Monday, March 11, 2013


It's a pleasure to welcome Women's Fiction author, Sara Palacios, to Books by Banister today. Sara has been a reviewer at the fab book blog Chick Lit Plus for a while and now she's stepping into the spotlight with her debut novel, Love in Translation. I love the blurb for this book (Hello, there's mention of a "sexy Spanish chef" in it!) and can't wait to dive into the story myself. Read on to learn more about this exciting new voice on the Women's Fic scene and don't miss out on the excerpt from Love in Translation at the bottom of the post.

1) Can you give us a brief overview of Love in Translation?

Love In Translation is a love story with a bit of a Spanish twist. At its core though it is about learning to love and trust yourself and being able to forgive.

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

I would have to say her growth. In the beginning of the book she is very childish and quick minded. She does a lot of growing throughout the novel.

3) What made you want to write Love in Translation?

I drew the idea for the book from my love of the Spanish language and my husband’s background (he grew up speaking primarily Spanish – although you wouldn’t know it.) I thought adding in that detail would add an interesting twist to a love story.

4) How long did it take you to write Love in Translation? What is your writing process like?

It took me a couple of months to finish the first draft, but maybe about a year if you add in the first round of edits. For me, writing a first draft is typically pretty quick. I find the editing portion to be grueling and the most difficult.

5) If Hollywood comes calling and asks you to sign over the movie rights for Love in Translation, who would you like to see play Emily, Steven, and the sexy Spanish chef on the big screen?

Oh goodness, I’ve been asked this question a number of times and have the hardest time coming up with someone for Andres. I must admit that I have quite a soft spot for Taylor Kitsch. He would just need to grow out his hair and learn to speak Spanish … let’s make it happen. As far as Emily goes, I’m thinking Jennifer Lawrence and as far as Steven goes, I am thinking Joshua Jackson. I would love to know what everyone else thinks though!

6) How do you think of titles?

I had the hardest time coming up with a title for this book until I finally settled on Love In Translation. So, I guess hardly ever! I wish I thought of them more often though!

7) Tell us about your cover art design. How did you come up with the concept? Did you execute it yourself or have a professional do it?

There is a pivotal scene in the book between Emily and Andres that takes place in a field of bluebonnets, so the cover fits pretty perfectly. It took a while to decide on a concept, but once I had that, it went pretty quickly. My husband and I actually designed the cover together. I did a lot of the leg work and he came in toward the end and really made it sparkle. He is amazing at that kind of stuff!

8) The fiction market is so competitive now. How did you find an audience for your work? What do you think are the most effective ways an author can promote herself?

You are right, it is very competitive! I think ultimately what sells books now a days is word of mouth. So, I try to get my books in the right hands. I figure that if I do my job and write a good book, then the readers will help me do the work. Easier said than done, right?

9) 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 prefer sweet with a little bit of spice. I think I cut them off before they get too hot and heavy because that is what I prefer when I read a love scene.

10) What are you working on now?

A new book. I hope to be finished sooner rather than later.

11) Who are the authors who inspire you?

I’m a big fan of Emily Giffin, Jane Green and Sarah Jio.

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

I usually read fiction but am not partial to any genre in particular. I tend to read a lot of women’s fiction and chick-lit because I work for Chick Lit Plus and that is typically what we receive to read/review, but I do enjoy a good historical fiction or a good mystery novel. 

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

I finally got around to reading Blackberry Winter by Sarah Jio and loved it. Oh, and I also read On The Island by Tracey Garvis Graves and thought it was very entertaining. 

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

Lord of the Rings

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

Jennifer Aniston because I’ve loved her since Friends and she is gorgeous and seems so fun.

Meryl Streep because she is awesome!!

Emily Giffin because I am such a fan of her books and would love to hear her thoughts on writing.

Oprah because she is, quite frankly, Oprah.

And, Taylor Kitsch because he is HOT and we might need some time to start practicing Spanish!

Fast and Flirty 

Favorite scent?  Sandalwood
Favorite color?  Pink
Favorite food?  Pizza
Favorite word?  Crap!
Favorite article of clothing?  Pajamas
Dream vacation spot? 
New Zealand
Favorite time period in history?  Golden Age of Ancient Greece
Favorite girl's night out drink?  Chocolate Martini
Favorite date night activity?  Movies or mini-golf
Favorite song?  Carried Away by George Strait
Celebrity hottie on your laminated list?  Long-haired Taylor Kitsch
Novel hero crush?  Jack from Pillars of the Earth

Author Bio:

Sara Palacios is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin with a major in Advertising and a minor in English Literature. It was during her time in college that she really fell in love with the written word and ventured into writing her own stories. In addition to writing, Sara spends a majority of her time reading the works of other authors.  She reads most genres  – but thoroughly enjoys chick-lit, women’s and historical fiction.

