Q. In twenty words or less describe "The Last Name Banks"?
A young woman seeks her place in this world and lets go of societal pressures and pursues her desires.
Q. If "The Last Name Banks" were to be made into a movie, who would you cast in the lead roles?
Chloe-Isla Fisher and Cam Gigandet
Q. Do you have a writing ritual that you tend to follow?
Although I tend to have different writing sessions throughout the day, the morning session always begins definitely with black coffee and a teaspoon of honey. :) I then usually journal positive thoughts, affirmations and prayers and then read encouraging quotes and Bible verses. Once I get my mindset focused, I set my Iphone timer and get going for hopefully an hour!
Q. Out of Norah, Chloe, and Maycee whose story can you relate to the most?
Probably Chloe’s :) Learning to let go of what other people think of me is one of the most freeing things I’ve learned to do.
Q. What is the most challenging part about being a writer? What is the most rewarding?
Honestly, this question sort of correlates with the previous question. Although I’ve learned to be centered in who God has created me to be, one of the challenging parts as an author is the rejection from reviewers/readers at times and criticism.
But the most rewarding part is hearing people were inspired or encouraged by my fiction. In my chicklit stories, I try to write fun, light reads, but yet at the end of the day, I want to leave a message for others to feel inspired by. A few months ago, I was eating brunch with my husband and I was almost in tears reading him one of my first not so nice reviews. (Hey, it’s just part of the publishing game!) I then checked my e-mail in between sniffles and sips of coffee and I read one of the most heartfelt e mails from a reader saying how “The Last Page” helped her through a divorce she was going through. She found it encouraging and inspiring and felt hopeful to love again. Okay, so then I definitely cried right then and there!
I have learned and constantly remind myself, everyone is different. We all have different tastes and different personalities. Rejection is part of any art. Learning how to healthily accept that and move forward has been and will always be key!
Q. Who or what inspired the idea for the Living, Loving, and Laughing Again series?
Well, first off, I really love to read a series where I feel like I can step into a world and stay there for a while. When I wrote Norah’s story, I just knew Chloe and Maycee had their own story, as well. The theme of living, loving and laughing just came very natural from personal belief. I love that phrase, “Live, Laugh, Love”. We have frames and such displaying the slogan throughout our house and my husband has even written a song about that phrase. Life’s too short to stay stuck in an issue, pain, hurt or loss. While each character faces a different “issue”, the end result is always living a full life and laughing here or there because hey—we can’t take ourselves so seriously!
Q. What book are you currently reading?
“Hex Hall” Book One by Rachel Hawkins and “Thou Shall Prosper” by Daniel Lapin. On audio books, I’m listening to “Torment” by Lauren Kate and “Your Words Hold a Miracle” by John Osteen.
Q. How many books would you like to read this year?
A lot more than I read last year! Haha (I’m afraid to tell you how many books I read last year . . . ahem—next question?) (smiling angelically . . . . ) No, honestly, I’d love to read a book a week from now on.
Q. What can we expect from Maycee's story? Will we be seeing more of Josh in her story?
Maycee’s story is fun writing. I always knew her character would be challenging to write because of her blunt, “tell it like it is”, bossy at times, maybe a teensy weensy shallow at times nature that you see in The Last Name Banks. But deep down, she is a responsible, caring, driven, independent woman who wants to help others.
Maycee’s story involves the story opening up at the height of her booming vlog/blog created from her tell all book she wrote about that schemer, Josh. (Josh is not coming back in the story. He’s long gone and embarrassed! The whole world knows of his scheming ways).
