Friday, November 30, 2007

Serials and Scenarios - Around the World in 80 Dates

Christa Ann Banister - reviewer turned novelist dropped by the Dregs for a visit. Like what you see -- visit her website.

My Review:

Around the World in 80 Dates is adorable. The description above does not do the book justice. Christa Ann Banister has a perfect chick-lit voice and is not afraid to use it. Classic, name brands, coffee shops, ice cream binges, girlfriends, guys and drama.

Chick-lit fans need to check it out. Those with a love of quirk need to check it out. Great descriptive writing through the eyes of sarcastic-witted Sydney as her life unfolds in the classic "what else can go wrong" format, with wacky inserted omniscient peeks into the lives of her inner circle.

A spiritual message that will encourage patient twenty-and-thirty- something ladies-in-waiting. I will caution the more sensitive readers...if you have any issues with alcohol, dating, or movie choices for Christians, consider yourself forewarned that you may disagree with some of Sydney and company entertainment choices.

This is one of the more fun reads I've invested time in this year. I will definitely look forward to more from Christa Ann Banister. I'd also love to have a cup of coffee with her the next time I visit Mall of America.

The Interview:

Fiction character you would most like to be or most identify with and why?

There’s several books written by Sophie Kinsella in her “Shopaholic” series. Beyond her obvious love of shoes, purses, etc., I feel like I can relate to the “Shopaholic” protagonist Becky Bloomwood. She’s got a distinct voice and sometimes her best intentions would often turn into a huge misunderstanding, something that’s happened to me on occasion. Plus, I’ve also shared her secret hope (especially in my college years) that my VISA bill would magically disappear along my balance.

If you could ask any person, living or dead, a random question -- what question would you ask of whom?

I’d ask Princess Diana what she was thinking about just before she passed away—her last thoughts.

Some out there in writing land have strange rituals. Share yours.

I wouldn’t say that I have any strange rituals. But if I don’t have my lead line or paragraph just right, I can’t move on to the rest of the text. They’d also encourage you in school to just write and edit later, but I have to edit as I go along.

If you could change something in any novel, what would you change about it and why?

In Pride & Prejudice, I think it would be interesting to see what Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth would be like on a date. So I’d have Jane Austen add a section that gave readers a glimpse into their lives before the walk into the sunset.

Favorite turn of phrase or word picture, in literature or movie.

I love how Hemmingway describes Paris in A Moveable Feast through the meals he eats, the walks he takes, the people he meets. It’s better than any travel writer any day…

If you were assured of writing a best-seller, what genre would it be? Give us a sliver of information, a characteristic or glimpse of a scene.

I don’t care so much about writing a bestseller, although I won’t lie, that would certainly be a nice perk. But I want whatever I write, whether it’s chick-lit, non-fiction, a devotional, to be the highest quality I’m able of achieving. And if it’s chick-lit, I want them to be able to relate to the character, get a good laugh and maybe even learn something about him/herself in the process.

What period of history intrigues you the most?

I think it would’ve been cool to have been around in the Beatles’ hey day in the 1960s.

What makes you feel alive?

My faith makes me feel alive because I know that life actually has a purpose, and I know true hope. Enjoying the sunshine and a cup of coffee with my husband on a leisurely morning with my husband definitely makes me feel alive. Seeing something like the Rocky Mountains or the ocean always has that effect on me, too.

How does something worm its way into your heart? Through tears, truth, humor or other?

If you’re referring to a book, a particular book makes its way to my heart vis å vie a compelling story. For me, a good sense humor is instantly captivating. Or a well-written account of an underdog who makes his/her way to the top. A story of someone who’s battled adversity—all these things make a book appealing to me. Characterization is really important—if a character is written well, I will definitely enjoy the book and will read it more than once.

Book, music, person, food you would take with you on a very long trip.

I’ll pretend this very long trip is a road trip from Saint Paul to northern California, say San Francisco. Since we’re going to California, one of my husband and I’s favorite places, I have to bring my husband along. We’d just pack whatever books we are reading at the moment (he’ll probably be reading theology or philosophy, I’ll be reading who knows what) and the iPod. I know, I know, that’s cheating. But that’s the only way we’ll have everything from Coldplay to Keane to The Beatles to Bob Dylan all in one handy place. As for food, we’d bring things that wouldn’t go bad very quickly—smoked turkey and pepperjack sandwiches, Sun Chips, granold bars, Dasani water and Reese’s peanut butter cups for when we need our chocolate fix.

Where would you most like to travel ----- moon, north pole, deep seas, deserted island, the holy land or back to a place from your childhood, somewhere else? – and why.

I have an insatiable travel bug, so there’s about a billion places I want to go—just ask my husband. But the top destinations at the moment are Italy, France and the Greek Islands.

Favorite season and why?

I love Fall. The leaves turn such gorgeous colors up here in Minnesota, and that means it’s time to get out the sweaters, which I love wearing. Plus, fall brings all kinds of exciting things like football (Go Packers!), Thanksgiving, pumpkin spice lattes at Starbucks and is also the perfect time for me to make my favorite chili recipe! Yum!

Favorite book setting and why?

I guess it just depends on the story. But I do love my fair share books that are set in London.

Which compliment related to your writing has meant the most and why?

It’s been such an honor to receive so many amazing reviews for Around the World in 80 Dates. But I love it most when people say they can relate to the characters. To me, that’s the highest compliment.

What criticism has cut the deepest and why?

I’ve been really fortunate not to have a criticism that has cut very deep. I’ve definitely had my share of red marks on things I’ve written over the years, but that only helps sharpen my skills. I’ve always believed that every writer needs a good editor, and that definitely includes me.

What would you do today if you knew you had only a week to live?

Make the most of it! Maybe I’d travel somewhere I’d always wanted to with my husband, Will. I’d also make sure I spent the majority of the time with family and good friends. Aside from that, I guess it wouldn’t really matter.

What is your favorite word?

Oh there’s so many…maybe epiphany. I’ll say epiphany.

What word annoys you more than any other?

I have a whole list of them—pus, bunion, lubricate. Ok, there’s a few for starters.

Superhero you most admire and why?

I wouldn’t say there are any superheroes I admire. I like superhero movies, but no character really stands out from the rest in terms of my admiration.

Super power you’d love to borrow for awhile?

From time to time, I think it would be cool to have the ability to clone myself. Maybe the clone could write my CD reviews for the day while I took a nap. Or better yet a vacation. Now that would be fun.

Favorite chore

I’m assuming you mean a household chore, so I’ll go with vacuuming.

Anything you’d do but don’t because of fear of pain? What is it? Ex. Bungee jumping, sky diving, running with scissors.

I would never skydive because I’m sure I’d forget to pull the parachute at the crucial moment, and I’m not too eager to splat on the ground. I’m not a big fan of needles either, so shots aren’t my favorite thing, either.

Grammatical pet peeve…sound off.

Using the wrong form of there, their or they’re. Especially when people use they’re when something belongs to someone else. They’re=they are. Their=possession. There=location. ‘Nuff said.

Societal pet peeve…sound off.

Rudeness, and about anything to do with driving. Can people please try using those turn signals? Or how about speeding up when you’re merging into the freeway. Yeah, that would make the world a better place…better drivers.