Title: Playing by the Rules
Author: Emily Robertson
Series: Portwood Brothers #1
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Release Date: August 25, 2015Summary:
Payton always had one rule she lived by, no boyfriends until after college. No one seemed to agree with her, even her own mother who had her at age sixteen. Returning to school after an accident that flipped Payton’s world upside down left her feeling out of control. Holding on to her rule seemed to be her only lifeline.
Josh had been letting the past rule his life for too long. Finally being at school, he’d become his own man, and he’d been putting all that behind him. Just when he thought he had it all put together, life got crazy. Not only did his ex show back up, but Josh also found he couldn’t get Payton Whitmore out of his head.
Once Josh convinces Payton to give him a shot, she’s so closed off that he wonders if it’s even worth it. Josh can tell there’s something special about Payton though, and as soon as he goes all in, he’s ready to show her that some rules are made to be broken.
“Hey look! It’s Geoff.” Payton pointed out his car pulling into campus and waved real big at him. When he flashed his lights, she knew that he noticed her.
He parked his car in his parking lot and got out. When he was out, Payton saw him wave back at her. She was so glad she had a friend like him. The streetlight illuminated him and he was looking sharp. Payton was always surprised he didn’t have a girlfriend. When an extra door closed, she realized he wasn’t alone, and her eyes darted over to the passenger side, and dread filled her. She tried to whisper, but she was sure that with all the booze in her system it wasn’t really all that quiet.
“Hailey! That’s him!”
“Him!” Payton cut her off. “It’s the guy I was telling you about. With Geoff.”
“Damn girl, you were right. He’s hot.”
“Quick look away. I think he’s staring at us,” Payton said frantically trying to find something else to concentrate on. She was looking around like a spaz, but she couldn’t help herself. Suddenly she noticed Hailey wasn’t only looking at the guy, she’d turned and was downright staring at him.
“What are you doing?” Payton hissed.
“I’m looking at this nice specimen of a man that seems to be staring at you. Pity you can’t look back, it’s a nice view.”
“What? No!” Payton felt her cheeks heat even more than they already were. She risked a quick glance, and sure enough, he was looking at her.
“Well, do something,” Hailey encouraged.
“What am I supposed to do? I’m not going over there. I’d make an ass out of myself.”
“So, I…oh hell,” Not having much reasoning still from all the Patrón running through her she yelled the first thing that came to mind as loud as she could, “HEY! YOU’RE KINDA CUTE!”
Payton planted her palm on her face, What the hell? Of all the things, that had to come out? Knowing she had to get out of there now, she started to pull on Hailey’s arm trying to get her to move. “What are you doing? Let’s go!” Payton hissed at her friend.
“I’m not going anywhere, you can leave without me if you must, but I’m staying right here.”
Payton knew Hailey was playing this card because it was a pact they had. It was best friend rule number one. You never EVER left the other alone especially when it was night and they were drunk. Payton and Hailey always made sure the other was home and safe. It looked like her BFF was using the rule against her tonight though.
“I kinda hate you right now,” Payton muttered under her breath.
“What was that?”
“Come on, they’re on the way over. If you love me, you’ll go, now.”
“Nope. Consider this my Christmas gift to you.”
Payton looked over and realized it wasn’t just Mr. Hot coming, but Geoff was headed their way too. Maybe she could still save this. Oh, who was she kidding? She couldn’t save this. She’d made an idiot of herself plain and simple. Hailey wasn’t doing anything to help; in fact, she was just rubbing it in.
Payton leaned in close and said, “Just remember Hailey, paybacks suck.” She plastered a fake smile on her face when she heard them approach. Turning towards Geoff she said, “Hey Geoff, buddy, how was your poker night?”
Geoff smirked, “Not too bad. I got creamed though.” He leaned in and gave her a hug. It took her by surprise. They’d been friends for a while, but they’d never really been the kind of friends who hugged just because. Something was off. Who was she kidding? The whole situation was off.
“Hey Hailey, how’s it going?” Geoff asked.
“Not too bad Geoffrey. Who’s your friend?” Hailey nodded in Josh’s direction.
Geoff cocked an eyebrow probably realizing he’d been scolded. No one used Geoff’s full name, ever. “Well, this is my friend Josh. Josh, this is Hailey, and that’s Payton.”
“It’s nice to finally meet you,” Josh said with a knowing grin to Payton like it was more of an inside joke.
Payton’s cheeks reddened, “Thanks. I can’t get you outta my head either.” When she realized what she’d actually said, she planted her palm on her face. Stupid Patrón shots. “Anyway, sorry, we’ve gotta go.”
Payton grabbed Hailey and yanked her towards the door. It wasn’t easy since Hailey was busy laughing her butt off. After she shoved Hailey in the door, she turned back to the guys.
“Night Mr. Gorgeous,” Hailey yelled through the open door, and Payton’s mouth dropped open. She needed to find a hole to bury herself in.
“Hailey!” Turning back towards the guys, “Sorry, we’ve had way too much to drink. Can we just pretend this whole thing didn’t happen?” She studied everyone’s faces and was mortified, “Didn’t think so.”
1. What is the biggest influence/interest that brought you to this genre?
What I love most about New Adult is the experiences that the characters are facing and what they feel. I remember when I went off to college and the things that I faced. I remember the things that I thought were a big deal then and really they were nothing. I remember facing things that I hope no one else has to, and what trials that brought.
