About 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 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 back burner 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 2017 Independent Press Award (Romantic Comedy) and a Bronze Medal in the 2017 Readers’ Favorite Awards (Chick Lit).

Although Tracie swore she’d never write a sequel to any of her books, the character of Izzy Alvarez, who first appeared in In Need of Therapy, would not be denied. Izzy As Is is Tracie’s fifth novel, and she hopes readers enjoy this return trip to Miami.

About Tracie as an author

What inspired you to write your first book?

The first novel I tried my hand at writing was a Historical Romance I titled “Rapture and Deception,” and this was inspired by my love of author Kathleen Woodiwiss’s books in that genre. Fun fact: In Izzy As Is, the heroine mentions having a brief stint on a telenovela called “Éxtasis y Engaño,” which translates to Rapture and Deception (a little inside joke that amused me).

What genre do you consider your book(s)?

My books fall in both the Chick Lit and Romantic Comedy categories.

How long does it take you to write a book?

It really varies depending on the book and the other demands on my time. I’d say on average, it takes about a year for me to write a book and have it ready for publishing.

What is your favorite scene that you’ve written?

It would be impossible for me to pick one scene out of all the books I’ve written, so I’ll pick a favorite from Izzy As Is. There’s a climactic scene toward the end of Izzy where the intrepid heroine goes after her man and meets up with him in a very unusual location. I loved how very Floridian the location was and how it added some fun, comedic elements to a scene where Izzy lays her heart on the line and allows herself to be vulnerable for the first time.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Don’t rush to query or publish a book before it’s as good as you can possibly make it. No matter how talented you are, you’ll experience a lot of criticism and rejection in this business, so never stop believing in yourself and your work.

How do you beat writer’s block?

I don’t think I’ve ever had writer’s block, but I’ve definitely experienced writer’s burn-out. I’m a perfectionist and I can get very frustrated with myself when my stories don’t turn out the way I want them to. At times like these, I have to step away from the computer and recharge my batteries by hopping on the treadmill, going to a movie, or chatting with a friend.

Are any of your characters based on you?

Not really, although there are facets of me in a few of my characters. For instance, I love dogs like Willa, the pet psychic, in Twin Piques. And for a time, I wanted to be a psychologist like Pilar in In Need of Therapy. Izzy Alvarez is probably the heroine who is most unlike me in every possible way. (I wouldn’t be caught dead in a bikini!)

Do you have anything that you want to say to your readers?

I’d just like to thank them for their support and let them know how much their reviews, e-mails, and messages on social media mean. Nothing makes me happier than hearing that my words entertained someone and my characters stuck with them.

About Tracie’s new release, IZZY AS IS

What is the book about?

Izzy As Is follows the husband-hunting antics of a Latina spitfire who’s forced to come up with a new life plan when she learns she’s aged out of her cushy career as a bikini model.

How did you come up with the title?

I never come up with my own book titles! I leave that to my friends and family members who pitch me ideas. I always know the right one when I hear it and I loved Izzy As Is when my mother presented it to me. It really sums up the character of Izzy beautifully as she is very confident and feels no need to please anyone but herself. Although she does grow and evolve over the course of the book, in the end, she is still true to herself and does things on her own terms.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

I can sum that up quite succinctly in two words, “Do you.” Follow your own path, live life to the fullest, regret nothing, and love yourself flaws and all.

About Tracie as a reader

What book are you reading now?

ARCs from two very talented writers—Messing with Matilda by Cat Lavoie (awesome Chick Lit) and Queen of Hearts by Kathryn R. Biel (emotion-fraught royal romance).

What books have most influenced your life most?

Oh, gosh, so many, but I’ll narrow it down to my Top 5:

  1. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  2. Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
  3. Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding
  4. One For the Money by Janet Evanovich
  5. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

All of these books had complex, full-bodied characterizations, excellent pacing, wonderful dialogue, and one or both of my favorite elements in books—romance and humor.

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

In the last six months, I’ve discovered and fallen in love with the work of a very diverse and gifted group of authors, including Melanie Summers (her Crown Jewels RomCom series is a true gem that made me laugh and cry), Colleen Gleason (her Stoker & Holmes series is an incredibly clever and riveting blend of steampunk, mystery, paranormal, and girl-power action), Lauren Layne (I was enchanted by her holiday RomCom, An Ex for Christmas, and can’t wait to read more of her books), C.J. Archer (I blew through her Emily Chambers Spirit Medium trilogy and Glass & Steele series in record time—her world-building is beyond compare), and Sally Thorne (her debut novel, The Hating Game, was such a sexy and engrossing page-turner—I am counting down the days until her next release in October!).

Because Karan is random

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I love to read, exercise, spend time with family and friends, hang out with my adorable dogs, and watch Hallmark movies!

Which question are you most sick of answering in interviews?

LOL I think I’ll plead the fifth on this one. However, I will say that I much prefer to answer questions about my stories and characters than I do ones about myself as I’m quite boring in comparison to my fictional creations! 😉

Purchase a copy of Izzy As Is during release week (January 24-30, 2018) and you could win a fantastic prize pack inspired by the book’s sassy Latina heroine (nail polish, jewelry, and mojitos are some of her favorite things) and the beachy setting in Miami. People who purchased Izzy during the pre-order period are also eligible for the giveaway!

This prize pack includes:

  • Deco Miami Custom Trio Set of Nail Lacquer with Champagne Mami, Feeling Fuego, and Señorita
  • Betsey Johnson Peacock Feather Earrings
  • Gift Republic Mojito Cocktail Scented Candle
  • Coconut Scented Gift Set from The Body Shop
  • (inc. Shower Gel, Body Scrub, Body Butter, Soap, and Bath Lily)
  • Bella Pilar Gem-Topped Gold Pen
  • She Spiral Notepad Set by Kate Spade New York
    (Quotes on Notepads: 1 – She believed she could, so she did. 2 – “How many shades of red lipstick do you need,” they asked. “That question,” she replied, “is complex and intriguing.” 3 – She adores pretty things and witty words.)

To enter this giveaway, e-mail Tracie Banister at traciebanister@gmail.com with your proof of purchase. Entries will be accepted until midnight on January 30, 2018 when a winner will be selected via random drawing. This is an international giveaway, so anyone who buys Izzy As Is within the allotted time frame is eligible to win. Good luck!