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 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. She is the proud winner of the Independent Press Award (Romantic Comedy) and a Bronze Medal in the Readers’ Favorite Awards (Chick Lit).
Straight from the Hart is Tracie’s seventh novel and a full circle moment for her as the story took her back to Hollywood, which was the setting of her very first book.
- What is the first book that made you cry?
Interestingly enough, the book I can first remember making me cry wasn’t fiction. It was a memoir—By Myself by Lauren Bacall. Her retelling of her husband Humphrey Bogart’s illness and death was really heart-wrenching and had a profound emotional impact on me. I sobbed my way through reading those chapters and I’m someone who rarely cries while reading. I was fortunate to meet Ms. Bacall at a book signing years later and told her just how much her writing affected me.
- What is your favorite quote? Why does it speak to you?
Tracie: I’m a big fan of the Benjamin Franklin quote, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” I am a Type A planner, so this quote pretty much sums up my whole approach to life!
Elizabeth: From one type A to another, I plan to plan! It’s a curse and a blessing. LOL.
- What comes first, the plot or the characters?
Tracie: It’s the characters or the overall concept that comes first for me. My stories are very character-oriented, so I always start with jotting down bios by hand for the leads in my books. Once I’ve got a handle on the characters, their backstories, their relationships, and what their goals and motivations are, then a story organically presents itself to me.
In Need of Therapy: https://amzn.to/3daoPGp
- What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
Tracie: I could write an essay on this topic! It is SO important to find your writing tribe when you begin your journey as an author. You will need those other writers for advice along the way as well as emotional support. I would not have achieved half of what I have without my writer pals. I feel so strongly about authors connecting and helping each other that I run a large group on Facebook called “Chick Lit Chat” where hundreds of us connect on a daily basis, sharing our wisdom and experiences. I’ve made so many dear friends there (too many to even name!).
Elizabeth: I met Tracie via facebook and joined her awesome group Chick Lit Chat. Check it out: https://www.facebook.com/groups/ChickLitChatHQ
- As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
It would have to be a mermaid! I will be forever associated with them because my last book, In the Swim of Things, had a heroine who was a professional mermaid. I post mermaid-related things on social media all the time and readers are always tagging/messaging me when they see mermaid stories/products. I’ve amassed quite a collection of mermaid paraphernalia thanks to all the friends, family members, and readers who’ve sent me lovely and unique mermaid items.
In the Swim of Things: https://amzn.to/327qaHE
- What did you edit out of this book?
Tracie: I had to leave some tidbits about Viv, the heroine’s Emmy-winning grandmother in Straight from the Hart, on the cutting room floor. As readers will learn, Viv has led quite a colorful life! I had a tremendous amount of fun coming up with her backstory and I was never quite sure what was going to come out of her mouth. In the end, I had to remind myself that this book was Vanessa’s story, not Viv’s. LOL Maybe one day Viv will commission me to write her biography, then I can tell the world which Beatle she had a fling with. 😉
Elizabeth: I love that you’ve carried characters between your books, that’s so fun and fans will enjoy seeing glimpses of the characters again.
- Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
Funny you should ask because I included some Easter eggs in Straight from the Hart that connect my books and will amuse folks who’ve read my backlist. A character from my very first book, Blame It on the Fame, makes a cameo appearance in one scene. (SPOILER: Time has not mellowed her. She’s just as awful now as she was in her original incarnation!) As for the other “secrets,” let’s see if my readers can ferret them out.
Elizabeth: Get your baskets warmed up and find those Easter eggs!!!
Here’s all the juicy details about Tracie’s newest release!!!
Romance isn’t dead. At least not as long as Vanessa Hart has anything to say about it.
Having founded her own romance concierge business, Vanessa helps the couples of Los Angeles keep the spark alive by planning unique and unforgettable experiences guaranteed to make them fall even deeper in love. But playing Cupid doesn’t leave this boss lady any time to lock down her own happily ever after, or so she claims.
Vanessa is secretly nursing a broken heart from her last serious relationship, which ended badly, like donate everything he left at her apartment to Goodwill and refuse to ever speak his name again badly. When Vanessa’s ex, celebrity publicist Alex Farr, reappears in her life with an intriguing business proposition, she’d like to tell him where to stuff it, but . . .
Straight from the Hart is under attack by an unscrupulous former employee and getting the endorsement of Alex’s A-list client would prove Vanessa’s the best romance concierge in town. All she has to do is save the marriage of “It Couple” Jax and Jaz, which is teetering on the edge of a fault line thanks to his drunken indiscretion with a co-star, and get the twosome back on the red carpet in time for Jax’s film premiere.
If only Vanessa didn’t have to work side-by-side with the man she once adored and now wants to throttle. Jax and Jaz might be soulmates who deserve a second chance, but there’s no going back for her and Alex. They are done. Over. Finished. Kaput. Vanessa just has to keep telling herself that until she believes it.
UNIVERSAL BUY LINK FOR AMAZON. BOOK WILL ALSO BE AVAILABLE IN KINDLE UNLIMITED:http://mybook.to/StraightfromtheHart
- Describe yourself in three words.
Entertaining. Determined. Feisty.
- Name three of your least favorite things.
Mustard. Cleaning bathrooms. Pollen.
- Name three of your favorite things.
Dogs. (REGGIE specifically 💕💕💕)
TRACIE thanks for sharing your new release and stopping by for an interview. Follow Tracie and don’t forget to sign up for her Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/by0VAv
Happy reading and reviewing until next week booklovers!!! E