LET'S WELCOME THE AUTHOR OF: IZZY AS IS: TRACIE BANISTER
LET’S WELCOME TRACIE BANISTER
Rad-Reader: Was Izzy’s character one of the more fun ones to write?
Tracie: Definitely. I love her character as she’s the polar opposite of me. I’m a people-pleaser while Izzy doesn’t care about pleasing anyone but herself and she always says exactly what is on her mind while I constantly censor myself. Writing for Izzy made me laugh a lot, and I hope she has the same effect on readers!
Rad-Reader: How did you come up with the family of three different sister’s
Tracie: I studied psychology in school and was always fascinated by birth order and how it shapes personality. The three Alvarez sisters embody the qualities of your typical older, middle, and youngest child. Ana is uptight and bossy, Pilar is the compassionate, diplomatic one who referees all the fights in the family, and Izzy is the spoiled, bratty youngest daughter.
Rad-Reader: What made you decide to pick Miami and I like the family being Cuban? It really added to the story.
Tracie: I love Miami and what a vibrant, colorful melting pot it is. The city is basically a character unto itself in Izzy As Is, and it’s reflective of the lively cast of characters in the book. Miami has a large population of Cubans and they have such an interesting culture with their food, music, art, etc., so it was a no-brainer to make my lead characters a part of that group.
Rad-Reader: Was adding the nephew Nate with the computer skills something that was planned or did you think of that later?
Tracie: That was something that happened organically as I was writing the book. I just liked the idea of Izzy, who’s more street smart than book smart, being assisted in her scheme by her tween nephew who has the focus and skill set she doesn’t. When they combine forces, I think those two are capable of ruling the world! ;)
Rad-Reader: As a father who has spent many hours at the American Girl store. I was nice to see that Izzy was the one who took Gabi there. She got her a Look Like Me doll for there is nothing like seeing her face when she gets one. Though Izzy used her sister, was that always part of the story or did you add it?
Tracie: That scene with Izzy taking her niece to American Girl and zeroing in on one of the dads as a potential husband was one of the first ones that popped into my head when I was thinking about the book. The thought of her using that little girl’s nirvana as a meet market just amused me.
Rad-Reader: Was it easy or difficult to write each of the three sisters?
Tracie: Fairly easy as I enjoy writing about female relationships whether they be family or friends. I don’t have a sister myself, but I’ve witnessed enough of that dynamic in my life to be fascinated by it.
Rad-Reader: Was their mother based on anyone or just a multiple of people?
Tracie: Mamá has a little bit of Mrs. Bennet from Pride and Prejudice in her since she’s a hypochondriac and always likes to be the center of attention. Other than that she is my own creation. Funnily enough, I’ve been in contact with many readers who come from Latin families and they’ve all said that Mamá reminded them of their mothers, grandmothers, aunts, etc.
Rad-Reader: Do you write an outline or do you just start writing the stories?
Tracie: I loathe outlines, so no. I write extensive character sketches (my psychology background again) and have a vague idea of the storyline in my head when I start writing, but I like to put the characters on the page and let them play. They often lead me in a different direction than what I’d originally planned!
Rad-Reader: It is more difficult to come up with lead characters or the ones that are only on a few pages?
Tracie: Neither really. I probably get to have a little more fun with my supporting characters because they can be more flaky, wacky, etc. than the leads who have to ground and anchor the story.
Rad-Reader: Bringing in the culture (Cuban) or any other – do you think it helps a story?
Tracie: I think it’s important to grab on to something unique about your hero/ine in every story, be it their culture, their careers, their personality quirks, their life experience, whatever.
Rad-Reader: When you had Izzy and the older sister together was it difficult in having them in conflict?
Tracie: No, because I love to write conflict! LOL Writing about a family whose members all get along and play nice 24/7 would be a snooze, wouldn’t it? Make no mistake, though, Izzy and Ana might fight like cats and dogs, but they would be there for each other in a pinch because they’re family and that takes precedence over their petty squabbles.
