Monday, August 27, 2012


Joining me on Books by Banister today is a wonderful, new voice in Contemporary Women's Fiction, Em Barrett. Less than two months ago, Em released her debut novel, LEAVING GREEN ISLAND, and she's having great success with it (See all the glowing reviews on Amazon and Goodreads!) Read on to find out more about Em's book and to learn some fun tidbits about the author herself.

1) Can you give us a brief overview of LEAVING GREEN ISLAND?

Leaving Green Island centers around Brecken Pereira, a young lawyer living in Chicago, and the events that unfold when she unexpectedly crosses paths with her first love, Reed Whalen, after years without contact. The story alternates between the present day – when their lives collide – and the summers of 1999 and 2000 when the two met on an exclusive summer island in northern Michigan. Following Reed's reappearance, Brecken is torn between her longing for the past and the life she has carefully built for herself since Reed vanished years before.

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

I love that my heroine – Brecken – has a very strong sense of self, even as a teenager. Of course, she has her moments of insecurity and self-doubt, but for the most part she doesn’t get caught up in trying to be like everyone else.

3) Your heroine's name, Brecken Pereira, is quite unusual!  How did you come up with it?  Have you ever known a Brecken?

Well, my parents claim that I begged them to change my name to Anastasia as a little girl, so I guess I’ve always had a thing for unusual names. J I haven’t really known a Brecken, but I’ve come across the name in passing a few times. I heard it shortly after I started writing Leaving Green Island, and it struck me as the perfect name for my heroine. Brecken’s dad is Brazilian, so I chose Pereira because it’s a common Brazilian last name. 

4) What made you want to write LEAVING GREEN ISLAND?

Since I was young, I have been an avid reader and enjoyed writing in various forms. I’m always in the market for fun and light reads that are still substantive and engaging, and sometimes I have trouble finding them. So, I thought I would go ahead and try to write one myself. Hopefully, I accomplished that, but I’ll have to leave that to the readers to decide!

5) How long did it take you to write this book?  What is your writing process like?

This is my first book, so I’m still figuring out my writing process! I found myself spending a lot of time just thinking about the story and the characters (and often talking through ideas with my husband) before I would sit down to actually write a particular portion of the book. I worked on Leaving Green Island whenever I had a chance in my free time and it took about eight months to complete the first draft. After that I had a few close friends read the book and give me feedback, and then I made changes and revisions based on their input. In all, the book took about ten months to finish.

6) What are you working on now?

I’m actually working on a sequel to Leaving Green Island! It’s written from the perspective of Brecken’s close friend, Nevada, and begins where Leaving Green Island leaves off.  Although Brecken is a character, the second book focuses more on her friends Nevada and Lizzy and where their lives take them.

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

Definitely characters.

8) How do you think of titles?

I like a title that has a little bit of intrigue to it, while also relating to a central theme of the book.  In this instance, Green Island was the place where Brecken and Reed fell in love, and it was also a haven of sorts where Brecken retreated to escape problems in her home life. It was kind of this heavenly place for her, and moving on from her Green Island relationship with Reed was very difficult.   In addition, something (and I want to be careful not to spoil anything here!) happens to one of the characters when leaving Green Island at the end of the summer, which changes the course of several characters’ lives, so "Leaving Green Island" has that secondary meaning as well.

9) Can you tell us how you ended up with the cover art for LEAVING GREEN ISLAND?  Did you design it yourself or hire a professional?

My best friend, Bridget Riehl, is a really talented artist, and she designed the cover for me. She isn’t a professional, but I keep telling her that she should be! I think the cover she created perfectly captures the feel of the book and it’s just my style - I absolutely love it.

10) 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’m still getting used to writing love scenes, and I have to admit it was tough for me at times! The sweet and romantic scenes definitely came more easily. I spent a lot of time on Brecken and Reed’s first encounters, trying to create that magical anticipation of first love, especially an unexpected summer love.

11) Who are the authors who inspire you?

