1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Tracie Banister, and I love to read and write sassy, sexy, funny fiction for women. I just recently released my debut Chick Lit novel, Blame It on the Fame. I’m a Southern girl who’s lived in Georgia for the last 26 years. In my spare time, I like to lose myself in a good book, watch movies, hang out with my three beautiful rescue dogs, and see live theatre whenever and wherever I can (I’m a freak for Broadway musicals and Shakespeare plays!)
2. We really want to hear about your writing. What are you working on now?
Right now, I’m preparing my second novel, which follows the romantic and professional trials and tribulations of a Latina psychologist in South Beach, for release in May. And I just started work on what I hope will be the first in a series of novels about an aristocratic family of young women in early nineteenth-century England. I’m calling it “Regency Chick Lit” since there will be a lot of romance and wit in the series.
3. What do you have available we can buy and read now?
My Oscar-themed Chick Lit novel, Blame it on the Fame, is currently available at Amazon and Smashwords. Here’s the blurb:
A power-trippin’ bitch, a has-been, a skanky ex-model, a press-shy indie queen, and a British stage actress no one knows – this is how the Best Actress hopefuls in this year’s too-close-to-call Oscar race cattily describe each other. Which of them will win the much-coveted gold statue and what price will they be forced to pay as they travel the red carpeted-path toHollywood glory?
Amidst all the press-schmoozing and angsting over which designer gown to wear, these Oscar contenders feud, commiserate, and face a succession of personal crises – scandalous secrets come to light, marriages implode, accidents land two nominees in the hospital while another receives news that could derail her career, all culminating on Tinsel Town’s biggest night when anything can happen, and does.
4. Where do you get your inspiration for your stories?
For me, inspiration can be found anywhere – the internet, magazines, the news, an overheard snippet of conversation, friends, family. I never know where the next idea might come from, which keeps life interesting!
5. Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Can I be both? A plotty pantser? Or maybe a pantsy plotter? I always start out with a game plan – detailed character sketches, ideas for scenes, snippets of dialogue, and I know where I want the story to begin and where I want it to end, but how my characters get from Point A to Point B is almost entirely up to them. I like to set them down on the page and let them play.
6. When did you start writing?
Elementary school, that’s when I started writing plays (two of which my 4th grade class performed on stage for the student body.) And my writing just developed from there. In junior high, I wrote serial stories starring me and my friends – new installments would be shoved into my pals’ lockers every morning. When I got to high school, I found that I really enjoyed writing literary analyses and was nominated for an award for some papers I wrote in my sophomore English Lit class. I didn’t attempt to write my first novel (a historical romance) until I was an adult. Since then, I’ve dabbled in many writing formats, including short stories, fan fiction, and blogging, but I always come back to full-length fiction.
7. Tell us a little bit about how you write. Do you have a favorite place or a favorite time of day to write? Music or quiet? Something you have to have nearby?
I don’t own a laptop, so I do all of my writing at my desk. My brain works best when it’s fresh, so I find that I do my most productive writing in the morning and early afternoon. I’m pretty much done by 4PM. I am very sensitive to noise and find it terribly distracting, so I must have peace and quiet while I’m in creative mode (Alas, my dogs don’t really appreciate my writerly sensibilities, and I’m often treated to a barking refrain from the Cocker Chorus.) The items I must have nearby when I’m working are post-it notes for scribbling thoughts, ideas, and reminders on, my William Shakespeare paperweight (I rub his head for luck), and a glass of Lemon La Croix water (I am absolutely convinced that the carbonation stimulates my imagination!)
8. Who is your favorite author?
Of all time? Easy. Jane Austen. Her stories and characters are timeless, and I can’t think of a greater wit than she. I am not one to reread a book, even one that I love, but I have read Austen’s stories over and over throughout the years and they never cease to delight.
9. If there was a movie about your life, who would you want to play you?
I’ve been compared to several petite, blonde actresses (Melissa Joan Hart, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Reese Witherspoon) in my life, although I wouldn’t say that I’m the spitting image of any of them. If I had to choose one to play me on the silver screen, I guess I’d go with Reese as she comes across as very intelligent while still having a good sense of humor that shines through.
