Knight.” What drives you to tell something across three versus one?
Layla: I can tell from a plotting aspect, what I’m going to need. For how long, but sometimes the characters fool you. And it’s also what do you plan for their relationship? I thought “VO” was going to be a three book series, but they got to happy just fine in one, and that’s what they needed. And so that just worked out to where their story wrapped all in one. It worked with the conflict and that worked with the plot, but it all wrapped up in one.
Ditto, Holt and Kane, and “Queen’s Ransom” that it works. Thinking ahead of the new series, like one of them is a trilogy because I know what he’s got to go through to get from point A to point B. It can’t be one book.
In looking at the polyamide mystery as one book. I know what it is. I know what the characters needed to get from point A to point B. In the redemption series, it’s different couples. And so, it’s set up for one book each couple because it’s more discreet. That will be a series where you can pop in and read which ones you want. But it’s all existing in the same world. So, it depends on what the story arc and then there’s something else planned for later. That it’s one whole story arc, but three different couples. It just kind of depends on what the plot and the characters are dictating.
I like them all. Mean, I like even the ones that are standalone a lot of times, they’re parts of bigger series, because I like to sit with characters that’s I come from TV and nine seasons of things. So, you know, I tend to stick out and want to know more and know the whole landscape, but you’ll see Lincoln and Carter again. Yeah, it’s one story, but they’re going to pop up. They’re part of the whole world too.
Jeff: Speaking of characters to pop up, I have to like throw my desire to see something from Jax who from the moment they walked on the page was like, I need to know more about this person.
Layla: You are going to get their story. And you know, if all behaves and cooperates, I’m aiming for the end of this year. And it’ll be as part of a “Fog City” thing that I don’t want to spoil quite yet. There was intentionally something left out of each book for a reason so that I could tell Jax’s story, and they get their story through that. And I’m excited for it. So, I really want their’s. We’re working on the cover already. So I’m excited.
Jeff: I’m excited. I’m really considered a Christmas present.
So as you’ve been writing all this stuff, I know you’ve been reading. I see you put out book recs all the time on Facebook. What is something you would recommend to our audience that you’ve read recently?
Layla: So, because I’ve been writing mostly romantic suspense, I’ve been reading more contemporary. If I’m writing one, I am reading the other.
Things that I really enjoyed Anna Zabo’s “Cinnamon Roll.”
Jeff: Me too. Oh my gosh.
Layla: They are, if you want to masterclass on how to write kink and how to write BDSM correctly, and also how to write consent that is sexy, go read their books, right? Read “Cinnamon Roll.” It is. Oh, I’m just, it’s so good. I thought it was excellent.
And let’s see other things that I really liked. I thought Riley Hart’s “The End Game” was very good. I enjoyed that. I read that super quick. And then. Other “Bold Brew” books, I really liked “Perfect Matcha” by Erin McLellan. I thought was great.
Allison’s “Puppuccino” was, I thought it was cute. And so that’s been a fun series just to find different new authors too, and just different, whatever you like has been really cool within that. Oh, and then I read Connor Peterson’s I’ve read the first of the “Lousy Boys” series. Trouble with Lousy Boys”. And so, it was “Red Hot Sugar.” it was interesting, I really like it. It’s a little bit of PNR and urban fantasy mixed in, and then there’s polyamory in there too. I like it so far. I’ve just started in book two.
Oh. And then a big one. M.A. Grant’s upcoming series “The White Thorn Agency”, it comes out in June. Book one is “Rare Vigilance.” It’s so good.
It’s insane. Yeah, she got a lot of screaming text messages as I was reading through them. I mean, she did the same thing to me reading “Silent Knight,” so it was fair game. But it was excellent. It’s going to be a really fun series, the world building’s incredible. It’s cool. Cause it’s set in I don’t know if it’s a run downtown in New York necessarily, but like some is trying to be revitalized. And so it’s not your typical setting. It’s not necessarily your typical characters at all. And so I’ve, I just really enjoyed it.
Jeff: Okay. Excellent. That’s some good stuff for, for me and our listeners and how can people follow you online to know when all of this next phase of things are coming out?
Layla: Sure. So, my website is www.laylaryne.com. And all of my socials are @laylareyne. I. Pretty active on Instagram. I have a Facebook group Layla’s Lushes. And that’s where I tend to live on Facebook and then I have a newsletter too. So that goes out monthly with updates, cover, reveals, all that kind of stuff.
Jeff: Fantastic. We’ll link to that. And all the books we’ve talked about in the show notes. Layla, thank you so much for coming back and talking about the end of this amazing series.
Layla: Thanks for having me.
Jeff: Thanks for the books. So good.
Layla: I’m glad you enjoyed them. I hope everyone else does too.
Will: This episode’s transcript has been brought to you by our community on Patreon. If you’d like to read the conversation for yourself, simply head on over to the show notes page for this episode biggayfictionpodcast.com. And don’t forget the show notes page also has links to everything that we talked about in this episode,
Jeff: on the show notes page, you’ll also find links to Libro.fm for the books that we talked about that have audiobook versions available there. When you buy an audio book from Libro.fm, you’re actually supporting a local bookstore of your choice. So, it’s a great way to get an audiobook and also support a store in your community. Listeners to the Big Gay Fiction Podcast, have the opportunity to get a two month audiobook membership for the price of one. And if you want to take advantage of that offer simply go to biggayfictionpodcast.com/librofm.
And as you could probably tell by that interview, I had such a great time talking to Layla about all things “Fog City.” Thanks so much to Layla for coming back to chat. And boy, I’m looking forward to what’s coming next, especially the books with Mel and Brax, and then Jax’s story too. I can’t wait.
Will: All right. I think that’s going to do it for now. Coming up on Monday in episode 310 Tara Lain and Eli Easton join us to talk about their collaboration on the “Nerds vs. Jocks” series.
Jeff: I loved talking to these two so much. The “Nerds vs. Jocks” series is the series I didn’t know I needed this year. I have so much enjoyed this. They’ve got the third book in the series coming out at the end of this month. So, it was the perfect time to talk to them about this collaboration.
Will: Thank you so much for listening. Until next time, stay strong, be safe and above all else, keep turning those pages and keep reading.
Jeff: Big Gay Fiction Podcast is part of the Frolic Podcast Network. You can find more shows you’ll love at frolic.media/podcasts. Our original theme music is composed by Daryl Banner.