And yes, I know I could ask, but...
But every once in a while in the wild and crazy world of social networking, you actually meet a kindred spirit who not only loves to write as much as you do, but just happens to have the same last name—one "n" and all.
And since we Banisters need to stick together, I wanted to make sure you knew about her fantastic new book, In Need of Therapy, not to mention her theory on why Scarlett O'Hara had such a crush on drippy ol' Ashley (yes, we both are big fans of Gone With the Wind), what's been vying for the precious space on her DVR and why you should download her novel—pronto.
Hello fellow namesake, thanks for stopping by my blog. Although I've only been a Banister for just shy of seven years now, I just have to ask. How many times in an average week does someone try to sneak another "n" in your name?
LOL. At least twice a week! And if someone's not misspelling my last name, they're spelling Tracie with a "-y" or an "-ey." My parents had no idea they were giving me such a difficult name!
Besides our last names, we have something else in common. A mutual admiration for Gone With the Wind. How many times (you know, estimate if need be) have you watched the saga of Scarlett, Rhett and the South? And what's your theory on why Scarlett liked drippy ol' Ashley so much anyway? As many times as I've watched, I will never, ever understand the attraction.
Let me pull out a calculator here. If I've been watching GWTW once or twice a year since I was 11... I'd guesstimate that I've seen the movie 30 times (this includes viewings on TV, DVD,and a few showings at a movie theater). And yes, I can quote lines from the movie and do so often, my favorite being some variation on Prissy's, "I don't know nothin' 'bout birthin' no babies, Miz Scarlett!"
I just released a book where the heroine is a psychologist, so let me channel Pilar for a moment here. I think Scarlett's initial attraction to Ashley was just a simple case of opposites attracting. She was young, high-spirited and extroverted while he was a more mature, soft-spoken, cerebral gentleman. Plus, he was a challenge. Scarlett had all the men of marriageable age in the area trying to woo and win her while Ashley remained somewhat aloof and out of her reach. Most women would have grown out of an adolescent crush like the one Scarlett had on Ashley, but the war happened and the way of life that Scarlett loved and idealized was lost forever. So, I think her continued pursuit of Ashley throughout the rest of the book/movie was Scarlett's attempt to recapture all that she cherished about her childhood. She never loved Ashley, the man; she loved what he represented.
Speaking of GWTW, would you ever consider, say, modernizing it in your sassy chick lit fashion?
Well, I hadn't thought of it before, but now that you've put that bee in my bonnet, who knows? It might be fun to try to reenvision GWTW as a modern-day Chick Lit story!
Switching gears, what's the last novel you read that really rocked your world and why? And while we're at it, why will In Need of Therapy rock someone's world?
I've been on a reading hiatus for the last five months while I focused on releasing and promoting Blame It on the Fame and In Need of Therapy. But if I reach back to early spring, the book that really bowled me over at that time was Entwined by Heather Dixon. Yes, I know. A YA/Fantasy novel doesn't sound like something a Chick Lit writer would be reading in her off-time, but I do like to check out other genres on occasion and Entwined caught my eye because I love fairy tales and this book ended up being a very clever and fantastic retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses. Entwined made me laugh and cry, which is quite a feat for any book! I was really moved and entertained by it. I can't wait to see what Heather Dixon releases next!
As for why In Need of Therapy will rock someone's world, I hope that readers will appreciate the humor in the novel (Between her patients and her very crazy, over-the-top Cuban family, Pilar Alvarez has a lot of wackiness in her life!) and that they'll enjoy trying to figure out, along with Pilar, who her Mr. Right is. I've been told by people who've read In Need of Therapy that there are some surprises and plot twists towards the end of the book that they did not see coming!
I like that you gave your protagonist a job we don't often read about in novels. What inspired your female psychologist protagonist and what can readers take away from In Need of Therapy?
Thanks! I owe credit to my mother for suggesting that I write a "funny book about a female psychologist." It was a great idea because I've always been fascinated by psychology. I took Psych courses in school and even toyed with the idea of becoming a therapist myself, so writing for someone in that profession came naturally and I enjoyed playing up the comedic aspect of it.
I hope that readers will take away a couple of things from In Need of Therapy. One, be true to yourself. Don't let other people, even if they're well-meaning, put pressure on you. Only you know what's best for you. Two, being compassionate is a good thing, but don't let your kindness blind you to other people's faults and don't let them take advantage of you.
How long did it take to write In Need of Therapy and how was the process different from writing Blame It on the Fame?
I actually wrote In Need of Therapy before Blame It on the Fame, and they were two very different experiences. Blame was a very complex book with five interweaving stories and multiple heroines, so it took me 2 years to finish. Therapy had its challenges, too, as I'd never written a book with a first-person narrative before, but I was able to complete that novel in seven months. I should, also, point out that I was running my own business while writing Blame, so my writing time was limited (only a few days a week) and that lengthened the process considerably. With Therapy, I was able to focus on my writing full-time, which is why I was able to finish the story relatively fast.
What's next in your writing pipeline?
Up until a few weeks ago, I wasn't sure which of my many WIPs I was going to focus on next, but then the inspiration fairy started divebombing my house with all sorts of new ideas for a Chick Lit novel that I started writing as a short story last year. I don't want to say too much about this book just yet, but I think it's going to be a really fun one. So, keep an eye out for it 2013! :)
When you're not putting the proverbial pen to paper, what's your favorite way to kick back?
Exercise is a great stress reliever for me and spending time on the treadmill and mini-stepper every day gives me a chance to catch up on all those TV shows I like to record (see my answer to your next question!) I, also, like hanging out with my three adorable rescue dogs. They love play time and belly rubs!
If you would, tell us what TV shows are dominating your DVR during these summer months, and what are you looking forward to watching this fall?
I am a self-confessed TV addict, so I have a pretty impressive rotation of shows on my DVR year-round. This summer, it's been True Blood, Suits, Teen Wolf, Melissa & Joey, Top Chef Masters, Project Runway, White Collar, Covert Affairs, Lost Girl, Alphas, and Warehouse 13. This fall, the top five shows I'm probably looking most forward to seeing back on my TV screen are: Dancing With the Stars, Revenge, Hart of Dixie, Castle, and The Big Bang Theory. The one new show I can't wait to check out is Elementary, CBS's take on Sherlock with Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu as his Dr. Watson. Should be fun!
Ok, last question. Where can people connect with you online? Are there sample chapters of your novels available to check out?
I have a blog and I'm very active on Twitter and Facebook. If you love books, TV, dogs or all of the above, please follow or Friend me! I always enjoy connecting with readers and other authors. And yes, you can sample several chapters of my books, In Need of Therapy and Blame It on the Fame, either online or on your e-reader at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.