Tuesday, July 1, 2008

AN AWESOME AUTHOR: Jennifer Banash

This is my very first author interview! I am very pleased to tell you that I had the privilege to interview the brilliant Jennifer Banash, who just came out with her newest novel THE ELITE at the beginning of June. THE ELITE is the first book in her new series. The second book in the series IN TOO DEEP will be coming to a bookstore near you in January.

To read my review on THE ELITE click here.

To find out more about Jennifer or THE ELITE check out these websites:
Jennifer’s Myspace
THE ELITE’s Official Website


What influenced you to write THE ELITE?
I went to high school on the Upper East Side, and I always wanted to write about that world—but from an outsider’s perspective, which is how I first came up with the character of Casey McCloy, who moves to Manhattan from Normal, Illinois, and really struggles to fit in. Even though I lived in NYC for my entire childhood, I always felt a bit uneasy in the exclusive social system of the Upper East Side, so I wanted to bring that perspective to the series.

Why of all places why did you choose Amsterdam for the vacationing spot for Drew to go to in the summer?
That’s a really good question . . . I felt that it just fit his personality. Drew’s kind of artsy and creative, and a bit moody as a character, and Amsterdam just seemed like the right choice as a base location for his summer vacation. It’s European, but not as crowded as other more widely visited tourist destinations during the summer months--I think Drew would want to go off the beaten path a bit, and not just visit the same old places as his peers at Meadowlark.

In THE ELITE, Sophie doesn't like the band Fall Out Boy. Is there any reason you chose Sophie to dislike this particular band?
Probably because I kind of detest Fallout Boy! They just exemplify the kind of whiny, over-produced, pseudo rock n’ roll that I despise. The fact that Sophie’s brother, Jared listens to them clearly speaks volumes about him as well.

What are some of your favorite singers/bands?
Actually, I made an iMix that everyone can download over at iTunes of the music that inspired me while writing THE ELITE. You can download, then listen as you read, which I think is pretty cool! Some of the bands featured on the ELITE soundtrack are The Radio Department, Elliot Smith, M-83, Daft Punk, The Teenagers, New Order, and the Mary Onettes—among others. The mix can be found at: here

What is some advice that you would give to a young writer on developing characters?
Just write what you know—that’s the easiest and most effective way to begin crafting believable characters. Also, read your dialogue out loud—if it rings false, you’ll hear it.

Out of all the characters in THE ELITE, which one are you most like?
They’re all based on little parts of me to some extent. On a bad day I’m a lot like Madison—bitchy and selfish. On a good day, I hope I’m more like Phoebe or Casey! The only characters I don’t have anything in common with are the parents of the series—but in some ways that’s why they’re so fun to write.

Is there any particular character in the book that you didn't like that much?
I guess if I HAD to pick someone to dislike, it would probably be Madeline Reynaud, Phoebe’s mom. She’s just incredibly emotionally selfish in terms of supporting and protecting her daughter, and extremely competitive with her as well in terms of her physical appearance—which is probably not the best recipe for a great mother/daughter relationship . . .

Which one is your favorite?
I try not to play favorites, but again, if I HAD to pick, it would probably be Drew or Phoebe ‘s little sister, Bijoux. I love writing Bijoux because she such a total bratlet. And Drew because it’s always fun to get into a guy’s head and get to walk around in his perspective for the day.

So, I have heard some rumors about you writing another book. Is this true? And if so, what is this one going to be about?
Yes, it’s true ☺ It’s about two identical twin sisters, Mina and Lucy Vanderbilt, whose parent’s buy Dracula’s castle in the midst of a mid-life crisis, and promptly ship the family off from NYC to Romania. It’s called BITTEN.

When do you think BITTEN will be published?
I'm not sure yet when it will be published--it's still in the process of being sold :)

Is there any hints you want to give your readers as to what is going to occur in the sequel to THE ELITE, IN TOO DEEP?
I can’t give away too much . . . or you guys won’t buy it! All I WILL say is that Casey and Drew are headed for tough times, and that the plot of IN TOO DEEP has something to do with reality television and an unbelievably fabulous sixteenth birthday party.

I want to give a huge thank you to Jennifer Banash for letting me interview her.



The Compulsive Reader said...

Cool interview! Jennifer is so nice. Can't wait for In Too Deep...

Carolina said...

Great interview! You asked great questions!

Anonymous said...

Great interview with some really good questions!! :)

Jennifer does rock! And so do you! I really enjoyed reading this.

Anna said...

Great interview. I love your questions...

Bitten sounds like a good book. :)

But Drew and Casey CANNOT have problems in In Too Deep. That just sucks. haha.