As she prepares for her next release—a book comprising research from other women around the world who are fed up with men and their conquering/scheming ways—she faces a roadblock. When she finds her family’s summer home in jeopardy of ownership due to her surgeon father being sued for malpractice, she takes a publishing deal that offers major bucks to save their family’s beloved Hampton home. But the stipulation is she is not allowed to self publish until the three books are written and submitted and oh yeah, she has to co-write with Ezra Light—the latest greatest in the music scene. Fresh out of rehab, she is told by her editor to make sure he doesn’t drink, smoke anything illegal, or philander with women to ensure a squeaky clean image for his new PR campaign. She’s turned into a babysitter/writer all the while trying to maintain her readership and loyalty to the community she has created. Just when she tries to do the right thing, something happens that really sends her world spiraling out of control and she finds help from the last person she’d ever expect to find help from—someone who has hired her under false pretense.
Q. In the beginning of "The Last Name Banks" you mentioned that you were dating your book to Trek Atlas Ingram; can you tell us more about Trek, Neimann Pick Type A disorder, and what people can do to help or to bring awareness to this disorder?
Yes! Thanks so much for bringing this up. First off, here is Trek’s website in case any of you want to check it out. http://babytrekatlas.com/
My best friend from college, Chelsea Ingram, her precious son was diagnosed with this disorder earlier this year. From what I understand in layman’s terms, it’s a rare genetic immune disorder where a baby’s body shuts down and stops growing. There is no cure and his life expectancy is 18 months to 3 years of age.
So basically my friend, her husband, and three sons are traveling the world together as a family, spending every second together, savoring each moment life brings. It is very sad what they are going through, yet at the same time, the way they live as a family, and love each other and how they are traveling the world, sharing their story on their blogs, is way inspiring. You can stay up to date with their travels here — http://oursonnylife.com/
Jarrett, her husband, just released a children’s books and is also a fiction writer. Honestly, I think the best way others can help is to support their blog, tweet their posts and share their books. That’s the only way to bring awareness since not a lot of research is spent on the disorder since only 1 in a million children have this disorder.
Q. After the Living, Loving, and Laughing Again series, what can your readers expect; will there be more stories in the series or will you move on to writing other Chick Lit novels?
What a great question! Well, currently I’m writing the second draft of a YA fantasy paranormal series. I’m currently figuring out whether or not to release it as Lacy Camey or under my pen name. Thoughts?? So I definitely have those books coming out. I am aiming to release that first book in August/September around the same time as Maycee’s story will release. My husband and I are co-writing a classic love story “The Grape Picker” (picture “A Walk in the Clouds” meets “The Notebook.”)
I really can’t help but want to release a story this fall continuing Chloe and Logan’s story! So there may be a few spinoffs in the series, but you can for sure count on more chick lit! I already have several titles in my catalogue of what to write next in addition to writing chicklit for YA teen girls.
Q. What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
The only way to get a story written is to simply write it! :) Today at the gym I was thinking about this very truth and how it parallels with running.
(Be prepared for long windedness :) )
I can think all day long about how great running is, and all the different ways to run, what to wear when I run, what to listen to when I run, how much I’d like to run, how far I’d like to run, all the different techniques of running, how I’ll feel after I run, how others run, what magazines promote about running—but until I actually do it, my body will not actually benefit from it until I put one front in front of the other and physically run.
It’s the same way with writing! For me, the biggest hurdle I had at first was studying others. I questioned and tried to mirror what others do or did, but I quickly got caught up a lot with just researching and not actually doing any writing. I still do get caught up at times because I love to learn and research! So, I’ll find myself reading blogs for hours and saying, “Okay, enough perusing. (Perusing is snoozing!) Time to write!”
So, my advice to all you writers out there is to set up a timer, and just do it. I always say, “books don’t write themselves, people do.”
A lot of times people ask me about inspiration and what inspires me to write. Honestly, there are days where inspiration went on vacation at the beach leaving me in the city. But after I force myself to sit down and type a few words out, and eventually get in the zone, it comes back. I find if I wait too long in working on a story, I lose that voice and focus. So I try to write the first draft as fast as possible. Also, don’t compare yourself to others; just stay focused on your writing and what works best for you! We all start at the same place—a blank screen. There is no fairy dust that comes along and fills the word document. It’s just plain hard work. Good luck and I wish you best. It’s the greatest time ever to be a writer. No one can tell you no but yourself!
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