Exclusive Q&A with Layla Reyne

Hi! Thanks for having me on Gay Book Review today to celebrate the release of NOBLE HOPS, Book 3 of my Trouble Brewing series. This is the grand—explosive—finale for Nic and Cam’s story. Lots of action, lots of legal and investigative casework, and lots of romance. I hope you’ll enjoy this Q&A as I look back on the series, touch on various other bits of writer fun, and tease what’s ahead. Happy reading!

Tell us a bit about NOBLE HOPS.

NOBLE HOPS finds our heroes, Nic and Cam, squaring off against the series big bad, Duncan Vaughn, a loan shark who’s after Nic’s father’s estate. Nic will need Cam and all of their family, found in more ways than one, to survive with his life, relationship and career intact.

Was there anything that surprised you about writing Nic, Cam or the Trouble Brewing series?

When Nic and Cam first appeared on page together in Barrel Proof (Agents Irish and Whiskey 3), the sparks caught me by surprise. I’d been eyeing Cam for a spin-off since he first showed up in Single Malt (Agents Irish and Whiskey 1). I had no idea his love interest would be Nic until that moment in Barrel Proof. And even then, it was more about the sparks that flew during their arguments. What surprised me most in Trouble Brewing was seeing how well-matched they were, beyond the arguing. They are both fairly straight-forward men, they listen when they need to, they’re adults about their work and relationships, they’re dedicated to their families and friends, and they’re similarly motivated by justice, redemption and service to others. They’re inherently decent people, who make each other better, and I loved that about them.

What do you like most about the romantic suspense genre?

I love the balance of plot and romance in romantic suspense. I grew up on cop shows and action movies, so my perfect world is case-solving and car chases with some kissing thrown in.

What has been your favorite part of writing this spinoff series?

Hands down, getting to know these characters better. I loved telling the story of Cam’s missing sister—the reason he became a kidnap and rescue specialist with the Bureau – and introducing his big, loud, loving family. I also loved peeling back Nic’s many layers. Learning he was a tattooed, secret badass with a tortured past elevated him to the top of my character babies list. And seeing him go from having no family to more family than he knows what to do with will always be one of my favorite things.

What inspires your book ideas?

I find inspiration all over. Real-life here in Silicon Valley (hacking!), places I’ve lived and visited (North Carolina, San Francisco, Boston), favorite food and drinks (brewery!), a photo I’ve seen. My upcoming project, FOG CITY, all started because I saw a shot on a photographer’s website that was AMAZING. I had to know what that couple’s story was. A week later, I had the whole trilogy plan.

What do you do when you get stuck?

Ideally, step away and read a bit. But with the constant time crunch these days, more often I jump ahead (or back) to a different scene so I don’t waste time beating my head against the desk.

Who are three romance authors who turn you into a fangirl?

Kristen Ashley (I’ll get my first chance to meet her at Book Lovers Con in May, and I hope I don’t make a fool of myself), LJ Hayward (who I get to beta read for, thank fuck, because otherwise I couldn’t stand the wait between books), and Alexis Hall (gorgeous prose, well-timed humor, and FOR REAL will forever be one of my favorite reader experiences).

Is there a TV show that you’ve recently binge-watched?

The Final Table, a cooking competition show on Netflix. I loved the international focus of the competition, and it was so cool seeing some of the chefs from restaurants I’ve dined at as competitors and judges.

What’s your favorite snack and/or beverage while you’re writing?


Do you listen to music while you write? What are some tunes on your playlist?

Yes! I have tinnitus (constant ear ringing) so I have to listen to music or work in coffee shops to drown it out. I need outside noise. I’ve had Bishop Briggs, Kaleo, and Red Hot Chili Peppers on repeat lately. I’m also a fan of live albums—Pearl Jam, Gov’t Mule, Dave Matthews Band and Rodrigo y Gabriela are my favorites—for when I have long stretches of drafting or editing.

What are you currently reading?

It’s a secret! I’m judging for RWA’s RITA contest, so those books are my current reading for the month.

What are three romance novels on your to-be-read list?

Jenn Burke’s NOT DEAD YET. Lucy Lennox and Molly Maddox’s IRL. Hailey Turner’s SOULBOUND II.

Do you use a bookmark or dogear pages?

As I only read e-books, I’m a digital flagger/bookmarker.

What would be your dream vacation?

A month in French wine country.

What’s next? Any upcoming book projects in the works that you can tell us about?

I’ve got several projects in the works that I’m super excited about. First up this summer is FOG CITY, a new romantic suspense series featuring a family of assassins and the mysterious stranger who brings news of a coup. In the fall, I’ll be releasing DINE WITH ME, an ugly cry/foodie romance about a dying chef on a tour of last suppers and the travel companion who must convince him to fight for love and his future. And coming in 2020, look for another new romantic suspense series featuring a prickly FBI instructor and a hot shot special agent working together to solve forensic mysteries. Lots of good stuff!

Title: Noble Hops (Trouble Brewing Book 3)
Author: Layla Reyne
Publisher: Carina Press
Release Date: February 11, 2019
Genre(s): Romance, Mystery
Page Count: 320
Reviewed by: Kirstin


Everything Dominic Price has worked hard to uphold is about to come crashing down on everything he holds dear.

So much for the quiet life. Just as assistant US attorney and brewery owner Dominic Price is settling into a comfy new chapter with his partner, FBI agent Cameron Byrne, the sudden death of Nic’s father puts their happily-ever-after in jeopardy. Nic immediately suspects foul play, his prime suspect a notorious gangster his father was indebted to—only now the loan shark is out for blood.

Cam has been longing for Nic to finally let him in on this very personal case. But when Nic’s belief that he’s the sole Price heir is upended, the line between personal and professional starts to blur, leaving Cam unsure of where he stands.

Nic is depending on Cam’s kidnap and rescue expertise to save his recently discovered family member before it’s too late. But with a dangerous threat closing in, the ghosts from Nic’s past cast long shadows. Any relationship could crack under the pressure, but for Nic, finding his family might mean losing the love of his life.

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Trouble Brewing Series

About Layla Reyne

2016 RWA® Golden Heart® Finalist Layla Reyne was raised in North Carolina and now calls San Francisco home. She enjoys weaving her bicoastal experiences into her stories, along with adrenaline-fueled suspense and heart-pounding romance. When she’s not writing stories to excite her readers, she downloads too many books, watches too much television, and cooks too much food with her scientist husband, much to the delight of their smushed-face, leftover-loving dogs.


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  • I’m reading Noble Hops right now. Love Nic and Cam! Will be sad for this series to end, but it sounds like Layla Reyne has several more in the works and they definitely sound like my kind of stories! This makes me very happy. 🙂


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