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About the author: Laura Chapman is the author of First & GoalThe Marrying Type, and Hard Hats and Doormats. Her work also appears in Merry & BrightA Kind of Mad Courage, and All I Want For Christmas. A native Nebraskan, she loves Huskers and Packers football, Netflix marathons, and her cats, Jane and Bingley. Laura is currently in pursuit of a fantasy football championship while penning her next novel.

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Describe your writing style in five words: Based on reality, but playful.

When did you know you were an author? Even though I spend so much of my time writing, thinking about writing, and talking about writing I don’t always feel like an author. There are a few moments that pop up here and there where it really hits me that I am an author. Each time I hold the print copy of my book or have someone ask me the same questions I would ask other authors, it will strike that, “Hey, I’m an author.” In a way that’s funny, because I have spent most of my life knowing I would write books someday. But it’s not such a bad thing to forget I am living that dream sometimes—it keeps me humble.

Tell us about your writing/editing/publishing process: This one is tricky, because my writing, editing, and publishing processes keep evolving. The one constant is that I set goals for myself to accomplish. I don’t always—okay, almost never—meet each of my goals within the time period outlined, but I give it the old college try just in case. And like my approach to most things in life, I tend to obsess about whatever part I am working on in that moment followed by periods of downtime. Someday, I’d like to be more consistent. Once I figure out how to do that with my writing, I’ll also make sure to spread that to my diet, exercise, and sleep regimens.

If you could meet any other author, who would it be? There are so many authors I admire and respect, but if I had to pick one, I would love to have a glass of wine with Nora Roberts. I’ve been reading her books since I was twelve and borrowing them from my mom and my friend’s mom. She’s prolific and seems gracious to her fans, while also owning her success—as she should. She’s a total badass. I’d also like the chance to meet Julie Garwood, Colleen Hoover, and Sophie Kinsella, because they’re other authors I admire. (And I secretly hope some of their amazingness would rub off on me while I was in their presence.)

Hard/paperbacks or eBooks? Even though I have embraced eBooks and appreciate their convenience, there are few things I love more than curling up with a paperback book. It’s more of an experience when I’m curled up with a book that fills both hands, with pages that I flip rather than swipe across. And I prefer paperback to hard cover, because I’m always worried about dinging up the edges or tearing the jackets on the hard covers.

How do you come up with the titles of your books? I typically have a title idea before I start writing. It’s one of the elements that come to me during the researching and plotting phase. That said, none of my books has published with the original working title, even though I thought I was so clever. All of my titles have just come to me at some point in time or another, usually while I was in the middle of writing or editing. And it’s always a bit of a thing when it comes to deciding whether to stick with the original or go with a new idea.

At what time of day do you think you work best? This really varies. I wish I was someone who could consistently write first thing in the morning, because that would be convenient. But it takes me a while to get going. I usually have to leave for my other job right about the time I seem to be getting in a groove. For now, I tend to do most of my writing on nights and weekends. That’s more out of necessity than anything else. I do like writing in a couple of half-hour pockets then taking longer breaks unless I’m truly caught up in a story and have to keep going.

alty or sweet? Both—my cravings shift throughout the day, and if I have salty I usually want something sweet a bit later and vice versa.

Do you have any writing rituals? If I’m writing at my desk—which is only about 25 percent of the time—I tend to have a cup of coffee or bottle of water with me. And then for some reason I toast the framed photo of hockey player Brad Richards that is sitting on my desk. (The photo is a long story, but in short, it was a gift from my brother, and it cracks me up.) When I’m writing at a coffee shop, I have to put in my head phones, select a playlist, and have a notepad and paper next to my computer before I start typing. I also reward myself with a star sticker every time I write 1,000 words. I put them on a chart that helps me visualize just how long my story is growing. And I like stickers.

Every author must have (a): Sense of humor. Even if you’re writing serious books, I think it’s good to be able to laugh at yourself or a situation every once in a while. It never fails that something challenging or upsetting happens at some point during the writing and publishing process. And while I’m all for taking a moment to be bummed or sad, at a certain point you have to move on. That’s where the sense of humor comes into play.

What do you want people to take away from your books? Mostly I hope people are entertained and engaged while they’re reading the story. I hope that a character will maybe stick with them. That’s what I love most when I read a book—having one that stays with you even after you’ve finished the last page. And I hope people will smile, and maybe develop a case of the feels. And I hope readers will feel a connection the characters. I try to write characters based on reality, and I hope that comes through. But like I said, I mostly hope a reader finishes the story and feels good about the time they spent reading it.

What are you working on right now? It’s November, which means I’m participating in my sixth consecutive National Novel Writing Month. I’ve passed the 50,000-word mark each of the past five years, so wish me luck on keeping the streak going this year. I don’t really like to talk a lot about what I’m writing while I’m writing it—that is a mix of superstition and also a personal fail-safe in case the WIP flops. But, I can tell you about a couple of completed (or nearly completed) projects. On November 11, I have two Christmas novellas coming out in All I Want For Christmas, a holiday collection by Marching Ink. Making Christmas is a story about two lonely people striking up an unlikely friendship while setting out to add some cheer to their holiday season. And What Happens at Midnight is about a woman rediscovering her whimsical and romantic side with the help of chance encounters on consecutive New Year’s Eves. And in January or February, we will release Going for Two, the follow-up to First & Goal. Outside of writing, I’m working on not gorging myself on leftover Halloween candy and pumpkin-flavored everything going into the holiday season.

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**Blurb: When Harper Duquaine’s no-nonsense approach to work unintentionally ruffles the wrong feathers at her new job, she joins her co-workers’ fantasy football league to prove she can hang with the guys. Only problem: she doesn’t know a sleeper from a keeper (or any of the other lingo thrown her way).

Embroiled in a world of lineups, stats, and trades, Harper’s quest to make nice topples when her competitive streak emerges. And her promise to herself that she’ll be a strong, independent woman and leave the drama and heartache behind is seriously tested when she catches the attention of her two biggest competitors: J.J., a local celebrity determined to win a fantasy championship, and Brook, the mild-mannered coach who seems too good to be true. Both threaten her resolve to remain single… and, more importantly, her chances at winning the prize pool.

With a slew of conflicting advice in her real and fantasy worlds, Harper must figure out how to play the game and come out a winner.

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