Rad-Reader: How do you know when to add conflict to a story and, when maybe it could be too much?
Tracie: I don’t think this is a problem so much in the Chick Lit genre because even in scenes with conflict, there’s always going to be a lot of humor to balance things out.
Rad-Reader: Was there ever a time when writing this story that you felt maybe Izzy was too much and had to tone her down?
Tracie: Ha! No. Izzy is who she is. She’s loud, proud, and not about to be cowed. I embraced that when writing for her.
Rad-Reader: Did Izzy the character stay true to your original draft or did you need to make changes?
Tracie: When my awesome beta team read my first draft, they loved Izzy as is (see what I did there! ;), so the only changes I made in regards to the character were to reword a line or two so that her intentions were clear. There’s a big difference between being honest and mean.
Rad-Reader: Are we going to be blessed with another book about the family?
Tracie: I do have an idea for a book told from older sister Ana’s point of view, so you may be seeing the Alvarez family again in the not-too-distant future. I have two other standalone books to write first, though!
Rad-Reader: The way you came up with Izzy’s voice was great. “I am a responsible adult, I’ve got this. One out of those two things is true anyway.” When, her sister leaves and the whole, “I could have committed a sin and confessed to it right in the same place.” Perfect especially, for me growing up Catholic. Did this saying and many others just come naturally to you as a writer? Because they were things I would have thought of if I was quicker on the draw.
Tracie: Thank you! I like to think that snappy one-liners are my forte. At least in my writing! ;) I’m sure that I’m not nearly as witty in real life.
Rad-Reader: If your book was made into a movie who would you want to play…
Izzy: Maite Perrori
Eva Mendes (Younger self)
Zane: Robbie Amell
Eduardo: Jencarlos Canela
Tracie: It’s always fun to hear who other people envision as my characters, so thanks for sharing. You made some great choices!
Izzy: Funny that you mention Eva Mendes because I’ve always pictured a younger Eva as Pilar! My choice for Izzy would be Brazilian model Camila Morais. She pretty much looks exactly like the Izzy in my head:
Zane: This is the only character in Izzy As Is whose
description I actually based on an actor and that actor is Reeve Carney (Penny Dreadful, Rocky Horror Picture Show).
Eduardo: I love your idea of Jencarlos Canela (he was fantastic in Telenovela!), so I’m going to cast him as well.
Rad-Reader: What is your favorite type of food?
Tracie: I absolutely adore seafood, one of the many reasons I love Miami as you can get such amazing, fresh fish, shrimp, etc. at the grocery stores and restaurants there.
Rad-Reader: What is your favorite type of music?
Tracie: I’m pretty much a Top 40 girl. I love Maroon 5, Shawn Mendes, Bruno Mars, et al.
Rad-Reader: What genre do you like to read?
Tracie: I’m very eclectic with my reading and like to genre-jump. For obvious reasons, Chick Lit/Romantic Comedy is my number one love, but I also enjoy Cozy Mystery, Historical Romance, Paranormal, and even the occasional Young Adult novel.
Rad-Reader: What is your next project and when is it coming out?
Tracie: I just released Izzy As Is, so now it’s time to get started on Book 6. I’m really excited about this one as it’s been percolating in my brain for the last six months. I don’t like to reveal too much about my books until they’re almost done. So, I’ll just tease that this story will once again take place near the ocean (nowhere near Miami, though!) and the heroine is unlike Izzy in just about every way.
Rad-Reader: Where can our readers buy your books?
Tracie: My books are exclusive to Amazon and are available in both e-book and paperback here:
Rad-Reader: Where can our readers find you on the Web?
Author Newsletter – The Banister Buzz http://eepurl.com/by0VAv
Thank you for your time. For this wonderful book. Izzy was a wonderful character who you thought couldn't grow-up but then she threw a wonderful party for Gabi and take care of Pilar when called upon. So, thank you. Know that my wife has you trapped as one of our 1 Rad-Reader Misfits so you can come back anytime and use our Shout-Out page to let our readers know when your next books are coming out.
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