Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Interview with Stacey Ballis and prize package contest!
**Giveaway is now closed**
During the summer of 2007, one of my friends introduced me to Stacey Ballis by giving me a copy of “The Spinster Sisters” to read. I couldn’t put it down and was won over by the humor and characters with whom I was able to easily relate. Upon finishing, I checked out her other three novels and found I enjoyed them a lot too. I think my favorite of these four was “Inappropriate Men.” It featured a woman who was admittedly overweight and took the reader through her crazy dating situations. It had a very honest and candid feel and also mouth-watering descriptions of food throughout. After I read all four of her books, I was hungry for more and Stacey has finally satisfied my appetite by coming out with “Good Enough to Eat” (in bookstores today). I purchased my copy in advance in hopes of winning a fabulous contest she was hosting where I could win a chance to go to lunch with her and Jen Lancaster. Can you tell I’m a fan?
Not only is Stacey Ballis a great writer, but she’s also very personable and we have had fun chatting while working on this interview. We even exchanged noodle kugel recipes because we’re both Jewish and the High Holidays are fast approaching! The other thing we have in common is that we’re both from Chicago (although she stayed and I moved away.) However, she grew up downtown and I was raised in the suburbs. I love that she writes about Jewish women living in Chicago, as I can definitely appreciate her books on both those levels. I hope you all will check out Stacey’s previous books and also take a chance to enter her fabulous giveaway, a package that includes:
*A signed copy of "Good Enough to Eat"
*A limited Edition "Good Enough To Eat" Apron
*Both items wrapped in a Freshvac Lunchpac Plus (canvas insulated lunch bag with a Freshvac container in a special zip pocket)
Check out the contest details after you learn more about Stacey Ballis and some of the things she thinks are good enough to eat.
1. Do you have any sequels planned for any of your books?
I have notes for single sequels to Inappropriate Men and Room for Improvement, four possible sequels to The Spinster Sisters which I had envisioned as a series, and a couple for Good Enough to Eat. Sadly for me, sales have never warranted a sequel to any of my books, but I always hope!
2. Which of your characters can you identify with the most? Least?
There is a little bit of me in all of my characters, just like there is always a little bit of parents in their kids. I’d say Jodi Spingold is probably closest to me in the most number of ways, even though she does a lot of things I hope I would never do. Least like me would be Hillary from Room for Improvement. Too hard edged. I’m mushy.
3. What did you do to celebrate when your first book was published?
I had a launch party at a local bar with all my friends and family, as well as get-togethers after my first couple of reading/signings.
4. Do you have any rituals for when you write your books?
I often write with the television on in the background tuned to something relevant...for "Room for Improvement," it was all HGTV all the time, for "The Spinster Sisters" a lot of Oprah, the Starting Over House and self-help talk shows, and for "Good Enough to Eat," I was all over the Food Network! Just having the right words floating around you can be very inspiring. I also often pack up and head to my family’s weekend place in the country for a week to really focus when I am getting distracted, usually towards the end of a book. And the day my author’s case arrives and I see the finished book for the first time, I always open a bottle of pink champagne!
5. If "Good Enough to Eat" were made into a movie, who would you want to cast in the main roles?
Hmmm. I think Lauren Graham would be great as Melanie. Ellen Page for Nadia. Nathan Fillion as, um Nathan (nope, didn’t do that on purpose at all...no-siree). Alfre Woodard as Delia.
6. What is your favorite thing about living in Chicago?
EVERYTHING! Seriously, I love this city. It is in my blood and bones. As much as I enjoy travel and spending time away, coming home is always the best. The culture, the amazing food scene, music and art and everything that makes life worth living, but affordable and slightly slower paced, with something of a small town feel. I love that I am always running into people I know!
7. What is your favorite cooking show?
Hmmm, that is a tough one. Nigella Lawson’s shows are visually spectacular, and for me, I find her recipes very accessible and they work as written. But Top Chef is the one I wait for every week and miss between seasons. SO excited about Top Chef Just Desserts I can barely stand it!
8. Have you tried to make any of the recipes you've talked about in your previous or current books? If so, what was the outcome?
All of the recipes in my books, unless specifically noted, are mine and they all work well. I try very hard not to publish the stuff I make that is inedible.
9. In light of the upcoming Jewish holiday season, what is your favorite traditional Jewish food?
I love brisket, and matzo balls, but hands down my favorite is sweet noodle kugel!
10. What has been your favorite (healthy) comfort food so far?
I make a whole grain pasta dish with half pasta and half zucchini “noodles” with chicken in a light lemony sauce that I just love. (Here's the recipe.) It feels decadent and never tastes like “diet food” to me. I posted the recipe on my blog a couple of months back. And the recipes I developed for the book, especially the light mac 'n' cheese are really yummy!
Special thanks to Stacey for answering my questions and for facilitating a fun and unique giveaway. I had a lot of fun getting to know her. If you want to know even more about her, check out her blog.
How to win Stacey's special prize package:
Please do NOT comment here....
E-mail your favorite healthy comfort food recipe to Stacey at Staceyballisinfo at gmail dot com by September 13th at 5 pm CST. She'll be picking the one that sounds like the best combination of delicious and nutritious. The winner will be announced on September 15th.
For US/Canada residents only.