Oh my gosh, there are so many writers whom I admire and draw inspiration from that I could go on forever with this question! I love anyone with a magnetic and unique voice, as well as anyone who really stirs your emotions without using an overly sad plotline to do so. I so love Dave Eggers, Jonathan Safran Foer and Alice Sebold. For Leaving Green Island, I would say I was drawing on inspiration from Judy Blume and Emily Giffin, who are also two of my favorites. 

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

Well, I’m eclectic to a certain degree, but I definitely favor contemporary fiction. Sometimes I want a book that really makes me think, and other times I am looking to a book for a little lighthearted escape. I do read the occasional biography (Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand blew me away) or fantasy/paranormal book, but usually I’m a realistic fiction girl.

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

I just read Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides, and it was an absolutely incredible book.  The writing itself, the handling of a taboo issue, the interplay of heartwrenching and humorous scenes – it was all amazing. Also, as a native of the Detroit-area myself, I loved all the history and detailed description of the city and its surrounding areas over the past century.

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

Hmm… maybe Harry Potter? I mean, who doesn’t want to spend a little time at Hogwarts?

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

This is a tough one!  I’ll go with, first, Jimmy Hoffa, because I really want to know what actually happened to him. Second, Hilary Clinton, because she is so accomplished, classy, and seemingly confident despite going through a world of shit in the public eye, and I really admire her for that.  Third, Laura Hillenbrand, because she writes beautiful books, and she does so despite a debilitating illness, which is really inspiring to me. Fourth and fifth would be my two grandfathers, whom I wish I’d had more time with and would love to spend a few hours talking with as an adult.

Fast and Flirty 

Favorite scent?  Campfires
Favorite color?  Blue
Favorite food?  My mom’s pesto
Favorite word?  I have so many… ethereal, audacity, lilting, intoxicate, dalliance…
Favorite article of clothing?  Definitely one of my many hoodies
Dream vacation spot?
Favorite time period in history?  Well, I’m tempted to say the 1920’s, but, if I’m being honest, I’m pretty attached to air conditioning, hot running water and watching The Bachelor, so I guess my favorite time period is right now.
Favorite girl's night out drink?  Sazerac
Favorite date night activity? My husband and I have a baby girl, so any date night sounds pretty good these days!
Favorite song?  "If Not For You" - Bob Dylan
Celebrity hottie on your laminated listTaylor Kitsch
Novel hero crush?  Is it ok to say Reed Whalen?!

Thanks so much for stopping by, Em!  Best of luck with LEAVING GREEN ISLAND.  I look forward to hearing more about that sequel!

Book Blurb:

Leaving Green Island is more than simply a modern love story. It is a poignant yet lighthearted tale of friendship, family and the search for a place to belong in the complex world of today's twenty-something women. 

With a new job at a prestigious
Chicago law firm and an engagement ring on her finger, everything seems to be falling into place for Brecken Pereira these days. However, all this perfection quickly unravels when Reed Whalen, Brecken’s first love, unexpectedly resurfaces. The complicated history of the enigmatic Reed unfolds as the two summers that Brecken spent as a teenager on posh, exclusive Green Island in northern Michigan are interspersed with her relatable and humorous modern day trials and tribulations.

After Reed's reappearance, Brecken is torn between her longing for the past and the life she has carefully built for herself since Reed vanished years before. Her true-to-life and complex relationships with her two best friends provide the backbone that supports Brecken, both as the life she knows quickly dissolves around her and as she struggles to pick up the pieces. 

This unputdownable novel is certain to pull on the heartstrings of anyone who ever had a first love.


