Yesterday I shared a little bit about a new novel that was just released and today I am thrilled to share my interview with the author! I had the opportunity to talk to Tracie Banister to find out who she is as a writer, what inspires her to write and a few fun facts along the way. I first heard about Tracie when I purchased her novel In Need of Therapy during Amazon’s Cyber Monday book deals, but it went straight into my TBR pile with the good intention of getting to it soon. When I heard that Twin Piques, Tracie’s third novel, was being published, I realized that I still hadn’t read her other novel that I had purchased. Once I got to talking to Tracie and learned a little bit more about her, I knew I needed to bump her books up to the top of my list. As you will learn for yourself from the interview below, Tracie is an energetic, dedicated and hilarious individual and you’ll be running to purchase her new book for yourself!
Interview with Tracie Banister
Hi Tracie, a huge, warm welcome to Living Life With Joy! Thank you so much for participating in this interview. Would you like to start by introducing yourself?
Hi Arielle, thanks so much for having me on your blog! My name is Tracie Banister, and I’m an author, blogger, TV addict, and dog lover. I live in the suburbs of Atlanta, with my two Cocker Spaniels (That number is about to increase as a puppy is being added to the mix next month!)
Aww so sweet, congratulations on the new puppy! Can you tell us a bit about your latest novel, Twin Piques (Published January 7, 2015) and the inspiration behind it?
Twin Piques chronicles a critical few months in the lives of sisters Sloane and Willa Tobin. They’re identical twins, but polar opposites in every way. Sloane’s a hyper-intelligent, sharp-tongued forensic accountant who’s focused on getting a promotion at work while Willa is a sweet, kooky pet psychic who’s on a search for true love. How the two of them help (and sometimes hinder) each other from reaching their goals and finding happiness is the core of the story. There’s comedy, romance, cute guys, and even cuter dogs in Twin Piques!
As for my inspiration, I’ve always been curious about what goes on in my dogs’ heads, so I thought it would be fun to explore that with a character who’s a pet psychic. And to balance out the bubbly eccentricity of Willa, I decided to give her a twin who was the flip side of the coin, someone who was totally practical and left-brained. I really enjoyed writing for both characters and delving into the complexities of a sisterly relationship.
Comedy, romance and cute guys and dogs, sounds like the perfect mix for novel! What’s your favorite thing about writing romance novels?
I just love writing all those “big” moments in a romantic relationship – the first meeting, the first kiss, the declaration of love, and of course, the obligatory happy ending. 😉
I know I love reading all of those ‘big’ moments! How did you go about doing the relevant research for Twin Piques?
In the early stages of writing Twin Piques, I visited a pet psychic with my dogs just to see what the whole process was like. Unfortunately, it wasn’t as entertaining as I’d imagined, so I ended up taking creative license with the profession and injecting a lot of humor into it in the book.
As for Sloane’s job as a forensic accountant (These people are known as the CSI team of the accounting world!), I did a ton of research online and also questioned the people in my life who have CPA/finance experience. I was surprised to find out what fascinating work forensic accounting is. There’s a lot of variety in it, and the job includes all sorts of cool tasks like being an expert witness at trials.
Twin Piques is your third novel. How did you find writing this book compared to your first two novels? Is it easier or more difficult?
I wish I could say that it gets easier with each book, but alas, I haven’t found that to be the case. The more books I write, the more I have to worry about not repeating myself, or living up to the standard of my previous books, or pleasing my readers. I almost head-tripped myself into writer’s block a couple of times with Twin Piques!
That sounds tough! I’d love to know more about where you’re from. Where were you born and where do you call home?
I was born in Houston and have lived in Atlanta, GA (home of my fave fictional heroine, Scarlett O’Hara) for the last three decades.
Gotta love Scarlett, that’s so fun! What’s your happiest childhood memory?
Every summer my local library had a “How Many Books Can You Read?” contest, and I looked forward to that so much, because I loved nothing more than books, and I was always very competitive. 😉 I remember checking out ten books at a time and walking out of the library with this huge stack I could barely carry. Good times.
