Friday, August 10, 2012


Today, I'd like to welcome YA author-turned-Chick Lit novelist, Kat Lee, to Books by Banister.  I'm always fascinated by writers who publish in multiple genres, so speaking to Kat was a real treat for me!  I'd like to give a shout-out to Kat's mom as she's the one who brought Kat and her DESPERATE MEASURES trilogy to my attention.  Thanks, Margaret!  And now on with the interview . . .

1) Can you give us a brief overview of FULL MEASURE?

It’s a story about 3 girls, from totally different worlds, who end up becoming friends over shared circumstances and a love of books. One is a soon-to-be divorcée, one’s an exotic dancer, and one’s an accountant.  All of them are fed up with the way their lives are going and decide it’s time for a change.  They make the changes together, in a way.

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

This first book features Aimee’s story, but you’ll see each chapter highlights one of the girls by narrating through her POV, so there are really 3 heroines here.  I love that they all believe in friendship, love, and use humor to get through the tough times.

3) What made you want to write this book?

I love reading about girls who stick together and rise above their circumstances to make their lives better and more fulfilling.  Girl power!  Yeah!

4) What are you working on now?

I also write under a different pen name, Elle Casey, so right now I’m busy finishing up two series in the YA Fantasy and YA Action/Adventure/Post-Apocalyptic genres.  Then I’m back to Desperate Measures to finish up the other two books in the series.  I have a very full writing schedule.  I’m what you’d call ‘prolific’.  Some people accuse me of being a cyborg.

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

Characters always come first for me.  They totally drive the story from start to finish.

6) How do you think of titles?

For this series, it came up in a character conversation.  I didn’t have the title until I was about a third of the way through (which you’ll see if you read the book!)  Sometimes in my other work it’s been kind of the overall feel for the entire series.  For example War of the Fae is about an epic battle between Light and Dark forces in the fae world.  Apocalypsis is about a post-apocalyptic world with no adults in it.  Not very imaginative, now that I think about it. 

 7) The cover art for FULL MEASURE is so fun and eye-catching.  How did you end up with this particular image for the book?

I have my covers done using stock art that I sometimes tweak a little and then fonts that I buy that I think have the “feel” of the book or characters.  This is a fun, frolicky kind of girly series, so I thought the three chicks in dresses with heels were cute.  And one of them has a shoe off like one of the characters sometimes tends to be when she’s cooking, so it totally worked. 

8) 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 guess I like sweet ones personally as a reader, but when I try to write them that way, they tend to go a little in the spicy direction without me really trying to make them that way.  I’m not sure.  Most of my work is in the YA genre, so they’re the more sweet variety (I edit a lot of stuff out to bring it down a bit).  But here in this book, they’re a bit spicier.  Let’s just say, I’m more worried about family members reading these ones. :)

9) You have written several YA Fantasy and YA Action/Adventure novels under the name Elle Casey.  What compelled you to genre hop over to Chick Lit?

I love to read it, and it’s my one of my mom’s favorites too; and we’re doing these books as a project together.  She’s helping me with promoting them.  I like to spread my wings as a writer.  And I’ve had lots of adults reading my YA work and asking me to write some adult books, so I’m answering the call to a degree.  I love it when readers boss me around.  Today I had two of them on Facebook telling me to get back to work when they caught me posting baloney.  lol

10) You are an American living in France.  Tell us what that experience has been like.  Does France, or its people, influence your writing at all?

My experience has been nothing but positive.  I live in a magical place surrounded by castles and vineyards and wonderfully warm people who speak a beautiful language.  My lifestyle and the place I live definitely influence my work, and in fact, several of my books (YA) are set in France

11) Who are the authors who inspire you?

There are too many to list.  The ones who jump in my mind today (and the list might be different tomorrow) are Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman writing as a team, Stephen King, Julie Garwood, Stephanie Meyer, Patricia Briggs, Samantha Young, Jason Brant, Amber Sweetapple ... there are many and they inspire me in different ways.  I like how some did something a little different, injected humor into their writing, supported me as a writer friend, or made me unable to forget their characters.

