Congrats to Laura Chapman on the release of PLAYING HOUSE!
PLAYING HOUSE, Laura Chapman's new rom-com, is out today! If you're an HGTV fan, you'll love this story.
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Today we've got an interview with Laura, and excerpt, AND a giveaway!
Caroline Fardig: HGTV couple drama is so huge and in the news right now. Were you inspired by current events or did you happen to predict the fall of some of the HGTV supercouples?
Laura Chapman: This was definitely a case of life imitating art—to a degree. I came up with the idea for this story after spending a weekend binge-watching various HGTV shows after a bit of a hiatus. Somewhere around hour ten, I turned to my colleague (we were killing time between sessions at an academic conference) and said, “What if all of this is fake?” That was back in Fall 2015 and I finished the first draft last spring. I went through quite a few rounds of edits on this one. I’ll admit that when news broke about a certain couple’s massive break-up, I had a moment when I wished the story was ready to publish. Then I felt like a jerk, because there are kids involved.
Caroline Fardig: I loved Bailey and the gang. I know you intended this as a standalone, but will we ever see these characters again? Like maybe Waverly having her own story?
Laura Chapman: I’d never say never—and I do kind of, sort of have the inkling of an idea for a spin-off with Waverly—but at present there are no concrete plans for a follow-up. I could also see a story with Renee, the producer, but I have too many other stories on deck to be written for now.
Caroline Fardig: Are you interested in interior design at all—did you have to research a lot or were you simply describing your dream homes?
Laura Chapman: I definitely have an interest in interior design. After as much home improvement TV as I’ve watched in my lifetime, I—like many others like me—am under the impression that I am secretly a talented interior designer. I’ve devoted many, many hours to watching home décor shows, reading blogs, and so on. And that was before I decided to write the book. I’m still developing my own sense of style in my home. It’s a slow process, but I’ve started to acquire more and more pieces I love, and it’s coming together. I’m particularly proud of my office and bedroom. Here are a couple of photos.
Caroline Fardig: This book got a little steamy! (But in a good way—I thought it was artfully done.) Were you nervous about going the full monty, so to speak?
Laura Chapman: Yep. Totally. I’ve been reading romance novels since I was twelve, and I’ve always been fine with that. But writing it and knowing that one day my mom—and maybe even my dad—might read it made me question myself. My little sister has made me promise to tell her what pages get a little sexy, because she would rather skip those than imagine me coming up with them, I guess. Bless her, but I get it. That said, those scenes were kind of fun to write—but definitely strange to edit. Particularly with word choice. There are some words I have a hard time using, and they’re not included in this. Like 30 Rock’s Liz Lemon, the word “lovers” “bums me out unless it’s between the words meat and pizza.” Also, certain words for body parts and such.
Caroline Fardig: There were several black moments where I remember forlornly thinking to myself, “This situation is unfixable.” Yet (without giving anything away) you were able to bring it all to an extremely satisfying close. Did you know how your characters were going to end up before you started writing, or did you let them guide you as the book progressed?
Laura Chapman: I work from an outline, so I usually know the destination before we get in the car, so to speak. That said, the stories do always take some twists and turns along the way—though nothing major that changed the ending. Going with the road trip analogy, I like to think of those elements as unexpected roadside attractions we’re stopping by on our way to the big show. I wasn’t completely certain how the final scene, the climax would play out until I wrote that scene. And as a fun fact, the epilogue that appears in this story originally started as a scene to play out in the second half of the book. I cut it—and another scene I loved—because I needed to speed up the pacing. Fortunately, I was able to salvage that and give it a new purpose.
I’m so glad you enjoyed this book. Thank you for reading it and for having me on the blog.
About the Book
She's a work in progress . . .
Bailey Meredith has had it. As an assistant at a prestigious interior design firm, she’s tired of making coffee and filing invoices. She’ll do just about anything to get out from under the paperwork and into the field for real experience. Then she sees an ad for a job that seems too good to be true.
He's a fixer upper . . .
Wilder Aldrich knew she would be perfect for the crew the moment he saw her. His hit home improvement show only hired the best, and Bailey had potential written all over her. It isn’t just her imaginative creativity and unmatched work ethic that grabs his attention. There’s just something about her.
