6 Oct 2013

Say hi to... Tracie Banister

I've got the gorgeous indie author Tracie Banister with me today...
When did you first start reading Chick Lit?
I jumped on that particular bandwagon when Bridget Jones’s Diary was first released back in 1996. I loved the whole concept of humorous fiction about single women trying to figure their lives out. Up to that point, I’d been reading a lot of romantic fiction, but Chick Lit was so much more – these stories really fleshed out their heroines, delving into their career choices, friendships, and families, along with their love lives.

When did you first start writing Chick Lit?
The first novel I completed about 9 years ago was a light mystery with a major Chick Lit vibe, so I suppose that was my initial foray into the genre. After some reflection, I realized I was much better suited to writing comedy and romance than I was mystery. So, I switched to straight Chick Lit after that, and the rest is history!

What is it about this genre that appeals to you the most? Do you read other genres? If so, which?
I love the humor and romance of Chick Lit; books in this genre are great escapes from real life and they make my heart happy. What more can you ask for in a book?
Although a good deal of what I read is Chick Lit, I do like to dabble in other genres as well. Women’s Fiction, Historical Romance, Young Adult, Paranormal – I enjoy them all and am always interested to see what’s new and exciting in those genres.

Name one of your favourite Chick Lit books?
YIKES Just one? Okay, I’ll pick a recent favorite - I’ve Got Your Number by the one and only Sophie Kinsella. I’ve been a devoted Kinsella fan since the first Shopaholic was released, but there was something really special about IGYN. The book had humor and pathos, really great characterizations, and an ending that brought a tear to my eye because it was so swooningly romantic. Love!

What's the title of your latest book? Can you tell us about it?
My most recent release is In Need of Therapy. It’s a fun, fizzy read about a Latina psychologist who struggles to cope with all the craziness in her life, which comes in the forms of her high-strung family, her demanding patients, and a trio of potential love interests, who are all Mr. Wrong.

What inspired you to write it?
One day my mother off-handedly said, “You should write a funny book about a female psychologist,” and a light bulb went off over my head. It just seemed like such a great idea that was rife with possibilities (What does a psychologist really think when she’s listening to her patients’ problems? How does her shrink persona translate to her personal life? Is there a downside to being caring and empathetic?) I’ve always been a bit of an armchair psychologist myself as I took some Psych courses in school and I love to analyze people and give them advice, so I relished the opportunity to write for a heroine who did that for a living.

Is it part of a series?
For now, it’s a standalone novel, but I reserve the right to pen a sequel some day. I get requests from readers all the time to write a follow-up book starring Izzy, Pilar’s sassy, trouble-attracting younger sister, or Sara, Pilar’s no-nonsense BFF who’s a bathing suit designer. I did love both of those characters and think they’re deserving of having their own stories. It’s just a matter of me finding the time to do it!

Who designs your covers?
I used stock cover art for my first novel, Blame It on the Fame, because I found exactly what I wanted and was on a tight budget back then. I was able to splurge on getting original cover art made for In Need of Therapy. Jeff Okerstrom was recommended to me by a friend, and we had a wonderful collaboration. I told him what my concept for the cover was, he made some great suggestions (The palm tree and Art Deco buildings that were used to convey the Miami setting were all him.) and I was incredibly pleased with the end result. I hope to use Jeff again for my third Chick Lit novel, which I am currently working on.

If your latest book was made into a film, who would you cast?
I would cast Eva Mendes as my heroine, Pilar, because she’s beautiful, but not intimidatingly so, she's appealing to both men and woman, and she sparkles with warmth and positivity.
As for the three men in Pilar’s life, I’d cast Adam Rodriguez as Pilar’s ultra-smooth ex, Victor. Josh Holloway as her flirtatious patient, Mitch. And Jason O’Mara as Ford, the yummy, but married. shrink who works across the hall from her.

What's your favourite Chick Lit book that made it to the big screen?
I think that the Bridget Jones’s Diary film adaptation was near perfect. It was true to the source material and beautifully cast. I’m still tickled by the fact that they got Colin Firth to play Mark Darcy. That was so deliciously meta! Do not get me started on the travesty that was the Confessions of a Shopaholic movie! It was cute enough, but had almost nothing to do with the book it was based on.

Who is your all time favourite Chick Lit character?
Well, this is a little bit off-the-wall, but I really loved Sadie, the high-spirited, speakeasy-loving flapper ghost who haunts heroine Lara Lington in Sophie Kinsella’s Twenties Girl. The character was really fun and entertaining, but also quite poignant since she’d had her heart broken when she was young and ended up dying alone, with unfinished business. Sadie was a very clever and original character for Chick Lit, and she stayed with me.

Name one Chick Lit author who you think deserves to be better known.
I’m fortunate to be part of a wonderful community of indie Chick Lit authors, all of whom I think are incredibly talented and deserving of fame and fortune, so there’s no way I can single out just one! I encourage all lovers of the genre to take a chance on one of these up-and-comers. Their work is every bit as witty, charming, and fun-to-read as all of the big-name authors who are traditionally published, and their books are much cheaper! ;)

In the movie of your life, who would play you?
Photo credit: Patrick McEvoy-Halston via photopin cc
Reese Witherspoon. She’s petite, blonde, southern, and sassy, and I am all of the above!

Speed Round...
Top drink to make you tipsy?
I don’t drink alcohol, but I do get quite peppy when I imbibe anything with caffeine!
Shopaholic or shopadon't? Major shopadon’t. I loathe it and do about 95% of my shopping online so that I don’t have to go to a mall. SHUDDER
Sky high heels or closer to the ground? You’d think high heels since I’m very small, but nope, I like flats or sneakers. Less chance of me getting blisters or breaking my neck in those.
E.L. James or Jilly Cooper? I haven’t read either!
Cry baby or tough cookie? Tough cookie. I like to think I’m one anyway.

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 Academy Awards-themed Blame It on the Fame, was released in January, 2012. And she's following that up with the fun, Miami-set romp, In Need of Therapy. In her spare time, she blogs and co-hosts #ChickLitChat on Twitter, which is a popular group that meets online every week to celebrate and discuss the genre.
In Need of Therapy Book Trailer

Buy In Need of Therapy:
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble

Buy Blame It on the Fame:
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Barnes and Noble


  1. Thank you so much for having me on Fiction Dreams, Suzy. I love the site and really enjoyed your interview questions. :)

  2. Great interview! By the way, I'd seen the book trailer before, but really enjoyed watching it again.

  3. Its such a pleasure, Tracie!!
    Thanks for stopping by, Martha!!

  4. Great interview, ladies! Tracie's books are so fun. Will have to check out that Sophie Kinsella book you mentioned!


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