Monday, August 20, 2012


Congrats to Bonnie, the winner of Cat Lavoie's novel, BREAKING THE RULES! And thanks to all who entered this giveaway!

Today, I have a special guest on Books by Banister, newbie novelist Cat Lavoie!  Cat officially joined the ranks of the fabulous Chick Lit Author Collective (™ me) on August 7th when she released her book, BREAKING THE RULES.  It's already getting rave reviews from readers and bloggers, and I'm sure that this is the beginning of a very successful career for her.  Read on to learn more about Cat and her creative process, and leave a comment below to be entered to win a paperback copy of BREAKING THE RULES.  Contest is open to US/Canada residents.

1) Can you give us a brief overview of BREAKING THE RULES?

Sure! Here is the synopsis:

BREAKING THE RULES is the story of Roxy Rule and her lifelong best friend and roommate, Oliver Frost. When Ollie accepts a glamorous new job overseas, Roxy expects their relationship to continue as it’s always been—carefree and easy—until they share a heart-stopping kiss.

While Ollie escapes to England, Roxy is stuck in New York City working for a boss who makes her want to stab herself with a letter opener. Still, Roxy’s sure that nothing can come between two lifelong best friends—not even mild jealousy over a thriving career or a silly little kiss that meant nothing. In fact, it was such a meaningless and forgettable kiss that she convinces herself that it’s not even worth mentioning to her fiancé, although it is all she can think about.

Roxy’s already topsy-turvy life only gets more complicated when her sisters Steffi and Izzie suddenly become her roommates. Steffi is six months into a pregnancy she refuses to discuss and Izzie is in the throes of a premature midlife crisis.

Roxy tries to take control of her career, her love life and her sisters—but can she really handle it all? And can the Rule family keep it together—or break under the pressure?

2) What's your favorite quality about your hero/heroine?

I love that Roxy always wants to do the right thing—even though that's not always what she ends up doing. She's the peacemaker in the family and her sisters know that they can turn to her when they are going through a crisis.

3) What made you want to write this book?

A friend and I were discussing the age-old question of men and women being 'just friends' and I started thinking about what would happen if that fine line between friendship and love was crossed for a brief moment. Do you just forget about it and move on? Or does one little crack in the friendship lead to bigger cracks?

4) What are you working on now?

I'm working on my second novel called ZOEY & THE MOMENT OF ZEN. [Love this title! -Tracie] It's the story of a woman who is obsessed with her ex-boyfriend and gets sent to an island resort by her friends and family in order to get over him. A lot of crazy things happen at the resort… and that's all I can say for now. I'm still working on the first draft and I'm having a lot of fun with it.

5) What comes first for you -- character idea, plot idea?

It depends. For BREAKING THE RULES, the plot came first. But for my second novel, the character idea came first and the plot followed. Either way, it's important for me to have a good idea of both before I move forward with a story. 

6) How do you think of titles?

BREAKING THE RULES had another title—which I won't reveal because it was truly awful—for the longest time and I always knew I was going to have to change it. The only reason I don't completely hate coming up with titles is because of that awesome feeling you get when you find something that fits perfectly.

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 reading any well-written love scene—be it sweet or spicy—but I'm more comfortable keeping my own writing on the sweeter side.

8) Who are the authors who inspire you?

There are so many! I love Marian Keyes, Sophie Kinsella and Emily Giffin. Jane Austen is also definitely a favorite. I'm a big fan of Danny Wallace who writes non-fiction and just released his first novel.

9) What genres do you like to read?  Do you stick to one or are you eclectic in your reading tastes?

Chick lit is my absolute favorite but I'd like to think that my tastes are eclectic. I'll read anything if the story catches my attention.

10) What was the last book you read that really WOWed you?

ON THE ISLAND by Tracey Garvis-Graves. When I was reading it, I kept thinking: "I need to talk to someone about this book NOW."

11) Do you prefer a series or stand alone novels?

I prefer stand alone novels just because I'm very impatient and it can be torture to wait for the next book in a series to be released.

12) If you could be plopped down in the middle of any book, which one would it be?

CONFESSIONS OF A SHOPAHOLIC. I think Becky Bloomwood and I would be great shopping buddies. And I'd love to raid her closet.

13) If you could invite any five people (living or dead) over for a dinner party, who would they be and why?

The secret to a successful dinner party (after the food) is good conversation.

Since I love to talk about food, I'd invite celebrity chef Jamie Oliver. I'm pretty sure he'd give me a lecture about eating half a bag of potato chips for breakfast but, if I'm lucky, he'd volunteer to prepare the meal.