When she isn’t busy reading or writing, Sara enjoys spending time with family and friends. She is happily married, the owner of two precious doggies and a new mom to a handsome baby boy. Sara is also an avid animal-lover, runner, yoga enthusiast, wannabe vegan, USA soccer fan, foodie and fashion blog-lover and Christian.

Excerpt (Lost in Translation):

We finish lunch and I make my way back to my apartment. I notice that most of the boxes that were stacked up in the hallway earlier are now gone, and there are only a few remaining. There is still no sight of my new neighbor.

I maneuver through the remaining boxes and then fumble around in the bottom of my purse for my keys.

I feel a soft tap on my shoulder and jump. 

I turn around and my heart begins to race. A gorgeous man stood in front of me. His eyes are deep brown, his hair is long and a silky shade of chocolate and his skin is glistening and tan.

My mouth goes dry. I stand there speechless, and staring upward because he is a few inches taller than me. The view from down here is actually very, very nice.

Hola,” he says in a deep Spanish accent. Then he smiles; his lips curving slightly up toward the right side of his mouth.

He is getting more gorgeous by the second.

I stare a little longer while I muster up the courage to say something. “Hi!” I say sweetly. I try to remain calm, “My name is Emily. Are you my new neighbor?” I ask, feeling like a complete idiot for stating the obvious.  

Neighbor, sí,” he says as he nods enthusiastically and smiles nervously. He points at himself, “Andres,” he pauses, waiting for a reaction, “Andres Antonio Guadalupe Ramos,” he says with pride. I watched his mouth closely as he said this – rolling his tongue around the Rs in his first and last name – and felt the hair on my arms stand up. 

I point at myself and tell him that my name is Emily, even though I am pretty sure that he got that the first time.

Andres stood there smiling. I can tell that he is nervous, which is good because I am nervous too. I look at him curiously, “Do you speak English?” I ask nice and slow. I’m not trying to offend him, but judging by his introduction and the pointing to his chest, I assume that he isn’t fluent.

He pauses for a second, and then pinches the air with his right index finger and thumb. “Un poco,” he says, indicating that he only knows a little.

This is going to be difficult since I only know a little bit of Spanish. It’s been years since I’ve said anything en español that wasn’t off a menu.  I make a mental note to go to the bookstore as soon as humanly possible to get some books to brush up on my conversation skills.

I took Spanish in high school, which meant I pretty much only learned nouns. I can tell you that a “cat” is a “gato,” and that a “mountain” is a “montaña,” but that is about it. Unfortunately.

I decided in college that I wanted to study French in case I ever wound up in Paris. Well, I haven’t ever been to France, let alone Europe, so that was obviously a mistake. I should have taken Spanish just like everyone told me to, but no, I didn’t listen. If I had only known then that 10 years later I would be holed up in my hallway with my gorgeous neighbor who only spoke Spanish, then I might have changed my mind. It was another case of, “if I had only known then what I know now.”

I shyly glance up at Andres, hoping that he will say something more, but he doesn’t. He just stands there smiling. I am dying to know more about him, and although I am usually the shy one, I can’t imagine how he feels. I know that I am going to have to be the one to initiate the conversation.

I think back to my junior and senior years of high school. I try a little harder to remember specifics from Spanish class. At first, I draw a blank, then suddenly, out of nowhere, several key introductory phrases pop into my head.

¿De dónde eres?” I ask, excited to remember how to ask where he is from.

His smile grows wider, “You speak-a Spanish?” he asks in choppy English.

I smile sweetly and tell him that I, too, only speak “un poco.”

He laughs and says something I definitely don’t understand. He then follows with, “Soy de España, de Madrid.”

My earlier guess was right. He isn’t from around here, but boy am I excited to have him as my new neighbor.

He looks at me eagerly.

Another question pops in my head.

¿Dónde trabajas?” I ask, curious to see if my question about his current work situation would lead me to any more information.

His smile widens, and now I have a full view of his perfect white teeth. “En un restaurante, soy un cocinero,” he says proudly.

This conversation is getting difficult. I can’t think of what a “cocinero” is for the life of me, and he knows it too. He looks around anxiously. “Un momento, por favor,” he says as he rushes inside his apartment. There are several large clanks and then within a matter of seconds, he is back in the hall, a cooking pan in hand. He holds it out for me, and then points at himself once again. “Cocinero,” he says eagerly again, and this time I nod, now fully understanding what he has just said. He is a chef, and he works in a restaurant. 

