Greetings fellow Books by Banister fans. I’m Laura Chapman, and it’s a pleasure to be here on Tracie’s blog. I adored Blame it on the Fame and In Need of Therapy, which makes this a big honor for me. Today, I’m particularly excited, because I get to share an interview with Lexi Burke, the main character of my debut novel, Hard Hats and Doormats.
For this conversation, I’m meeting Lexi at one of her favorite Mexican restaurants in The Woodlands, Texas. Even though it’s lunch, we’ve ordered a round of margaritas while we munch on chips and salsa and mull over our main course options.
Laura Chapman: Thanks for meeting me for this interview.
Lexi Burke: No problem. It gets me out of the office for a bit, and if we talk about my job at all, I suppose I can pretend this is a work function, which means I won’t have to feel guilty.
LB: All the time. I’ve been with my company since I graduated college a couple of years. Even though I do my best I sometimes feel like I can’t handle the day to day. I put in a lot of extra hours to make up for my lack of previous experience.
LC: What do you do?
LB: I’m a human resources manager for Gulf America. That’s a major chemical based here in Texas. I can actually see my office from here.
Lexi directs my attention to a sleek steel and glass window poking out from behind the trees.
LC: It looks like a nice place to work.
LB: It is sometimes. To be honest, I’m hardly ever in the office. I spend a good chunk of my time out in the field making site visits.
LB: Like I said, I do HR for GA. My territory takes me along and off the coast of Texas and Louisiana. I help with hiring, training, benefits enrollment and assisting with investigations when employees… behave badly. It sounds way more interesting than it is. Trust me. Riding helicopters and airplanes all over the place might sound exciting, but I spend most of my time in crappy conference rooms, airport terminals and clean but questionable motel rooms.
LB: Tell me about it. Speaking of which. Hold on a second. I have to take this.
Lexi picks up her smart phone, which she’s had within grabbing distance the whole time we’ve been together. She makes a few murmurs of agreements, rolls her eyes a couple of times, and promises to call the person back when she’s finished with her meeting.
LB: Sorry. That was my boss. Dale is… a little demanding. Usually I’d ignore the call, but when it comes to him, it’s easier to find out what he wants and deal. It can get a little annoying, but right now we have a promotion up for grabs at work, and I’m determined it’s going to be mine.
LC: Nice. What would you say is your greatest achievement?
LB: You mean besides getting out of bed every morning and showing up where I have to be on time? Actually, it’s probably graduating from college on time and having a job lined up before I had my diploma. I’m lucky I didn’t have to spend any real time unemployed or wondering if I was going to default on my student loans. I’d also say moving away from Iowa and coming to live in a new city was huge for me. I still haven’t seen much of Houston, but it’s definitely a big change from Des Moines.
LB: “Ian Somerhalder will be mine.” No, I’m kidding. I’ve been playing catch-up on some of my favorite TV shows. Let’s see… probably something like, “Who says nice girls have to finish last.” I don’t know. I’m not very creative. My friend Kara could probably come up with something better. She’s paid to be good with words.
Lexi’s phone buzz again, and she make a quick apology before checking the screen. This time, her face lights up. And so does my interest.
LC: Who’s that?
LB: Jason Beaumont.
LC: And who is he?
LB: Some guy I work with out in the field.
LC: Mmm hmm… Some guy from work?
LB: Yes, that’s all. He’s just a nice man who sends me funny messages. He’s a buddy. Nothing else.
LC: Right. Whatever you say, Ms. Burke. But while we’re on the subject of men, what qualities do you look for in the opposite sex?
LB: I definitely like someone who is successful – not in terms of money or anything like that. But I like knowing a guy is driven and goal-oriented. That he’ll work hard to get what he wants. And after living here in Texas for a couple of years, I’m seeing the charm in southern gentlemen. I need someone who can make me laugh and who will laugh at himself. Someone who treats me well and supports me no matter what. And it wouldn’t hurt if he had nice shoulders.
LC: Is there anyone special in your life that fits that mold?
LB: Not really. Oh look. There’s our waitress. Let’s get our drinks topped off and order something to eat. I recommend the fish tacos. They’re delish.
You can follow along with more of Lexi’s adventures on Twitter @thelexiburke.
About the Author
Laura Chapman mixes her love of romance and humor as a women’s fiction blogger and author. Born and raised in Nebraska – in a city, not on a farm – she is a devoted fan of football, British period drama, writing in bars and her cats, Jane and Bingley. Hard Hats and Doormats is her debut novel.
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About the Book
Lexi Burke has always been a stickler for following rules and procedures. As a human resources manager for a leading Gulf Coast chemical company, it’s her job to make sure everyone else falls in line, too.
But after losing out on a big promotion–-because her boss sees her as too much of a yes-woman––Lexi adopts a new policy of following her heart instead of the fine print. And her heart knows what it wants: Jason Beaumont, a workplace crush who is off limits based on her previous protocol.
While navigating a new romance and interoffice politics, Lexi must find the confidence to stand on her own or face a lifetime of following someone else’s orders.
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