Laura Chapman's GOING FOR TWO is out!
I'm excited to interview Laura again and
let her take over my blog, and even more
excited for her newest release,
GOING FOR TWO,
the sequel to FIRST AND GOAL!
We decided to do the "interview swap" thing again, which means we both throw some questions into the ring and we both have to answer all of them. It's pretty fun! Read my answers on Laura's blog tomorrow: https://www.change-the-word.com/
Take it away, Laura!
In honor of Going for Two’s release, I’m sharing some fun facts about the book and Queen of the League series.
One of my favorite parts about writing First & Goal and Going for Two was getting a chance to capture my hometown in a story. I’ve lived in Lincoln, Nebraska, most of my life, and as a lifelong Husker fan, it was almost second-nature to weave details about both into the stories. Lincoln is a fun city. It’s the state capital of Nebraska, home to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and it is a booming location for tech startups. All of that adds a lot of life to the community.
I hope you will check out the other facts—view a complete listing of locations and dates on my website, www.laurachapmanbooks.com—and the series.
Thank you, Caroline, for featuring Going for Two—and me—today. Enjoy!
First to answer Caroline's questions...
Were you a big football fan in high school? A cheerleader, perhaps?
I’ve been a football fan most of my life. I grew up in Nebraska during the back-to-back National Championships in 1994 and 1995, followed by our last title in 1997. I also started following the Packers in the ‘90s, so I was a pretty spoiled fan. I loved football in high school, though to quote the great Taylor Swift, “But she wears short skirts, I wear T-shirts, she’s cheer captain and I’m on the bleachers.” I played percussion in the marching band, so I attended a lot of football games. My high school won the state championship my sophomore year. I unfortunately missed the game, because I had my wisdom teeth out. I did watch the game on TV, and I vaguely remember cheering my heart out. Unfortunately, I was pretty doped up (I had FIVE fully impacted wisdom teeth, so it was kind of a thing).
I knew I liked you, but now that I've learned you were a percussionist, we're "sister drummers"! The things you learn from interviews! Now that you’re grown up, would you prefer to go to a local high school football game, a college football game, or a professional football game?
I’ve actually never been to a professional football game, but would love to someday. That said there is no place like Lincoln, Nebraska, during a home football game. I suppose that’s where the line in “Dear Old Nebraska U” comes from. So I’ll always probably say college football, because that’s where my heart belongs.
Any big plans for the Super Bowl?
I’ll definitely watch, but how closely I follow the game depends on who actually plays. As I answer these questions, my Green Bay Packers are still contenders. If they play, I’ll be glued to my TV and probably drink too much beer and not eat enough food, which tends to happen when I get nervous during football games. I’ll also watch pretty closely if the Broncos play, because Peyton Manning was my fantasy football quarterback for several years, and he has a special place in my heart. If any of the other teams play, I’ll have the game on, but spend most of my time following the commercials while texting snarky comments about both teams to my friends and family. I’m also pretty excited to hear that Queen Bey will once again be on stage for the halftime show.
This series involves fantasy football. Do you play fantasy football yourself?
I have played fantasy football for several years. The past three seasons I have managed two teams, one a keeper league, which is a bit trickier. Like Harper, I’m frequently the token girl, though my league-mates give me less grief. My own experience with fantasy football is actually why I decided to write a series about it from a woman’s perspective. I had to use my imagination a lot to write it, though, because my fantasy football experience has been a lot less entertaining than hers!
Tell us about how you put together your team. Are they favorite players of yours or were they chosen for their particular abilities and stats?
The last two years I’ve thrown my teams together. This year, I didn’t check any player stats or projections before my drafts, because I was busy preparing for the release of First & Goal. For the first time, neither of my teams made it to the playoffs, but I have zero regrets. My second season I had both teams go to the playoffs, and I did a lot of prep work. Harper actually used a lot of my best practices to put her team together in Going for Two, which should shed some light on my method. Probably my all-time favorite fantasy football players have been Peyton Manning, Calvin Johnson, and Jordy Nelson. Sadly I didn’t have any of them on my team this year, and Peyton and Calvin are probably nearing the end of their careers, and Jordy spent the season recovering from a torn ACL. That might explain why my teams did so poorly…
Do you have a “soundtrack” to Going for Two? Or any songs that helped you get in the mood for writing it?
Absolutely. I make playlists for all of my books. It’s part of the pre-writing, brainstorming process. I curate it while I write and edit, and then I make it available to readers on Spotify once the book is published. You can find my playlist for Going for Two at https://open.spotify.com/user/1224839748/playlist/3kE1AWRP0v0XsXka0p4nmT. While writing this book, I probably most frequently listened to “Tighten Up” by the Black Keys, “Fire” by Augustana, and “All I Do Is Win” by DJ Khaled. They helped set the mood.
I love your character names. How do you come up with such unusual names?
Harper’s name actually came to me in a dream. I was struggling with my first draft and not really feeling the name I had. Then one night I had a dream (which I explain in greater detail in this blog post: https://www.change-the-word.com/2015/09/wcw-meet-harper-duquaine.html) and poof “Harper” popped into my head. She’s originally from Wisconsin, so I researched common last names there to get Duquaine. Brook gets his first name from my all-time favorite Husker football player, the late Brook Berringer. And his last name MacLaughlin is a play on my high school football coach’s last name. He happened to be my homeroom teacher and was a great guy, so I wanted to pay tribute to him. (You can read more about it in this blog post: https://www.change-the-word.com/2015/09/mcm-meet-brook-maclaughlin.html)
What can readers expect to see from you in 2016?