10. Do you have any advice for any aspiring writers who might be reading today?
Write as much as you can, as often as you can, because it will help you to hone your craft. And be sure to challenge yourself – try a different genre, a different POV, a different format, it will keep your writing from growing stale. And most importantly, believe in yourself and your ability. You will encounter A LOT of rejection in your writing career, and it’s only natural to feel bummed out, but don’t ever let anyone else’s opinion stop you from doing what you love.
11. Now just for fun, you’ve seen my Totally Hot and Totally Shirtless men do you have a favorite among them or a suggestion for someone to add.
I am a big fan of hot, shirtless guys, and you’ve got some good ones on your blog, Darlene. Hard to top Daniel Craig aka 007 in those blue swim trunks, but I think that the gorgeous Joe Manganiello of True Blood fame is worthy of your attention. That man’s chest is a sight to behold!
12. Okay now we need the 411 where can our readers find more about you. Give us the Scoop. Facebook? Twitter? Webpage? Blog? Most importantly, where can we find your book.
I love Twitter and welcome new followers: https://twitter.com/#!/traciebanister
My blog is Books by Banister (Yes, I like alliteration!): http://traciebanister.blogspot.com/
My author Facebook page is a work-in-progress, but it will be up soon, hopefully. I’ll post a link on my blog when it’s finally up and running.
Blame It on the Fame can be purchased at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Blame-Fame-ebook/dp/B006ZBG5HU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1329252763&sr=8-1
And Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/124304
Finally, do you have an excerpt or blurb you’d like to share?
Of course. Here’s an excerpt from Blame It on the Fame that involves Oscar nominee, British stage actress Philippa Sutcliffe, and her co-star, Miles McCrea, the Scottish cad whom she had a torrid on-set affair with. Their relationship ended badly (major understatement) and the two haven’t laid eyes on each other for the better part of a year. That’s about to change as they’ve been ordered by the studio to get out and promote their Oscar-nominated film together. The first stop on their Reconciliation Tour is a chat show called “Eye on London.“
* * * * *
She let the production assistant lead her down a series of corridors to the backstage area of the Eye on London set. There was a sound tech waiting to hand Philippa a small microphone, which she clipped to the v-neck of her dress while he moved behind her to work on hiding the mic cord and attaching a small battery pack to her belt. It seemed to take an inordinate amount of time for the tech to perform what should have been a simple task and it occurred to Philippa that his touch was lingering on certain parts of her anatomy that were by invitation only.
“Is there a problem back there?” she wondered.
“No problem,” the words were delivered in the distinctive Scottish burr that used to make her insides melt. She felt the familiar scrape of a stubbled cheek brush against hers as he bent down to murmur in her ear, “It’s been so long since I’ve had my hands on you; I just wanted to savor the moment.”
“URGH! Miles!” She pushed his hands off her hips in disgust and spun around to face him.
He laughed with wicked delight, enjoying the fact that he’d flustered her.
“You look good, Phil. You’ve put on some weight . . .,” his eyes traveled up and down her body, which was encased in a form-fitting wrap dress that showed off every womanly curve, “. . . in all the right places.”
“Well, you look like hell,” she commented waspishly after taking note of his rumpled hair, unshaven face, and drooping eyelids. “Did you even bother going to bed last night?”
“Oh, I went to bed. I just didn’t get any sleep.” He gave her a lascivious wink and chuckled, but Philippa was not amused.
“Spare me the gruesome details of your latest conquest,” she ordered frostily.
“Jealous?” he teased, stepping closer so that only an inch or two of space separated their bodies.
Trying not to breathe in the heady scent of him, she looked up to meet his inquisitive gaze. “You could exchange bodily fluids with every fame-chasing slag inGreat Britain, and I wouldn’t care. What I do care about is my career and my public image, both of which are inextricably tied to yours at the moment, so I’d appreciate it if you would–”
“Mmmmmm, inextricably.” His eyes dropped to her mouth. “I love it when you use words with lots of syllables.”
“Would you focus, please?”
“I am focused,” he assured her.
“On the interview, not my lips.”
“But they’re such nice lips,” his mouth was just a whisper from hers now, “very soft and kissable as I recall.”
“You should cling to those memories because I won’t be refreshing them any time soon.” Her tone was hard and resolute.
“Ah, but I live in hope.”
“No, you live in debauchery, and it’s taking its toll.”
* * * * *
Thanks Tracie. This was a great interview. Thanks for visiting with us today.