I rummage for something more to say, for another question or two, but my mind is blank. We are both eager to converse with one another, but since I can’t remember any more Spanish, we fumble through a few more questions and that’s all. It is a little awkward standing in the hallway in silence, but, luckily his phone rings and he excuses himself.

I am upset that I couldn’t remember more things to ask.

Hopefully, we’ll have better luck in the future.

Book blurb:  Still reeling from an unexpected breakup, Emily nurses her broken heart by spending time with her best friends and taking one-too-many vodka shots. After one long night, she takes a hard look inside herself and doesn’t like what she sees. She realizes that she has sacrificed too much in her failed relationships from the past and vows to never settle for anything less than almost-perfect again. As she picks up the pieces and regains her confidence, a sexy Spanish chef moves in across the hall and knocks her off her feet. What ensues is an unexpected and tantalizing affair that opens her eyes - and her heart - to a whole new world and leaves her feeling sexier than she has ever felt. Emily finally sees how easy love is supposed to be. Is happily-ever-after actually possible? Just when she starts to think so, she realizes that sometimes life gets more complicated before it gets easier. And complicated is an understatement when Steven (her best and oldest friend in the world) confesses his love for her. Everything spirals out of control as Emily must make a choice between love and friendship, and in doing so, possibly risk it all.

Love In Translation is a modern day love story about following your heart to unexpected places and taking chances in life … because sometimes you will find exactly what you are looking for.

Buy Lost in Translation:

Connect with Sara Palacios:


  1. Great interview, ladies! I loved LOVE IN TRANSLATION! I so agree with Joshua Jackson for Steven. (Huge crush on him since forever.) Let's make it happen! ;)
    Looking forward to Sara's next book!

  2. I love this!! Thank you so much Tracie for hosting me and LOVE IN TRANSLATION! I had so much fun doing this interview and I love this excerpt because it is the first time that Emily meets Andres! And Cat, I too have a huge crush on Joshua Jackson, but unfortunately for him, he always falls into "best friend" territory in my opinion. I guess that is what he gets for being such a sweetie, right?

  3. Sara and Tracie ! Great post ... the book looks fabulous ... I love the premise and the characters you've chosen to play the lead roles! I have to agree with Cat that I adore Joshua Jackson! So hot :)

    xx, Lauren

    1. Thank you, Lauren! And yes, Joshua Jackson is so adorable, yet also really, really good looking. I think he would do a great job. Not sold on Taylor for Andres yet given the fact that he doesn't speak Spanish ... but I bet we can make it work! Thanks for your sweet comments!

  4. Thank you for kicking off the tour Tracie!

  5. Great post, ladies. Sounds like a fun read. Great job on the cover.

    1. Thank you so much, Jackie!! The husband and I had a blast designing the cover! I can't wait to do the next book!

  6. I love, love the book cover for Love in Translation. Gonna buy it just for that. :)

    1. Thanks!! The husband and I had so much fun designing it and I just love the way that it turned out. So glad you like it as well! :)

  7. A gorgeous cover, great interview, and I love that excerpt! I am definitely going to read this, Sara. Ooh, Taylor Kitsch. And Joshua Jackson has always been adorable.

    1. Thank you, Samantha! And seriously, how can you go wrong with either one of those two gorgeous men? I don't think you can!

  8. Bestie- I am so proud of you and even though I haven't had the chance to read your novel yet, all of these excerpts keep reeling me in!! Love- meg

  9. Fabulous interview, ladies! Love in Translation sounds absolutely fabulous and I can't wait to read it. Loved your answer to what book you'd love to be plopped down in the middle of, Sara. That really made me LOL!

    1. Thanks Libby!! But, I am curious, why did that make you laugh out loud? Not a fan?

  10. Wow! I just added this on my wishlist on Amazon! Thanks for the amazing interview and I LOVE Joshua Jackson! Glad I know to picture him! FYI I loved him before Dawson's Creek. I'm such an old gal! LOL Mighty Ducks. Anyway sorry off topic. Thanks ladies!

    1. Yes, you should definitely picture him! :) And how can you not love Mighty Ducks? Such a classic! Thanks Tobi for the great feedback and for stopping by! :)

  11. Thanks for the interview, Sara. The story looks entertaining and will soon be downloaded on my Kindle. Great cover, too.

  12. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.