In addition to reading Harper’s continuing adventures in Going for Two, readers should be able to see what happens next in Three & Out. I’m in the process of writing this one, and we plan to release it in the fall. Aside from that, I have a couple of other projects in the works, but I’m not talking specifics on any of those just yet.
And now to answer my own questions...
What was the first murder mystery you remember reading and what did you most enjoy about it?
I read And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie when I was in sixth grade. I was already a fan of mysteries—I’d worked my way through the Baby-Sitters Club mysteries and Nancy Drew, but this was my first time dealing with a serial killer in print. I remember being completely awed and shocked by the brilliance of the whole story. I’ve always been pretty good at deducing whodunit, but that was the first time I was left thinking “Oh. Em. Gee.” It’s been almost twenty years since I read it, and I still think about that book a lot.
Who is your all-time favorite fictional sleuth?
I am my mother’s daughter, and I am a big fan of both the Kinsey Millhone alphabet mysteries by Sue Grafton and Annie and Max Darling in the Death on Demand series by Carolyn G. Hart. I love that Annie and Kinsey are both pretty fearless and they’re so cool without trying. I wouldn’t mind shadowing both of them for a day on the case. I’d probably need some pre-sleuthing pointers from them to make sure I don’t accidentally give our position away to a murderer. I’m not terribly graceful, so that’s a real concern.
If you could spend a day with any of the characters in your most recent book, who would you choose and what would you do?
While I’m head over heels for Brook MacLaughlin, I know his heart already belongs to Harper, so I’m going to say J.J. While he might come off as a bit of a dick, I suspect that underneath that mask, there’s a good guy just waiting to be reformed. I’m also getting a bit of cabin fever now that winter has descended on Nebraska, and he strikes me as someone who would be good at getting me to ditch the sweatpants and go out on the town for a night. I imagine we’d explore the Railyard in downtown Lincoln, eat too much pizza and french fries, drink too many beers, and possibly get into a little bit of trouble if we bumped into any non-Husker fans during our excursion. It’s a good thing we’d only have a day together. I’m pretty sure I’d end up in jail if we spent a second day together, either because of the aforementioned trouble, or because I’d lose my patience mid-reformation and end up punching him.
Would you consider, or have you already written any books in other genres? If so, which ones?
I have several genres I’d like to explore. I’ve started a young adult, regency romance, and cozy mystery. One of these days, I’ll finish all of them—I hope. While I’m committed to finishing the Queen of the League chick lit series and a couple of other projects, I’ll probably take a little chick lit break within the next year and explore some of these other genres. I say that today, but who knows what tomorrow will bring. My writing priorities change all the time depending on what idea is speaking to me loudest.
If you were planning your dream writing retreat, where would you go, who would you invite, and what would be on the itinerary?
I always talk about wanting to run away to a cabin in the mountains for some serious writing. I’ve been binge-watching When Calls the Heart on Netflix lately, so I’m really feeling the greater Vancouver, Canada-area for the actual mountain destination. (I suppose I could make Breckenridge, Colorado, work if pressed.) I’ll pack a whole stash of sweatpants, leggings, sweatshirts, sweaters, and thick socks for my week in the mountains. I’ll drink my weight in hot chocolate with peppermint Schnapps and Fireball. I’ll eat a grilled cheese sandwich with black bean soup every day at lunch. I’ll work by the fireplace in the lodge’s great room, at the desk by the window and in the bed in my bedroom. And if I play my cards right, I might end up spending the evening having a romantic dinner with the smart, sexy, and single ski instructor I bumped into at the reservation counter on the first day. He’s trying to talk me into taking ski lessons from him, and I’m doing my best to resist his charms. And, bonus, he actually finds the fact that I didn’t bring any fancy dining clothes charming and refreshing. I’m not sure where this will lead, but the conversation and company will be a good break for me each evening after putting in a full day of hard work.
About the Book
Harper Duquaine is back for another season of fantasy football! This time she’s a year wiser and prepared to dominate the league. But while she finally seems to have her fantasy life in order, reality proves more challenging.
Her plans to peacefully play house with her boyfriend come to a halt when the high school suddenly names Brook its head football coach. The promotion comes with more responsibility on the field and less time at home. It also unexpectedly means more work for Harper, who already has her hands full helping a friend pull off the perfect proposal (while dodging questions about when she and Brook are going to get hitched already). Plus, a new development at work could leave her—and half of the fantasy league—jobless.
With the complications of her career and being “Mrs. Coach” adding up, Harper wonders if she’s committed to the life she’s already building or if there is something else out there.
Find the Book
And from January 20-29 you can get First & Goal, book one in the Queen of the League series, for only 99 cents.
About the Author
Laura Chapman is the author of Going for Two, First & Goal, The Marrying Type, and Hard Hats and Doormats. Her work also appears in Merry & Bright, A Kind of Mad Courage, and the holiday collection All I Want For Christmas from Marching Ink. She loves Huskers and Packers football, Netflix marathons, and her cats, Jane and Bingley. Laura makes her home in Nebraska, where she is penning her next novel.
Connect with Laura
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/laurachapmanbooks
Twitter - https://twitter.com/lmchap
Instagram - https://instagram.com/lmchap614/
YouTube - https://www.youtube.com/user/lmchap
Website - https://laurachapmanbooks.com/