Where you can find Em Barrett:

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:

Monday, August 13, 2012


STRESSED OUT? Make Some Salsa!
Guest Post by Jackie Pilossoph

Making different kinds of salsa is Emma’s way of dealing with her stress in my new novel, FREE GIFT WITH PURCHASE. The 42 year-old widow has lots on her plate, everything from her older sis going through a divorce, dealing with her 6 year-old daughter’s grief of losing her father, and the guilt Emma can’t let go regarding the circumstances of her husband’s sudden passing.
Everyone has problems, and because of this, we all have stress. Our spouse (or the loneliness of not having a spouse), our children, our families, our jobs (or not having a job), ours and our loved ones health can all be triggers of horrible stress that usually ends up with these things: restless nights, irritable behavior and a Lexapro prescription!
The message I wanted to send in FREE GIFT WITH PURCHASE, when I was writing about Emma’s obsession with making salsa to temporarily take her mind off of her problems, is that there are bad ways to handle stress and there are good ways to handle it.
3 Bad Ways People Handle Stress
1.  Many stressed out individuals turn to drugs and alcohol, as if they are somehow temporarily numbing the pain they are constantly feeling. This is not only physically unhealthy, but can cause addiction and severe emotional problems that lead to the demise of something big, meaning relationships or a job. They also face the risk of legal problems, i.e. a DUI.
2.  Some people deal with stress by cheating. He or she thinks that they deserve some happiness to counterbalance the life they can’t stand at home, so they look elsewhere for temporary “love.”
3.  The biggest way I’ve seen people deal with stress is to shut down. They stop communicating with their spouse and they withdraw. And then the spouse is frustrated and feels hopeless because they want to help and they can’t.
**Piece of advice on #3.** If your spouse is going through a really bad time, and isn’t getting help to deal with his or her stress, there’s really nothing you can do. You can’t force someone to get help for a drinking issue, you can’t force someone to go on anti-depressants, and you can’t force someone to see a therapist. The hardest thing for people (especially women) to do is realize that their spouse’s problems are out of their control to an extent. All you can do is communicate to your spouse that you are there for them if they want help, that you love them dearly, and that you are concerned. Also, being warm and affectionate will help the person more than you know. Try to understand that it is THEIR problem, and yes, because you are the spouse, it’s your problem, too, but only HE or SHE has the power to change things. NOT YOU!
Great Ways to Handle Stress
1.  Work out, people!! There is actually a chemical released from your body when you do cardiovascular exercise and you lift weights that acts as an anti-depressant and anti-anxiety drug. It works!! When I was getting divorced, there were so many times I would call my sister and say, “I’m so depressed I can’t even get out of bed.” And she would respond, “Go right to the gym. Right this minute. Force yourself. Then, call me after.” And I would do that and I would feel so much better!
2.   PRAY. Trust me on this one. Talk to God, feel His presence, have faith. It will go a long way. You can even pray in your own home. And make sure to thank Him for the things you do have.
3.  Do things for yourself. Last week, I found myself in an E-bay auction battle with some biatch from Kansas for a pair of Tory Burch black sandals (which I made sure I won –even though it cost me a lot.) My point is, I really wanted the sandals and I feel like I have enough crap in my life that if something as simple as a pair of shoes (well known for being worn by Jennifer Aniston) makes me happy, then by gosh, I’m going to have them! I’m not saying you can solve your problems by buying material things, I’m just saying, that life is short and we have so many issues to deal with, that allowing ourselves to experience joy in things that give us some happiness is healthy.
4.  Or, like Emma, you can make salsa, especially because I provide 7 salsa recipes at the end of FREE GIFT WITH PURCHASE!  Or make something else. Cooking and baking can be very therapeutic, as they give you a sense of productivity, as well as a great smell in your kitchen. You will also get some self worth when everyone in your family tells you how great your creations are!
5.  Surround yourself with friends and dump the friends that cause you extra stress! There’s nothing better than friends to lift your spirits, make you laugh, tell you things you want to hear, and make you feel lucky to have him or her. But those others…the ones who pressure you to get together, the ones who criticize you and/or compete with you, the ones who are constantly talking about their own problems and have a negative outlook on life…I have one word for those kinds of “friends.” –Bu-bye!!
6.  For me, the biggest stress relief (which Emma does as well) is spending time with my kids. Somehow, doing “kid” things, takes me back to being a kid and temporarily forgetting about bigger issues. Last weekend we went canoeing in a lagoon. I felt as if I was on vacation and didn’t have one bad thought the entire time. And if you don’t have your own kids, babysit for your nieces and nephews or friend’s children! Trust me, you’ll love the innocence and the excitement only a child can get from the little things in life.
Problems and stress are universal. Everyone has his or her share. How we handle them is what really matters. Emma ends up turning her obsession with salsa into something really productive and a life that makes her really, really happy. And if you can deal with stress by turning it into something meaningful, something that benefits others, and something that gives your existence meaning, you truly are a winner in life.
*  *  *  *  *
Many thanks to my author pal, Jackie Pilossoph, for stopping by the blog today.  I'm going to be trying some of her stress-reducing tips myself!  I wish you much success with FREE GIFT WITH PURCHASE, Jackie!
Author Bio:
Jackie Pilossoph is also the author of JACKPOT! and HOOK, LINE AND SINK HIM. She is a freelance writer and newspaper columnist, and is working on her fourth novel. Pilossoph holds a Masters degree in Communication from Boston University. She lives with her family in Chicago.

