"Who in their right mind wouldn't want to read a book by Mark Barry!" (Mary Quallo, St Louis)

"Who in their right mind wouldn't want to read a book by Mark Barry!"  (Mary Quallo, St Louis)
Coming next week - Carla Eatherington

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Popular Chickliterati Tracie "Twin Piques" Banister is...around the Cauldron

Sometime last year, the name Tracie Banister was mooted here on the Cauldron as a name to watch out for in the world of the chickliterati. I contacted her and asked if she fancied a chat and she willingly agreed, but for one reason or another, it's taken a year to happen. 

In the meantime, Tracie has rapidly gained a reputation on the circuit for effervescent, upbeat, feelgood chicklit. 

Coinciding with the release of her hot new novel, "Twin Piques", I managed to track her down somewhere deep in the balmy savannahs of the southern states of America (the second native of Atlanta we've interviewed in the past fortnight), and we chatted on the Wizphone accompanied by the chirping of native birds and crickets awaking from their slumbers. Here's what Tracie had to say.

Tell us about yourself, Tracie

Thanks so much for having me on The Wizard’s Cauldron today! My name is Tracie Banister, and I’m an author of three Chick Lit novels, along with being a blogger, TV addict, and dog lover. 

I live in the suburbs of Atlanta, with my two Cocker Spaniels (That number is about to increase as a puppy is being added to the mix next month!)

Do you sip chilled Mint Juleps on a veranda while contemplating your back garden?

LOL No, I’ve lived in Atlanta for almost 30 years and have never partaken of a Mint Julep, and unfortunately I do not have a garden in the back of my house. I do have lots of lovely azaleas and gardenias out front, though, and I have been known to say, “Fiddle-dee-dee,” on occasion.

William Faulkner - native of the South and considered
by the critics to be the most important American
novelist ever.

Tell us about your latest work?

 Twin Piques chronicles a critical few months in the lives of sisters Sloane and Willa Tobin. They’re identical twins, but polar opposites in every way. Sloane’s a hyper-intelligent, sharp-tongued forensic accountant who’s focused on getting a promotion at work while Willa is a sweet, kooky pet psychic who’s on a search for true love. 

How the two of them help (and sometimes hinder) each other from reaching their goals and finding happiness is the core of the story. There’s comedy, romance, cute guys, and even cuter dogs in Twin Piques!

Can you share an extract?

Of course! This is from a Willa/Sloane scene in Chapter  9, which is told from Willa’s POV:

     “Let’s get back to what’s bothering you. Are you sure it’s not a man? Because you could tell me, you know. If you were involved with someone . . .”     “I don’t have time to date right now. I’m totally focused on my career.” This is Sloane’s stock response to any inquiries about her love life.     “I didn’t say ‘date.’ Relationships between men and women don’t have to be labeled.Sometimes they just are . . .”     “Exhausting? Aggravating? A waste of time? Yeah, I’d agree with all that.”     “You wouldn’t feel that way if you found a guy you were simpatico with, someone as smart and ambitious as you, a professional type who values the finer things in life, like good clothes, a nice car–”
     “Maybe a BMW.” Sloane raises an eyebrow questioningly.     “Sure, why not? BMWs are good cars, aren’t they? They look really sleek and elegant and they cost a lot of money, so you’d have to be successful in order to afford one. Do you know anyone who drives a Beemer?”
     “Wow,” Sloane shakes her head in disbelief, “you are so bad at this. It’s like being interrogated by Strawberry Shortcake. Actually, she’d probably be more crafty about it than you. ‘Do you know anyone who drives a Beemer?’ Seriously?”     I guess I tipped my hand. Sloane’s right. I do stink at subterfuge. “I would have asked you outright, but you’re always so–”     “Gav is dead,” she vows while pouring herself some more lemonade. “I should have known when he ran into Josh outside last week that he was going to run straight to you and blab about it. He’s like some gossipy teenage girl.”
     Oh, shoot, now Gav’s going to get in trouble, which I promised him he wouldn’t. I need to bail this out ASAP.

What about your previous novels? Are there connecting themes? How would you describe your canon?

The tagline for my books is “Sexy, sophisticated, humorous fiction for women,” which I think sums up my brand pretty well. One will always find strong, intelligent heroines, romance, and witty dialogue in my stories. The humor was a little sharper in my first novel, Blame It on the Fame, as that was set in the backstabbing film industry. 

My second novel, In Need of Therapy, was a modern-day Latinized riff on Pride and Prejudice, so obviously there was plenty of comedy, family skirmishes, and romantic shenanigans in that one. 

If there’s a connecting theme in my work, it would be women discovering themselves and what their version of happiness is in regards to work, family, friends, and love.

I understand you write full time. Is that nerve wracking?

Only in the sense that I wish there were more hours in the day! I often lament that cloning myself isn’t a viable option as I need a Writing Tracie and a Promo Tracie. They’re both full-time jobs, and it’s not easy to find a balance.

Are you a blogger? Where can my readers find you and what will they find when they reach there?

I just recently opened my newly redesigned blog, Books by Banister:

I post fun pieces there about writing, my books, and my characters. I also feature other Chick Lit/Women’s Fic authors, and I have an entertainment column called “The Banister Buzz,” in which I talk about movies, television, theater, and celebrities.

What are your three favourite books, two favourite CDs and favourite DVD?

Three favorite books: Pride and Prejudice

The Great Gatsby

and Gone With the Wind

Two favorite CDs: “Songs About Jane” – Maroon 5 

and “Wicked” – Original Cast Recording.

Favorite DVD: The Princess Bride

 Who is your inspiration as an author?

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, Sophie Kinsella, Elizabeth Peters, Nora Roberts, and Janet Evanovich.


And what do fans of Tracie Banister have to look forward to in the coming year?

Well, I just released Twin Piques the first week of January, so I started the new year off right and hopefully there will be more to come from me in 2015! I have a couple projects cooking right now, an anthology with Jane Austen-centric shorts written by Chick Lit authors, and my 4th novel, which I don’t want to reveal too much about just yet. Suffice it to say that this novel will be set in New York City and involve a pair of antagonistic chefs.

Tracie, thank you for coming to join us around the Cauldron today and I wish you and your novels the very best of luck in the coming year.
Thank you so much, Wiz and the same to you.

Book Blurb

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?
Buy Twin Piques (US):

Amazon Global:  myBook.to/TwinPiques

 Social Networking Links


  1. Great interview; best of luck with sales, Tracie

  2. Tracie, you are a true Queen of the south, plus Queen of Chick Lit! Loved this interview with you. I'm a great fan of all your novels. Having just finished TWIN PIQUES, I must say it's your best work yet. As for GONE WITH THE WIND, you and I are in the same camp. That is my favorite book of all time (though TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD is a close 2nd). Congratulations on your success, Queen Tracie. Keep on writing, and I'll keep reading!

  3. Awesome interview! :) I'm such a fan of your work, Tracie! I'm thoroughly enjoying TWIN PIQUES and I absolutely loved your first two books. (BLAME IT ON THE FAME should be required reading during awards season!) Good luck with all your upcoming projects!!

  4. Thanks so much for having me on your site today, Wiz. I had a blast! And thanks for the kind comments, Mary Ann, Kathleen, and Cat! :)

  5. Yay for including the Wicked soundtrack and Princess Bride DVD. :) I already can't wait to read your chef book. :)

  6. Great interview Wiz and Tracie. Though I'm with you on Pride and Prejudice I prefer the film to the book of Gone with the Wind (and it's very rare that I say that!) Good to meet you Tracie and best of luck with sales of your latest release :-)


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