Thursday, April 9, 2015

Interview with Laura Chapman

The Marrying TypeAlways the wedding planner, never a bride, Elliot Lynch is famous for orchestrating the splashiest weddings in Charleston, South Carolina. When her father’s sloppy management practices leave them on the brink of bankruptcy, Elliot will do whatever it takes to save the family business. When asked to appear on “The Marrying Type,” a reality TV show about the people behind the scenes as couples exchange I dos, she says yes to the invasion of privacy (and the hefty paycheck that comes with it). With a camera crew capturing every detail of her life, Elliot faces her most challenging contract yet: planning a wedding where her ex is involved in every part of the process. Add in a lazy assistant, liquor-loving bridesmaid, and rival planner encroaching on her turf, and Elliot’s wedding season goes from high-end to high-stress. Forced to confront her past, Elliot must live out her troubled present on national TV if she has any hope of saving her future. 

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laura chapman

Author Bio: 
 Laura Chapman is the author of The Marrying Type, Hard Hats and Doormats and the Autumn and Tuck series, which appear in Merry & Bright and A Kind of Mad Courage. A native Nebraskan, she loves football, Netflix marathons, and her cats, Jane and Bingley. Until she fulfills her dream of landing a British husband or becoming a Disney princess, you can find her in a bar penning her next novel. 
  Connect with Laura! 
 Twitter: @lmchap 
Facebook: laurachapmanbooks 
 Instagram: @lmchap614   
  Find the Book! 
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Q. What inspired the plot for "The Marrying Type"?

I started plotting a wedding-related book back in college, but it wasn’t until I read Jane Austen’s “Persuasion” that I had a more concrete idea of what the story would look like. After deciding to write a contemporary reimagining, I was inspired to modernize the story with a wedding reality show, because I used to binge-watch episodes of “Whose Wedding is it Anyway?” and “Say Yes to the Dress.”

Q. Who would you cast as Elliot and Eric if The Marrying Type was made into a film?

This is a tough question to answer, because I tend to change my mind from day to day. Right now, I imagine Elliot as being played by Emilia Clark (Daenerys on HBO’s “Game of Thrones”). And after seeing him in "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt," I'd cast Andrew Ridings as Eric. This could change tomorrow (and it actually did when I wrote this answer). I’d love to hear what other people imagine once they read the book.

Q.  Are you and Elliot similar or completely different from one another?

We share some similarities--we’re both emotional eaters and a little scared to try new things--but we’re pretty different. She is more organized, patient, and kind than I am. She’s also much better at follow-through, for example, if she says she’s going to exercise, she goes for a run. By comparison, I’m the kind of person who spends hours making a monthly meal plan and going grocery shopping only to pick up a burrito or order pizza instead.

Q. While you were writing this novel, I read that you indulged in all kinds of wedding shows; did you also do mock cake tastings and try on wedding dresses as well?

No, but I definitely should have! I’ll admit that during the final editing process, I rediscovered my love for cupcakes and indulged in trying a lot of varieties. I live next door to a cupcake shot that previously appeared on “Cupcake Wars,” so I’ve had ample opportunity to sample new varieties.

Q. What are you currently reading?

Right now I’m actually reading the second draft of my third novel. I have a tough time reading other books while I’m writing or heavily editing my own. As soon as that goes to my beta readers, I plan to finish reading “Zoey and the Moment of Zen” by my very talented label-mate Cat Lavoie and “Goodnight June” by Sarah Jio is sitting on my nightstand.

Q. Would you say that you're more of a plotter or a panster?

I’m definitely a plotter. I create fairly detailed character sketches and a scene by scene outline of the book before I get too heavily invested in the project. I’ve tried pantsing, but I always end up stopping to create the outline a few pages in or I’ve chucked the project. I have to know where we’re going. That said, my outlines are always subject to change, and sometimes I’ll add or remove scenes after the first draft of the novel. One of my favorite scenes in “The Marrying Type” came about in the third draft.

Q. What is your favorite thing to munch on while writing?

I wish I could say something super healthy like apple slices or celery and peanut butter,. While those are frequent writing snacks when I’m on the healthy living wagon, my favorite writing snacks are cinnamon gummy bears and Cheez-its. I like to lineup the bears in rows on my desk before eating them. It’s much more dramatic and delicious that way.

Q. How does it make you feel, being a published author, and actually seeing your name on the front cover of your novels?

It’s still surreal. I’ll even admit that sometimes I feel slightly embarrassed about it. Not in a bad way, but kind of like when you had a solo in choir. You were excited to do it, and it took a lot of work, and you’re proud. But once you’re standing in front of that audience, you feel a little exposed and shy being the center of attention.

Q. Out of all of the novels and short stories you've written, which one would you say is your favorite?

That’s another tough question, and I imagine it’s like picking a favorite child! Each one has a special place in my heart for different reasons. “Hard Hats and Doormats” was something I wrote to help me laugh at a complicated time in my life. “The Marrying Type” showed I was growing as a writer. And the Autumn and Tuck shorts were exciting, because I wrote them so quickly and at a time when I felt like I had writer’s block. But, I’m very much a “love the one you’re with” kind of girl. I’m in the process of plotting my next book, and right now it’s my favorite. I’ll probably hate it by the time I’ve gone round after round with it in the editing process!

Q. What can your fans expect next?

I have fans? (Hi, Mom!) As mentioned, I have a third novel going through the beta writing process. It’s the first novel in a series, and the sequel is near completion. I hope the first book in the series is publication ready within the year, but I won’t count those chicks just yet. By the time this post goes live, I am hopefully neck-deep into writing the first draft of a Christmas novella due out later this year. Hopefully I haven’t jinxed myself by publicly discussing these projects! If all goes to plan, I’ll start writing my fifth book, the standalone story I’m plotting, later this year.

Q. Last year, when we had our first interview, I asked you for advice for aspiring authors; and since I'd hate to make you repeat your advice again, I'm going to try something different. What advice do you have for people who have written their novels and think it's not good enough? What about for the people who believe they are ready to publish their novel?

If you fall into the first group of people, I’m with you, buddies. After you’ve written and revised and re-written and re-revised your manuscript so many times, it’s hard to still have affection for your project, and it’s easy to lose your confidence in it. At this point, I’d suggest taking a break from your story. Either step away from it completely and work on something else, or send it to a trusted friend or colleague who can beta-read it for you. He or she can offer you more objective feedback that might help you pinpoint what it is about this story that just doesn’t feel publication-ready. If you go the first route and take a little break, give yourself a few weeks or even months, because this will give you a chance to look at the novel with your own fresh set of eyes. You can’t do that when it’s too fresh on your mind. If you think your book is ready to publish, again, send it to a few beta-readers. Also, go over it again yourself to look for any editing errors. Once you’ve done that, and you feel really good about it, you can either query your book with agents or publishers or decide to self-publish it. No matter which route you go, make sure you have the book in the best shape possible. You might want to hire an editor, and I definitely encourage you to go that route if you self-publish. No matter how careful you are, there’s always going to be a typo or misspelled word that you miss. It’s just science.

Thank you so much, Josie Ann, for having me on the blog, today, and thanks to all of you for following along.


Samantha March said...

Thanks for hosting!

Laura Chapman said...

I had so much fun doing this interview. Thanks for your support and friendship!