Book Blurb:
Your free gift with purchase doesn't always come from a department store makeup counter. Emma and Laura are about as different as two sisters can be. Emma's always been the party girl, Laura, the hardworking doctor. But now, the two have something in common. Both are newly single and trying out the dating scene after marriage. Emma's a widow and a single mother with a guilty secret she can't let go. Laura's husband just dumped her for one of four women he's been sleeping with. A dispute over the house forces Laura to move in with her sister and that's when the fun begins. Go on some dates with these 42 and 44 year-old adorable sisters who are both looking for love and your jaw will surely drop! Laura's mixed bag includes Dan, a selfish womanizer, Ari, a stalker, and Tim, a compulsive liar. For Emma there's sexy, adorable Preston, a self-proclaiming "fun guy," beautiful Alice, who's a lesbian, and a string of Matts who go from bad to worse. Then there's separated, charismatic, wealthy Luke Sullivan. Luke's carrying some baggage, but he makes Emma's heart stop every time he appears. FREE GIFT WITH PURCHASE is a book about two sisters who have always seen things from an entirely different perspective, but who as women in need of each other learn to consider that instead of judging, looking through each other's eyes might make their lives a lot richer. In other words, when you buy into opening your heart and believing in yourself, you might just end up with a FREE GIFT WITH PURCHASE.

Visit Jackie Pilossoph at:

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

Sunday, August 5, 2012


Welcome to Books by Banister!  I'm excited to be participating in Six Sentence Sunday once again.  This week's offering is from my fun, new Chick Lit novel, IN NEED OF THERAPY, which tells the story of Cuban-American psychologist, Pilar Alvarez, who is trying to juggle her career, her high-maintenance family, and a love life that's a complete disaster.  One of the men who's vying for her heart is Pilar's cheating ex, Latin Lothario Victor Liscano.  She gave him his walking papers weeks ago, but he will not accept that their break-up is a done deal and he continues to pursue her.  In this scene, he calls her at work to invite her out for a romantic dinner . . .

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"But you love Tantra!  Don't you remember we went there for our one-month anniversary?  I hand fed you lobster dipped in bleeding heart truffle vinaigrette and grilled quail with fresh figs, then we went back to my place and spent hours experimenting with Kama Su--"

"Victor!" I interrupted him before his walk down memory lane became X-rated.

"Okay, you don't like Tantra anymore; I'll take you to B.E.D."  Where patrons ate their meals while sitting on large mattresses - a theme seemed to be developing with Victor's restaurant choices.

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Thanks so much for stopping by today!  Be sure to check out Six Sentence Sunday to read excerpts from the works of some very talented authors or search for the hashtag #sixsunday on Twitter.

If you are looking for a romance and comedy-filled summer read, please check out my novel, IN NEED OF THERAPY.  Now available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.