Today I have to awesome author Tracie Banister here with me. I met Tracie on twitter during one of our #chicklitchat sessions. (If you haven’t checked them out, you should!) She is the author of the Hollywood inspired chick lit novel Blame it on the Fame and she’s pretty darn awesome! She’s agreed to answer some interview questions and guess what? I’m answering these same questions but on her site!
2 Authors, 1 set of questions = fun times!!
Check out my answers to these same questions by visiting Tracie’s blog HERE!!
1) Can you give us a brief overview of Blame it on the Fame?
Here’s the blurb on Blame it on the Fame, my debut Chick Lit novel:
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 to Hollywood 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.
2) What’s your favorite quality about your hero/heroine?
I’d say that my favorite qualities of my heroines are: Anaya – her sassiness (She says the blunt, outrageous things most of us would never have the guts to.) Danielle – her single-mindedness (The woman knows what she wants and won’t let anybody get in her way.) Jordan – her practicality (She’s the most down-to-earth character in the book, which is nothing short of a miracle considering her background.) Laurel – her kindness (She is a truly good person; there’s not a malicious bone in her body.) Philippa – her quick wit (No one can quip like she can.)
3) What made you want to write this book?
I’ve always been fascinated by Hollywood and the lives of celebrities. There’s so much fanfare surrounding the Oscars every year; I wondered what it was really like for the actresses who were nominated. How did receiving this honor affect their lives, both personally and professionally?
4) What are you working on now?
I’ve completed another Chick Lit novel about a Latina psychologist who works in Miami that will be released in May. And I’m currently writing what I hope will be the first in a series of novels about the daughters of a Regency Era aristocrat (think Jane Austen with lots of wit and romantic entanglements.)
5) What comes first for you — character idea, plot idea?
I almost always start with a premise first, then the characters just naturally spring to mind. For example, with Blame It on the Fame, I started with an idea – following the journey of the five Best Actress Oscar nominees – and from there I thought about Hollywood archetypes and narrowed those down to the ones I was most interested in delving into – the hard-partying trainwreck, the stage actress who thinks she’s above the crass film industry, the second-generation actress, the good girl who’s a complete witch behind the scenes, and the retired actress trying to make a comeback.
6) How do you think of titles?
I don’t. I am terrible at thinking up titles. So far, every book and short story I’ve written has been named by someone else, usually my mother who has a special talent for coming up with clever titles.
7) What are your thoughts on love scenes in books? Do you prefer to read/write sweet/romantic encounters between your hero and heroine or spicy ones?
I like to read and write both, actually. It just depends on the characters and the type of story I’m telling. With Blame It on the Fame, the characters all live and work in Hollywood, which is infamously debaucherous, so it would have been disingenuous of me not to have had some sex in the book. Whereas with my next two books, the stories are all about the build-up to that amazing first kiss. My pet peeve is when there is nothing but sex in a book and character development and plot are sacrificed on the altar of lust. As a writer, that’s just not interesting to me.
8) Who are the authors who inspire you?
The classic authors who inspire me are Jane Austen, the Brontë sisters, Georgette Heyer, and Shakespeare. The author who made me want to become a writer was Kathleen Woodiwiss. I discovered her in my late teens and fell in love with her strong female characters and the well-developed romances in her books. The modern-day authors who inspire me are Lauren Willig, Gail Carriger, Elizabeth Peters, Nora Roberts, and Janet Evanovich.
9) What genres do you like to read? Do you stick to one or are you eclectic in your reading tastes?
I am very eclectic in my reading tastes. The one common element in the books I read is that they all have romance in them. I must have romance! I enjoy Chick Lit, Paranormal, Historical Romance (esp. Regency), Classic Literature, (Light) Mystery, Steampunk, and I’ve just recently been getting into the Young Adult genre.
10) What was the last book you read that really WOW’d you?
I was really enchanted by the YA novel Entwined by Heather Dixon. I love fairy tales and Entwined is based on The Twelve Dancing Princesses. Entwined has everything – love, loss, magic, several well-defined heroines to root for, a nefarious villain, handsome heroes, lots of great twists and surprises. It made me laugh and cry and squee with delight. I can’t wait to see what Heather Dixon writes next.
11) Do you prefer a series or stand alone novels?
I love a good series because it gives you a chance to really get to know the characters and watch them develop and grow. Series characters become like old friends and you look forward to spending time with them.
12) If you could be plopped down in the middle of any book, which one would it be?
It’d have to be a Jane Austen novel. The question is – Which one? Probably Pride and Prejudice because that one seems like the most fun – fancy balls, unexpected marriage proposals, handsome, well-born men, witty banter – yes, that’s a world I’d like to be a part of.
13) If you could invite any five people (living or dead) over for a dinner party, who would they be and why?
Princess Diana, because she was such an icon of the ’80s and I was totally fascinated with her as teen.
Jane Austen, because of her sense of humor and wonderful conversational abilities (these are evident in not only her books, but in her correspondence with her sister.)
Anderson Cooper, because he’s well-informed, funny, cultured, knows how to ask the right questions and can tell a great story.
My friend, Tim, because he was such a warm, talented, interesting person who always kept me entertained.
Kenneth Branagh, because he’s one of the most brilliant actors on the planet and we could discuss the finer points of Shakespeare’s works.
Fast and Flirty
Favorite word? Serendipity
Dream vacation spot? Greece
Favorite time period in history? The Roaring ’20s
Favorite girl’s night out drink? I don’t drink alcohol, so club soda with lemon.
Favorite date night activity? There’s nothing better than a wonderful meal (preferably in a restaurant with a romantic ambiance) accompanied by a great conversation.
Coffee or tea or soda? I live for Diet Caffeine-Free Coke.
Strong but lean or built and burly? Built and burly, thank you.
Scruffy or clean-shaven? Scruffy.
Dark-haired or blond? I like dark-haired men, but there have been one or two blonds in my life who were exceptions to the rule.
Celebrity Hottie on your laminated list? Choosing just one is difficult, but I’ll go with Joe Manganiello (hunky werewolf on True Blood.)
Novel hero crush? My first novel crush was Laurie in Little Women, and I adore him to this day. My most recent novel crush would have to be Reyes in the Grave series by Darynda Jones. He’s mad, bad, and dangerous to know . . . YUM!