I so enjoy hearing from the author of a book I can’t wait to read. That’s why today, I’m happy to be welcoming Laura Chapman, author of Counting On You, to the blog to talk a bit about books, writing, and her new novel.
Plus, Laura was kind enough to provide an excerpt from Counting on You. And I have to tell you, if her answers in the Q&A don’t leave you wanting more, the excerpt certainly will.
First, though, hop on over to Laura’s giveaway, where you have the chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card and an Amarillo Sour Starter Kit, which includes two shot glasses, two coasters, a bottle opener and pens with the bar’s logo on them. (Please note that this giveaway is only open to U.S. residents.)
Now, let’s get this Q&A started, shall we?
What book have you had the strongest emotional reaction to, be it positive or negative?
It’ll always come back to J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series for me. I was the same age as Harry when the books started. The last book was released my senior year of college. I grew up with Harry and his friends. As such, I’d laugh, cry, and get pretty worked up reading the books. And those reactions were always extreme.
What draws you to write the genres that you do? The category?
I’m a sucker for a good love story. I was raised on comedies and romances. I’m always drawn to books, movies, and TV shows that blend both well. I look for—and love—moments of levity in everything, even dramas. It seems inevitable that I’d eventually write romantic comedies. They’re great for a laugh and escapism. And, I really believe they can help shape the world more positively.
Do you have any favourite lines from your novel?
That’s a good question, and a little tricky. I always feel a little embarrassed about quoting myself, but here’s one of the lines that has cracked me up during each round of edits.
He might not have much game when it came to dating, but this woman didn’t even seem to know what they were playing.
Which was your favourite scene to write in Counting on You?
I love writing banter. Haleigh and Ian have some great back and forth in the scenes where they’re coming to terms on their arrangement. Basically, Haleigh needs a date to her high school reunion and Ian offers to help her find one through his dating app. She’ll agree to do it—and let him share the results with prospective investors—if he promises to coach her through it. Each of them is pretty desperate when they meet, and they have to go from strangers in a bar to partners in crime, who trust each other implicitly, fast. I made myself laugh when I wrote this exchange:
“I know we only officially met a few minutes ago, but I feel like—what with the eavesdropping and all—we’ve gotten to know each other a bit.”
“You’re right. We’re practically married. Should we spend Christmas with your family or mine?”
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
To never let anything dampen the dreams and faith that fueled me back then, but to also be patient. It’s hard for me to believe, but I’m coming up on my fifth anniversary of being a published author later this year. For better—and sometimes worse—I took a lot for granted when I started writing years ago. That said, I have never been so confident or fearless about writing as I was back then. So I’d want to keep that, but also know that things take time.
What books or magazines about writing would you most recommend other writers read?
From a craft standpoint, GMC: Goal, Motivation, and Conflict by Debra Dixon and Romancing the Beat: Story Structure for Romance Novels by Gwen Hayes have been my go-to resources lately. From a more personal and inspirational standpoint, I recommend Write Naked: A Bestseller’s Secrets to Writing Romance & Navigating the Path to Success by Jennifer Probst and Write Smart, Write Happy: How to Become a More Productive, Resilient and Successful Writer by my friend Cheryl St. John.
What does literary success look like to you?
Selfishly, I’d say it would mean seeing one of my books turned into a movie. And the handsome and charismatic actor who plays the leading man would take me as his date to the premiere and we would live happily ever after on our avocado farm with lots of cats and dogs. But, because I write romantic comedies, my fancy car—bought with royalties—would break down on the way to the premiere. While waiting for a tow, some witty, kind architect would stop to help me. We’d end up breaking the car even more. And then, after a series of escalating misadventures, we would come to realize that cars and movie premieres don’t matter. Just each other. And we’d live happily ever after in the house he designed on Puget Sound. That said, in the grand scheme of things, I’d like to look back at my body of work and know they connected with readers. Books have meant so much to me, I’d love to know that mine had the same effect on other readers.
She must be crazy. While she’d cut someone out of her life for calling her that, it was the only logical explanation Haleigh could come up with as she downloaded a beta copy of XO On Demand onto her phone.
Only the day before she’d been set up on her first blind date ever. Now, here she was, giving online dating a shot.
What a difference a day made.
She’d been completely serious about never considering online dating. She knew people who had tried it—and successfully. Not that she judged, but it seemed like such a direct and confrontational way to meet someone. By putting your profile out there, you were proclaiming to the world that you were on the prowl.
In another five minutes, she’d be one of those people. After she finished the setup and the survey Ian assured her would be fun, she’d have her first string of potential dates. Brought to her through the magic of technology.
All because she couldn’t stand the idea of her classmates judging her.
If she was one of her own students, she’d tell them it didn’t matter. That after high school, no one cared what people thought. And she’d be lying.
The download completed, and the app opened on her screen. She followed Ian’s directions to create her account. His play-by-play wasn’t entirely necessary. The directions were pretty self-explanatory, but he seemed eager to help. It eased her nerves. Some.
“This is where it gets interesting.” Ian clicked a button, taking her to the next page. “Instead of having you answer fifty questions about who you are and what you want, we’ve created a quiz of sorts. Would you rather go camping or stay in a five-star hotel? Which breakfast looks most appetizing? What—”
“I’ve got it.” She flashed him a grin to soften her tone, but she needed to concentrate.
There were so many questions. None of them were too complicated or earth-shattering, but she had to choose correctly. Her future lineup of men depended on it.
Question One: Which of these dishes would you order right now?
She selected a basket of chicken strips with fries.
“That’s what I’d pick, too,” Ian said. “What do you use for dipping?”
“Barbecue.” He shook his head. “I knew there had to be something wrong with you.”
At least his teasing made this a little less nerve-racking. “You guys aren’t going to use these answers and sell my information to restaurants now, are you?”
“Of course not.” But he tapped his chin thoughtfully. “It isn’t a bad idea, though.”
Question Two: Where would you rather spend a Saturday afternoon?
She didn’t even have to consider this one. She picked “Binge-watching TV in my bed.”
“What’s your go-to show?”
“You heard that one last night,” she reminded him. “Doctor Who. But I’ve been known to do a Lord of the Rings or Star Wars marathon from time to time”
“Which episode is your favorite?”
“Five.” That’s what everyone always said. There was probably something about the bad knocking down the good at the end of the Empire Strikes Back that made a person seem deep. After Greg had explained that to her years ago, she’d made it her customary response.
Only when she was being totally honest, she’d admit she liked Return of the Jedi best. She loved those Ewoks.
About Counting On You
Is love worth the risk?
Math teacher Haleigh Parde has no desire to change her single status until she receives an invitation to her high school reunion. With her ex spreading rumors she needs a date and fast. Desperate times call for desperate measures and Haleigh finds herself meeting a blind date at a neighborhood bar called Amarillo Sour…
After watching Haleigh crash and burn, app developer Ian Henning makes her a proposition. If she’ll provide honest feedback on his new dating app, he’ll guarantee her a date to knock the socks off her former classmates. Even better, he—and the other Amarillo Sour regulars—will help her navigate the rocky road of dating.
Through setups ranging from awkward to absurd, Haleigh discovers her matchmaker might just be better than the matches. And Ian wonders if she’s the answer to everything he’s worked for professionally. Or is she something much, much more…
About Laura Chapman
Laura Chapman is the author of sweet and sexy romantic comedies. A born and raised Nebraska girl, she loves watching football, traveling, crafting, and baking. When she isn’t writing her next story, she is probably working at a museum by day and binge-watching Netflix with her cats Jane and Bingley at night. So, basically, she’s living large.