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

Definitely eclectic.  I used to read lots of Stephen King and romances.  Then military thrillers/action adventure stuff.  Chick lit came later.  And always, always fantasy.  Recently I’ve read some sci-fi.  I have a zombie book in my TBR pile.  But no matter what, I always end up back at Fantasy and Chick Lit or Romance.

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

I hate to admit this, but I haven’t read a book in months.  Months.  It’s shameful.  I’m too busy writing, and I find time for reading to be slim these days.  Plus, I don’t like having other authors’ work or style in my head when I’m in my characters’ world.  It makes it more difficult for me to stay absorbed.  That being said, my husband who almost never reads, just finished Wool by Hugh Howey and was blown away.  His series was just optioned for a film by Ridley Scott, so he’s the real deal, and an indie like me.  :)

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

I would love to be in the middle of ... gah, this is hard!  I don’t know.  Any book with vampires, so long as the vampires loved me and didn’t want to kill me.  Or so long as I had some kind of badass power over them so they couldn’t kill me even if they wanted to. :)  And the vampires have to be sexy, sexy too.  That’d have to be part of the deal.

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

Albert Einstein, because I want to see if I could have an intelligent conversation with him.  I think I could, but we wouldn’t be talking about math.  Abraham Lincoln because his wise counsel and cool head are things I’d like to have around me, even if just for one night.  Hilary Clinton, because even when surrounded by haters, she is just smart, tough, and classy and I’d like to feed off her vibe as long as possible.  Jesus, because I’ve got some questions I’d like answered.  And finally, my husband’s dad, because he was a really cool guy, and I don’t feel like I got to know him well enough before he was gone from this world.


Favorite scent?  Lavender
Favorite color?  Purple
Favorite food?  Authentic Italian pizza
Favorite word?  Badass
Favorite article of clothing?  Jammie pants with a loose drawstring (on account of all the pizza)
Dream vacation spot? 
Where I live, Southern France
Favorite time period in historyWhen men wore kilts with nothing on underneath (assuming the were somewhat freshly showered.)
Favorite girl's night out drink?  Southern Comfort Manhattan
Favorite date night activity?  Dinner and a movie without kids.  Lame!!
Favorite song?  Diary of Jane, Breaking Benjamin
Celebrity hottie on your laminated list?  Channing Tatum, of course.  Duh.
Novel hero crush?  Bodo, in the Apocalypsis series I wrote.  (Is that bad, picking my own character?  Sorry!  But it’s true!)

Thanks so much for dropping by my blog for a chat, Kat!  I'm so pleased to have discovered a new Chick Lit author and I wish you much success with FULL MEASURE!

Want to connect with Kate Lee?

Purchase FULL MEASURE at Amazon


  1. Thanks for letting me participate in your blog! :)

  2. (I'm not really anonymous, I'm Margaret. Thanks for the shout out.) Tracie, I love this interview. Your questions are fun and interesting and insightful. You're good at this! I know your readers will enjoy "Full Measure". I am really looking forward to the comments.

  3. A great interview, as always, Tracie! Kat, I love the cover of FULL MEASURE, and it sounds fantastic.

  4. I love trilogies! What a great interview. Full Measure sounds like a fun read.

  5. Love GIRL POWER!!!! And the characters .... One is a soon-to-be divorcée, one’s an exotic dancer, and one’s an accountant .... immediately intriguing.

    :) Lauren Clark

  6. Have to agree with Lauren--what an intriguing mix of girls! I love when there are sisterhood/girlfriend-type characters. Especially when there's a quirky mix!!

    -Savannah Page

  7. Fun interview. Wow, how wonderful to live in the south of France!

    I'm impressed with your genre-hopping and prolificness (I made up a word...) too! I have neither of those talents!

  8. Thanks, girls. :) I love girl power too! If you give this a read you'll find plenty of it. And there's more to come in books 2 and 3.

  9. The cover of FULL MEASURE is adorable and I am going to have to go check the book out, sounds like a fun one!

    Great interview, Tracie, you had some creative questions. And Kat gave some witty answers. :)