Today I have a special treat for y'all. I can't remember how long ago I met Taylor Lunsford, but I can tell you that it's been a long time and she has often helped me by listening to me vent about a book I'm having trouble writing. I've also watched her work her butt off to write her own books and to get published, so I'm beyond thrilled to introduce her and her brand new book, Fair Game! It has a nerdy hero, y'all. I loves me a nerdy hero. <3
Today she's telling us where she got the idea and how long it took to bake in the mental oven before it became a story. Welcome, Taylor!
Attack of the Plot Bunnies with Taylor Lunsford
All writers get attacked by plot bunnies. They come from the strangest places. Some come from a line of dialog in a movie or a TV show. Others come from a song. And then there are some that are small and insidious, that take root when you least expect it. They slowly grow and multiply until all you can do is write that book, no matter what.
Fair Game was one of those. The seed was planted back in 2012, when Roni was first starting to work on her fifth Loving on the Edge book, Kelsey and Wyatt’s book, Caught Up In You. She and I had been friends for a year or two at that point, and she was telling me about some plotting issues she was having with the book.
I remember it really vividly. I was at the Dallas Arboretum with my dad and little brother at the Chagall exhibit (which I’d already seen) so my brother could take pictures. I, of course, was on my phone. As Roni and I talked about some of the changes she was making to her original idea for the book, a little voice in the back of my head started whispering to me. What if you had a kickass alpha female heroine who fell head-over-heels for the geeky beta hero?
For those of you who don’t know, beta heroes, as defined by the always brilliant Sarah Wendell and Candy Tan are: “He’s a dude. A nice dude….” They go on to say: “what makes the beta hero so great: an unshakable core of pure and stalwart good, so constant and abiding it’s damn near alpha in its strength.” That is what I latched onto with Liam. He was clear in my mind almost from the start. He was Clark Kent without the whole alien-from-another-planet thing. And he had to look like Henry Cavill (because I’ve been in love with him since I was 15).
I didn’t immediately work on this plot bunny I was busy with other things at the time. But it kept whispering seductively until I couldn’t ignore it anymore. I had to sit down and write this story. Vivien (named for the erstwhile Vivien Leigh), took a bit more time to come to me, but once she did, she stormed down the doors and made her presence known.
Now, five years after they first started whispering to me, Vivien and Liam are out in the world for everyone to love. Keep listening to the plot bunnies, friends. You never know when that rabbit trail is going to lead to something great!
About the book:
In her designer shoes and power suits, Vivien Monroe couldn’t be more out of place in the video game company she inherited from her eccentric father. Not only does she have to sort out her father’s last request and deal with a younger sister she barely knows, she has to go toe-to-toe with her father’s protégé—a man who makes her think about the last thing she should be thinking about right now.
With his thick-framed glasses and graphic tees, Liam Hale is the exact opposite of what she needs right now. His relaxed, out-of-the-box attitude reminds her too much of her father’s more exasperating quirks, but his dedication and quiet stubbornness begin to drive her crazy in a completely different way.
All Vivien wants is to get back to her life in New York, but someone is stealing the company’s best game ideas, and an FBI agent is sniffing around. She’ll save her father’s legacy for her sister and then she’s out of there—if she can leave Liam behind.
“You look beautiful tonight, by the way.” He pitched his voice low enough that they wouldn’t be overheard, but just loud enough to be heard over the music, enjoying the tickle of her hair. “I meant to say that earlier, but I, uh, got a little tongue tied.”
“You don’t clean up so bad yourself,” she said, leaning back to look up into his face. There was subtle shift in her expression. She almost looked…not happy, that wasn’t the word. Maybe content fit best. “I must say, I half-expected you to show up wearing sneakers with your suit.”
He laughed at that. “Even I know how to dress up when I have to. Couldn’t be seen with such a pretty woman looking like a slob. I knew you would pull out all the stops for this, but you… You look like you stepped out of one of those old Hollywood film reels of premieres or something.”
“Well, you’re not exactly Clark Gable. Jimmy Stewart, maybe.” The teasing note in her voice sent a little glow of warmth straight to the center of his chest and hardened his cock even further. “But you’ll do. I’m surprised Agent Calhoun isn’t here with you.”
“Sophia?” Liam frowned, trying to understand where that had come from. Then he got. “We’re not together.”
Vivien raised an eyebrow. “Really? You seemed awfully cozy the other day.”
“We’re friends.” Liam looked her straight in the eyes so there would be no confusion. “We were together in college, but she unceremoniously dumped me to run off to join the FBI. But we’re evolved adults who are still cordial to each other when we have to be.”
In a practiced move, he sent her spinning out of his arms, only to bring her back, dipping her a little before bringing her upright. “Any other questions?”
“Are you trying to sweep me off my feet, Mr. Hale?”
“I don’t know, Ms. Monroe.” He settled her closer to him, the heat of her body radiating against his. “Would you let me if I was?”
Vivien didn’t say anything, the music drifting over them like a warm spring rain. She looked away the ghost of the earlier darkness in her eyes, but she let her head rest lightly against his shoulder. The gesture might seem small, but it spoke volumes to him. On some level, she trusted him. She wouldn’t let her guard down like this if she didn’t. He didn’t need an answer, not now, and she didn’t seem prepared to give him one. Liam knew what he wanted—time. Time with her, time to figure out what was going on between them. Time to hold her for longer than a song.
From the time she figured out how to turn the Disney Read-Along cassette tape over in the dark, Taylor’s been addicted to reading—both authorized and unauthorized. By the time she was thirteen, she’d started writing Newsies fan fiction and reading romance novels late into the night. A champion multi-tasker, she’s been known to read, write, and watch TV all at the same time, especially if there’s a HEA ending involved. In addition to being a frequent stress baker, she’s spent the majority of her free time becoming fluent in most dialects of nerdiness, starting with musicals, and is mildly obsessed with all things British (especially the Royal Family and tennis champ Andy Murray). Growing up with a village of strong women as an example, she doesn’t miss an opportunity to weave in community engagement and feminism into each of her books in one way or another—her heroines are always sassy and smart and her heroes wouldn’t have them any other way.
Thanks for stopping by, Taylor!