That sounds like a ton of fun! Who are your favorite authors and what books do you enjoy reading?
I’m a genre-jumper with my reading. Chick Lit is my fave, obviously, since it’s what I write and I love the funny, but I also enjoy reading Women’s Fiction, Historical Romance, Cozy Mystery, Classic Lit, and even Young Adult. My favorite writers of all-time would have to be Jane Austen, Georgette Heyer, Shakespeare, Elizabeth Peters, Janet Evanovich, and Sophie Kinsella.
I can imagine that being a writer is a great job, but what’s the worst job you’ve ever had?
I’m going to have to go with babysitting. That was the only paying gig available until I was 16, so I did it because I wanted spending money, but I pretty much hated every minute of it. Changing an endless parade of poopy diapers as a teen dissuaded me from ever wanting to have children myself!
The dirty diapers were definitely the worst part about babysitting! Is there one book that stands out in your mind that you wish you’d written?
On the Island by Tracey Garvis-Graves. That book really blew me away. I read it from beginning to end in a day and can’t recall ever being so emotionally affected by a story. I cried several times while reading the book and cried again when I finished because I was so sorry it was over! Two years later, and I’m still thinking about what a powerful and beautiful love story On the Island was.
That sounds wonderful, I’ll have to add it to my TBR. What kind of environment do you write in? When coming up with new ideas, are you a pen and paper gal or do you go straight to the computer?
I do all my writing at my desk in my home office. I don’t even own a laptop! When I’m in the planning stage of a book, I jot down my ideas on legal pads. I also handwrite very detailed character bios before I ever start writing. Even when I’m in the middle of working on a book, I will scribble lines of dialogue, or scene ideas, on a legal pad. These ideas often come to me in the shower, so I’m usually running into my office, in a towel, dripping wet, grabbing the closest writing implement and putting the idea down on paper (or post-it note!) before I forget it.
That’s the next great invention that someone needs to make, a waterproof notepad for the shower! Do you have any writing superstitions or rituals?
I have a few idiosyncrasies with my writing. One, I wear my “writing” cardigan, even if it’s the middle of summer! Two, I touch the top of William Shakespeare’s head for luck (I have a Shakespeare paperweight on my desk, which was bought for me by my brother in Stratford-on-Avon.) And lastly, I rub on some of my Origins hand lotion. (It smells like Earl Grey tea!) I feel like that “warms up” my hands for writing! 😉
I love that you have a ‘writing’ cardigan! If you could marry a fictional character, from film, television, or books, who would it be?
YIKES This is like Sophie’s Choice. I have so many book and TV boyfriends! How can I choose just one? Okay, I’ll say, Henry Tilney from Austen’s Northanger Abbey. Fictional brooders are all well and good, but I think a girl would have a better chance at long-term happiness with a fellow like Henry, who’s charming, has a wonderful sense of humor, and seems to really enjoy life and other people.
Okay, now for a few fun questions. What are 5 things you can’t live without in your kitchen?
Skim milk, oatmeal, mayo, bananas, and eggs (I eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!)
Me too, I could eat eggs for any meal! What are 5 things you can’t live without in your wardrobe?
Sneakers, sweatpants, a big purse, a warm coat, and t-shirts with funny, writing-related quotes on them.
Sounds like you love to be comfy, me too! What are 5 things you can’t live without in your handbag?
Tissues, cell phone, wallet, hairbrush, anti-bacterial hand gel.
I can’t go anywhere without my cell phone! If you could plan the perfect holiday, what would it be?
A tour of Europe, which would include spending the night in a castle, visiting all the great museums (the Louvre, the National Gallery, the Museo del Prado, etc.), seeing a Shakespeare play performed in Straford-on-Avon, riding a gondola in Venice, and eating a croissant in a sidewalk café in Paris.
Great itinerary! What’s your favorite song?
I’m going to kick it old-school and say, “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes,” by The Platters. I’ve always found that song to be really romantic and a bit haunting.
