Thursday, November 13, 2008

Interview with Christa Ann Banister

Christa Ann Banister is one of my favorite chick lit authors and yes I am geeked to have her on my blog (I think I say that about every author I interview but really come on wouldn't you be too?) Her books are great to pass along to anyone even if they don't read Christian fiction at all.

Here is my gushing review of her first book Around the World in 80 Dates. Scroll below for review of her second book.

And without further adieu, an interview with Christa Banister!

Sydney lives the life, I think every 20something woman wants. How did you come up with character? Is she based on you or anyone else?

Writers can't help writing "what they know," so Sydney Alexander-Williams definitely has shades of me in her personality. She's optimistic, faith-driven, slightly sa
rcastic, a romantic and definitely opinionated, which are all accurate descriptions of yours truly. But I was also very intentional about her not being just a carbon copy of myself. I mean, how lazy is that? So she needed to have her own voice, her own hopes and fears and ways of dealing with situations.

There are many Christian fiction books that have their characters to abstain from dating. What made you choose to have a Christian that does enjoy dating

I never related very well to the idea of "kissing dating goodbye" because I always thought it was a pretty fear-driven idea. Sure, we definitely have to guard our hearts and not go around giving pieces of it to any passing crush, but at the same time, true love involves risk.

And the only way to find the person we're meant to be with is to put ourselves out there and date because as much as some people wish this was the case, he/she isn't just going to magically show up on our doorstep. Sometimes people are fortunate enough to meet the love of his/her life early on in the journey in high school or college. But for most people, finding true love involves a few lackluster dating experiences that ultimately help shape us. I can say that I've honestly learned so much from bad dates—enough to inspire many, many books, so that's why I wanting to write about the joys and yes, even the hardships of dating.

The book is written multiple points of views and even in different tenses. Was in confusing trying to get in the different mindsets?

I can't speak for all readers, but as a huge fan of books myself, I always wondered what it would be like to have insight into what the other characters (other than the lead) were thinking. If a girl went on a date, what was the guy thinking? This was the kind of information I wasn't always privy to—and wanted to be.

So I decided that when I wrote my novels, I would give this concept a try. And while it was challenging at times, it really made me have to pay more attention to each character, which I think ultimately makes the reader resonate with more of the secondary characters than he/she normally would. In fact, it's been so much fun hearing feedback on which character is a reader's favorite—and why—in "Around the World in 80 Dates" and "Blessed Are the Meddlers" because everyone's answer is different.

Aidan is the guy that you always get heartbroken over. There were many times when I wanted to yell at him. What made you want to bring him in this book?

ike the girl that Tom Petty sang about in "Free Fallin,'" Samantha is the ultimate "good girl." And for some reason, so many good girls are inevitably attracted to the "bad boys." For whatever reason, it's exciting, and I think so many girls have been in a relationship like this.

As much as I disliked Aidan the entire time I wrote about him, there was something good lurking underneath this surface that Samantha saw. She had what I call "Florence Nightingale syndrome" because she thought if they were together, he'd be the best version of himself. But Aidan was never ready to be that, and he definitely missed out on a great girl like Samantha.

Why do you think girls always never want to stay with the nice guys, choosing instead the Aidans?

You know, I bet there are a million nice guys out there who probably want to know the answer to this, but in truth, I'm not really sure. Maybe it's a simple case of opposites attracting Or maybe it's a heightened desire for adventure that someone feels he/she can't get with someone just like him/her. But whatever it is, I wanted to make a point about not settling. As great and ideal and in love with S
amantha as Eli was, Samantha never got comfortable. And when Aidan re-entered the picture, it brought the lack of excitement about her relationship with Eli into clear focus. Basically, she just wasn't that into him, and frankly, no matter how great a guy is, a girl shouldn't have to settle if he's not the right person for her. It's a disservice to the guy who could be loved better elsewhere and a disservice to the girl because she's not holding out for the very best.

Music plays a huge role in this series. (And you've included some AWESOME playlists (I was so geeked you mentioned Death Cab!!!!!)) If you had to make a soundtrack on your life, what are 5 songs that would be on it?

Wow, this is such a fun question; it's something Jack Black's character would've probably asked John Cusack's character in "High Fidelity."

