I was born and raised in Indiana, and I’m raising my kids here. In fact, I now live in the house right across the little cul de sac from the house I grew up in. I’m a Midwestern girl in so many ways, and 90% of the time, I’d just as soon set my books in the Midwest. It’s comfortable to me, and I like exploring my home and its intricacies in my writing. When I wrote Text Appeal, however, I knew I needed to leave my comfort zone and set the book in Vegas—even though I have never been there (but—yay!—we’ll remedy that in October).
The hero of Text Appeal is a professional poker player, but I knew I wanted to set the book in Las Vegas before I even knew much about Charlie. My reason was simple: I feel like there’s this misconception that people who live in “exciting places” have lives very much different than the rest of us. As if geography might change how we fall in love or deal with heartbreak (or might save us from mundane chores like grocery shopping). Same thing with people who live privileged lives—it’s easy to think the money that makes their lives financially easier makes the rest of the issues in their lives easier too—as if an heiress doesn’t have to come into her own and find herself the same way the rest of us do. With Text Appeal I wanted to play with both ideas and show that someone who should ostensibly have an “easy” and “exciting” life doesn’t necessarily have either. So I set my book in Vegas and made my heroine a hotel heiress who is trying desperately to do all the right things and be the perfect daughter.
Vegas was the perfect backdrop for Riley because it symbolized everything she denied herself and was missing in her life—fun, excitement, reckless abandon.
“What’d he buy you?” Lacey’s gaze shot to the nondescript, eco-friendly canvas shopping bag on the couch. “Is it in there?”
But before Riley could respond, Lacey was pulling out sexy, sexy leather and Riley’s Inner Naughty Girl was squirming impatiently, saying, Let me try it on. Now!
Lacey’s jaw dropped. “Oh. My. God. This is so hot.” She laid it out on the back of the couch and looked at Riley. “Do I even want to know why my brother bought this for you?” She smiled. “Charlie’s always been sweet on you. If he weren’t my brother, I’d tell you to go act like the young woman you are and have a wild affair.”
Riley thumped her friend’s arm. “I’m with Chaz.”
“What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas,” Lacey said with a shrug.
“Yeah, but I have to live here.”
Riley denied herself all the fun things we people who don’t live there think Vegas is all about. And in Text Appeal, she experiences those things not because of where she is but because of who she’s with. Romance doesn’t need a fancy backdrop. It just needs the right guy.
And you know what? I loved writing about Vegas. I spent way too much time online looking at pictures and going to the websites of the hotels and restaurants in the area. I spent a ton of time researching casino security (SO COOL!), drooled over menus and read reviews. It was an amazing secondary experience. I can’t wait to try it first-hand!
Hope to see you there! J
NewYork Times and USA Today bestselling author Lexi Ryan writes adult and new adult romances with humor, heat, and heart. A former college English professor, Lexi now writes full time. A proud member of Romance Writers of America, she lives in rural Indiana with her husband and two children.
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