Even though I would never want to relive that time in my life, there’s something about that period in our lives. There’s something about the experiences we face during those years, and how we all handle them. That’s what draws me to writing about characters that are just starting out in their adult lives.
2. When writing a book, what is your favorite part of the creative process(outline, plot, character names, editing, etc)?
I can honestly say it’s none of those examples. I’m what they call a pantser. The most I do before I write a book is what I like to call “The Questions of Doom.” It’s three pages of questions that range from easy (Name) to pull my hair out (What keeps your character up at night). I found after writing one book that I needed to have a place where I can keep facts about my main characters to reference so I can keep things straight. Other than that, I just write. I like to joke that most of the time I don’t see the plot twists in my books coming, so hopefully the readers won’t either.
I think my favorite part of writing a book has to be when I’m really in a scene, and it’s just flowing. I get this rush, almost like an adrenaline rush. I can just feel it coming out even though I may not know what’s about to happen. It’s like I’m reading a book or watching it all play out in front of me, and I’m writing just so I can see what’s about to happen, and when it does, it’s amazing. Sometimes it goes exactly as I thought it would and other times whatever happened messes up everything I thought I had planned. When something like that happens though, I can’t take it back. It was like the characters were telling their story, and it won’t work to change it. No matter how much it may mess with what I had in mind, it’s just easier if I go with it.
3. When reading a book, what genre do you find most interesting/intriguing?
I love romance. I think that’s why I started to write my own. I’m a huge sap when it comes to getting that happy ever after. My mood will determine what kind of book I want to pick up in the genre. Sometimes I just want something light where everything is fun and easy, and then there are times where I want a long, hard fought journey. There are times when I need to laugh out loud, and there are times that I want to be kept on the edge of my seat. In the end though, I want a love story in the midst of all of it. I read such a verity of both New Adult and Adult romance, and I love that I can get it all.
4. If you could co-author with any author, past or present, who would you choose?
I can’t pick just one, so I’m going to go with one past and one present. My past pick is playwright Luigi Pirandello. I have a degree in Theatre, and I spent many years reading, acting, and helping to produce shows. In my junior year I was in a show called Six Characters in Search of an Author by Luigi Pirandello. The show opens and the actors are rehearsing for a show, trying to get ready. They are interrupted by the characters who tell the actors they need help. The characters story was written but never finished, so they are living in limbo until it’s finished. In the end the director and actors don’t have a clue if the characters were real or what happened, but the characters, even though it isn’t a happy ending, have their ending.
What I love about the play is that even in 1921, Luigi got it. He understood that the characters could run the story. In the end the characters who were left unfinished took life of their own and found a way to play out the rest of their story so it could be told. I feel this way so many times with the characters in my head, and I think that the two of us (if we could get past the language barrier) would have so much to talk about.
If I could co-author a book with someone today, there are so many authors I’d love to write with. I’d love to write with Liliana Hart because I think she’s got amazing work ethic, and she knows how to write a wide range of characters. I haven’t met a Liliana book that I don’t like. Jasinda Wilder would be amazing to write with because she can make you feel things. She doesn’t give you the light version of books. She goes there. It’s gritty and rough, and she doesn’t sugar coat it. Marie Force creates worlds that I’ve fallen in love with, and I wait anxiously for. All these women are women I look up to in the industry, and I hope that some day I can have the knowledge of the business and be as confident in my craft as they are.
5. Have you always wanted to write or did it come to you "later in life"?
Writing is always something that has come easy to me. I remember being in school and actually enjoying writing papers in English class. I loved my Comp classes in college, and I had an amazing professor that really helped me to develop myself as a writer. He would take our papers with him to grade when he went to conferences, and I remember when he came back from one, there was a note from a woman named Emily on one of mine. It said something like, “What a great name for a future author.” Looking back on it, I wish I’d have kept that paper. All that said though, I didn’t go to college for English, and I didn’t keep up with any of it after I was out. Life happened, I got married, kids came along, and things just got busy.
I started to blog about nine or ten years ago. It was just me rambling about whatever was going on in my life on that day. I kept up with the blog for several years, but after time I just didn’t feel it anymore.
So when my son woke me up one night in the middle of a crazy, vivid dream, I was left not knowing what happened to the people I was dreaming about. Usually that sort of thing leaves me alone, but this time it didn’t. I thought about the scene all day, all night, and then the next day. I decided that maybe if I just write an ending, they’d leave me alone. Figuring it’d only be ten pages, I turned on the computer and went to work. I remember e-mailing my best friend because I couldn’t stand the idea of texting her. I think I said something like, “Hey, I know you’re going to laugh, and that’s okay. I can take it from you. I had this dream, and I started writing. I just had to tell someone. Pretty funny right?” When she e-mailed me back, she told me she thought it was cool, and she’d actually like to read it. It was all downhill from there. I’ve been writing ever since. That was three years ago, and what I thought would just be a fun one-time thing turned into a book, and then another book. Now three years later I’ve written five books, and I can’t stop.
Emily Robertson graduated from Southwestern College in Winfield, Kansas with a degree in Theatre. She is an avid reader and enjoys reading New Adult and Romance as much as she does writing them. She currently resides in the Washington D.C. area with her husband and two children. She loves connecting with and talking to other readers by e-mail, or on Facebook or Twitter. You can get information on her upcoming works by signing up for her newsletter.