For a bit of Chick lit chat, I'd want Jane Austen and Sophie Kinsella to be there. We'd talk about books and I'd ask Jane what she thinks of the famous lake scene in the BBC adaptation of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE involving my next guest…

Colin Firth. I wouldn't invite Colin just to stare at him while he talks. We could discuss movies. Maybe I'd ask him to recreate the last scene from the Bridget Jones movie. I would be Bridget, of course…

My last guest would be Ed Sheeran. I've been listening to his album non-stop for the last few months and I'd love to talk to him about music. And he'd bring his guitar to sing for me and my guests.

Fast and Flirty 

Favorite scent?  Freshly-brewed coffee
Favorite color?  Red. Purple. Pink. I can't choose!
Favorite food?  Hot Pot (Chinese fondue. It is awesome.)
Favorite word?  Kerfuffle
Dream vacation spot?  London 
Favorite time period in history?  Regency England 
Favorite girl's night out drink?  I don't drink, so Diet Coke  
Favorite date night activity?  Dinner and a movie
Coffee or tea or soda?  All of the above
Strong but lean or built and burly?  Built and burly 
Scruffy or clean-shaven?  Scruffy 
Dark-haired or blond?  Both
Celebrity hottie on your laminated list?  Robert Pattinson 
Novel hero crush?  Mr. Darcy

Thanks for dropping by to chat with us today, Cat!  Wishing you the best with BREAKING THE RULES and all your future writing endeavors.

Leave a comment below telling me about your best male friend and you'll be entered to win a paperback copy of BREAKING THE RULES.  Don't forget to leave your e-mail address so that I can contact you if you win!  Drawing will take place on Monday, August 27th, so get your comments in by midnight on Sunday, August 26th.


Author Bio:

Cat Lavoie was born in the small town of Jonquière in Québec, Canada. At the age of nineteen, she packed up her things (mostly books) and moved to the big city of Montreal where she currently lives with her tempestuous cat Abbie—who is both adorable and quite possibly evil.

An incurable Anglophile since her university days where she studied English Literature, she can often be found daydreaming about her next trip to London. Since she’s an expert at the art of procrastination, Cat is easily distracted by cooking and home improvement shows—even though she’s not particularly good at either.

Cat grew up watching soap operas and legal dramas and—had she not decided to be a claims analyst by day and write chick lit by night—she would have probably become a designer suit-wearing lawyer. Or a character on All My Children (which is what she really wanted to be when she was twelve).

Cat is not sure whether she’s a geek or a nerd—and is afraid she might be both. Breaking the Rules is her first novel.

Cat blogs about the writing life and posts adorable pictures of Abbie over at the Catenabi Chronicles. 

Where you can find Cat Lavoie:


  1. Amazing interview! The book sounds great!
    My best male friend is my first boyfriend! He sang in my wedding and got married a year later! He has my back to this day and we've known each other since we were 11! <3

    Thanks Tracie and Cat!
    <3 Tobi
    tobihelton at gmail dot com

  2. I would love to come to that dinner party to also just stare at Colin Firth. (And maybe babble incoherently to Jane about how much I love her books!)
    Great interview!

  3. My male best friend also happens to be my boss! His name is Alan and I'm a bit dependent on him for everything - advice, making me laugh hysterically, a stable job...

    Your book sounds terrific. I would love to win a copy but, if not, it is on my TBR anyway :)


    meredithgschorr at gmail dot com.

  4. My best male friend lives in Miami and although I live in Canada and there is quite a distance we seem to be able to just pick up where we left off everytime we email or chat on the phone. He'a quite a character and a very supportive freind.

    Thanks for the giveaway! I would love to read it!


  5. Best male friend is an attorney in ATL. Wisecracking, smart, flip, and seriously hilarious guy!

    xx Lauren

  6. I've known my male best friend since I was 12 - we talk several times about nothing and get into great debates about tv/movies/books.
    Thanks for the giveaway!

  7. I do not really have a close male friend, although I do have a male acquaintance/friend who is a very nice guy and who is a big tennis fan as I am.


    sunnydaysrule AT hotmail DOT com

  8. I work with one of my best guy friends. He's great to work with, has a great sense of humor and I can talk to him about pretty much anything! Thanks for the giveaway Can't wait to read it!


  9. Love this! My best male friend is an ex and has become a family friend too. To this day we have each others back.


  10. I recently reconnected with my best guy friend from high school (who I also had a little crush on) so it has been fun to catch up and see where life has taken him.

  11. I should have already done it (why haven't I done it???), but I'm buying Breaking the Rules today. It sounds fun and I really look forward to reading it!

  12. New Diet Taps into Revolutionary Plan to Help Dieters Lose 20 Pounds in Only 21 Days!