We are welcoming Christa back with the second book in this series Blessed Are the Meddlers.
I write the kind of books that I’d like to read when I’m kicking back after a long day. While I definitely appreciate the deep insights of an author like Dostoyevesky, it’s not something you feel up for reading all the time. Sometimes an engaging protagonist in a slew of funny situations is just the ticket—and truthfully, it’s quite fun to write these sorts of books, too.
Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
Definitely my wedding day. I’ll never forget walking down the aisle, seeing my now-husband Will at the end of it and thinking “I get to spend the rest of my life with him.” I felt like the luckiest girl on the planet. And I still am two-and-a-half years into our married life.
I feel that way almost 44 years into my married life. How has being published changed your life?
More than anything, it was the realization of a lifelong dream. Ever since I read my first Judy Blume book in fourth grade, I knew I wanted to be a novelist. And it’s been really fun to see my book in stores and receive random e-mails from people I’ve never met before who’ve loved my debut, Around the World in 80 Dates. It’s incredibly rewarding.
What are you reading right now?
I think I’m probably the last person on the planet to be reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love. I’m always naturally a little cynical about books that are universally loved, so that explains my delay in picking it up. And while I don’t necessarily agree with her worldview, it is beautifully written and an insightful cultural touchstone because of its widespread popularity.
What is your current work in progress?
In addition to reviewing almost every movie that released this summer and tackling my usual crop of freelance writing work, I’m in the very early stages of working on my third novel. It’s always really exciting to nail down the story you want to tell and run with it.
What would be your dream vacation?
I love traveling, so it’s really difficult to narrow down exactly where I want to go. But since it’s my dream vacation, maybe it could be a bit of a buffet platter. I would definitely start out in Paris where my hubby and I could spend the days at sidewalk cafes, reading, writing and talking. Then we’d venture over to Rome and Tuscany, where we’d eat fantastic Italian food and take a few cooking classes so I could learn to make some of the best Italian dishes the way they do. And to wrap up this dream scenario, we’d head to Greece (I’ve never been, but Will has) to take in the beauty and explore all the sights before heading back home.
How do you choose your settings for each book?
I guess I choose places that I know really well (so I can describe them better) and fit well with the characters and scenarios I’m creating. Since Sydney is a travel writer, the locales tend to be a little more glamorous than say, podunk Iowa, which adds more color to the final product.
If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?
My husband and I would love to have Cameron Crowe over for dinner. Not only does he make some of our favorite movies and have terrific taste in music, but I’m guessing he’d have some pretty great stories to tell.
What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
I love to cook and am a bonafide Food Network addict. It’s kind of nerdy, I know, but it’s another outlet for creativity that’s rewarding and relaxing. Like most girls, I like to shop everywhere from Anthropologie to Sephora. And traveling is something I enjoy every time I have the opportunity.
What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
When it comes to writing, I am a chronic procrastinator. But somehow all that extra adrenaline ends up fueling my writing for the good. Still, I’ll panic a bit when I get close to deadline, which isn’t always fun. I can’t say that I’ve overcome that particular obstacle yet, but I’m certainly trying.
What advice would you give to a beginning author?
One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever been given is to write what you know. Everyone has something unique to bring to the table by way of our own experiences, so it’s great to draw from that. I’ve also been encouraged to write a little something every day, no matter if it’s a blog entry or a letter to someone—it flexes the muscle. Great writers are also great readers, so it’s good to read everything you can in your chosen genre. Lastly, when you’re working on your prospective novel, don’t focus on getting it published. Just craft the best story you can and worry about the publication process later.
In so many romantic comedies, the audience never has a chance to see what happens after the dream couple you’d been rooting for all along gets the happy-ever-after ending. So I knew that was something I wanted to explore with my Around the World in 80 Dates protagonist, Sydney Alexander, in Blessed Are the Meddlers. And thanks to Sydney’s motley crew of single girlfriends, (and Sydney’s recently acquired Emma complex) there’s still plenty of that laugh-out-loud relationship angst from the first book. And because I loved this character so much, it was very inspiring to pick up the story right where it left off in 80 Dates and see new themes and crazy scenarios emerge in the process.
How can readers find you on the Internet?
They can check out my official Website at www.christabanister.com. And if they feel so inclined, they can check out my MySpace at www.myspace.com/christaannbanister. I’m also on Facebook, ShoutLife, GoodReads and Shelfari, so be sure to request me as a friend. :-)
Thank you, Christa, for spending this time with us.
Readers, leave a comment for a chance to win Blessed Are the Meddlers. Then head over to her web site.
Just remember to check back to see if you won the book.