Hello Precious Authors: Tracie Banister

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.)

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. Twin Piques is her third Chick Lit release. The pet psychic character in this novel was inspired by Tracie’s rascally rescue dogs. She’d love to know what goes on in their heads!

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Why do you write?

I can’t imagine NOT writing. I just love telling stories and entertaining people with my words. I wish I could write fast enough to keep up with all the new book ideas and characters that are constantly popping into my head!

How long have you been writing?

As far back as I can remember. I wrote plays in elementary school, then when I got to junior high and got my first electric typewriter, I spent most of my evenings typing up stories involving my friends and me. I told these stories in installments and would fold each new chapter up, draw a big blue “B” on the front (My pen name was Blair Banister back then because I love alliteration.), then stick the papers in my friends’ lockers each morning. It was always so much fun to get everyone’s feedback at lunch!

Tell us a bit about your current project(s).

I’m super excited to be releasing my third novel on January 7, 2015. It’s called “Twin Piques.” I had a blast writing this story about identical twins who are polar opposites. Here’s the blurb for the book:

Forensic accountant Sloane Tobin and kooky pet psychic Willa may have the same face, but that’s the only thing these identical twins have in common.

How she can read the hearts and minds of animals has always been a mystery to Willa, and her rotten luck with men is equally baffling. Although she’s been looking for “The One” for what feels like forever (A teenage marriage to a French mime and dating a guy named Spider seemed like good ideas at the time!), optimistic Willa refuses to give up on love. When she meets Brody, the handsome rose expert hired to save her grandmother’s garden, she’s instantly smitten, but why does he keep sending her mixed signals? Does he return her feelings, or is their attraction all in her fanciful head?

Unlike her twin, Sloane has zero interest in romance. Her passion is her job, where she uses her gift for numbers to take down slimy embezzlers and asset-hiding spouses. When she’s assigned two high profile cases, Sloane feels confident the promotion she’s been angling for is within her grasp. But will her plan to climb the corporate ladder be thwarted by difficult clients, her co-worker-with-benefits, or – most surprisingly of all – her own sister? And how’s she supposed to stay focused on the drama at work when her childhood friend, Gav, moves in next door and the spark between them becomes impossible to ignore?

To get what they both want, can Willa and Sloane band together and rely on each other’s strengths? Or will their differences drive them apart once and for all?

What genres do you write? Which do you read?

I write Chick Lit and I read a lot of it, too! I do like to genre hop with my reading, though. Regency Romance, Young Adult, Cozy Mysteries, Women’s Fiction – I love them all!

Do you self-pub, have a publisher or both?

I decided to go the indie route with my books because Chick Lit isn’t in great demand in the traditional publishing world these days, but I knew there was still a big audience for it. I really love being indie as I get to have full control over all aspects of my work!

Is there anything special you’ve got going on right now (or in the near future) that we should know about? Promotions, sales, etc?

Just my big release on January 7, 2015! Readers will find comedy, romance, cute guys, and even cuter dogs in Twin Piques!

Any advice to aspiring authors?

My number one piece of advice (and I know it isn’t easy), but you have to be patient! It takes time (years!) to build a readership. Don’t expect to be an overnight success and don’t get discouraged. It’s a marathon, not a race. You just have to keep writing, promoting, and publishing.

On the publishing front, whether you self-pub or submit your manuscript to agents/editors, always present your most polished work. Have several people proofread for you and ALWAYS print up a hard copy of your book to read. You will be amazed (and appalled) by the number of errors you will spot in a hard copy that your eyes never saw on the computer screen.

Thanks so much for having me on Hello Precious Bliss today, Karan!