Do you have any pet peeves?
It drive me bonkers when people ignore the real, live humans they’re with in favor of texting, or tweeting, or reading their e-mails on their phones. So rude!
That’s definitely a big social problem these days that I try to avoid as much as possible. Can you tell us a bit about your journey to publication?
In my early twenties, I attempted to write a novel just to see if I could do it, but real life got in the way and I never finished it. About 15 years later, my job as a personal assistant ended and that’s when I decided to follow my bliss and write a novel with an eye toward being published. I was very fortunate in that I got offers of representation from two well-respected New York agents on that first novel, which was Mystery Lit (Light Mystery with a Chick Lit vibe). The agent I chose to go with was very high on my book and was sure she’d have no trouble finding a home for it. This was about 9 years ago when publishers had a glut of Chick Lit and were declaring the genre “dead,” so my agent had no luck with publishers. I went on to write two more books, both of which I queried agents and publishers about, and I got nothing but positive feedback, but nobody wanted anything to do with humorous fiction for women. I was actually told more than once that I was wasting my talent and should switch genres! Since I wasn’t interested in writing novels about teenagers or vampires, I decided to go the indie route with my books and I’m so glad I did! Now I’m getting my stories into readers’ hands and I love having control over all aspects of my work.
Wow, that’s quite the journey! To wrap things up, can you tell us a bit about what you’re working on at the moment?
At the present, I’m pretty focused on releasing and promoting Twin Piques, but I’m excited about starting work on Book 4 this month. It’s a project that’s been percolating on my creative backburner for several years, and I’ve been flooded with lots of great character and story ideas for it lately. I can’t be too specific about the book just yet, but I will say that it will be set in Manhattan and there will be a love triangle!
Thank you so much for participating in this interview, I’m delighted to have you on my blog and truly appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions!
Connect with the Author
Tracie Banister – Author Bio
An avid reader and writer, Tracie Banister has been scribbling stories since she was a child, most of them featuring feisty heroines with complicated love lives like her favorite fictional protagonist Scarlett O’Hara. Her work was first seen on the stage of her elementary school, where her 4th grade class performed an original holiday play that she penned. (Like all good divas-in-the-making, she also starred in and tried to direct the production.)
Tracie’s dreams of authorial success were put on the backburner when she reached adulthood and discovered that she needed a “real” job in order to pay her bills. Her career as personal assistant to a local entrepreneur lasted for 12 years. When it ended, she decided to follow her bliss and dedicate herself to writing full-time. Twin Piques is her third Chick Lit release. The pet psychic character in this novel was inspired by Tracie’s rascally rescue dogs. She’d love to know what goes on in their heads!
Click the links below to buy your copy of Twin Piques today!
Twin Piques by Tracie Banister
Forensic accountant Sloane Tobin and kooky pet psychic Willa may have the same face, but that’s the only thing these identical twins have in common.
How she can read the hearts and minds of animals has always been a mystery to Willa, and her rotten luck with men is equally baffling. Although she’s been looking for “The One” for what feels like forever (A teenage marriage to a French mime and dating a guy named Spider seemed like good ideas at the time!), optimistic Willa refuses to give up on love. When she meets Brody, the handsome rose expert hired to save her grandmother’s garden, she’s instantly smitten, but why does he keep sending her mixed signals? Does he return her feelings, or is their attraction all in her fanciful head?
Unlike her twin, Sloane has zero interest in romance. Her passion is her job, where she uses her gift for numbers to take down slimy embezzlers and asset-hiding spouses. When she’s assigned two high profile cases, Sloane feels confident the promotion she’s been angling for is within her grasp. But will her plan to climb the corporate ladder be thwarted by difficult clients, her co-worker-with-benefits, or – most surprisingly of all – her own sister? And how’s she supposed to stay focused on the drama at work when her childhood friend, Gav, moves in next door and the spark between them becomes impossible to ignore?
To get what they both want, can Willa and Sloane band together and rely on each other’s strengths? Or will their differences drive them apart once and for all?