Hmm, only five songs, huh?...I guess I'd start my life soundtrack with U2's "Beautiful Day," a gloriously anthemic track that could describe so many amazing moments in my life—driving all the way up the coast of California with my hubby Will, my wedding day in Viva Las Vegas, traveling alone to snowy London for the first time just before Christmas in 2003 for an assignment for CCM Magazine, holding my baby niece Adelyn for the first time—so many great times in my life could have that song playing in the backgrou

Another track I'd include is "Forever My Friend" by Ray LaMontagne. Every time I hear this track, I think back to when I was dating my husband, and we were dreaming about our future together while drinking frappuccinos and playing Scrabble.

A song that instantly takes me back to my college years, a time when I was equally struggling and growing in my faith is Jars of Clay's "Love Song for a Savior." While I knew I always wanted to be a writer, I wasn't quite sure how that would play out in the future and felt discouraged. Yet in the times I wrestled and worried the most, I remember listening to that song over and over again, praying and longing to fall even more in love with the Savior who was (and is) always there for me.

A soundtrack for my life also wouldn't be complete without John Mayer's song "Clarity," the first track from his album, "Heavier Things." That song has put me in a peaceful mood even when life has felt particularly chaotic and uncertain. Plus, the horns arrangement in that song—incredible!

As for the last coveted position on my list, wow, this is a tough one. A million songs by Radiohead, Ryan Adams, Coldplay, Death Cab, Oasis, Nick Drake and more could've totally fit the bill. But for my life soundtrack, there's not one song that screams "That's it!" So I think I'm going to have to round out things with Feist's "I Feel It All." Her music is a semi-recent discovery of mine, and this song connected with me instantly because it brilliantly captured my wide range of emotions over the years.

What's your favorite Slurpee flavor? If you don't like Slurpees: fountain drinks vs. bottled soda. Which is better? (You can answer both if you like)

Back at Ladysmith High in Wisconsin, slurpees were about the only indulgence in the school lunch program, so I drank the cherry ones like they were going out of style. Sadly, I have not had one since. When it comes to soda, a diet coke in a bottle (glass, not plastic, mind you) truly reigns supreme. It just tastes fizzier and yummier.

Thanksgiving time is coming up. What food do you NOT want to see on the table?

Since I make our Thanksgiving feast, I have complete control over the candied yams or sweet potatoes NOT being on the table. I don't care how many cute little mini marshmallows you bake on top, it looks like orange baby spit-up and the texture is just as nasty.

By the way, living in Nashville for eight years didn't change my mind on this...

Readers on my blog know I'm a huge Star Wars fan. How about you? Yes, no, thoughts?

See, you and I have equally stellar taste in music, but I think here's where we're going to be divided. I only like the "Star Wars" movies with Ewan McGregor in them which, of course, discounts the entire original trilogy. But I think you'd be glad to know that a guy once broke up with me for falling asleep during the original "Star Wars." To impress him I even wore my hair in Princess Leia nun-buns and everything, but even with practically 100 bobby pins in my head, I just couldn't stay up for more than the first 20 minutes of the movie.

What's next in store for Sydney and what else are you working on?

Sydney's getting one last book that I have just begun working on. :) I'm really excited about it and think it'll end things nicely. I'm also working on another book idea that's in the very, very beginning stages. And aside from that, I'm still writing a slew of magazine features, movie, music and book reviews and musician bios.

Any last words?

I think I've rambled on enough, but thank you sooo much for this opportunity. It's been a ton of fun! And for anyone who is still reading, be sure to check out my Website ( where I have links to my illustrious blog and much more!

Thank you for stopping by Christa! Now readers please please go out and get Christa's books. I guarantee you, they will be a fun, hip read that will keep you wanting more.


  1. What a great interview! I loved her second book, Blessed are the Meddlers!!

    Your interview has been added to

    About the Author - An Author Interview Index

    ~ Wendi

  2. Enjoyed reading this one, Deb and Christa :)

  3. What a great interview! I loved both of her books and am totally jazzed to hear that there will be one more!

  4. Great interview, Deborah! I haven't read Blessed are the Meddlers yet, but I hear it is great!


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