HOW I MET LAURA CHAPMAN
Laura and I have crossed paths a few times in a group on Facebook, and I’m so excited that she was willing to spend some time answering my little interview questions. I’m currently reading her upcoming release, PLAYING HOUSE, and listening to her Queen of the League series (and really enjoying all of it!). Stay tuned for a plethora of reviews for Laura’s books!
ABOUT LAURA AS AN AUTHOR
What inspired you to write your first book?
I actually started—and failed to finish—four books while I was in college. The first book I wrote to completion was Hard Hats and Doormats, which will soon be re-released with minor edits under the title Rigged. I came up with this idea during my first year out of college while I was working my first full-time job. I was 22, and my first job involved traveling from railroad yard to railroad yard in city to city for one or two weeks every month to interview employees for their company magazines. This was during the height of the Great Recession in 2008-2009, and it was frequently difficult, lonely, and emotionally draining work. I came up with the characters and stories as way to entertain myself on those drives. I didn’t start writing it until National Novel Writing Month 2010 and finished the first draft a few months later. I was 24 and had no idea what I was doing—I was just writing, because I felt a need to tell that story. It wasn’t that long ago—six years—but it feels like forever.
What genre do you consider your books?
I see them as romantic comedies, though they vary. The Marrying Type, Making Christmas, and What Happens at Midnight are more sweet romances. The Queen of the League series is chick lit. Rigged is new adult, and Playing House is sexy. I do help people find the romances swoon-worthy and the situations humorous across the board, thus the rom-com label.
What is your favorite scene you’ve written?
I know there’s one in every story, but the first one that jumped into my mind is one that appears in the first few chapters of Three & Out, book three in the Queen of the League trilogy. In the scene, the main character and her love interest are picking out a band to be their theme music for the upcoming football season. (It’s a tradition they’ve carried on from the previous books.) I loved how the whole scene played out. I laughed while I wrote it, and I’ve laughed every time I’ve read it. It even gave me the quote that my cousin immortalized in a series of sassy Valentine’s cards.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Just write. It’s as easy—and hard—as that. More specifically, make time for writing. Whether it’s 15 minutes or 10 hours a day, carve out that time. Put it on your calendar. Shut out other distractions. Tell the world to leave you alone, you’re writing. I’m still working on doing this myself by setting “office hours.” I work full-time at a museum during the day, and I want to make sure I have time to live life, too, so these office hours are helping me find balance. You have to make writing a priority if you want to make today the day your write your story rather than someday.
Are any of your characters based on you?
Oh, probably all of them. Kidding. Not really, but I do pass on some of my traits or interests to each of my characters. It makes them more real and relatable, I suppose. Lexi Burke of Rigged works in a male-dominated industry she doesn’t understand, like I did. Elliot Lynch of The Marrying Type struggles with her weight and having a bit of a savior complex. Harper Duquaine of the Queen of the League series plays fantasy football, crochets, maintains a pescetarian diet, and lives with her adult brothers—all like I have at some point. Like me, Bailey Meredith in Playing House has a great—if different—relationship with her sister and shares my affinity for wearing denim and flannel. I’m pretty boring, though, so I have to make up a lot to keep their stories interesting.
ABOUT LAURA’S NEW RELEASE, PLAYING HOUSE
I wish I could remember the lightbulb moment I knew this would be the title, but I don’t. Almost from the moment I had the idea, I knew I’d call this Playing House. I can remember when, where, and how I came up with every other title, but this one sadly has nothing. It just fit.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Probably the biggest one is that things aren’t always what they seem. Relationships, jobs, TV shows, and so on can look perfect or ideal, but there is always more going on than what you see on the outside.
How much of the book is realistic?
If we’re talking in terms of my life, not really. Bailey and Paige Meredith share a tight-knit, ride-or-die bond like my sister and I do. Plus, there’s the passion for wearing denim and flannel. I did work in a medical emergency from my past, which finally made a very scary and life-threatening moment from when I was 18 pay off in a creative sense. If we’re talking in the sense of reality in general of “could this happen in real life?” then my answer is definitely. I particularly hope there are men like Wilder.
ABOUT LAURA AS A READER
So. Many. I’ve always been a reader, but books became my passion and great love when I read the Baby-Sitters Club books by Ann M. Martin and, the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I actually named Wilder after two of my all-time favorite historical fiction authors: LIW (Wilder) and Nebraska author Bess Streeter Aldrich (Aldrich). As a comedy writer, I find Sophie Kinsella’s books influential and as a romance writer, I’ve always looked to Nora Roberts, Julie Garwood, Judith McNaught, Rachel Gibson, Julia Quinn, and Catherine Coulter for inspiration. Perhaps the greatest personal influence for me is Stephanie Bond. I attended a workshop she led my senior year of college, and it changed the way I thought about what being an author would mean. I still use her advice daily. There are so many strong and brilliant authors out there. I’m never at a loss for inspiration and influence.
BECAUSE KARAN IS RANDOM
Which question are you most sick of answering in interviews?
“Laura, how do you manage to be so brilliant, witty, and put-together all the time?” Just kidding. I’ll never get tired of that one. Again, kidding. I don’t think there are any questions I’m particularly sick of answering, but I do struggle to keep my responses fresh. Particularly when it comes to giving advice. I find great value in reading and hearing other authors’ advice, and I want to be sure any I give is as helpful and meaningful as theirs.
Enter the Giveaway!!
This month, during the Playing House blog tour, you can enter the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win one of 1 free Audible copy each of The Marrying Type, First & Goal, Going for Two or 1 $20 Amazon gift card.