Laura Chapman talks about her latest novel and fantasy football.
Can you tell us a bit about your new release Three & Out?
Three & Out is the third story in my Queen of the League series. In this story, we reconnect with our heroine Harper as she begins her third season playing fantasy football. Her world underwent some pretty major changes since Going for Two and life is about to get even more complicated. These changes will affect most of her life: personal, professional, and football. I’m calling this the final installment of the series. For now, at least. Who knows? There could be more in store for Harper and we will all meet again in Fourth & Inches.
Where did you get the inspiration for the novel?
Like with the other stories in this series, I was inspired to write this book based on my own experience playing fantasy football. Though Harper’s experience is unique from mine, I definitely draw a lot of inspiration from playing. I also found inspiration for this particular inspiration from following drama and headlines in the news that made me ask, “I wonder what would happen if…” That’s how most of my stories begin, with a question.
What was the hardest part of the book to write?
This story was actually a big struggle to write in general. I had so many ideas I wanted to explore that it was kind of difficult to focus on how and when to work everything into the plot. Plus, I really wanted to have this story ready for football season, which added extra pressure. I kind of psyched myself out a lot. Getting my head in the right place was a definite challenge. Once I got over myself and found my groove, everything really came together.
When did you decide to write and what prompted you to start?
I think I always knew I wanted to write and tell stories. I grew up around books and my parents supported me at both reading and writing. I suppose I’ve always had a big imagination and have spent a lot of my time thinking and dreaming. I really can’t recall a moment in my life when I didn’t know I’d one day write a book.
Do you have a set daily writing routine?
I wish I kept a steady routine. I try to follow one, but I have yet to make it a full-time habit. I tend to binge with my writing. For one or two months at a time, I clear my social calendar and hunker down to write. During those periods, I’ll do a writing session before going to my day job, sneak in another one over lunch, and commit to a couple of hours at night before bed. Someday, I’d like to be more disciplined and make it a true daily routine. (I’d also like to commit to working out daily and sticking the meal plans I make while I’m at it.)
Do you listen to music when writing? And if so, what kind of music inspires you?
I frequently listen to music while I plot, write, and edit. It’s a big part of my process. I make a playlist for every book, which serves as a soundtrack of sorts and my inspiration. Here’s a link to my Spotify playlist for Three & Out: open.spotify.com. One practices I’ve adopted is picking out one song that really fits a scene, or my mood, and playing it on repeat. It helps me slip into the zone. While writing Three & Out, my most-played songs were “Mess is Mine” and “From Afar” by Vance Joy, “Can’t Stop the Feeling” by Justin Timberlake, and “Stand Up” and “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten.
What message do you want readers to take away from your novels?
I hope readers will feel entertained and a little warm and fuzzy after reading my stories. They’re romantic comedies, but they tackle some tricky subjects. That’s kind of what life is about. It can be hard and often overwhelming. Even with all of the tough times, I truly believe there is so much room for love, laughter, and hope.
What is one thing about you your readers would be surprised to know?
Let’s see… readers might be surprised to know I have zero athletic ability, even though I’m a big football fan. I was a total band geek in high school instead. I played oboe, English horn, saxophone, cymbals, and mallet percussion. If that doesn’t surprise you, I can also admit I’m a huge wuss when it comes to horror movies. Like, I still have nightmares about movies I saw when I was a kid and I’m always convinced something will pop out and scare me. So while I love that it’s fall here in the U.S., and I find parts of Halloween fun, this time of year can also be tricky for me, because I am such a scaredy cat.
What’s next for you?
I am working on revisions for my sixth novel and writing my seventh novel. I am a big lover of National Novel Writing Month, so I’ll be participating in that this November. I also have two holiday novellas coming out on November 8. Making Christmas and What Happens at Midnight are now available for pre-order on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and iBooks.
After rushing to the altar and moving across the country, Harper Duquaine (or is it MacLaughlin, now?) is in uncharted territory. What once seemed like a promising opportunity to advance her husband’s career while giving her some much-needed independence and adventure has proven to be a bust. By the time fall rolls around again, she’s back in a boring job by day and overstocking her inventory of crocheted scarves by night. Not even the prospect of a new football season holds much excitement.
At least that’s what she thought. Harper suddenly finds herself the manager of not one but two fantasy football teams — each with its own set of drama. Between the added pressure of her new marriage, an unexpected career prospect, and the hiccups created by people from her past and present worlds, Harper quickly finds herself going from bored to overwhelmed.
Can she hold up under the pressure, or will Harper learn the hard way that the turf isn’t always greener on the other field?
Laura Chapman is the author of First & Goal, Going for Two, Three & Out, and The Marrying Type. Her holiday novellas Making Christmas and What Happens at Midnight will be released on November 8, and are now available for pre-order. A native Nebraskan, she loves football, Netflix marathons, and her cats, Jane and Bingley.