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.) Her 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, Tracie decided to follow her bliss and dedicate herself to writing full-time. Her debut novel, the Hollywood-themed Blame It on the Fame, was released in January, 2012. And she’s following that up with the fun summer read, In Need of Therapy.
Q & A with Tracie Banister
Welcome back, Tracie! Since you last guest appearance, how have you been? I’ve been busy! I’ve spent the last six months promoting my first book, Blame It on the Fame, while trying to get my second book, In Need of Therapy, ready for publication. In the midst of all that, I’ve been working on some new writing projects!
How long did it take to write In Need of Therapy? About seven months for the actual writing, then another month or so to proofread and fine-tune things.
Which do you prefer, writing, editing, or both? Why? I’m the type of writer who edits as I go, so I can’t really separate the two. It’s all part of the same process for me. My first draft is pretty close to my final draft. I never do major rewrites where I have to cut pages or rework a sub-plot.
Where did you get the ideas for this book? My overactive imagination, as always! Truthfully, I have no clue where my ideas come from. I just start out with a premise, write detailed character bios, then jump into the writing. The characters come to life on the page, and they lead me where they want to go. The best bits in all of my books are the things I didn’t plan in advance.
What’s it like in a day of Tracie Banister? I am awakened every morning at 10 by my houseboy, Fernando, who brings me breakfast in bed (an egg white omelet w/spinach and cheese – very healthy.) I dictate a chapter or two of my latest novel to my personal assistant while getting my hair and make-up done (by professionals, of course.) Then, I’m off to meetings with my “team” (publicist, manager, agent, fan club president, et al.) In the afternoons, I do personal appearances, interviews, etc. Then, it’s back home to get ready for whatever movie premiere, club opening, or gala I’ve been invited to . . . Oh, wait, did you mean a day in my real life? Unfortunately, it’s not nearly as much fun as my fantasy life. In fact, it’s totally unglamorous. I’m chained to my desk for up to 10 hours a day, 6 days a week (this is why I have carpal tunnel and a twitchy eye!) My writing “uniform” is a t-shirt, sweats, and fuzzy slippers (I have them in 5 different colors – no lie!) The only breaks I take during the day are to exercise, do household chores, run errands, or play with my dogs. Other that that, it’s work, work, and more WORK, and I love it!
After being published, how do you celebrate? I really don’t do anything special other than have a few “Woohoo!” moments with friends and family.
What do you snack on while working? I’m not much of a snacker, although I will confess to eating breakfast and lunch at the computer almost every day because I hate taking time away from work to have a meal! We won’t even discuss all the crumbs that have accumulated in my keyboard!
Tell us your favorite word? Why? Serendipity. It’s a fun word to say! And I love the meaning: “The accidental discovery of something pleasant, valuable, or useful.”
What or who inspires you? My mother – she’s always succeeded in life by being kind, hard-working, and determined. I’ve, also, been very inspired by all the authors I’ve met during the course of my publishing journey. As a whole, they are a strong, positive, resilient bunch!
Name 5 things that every writer needs? 1) An excellent thesaurus. 2) Lots of multi-colored post-its for jotting down all of your brilliant ideas as they occur to you. 3) A Twitter account – social media is so important in connecting with readers and other writers! 4) Supportive friends and family. 5) CDs, a flash drive, or a memory stick – some place to save all of your work!
What is the best advice you’ve ever been given? The best advice I ever received was to self-publish and that came from multiple sources. I was just so worn out from having my work praised by agents and publishers only to be rejected because they didn’t think they could sell Chick Lit/funny women’s fiction anymore. I was at the point where I probably would have given up writing, but my family and friends all convinced me to give indie publishing a shot and I’m so glad they did! It’s been such a great experience, and now after all these years people are finally reading my books and giving me such wonderful feedback! My love of writing has been restored, and I’m excited to find out what the future holds for my career as an author.
What do you have coming up next? I have three different contemporary Chick Lit novels simmering on the backburner. I’m just trying to decide which one I want to write next! Meanwhile, I’m focusing on a novel that I’m calling “Regency Chick Lit” as it’s in the vein of Jane Austen/Georgette Heyer novels with a large cast of characters and lots of romance and comedy.
Additional comments from Tracie: I had a blast writing In Need of Therapy, so I hope everyone has just as much fun reading it! I think it’s the perfect summer read to take with you to the pool or beach (and it pairs nicely with a Mojito given that the heroine is part-Cuban! )
**Visit Tracie at any of the links below:
In Need of Therapy blurb:
Lending a sympathetic ear and dispensing sage words of advice is all part of the job for psychologist Pilar Alvarez, and she’s everything a good therapist should be: warm, compassionate, supportive. She listens, she cares, and she has all the answers, but how’s the woman everyone turns to in their hour of need supposed to cope when her own life starts to fall apart?
While working hard to make a success of her recently-opened practice in trendy South Beach, Pilar must also find time to cater to the demands of her boisterous Cuban family, which includes younger sister Izzy, an unemployed, navel-pierced wild child who can’t stay out of trouble, and their mother, a beauty queen turned drama queen who’s equally obsessed with her fading looks and getting Pilar married before it’s “too late.” Although she’d like to oblige her mother and make a permanent love connection, Pilar’s romantic prospects look grim. Her cheating ex, who swears that he’s reformed, is stalking her. A hunky, but strictly off-limits, patient with bad-boy appeal and intimacy issues is making passes. And the sexy shrink in the suite across the hall has a gold band on his left ring finger.
When a series of personal and professional disasters lead Pilar into the arms of one of her unsuitable suitors, she’s left shaken, confused, and full of self-doubt. With time running out, she must make sense of her feelings and learn to trust herself again so that she can save her business, her family, and most importantly, her heart.
**Buy the book!