With chemistry on screen, it’s only a matter of time before sparks fly behind the scenes as well. But with Bailey’s jaded views on romance and a big secret that could destroy Wilder and everyone he cares about are either of them willing to risk it all for love?
Now Available! Find it on:
Excerpt from Playing House
Keeping a close distance, she followed Waverly up the cracked path to the house. Bailey took quick mental notes of her surroundings. The exterior needed a lot of work. The sagging roof missing gutters made her think they’d find the inside in similar disarray. They stepped through the front door, nearly tripping over Wilder Aldrich, who was measuring the entryway.
“Hey!” He sprang to his feet and out of their way. “What did I tell you about waiting until I gave you the all clear?”
“You were taking for-frickin’-ever, and some of us were freezing our tits off.” She pursed her lips and took on a warrior stance, seemingly daring him to say something else.
Conceding victory to her, Wilder turned and flashed an apologetic grin at Bailey. “Hey.” He offered a hand. Warmth permeated through the thin material of her glove. “Welcome to Casa de Waverly.”
Giving him a smug grin, Waverly sipped her coffee and faced Bailey. “Do you have a smart phone?”
Bailey stared blankly for a second, still dazzled by seeing Wilder up close. But she quickly snapped to attention and dug her phone out of her coat pocket.
“Good,” Waverly said after inspecting it. “While you’re on the job, I’d like you to snap some photos for our social media accounts. I’ll want to vet everything before we post it, but we need to start building the buzz for the next season while we’re filming. In exchange, we’ll cover your phone payments to take care of your data usage. Understood?”
“I can do that.”
“Good. Now . . .” She pulled out her own phone. It was the latest model that had come out on the market a month ago. With all of its reported bells and whistles, it put Bailey’s poor phone to shame. “I’m going to make a quick call. I’ll be back in a few minutes, and we can get started on,” she gestured around her, “this mess.”
She spun on her heel and waltzed out of the room, cooing into the phone.
Wilder cleared his throat, and Bailey turned to give him her full attention. She estimated he was only a couple of years older than herself—maybe in his late twenties or early thirties. He looked younger in real life than he did on TV. He was leaner and a little shorter—though she still had to crane her neck a little to meet his gaze.
He was also more handsome. Not the GQ model, your tongue-sticks-to-the-top-of-your-mouth kind of sexy. But he was hot in the same way the guy you sat next to in Chemistry was. It was enough to distract you from formulas and Bunsen burners every so often, but not enough that you’d ever set the lab on fire or forget to finish your final exam.
So far, he seemed much more serious. Where was the guy who scared Waverly with a stuffed dummy in a closet in the last episode she’d watched before calling an end to the marathon?
He was, she realized, studying her every bit as closely, with those hazel eyes speckled with green. Noting that, she didn’t feel quite as rude taking mental notes on the man in front of him.
At least she looked good. She’d laid out three outfits that morning in the hotel room. The first was a long, silky turquoise tunic that she’d paired with a pair of black leggings and knee-high boots. It was similar to the clothes Waverly favored on screen—only hers weren’t name-brand knockoffs. Then she had the casual jeans, a gray T-shirt that she could dress-up with a navy blue blazer. And there was option three: dark-wash, fit jeans, a chambray shirt, and a scarf. It was an ensemble that fell somewhere in the middle. It was the one that looked the most like her when she inspected herself in the mirror.
It was the one that felt most like her now in the middle of the foyer.
She wondered what he saw when he looked at her. Did he see a confident young woman ready to tackle major projects adeptly? Or did he see someone who was desperate to create, no matter what happened? Both were correct, but which one shone through right now?
Like a light switch, that triggered something in her. She offered her hand again. “We haven’t officially met. I’m Bailey Meredith.”
About the Author
Laura Chapman is the author of First & Goal, Going for Two, Three & Out, The Marrying Type, and Playing House. A native Nebraskan, she loves football, Netflix marathons, and her cats, Jane and Bingley. She loves talking to readers. You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You can also get the latest news from her website, blog, and monthly newsletter.
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.