Thursday, December 5, 2013

We're "Out To Lunch" with Stacey Ballis, plus a giveaway!

The first time I ever met Stacey Ballis was in July 2012 at a book event featuring Stacey and two other well-known Chick Lit authors.  After the Q&A, there was a raffle for free books.  As you might imagine I was THRILLED when my name was called.  What was my prize?  Stacey's book, Off The Menu!  And you can bet I got it signed!

Fast forward about a year later to another book event featuring the same three Chick Lit authors.  This time I didn't have one of Stacey's books with me to be signed, but I wanted to say "hello" anyhow, even though I was SURE she had no clue who I was.  Man, was I wrong!

I write about this today because we at Chick Lit Central are delighted to have Stacey Ballis stop by for a visit in honor of the release of her new novel, Out To Lunch (reviewed here).

Stacey hails from my home town of Chicago, Illinois.  While at Brandeis, she double majored in English Literature and American Studies, and did a minor in Creative Writing.  She also has a Masters of Arts in Education which she used during her time as an educator prior to writing full time.

So please give a warm welcome to one of the nicest authors I've ever met, Stacey Ballis!

Thanks to Berkley, we have TWO copies of Out To Lunch for some lucky US readers!

Visit Stacey at her website, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Two ladies with rhyming names... (Chicago, 2013)

Of all the characters you've created, which one do you love to hate and why?
I think the character I love to hate the most is Geoff, from Inappropriate Men. He’s just lovely enough to get a usually smart woman to put aside her moral center to be with him, but not upstanding enough to leave his wife and admit that he loves her. Any person who uses sex and romance to manipulate another person when their guard is down is just horrid, and I spent most of the writing of that book swearing at the page and yelling at my heroine to get over him!

How do you think your husband would describe your writing process?
My poor Charming Suitor. He puts up with so much. I would think he would describe my writing process as the following: "She is giddy about new book. Takes about a month to bask in the new bookness of the new book. Writes a few pages of notes about the new book. Takes another month to bask in having been so productive so far ahead of time. Spends three to four months cooking new recipes and cleaning out closets and reorganizing the spice rack and generally keeps very busy doing everything except writing the new book. Panics and writes first four chapters in a mad rush. Takes a month to bask in having written such a good chunk so fast. Spends three to four months abandoning me two of three days a week to go the family weekend place to write in large spurts without disruption, meanwhile spending the rest of the week at home, working just enough to let the house go to pot. We refer to these as the “Take-Out or Popcorn for Dinner” weeks. Finishes book, and there is champagne and celebrating. Spends a couple of months relaxing and enjoying having turned in a manuscript for which there are no notes to address as yet. Gets notes and attacks them with laser focus until finished, returning to Popcorn for Dinner mode. Does line edits and first pass pages, which are the cranky times, requiring much gin and chocolate. Finishes final edits, more champagne. Repeat annually.” He is my biggest fan and supporter and I truly could not do it without him. He deserves a sainthood, as do most people who live with artists.

Why writing?
I’ve been writing in some format since I was six or seven. I simply don’t really breathe very well if I don’t. There really isn’t another good reason, frankly. Anyone who says different should be in a new line of work.

How long does it take for you to complete the first draft of a novel?
First drafts take about nine months to a year all in. See above for why.

Top three favorite places to grab brunch/lunch:
Lula Café is number one, I lunch there with my girls as often as possible. Homegrown Café a close second. And if I’m in New York, Norma’s.

Once upon a time you taught and were a Director of Education. What is the biggest lesson you learned from that part of your career that you've carried with you in the years that have followed?
Being an educator taught me patience and humanity. I have to be patient with myself, to let the words come the way they want to, to let the story develop in its own way and in its own time. And I have to have enough humanity to fully understand all of the characters I write, even when I don’t like them or their actions, I have to find what is real and human about them.

When can we expect you to publish a cookbook?
Perfect question! My first digital cookbook will be out in October of 2014! Stay tuned….

Never in a million years did I ever imagined . . .
…that I would have my dream husband, my dream job, and my dream house all at the same time. I predict that I shall likely be a dung beetle in my next life to balance out all this amazing good luck and happiness.

Thanks again to Stacey for chatting with us and Berkley for sharing her book with our readers.

~Introduction and interview by Tracey Meyers

How to win: Use Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

US only. Giveaway ends December 10th at midnight EST.


pascale said...

I LOVED Good Enough To Eat, and JUST THIS MORNING I ordered Out to Lunch.
I plan to order Off The Menu as well.

GREAT FOOD/FICTION writing. What a joy to read!

pascale said...

Geekiest thing I do... I guess it that I collect recipes. I have PILES of them throughout my house, and then I input them in to my ipad (which is the original ipad and therefore VERY slow). I use this fantastic recipe management system called Paprika, which is available on itunes.

It makes me so happy to collect recipes.....

Dee DeTarsio said...

Great post, I love Stacey!

Jessica said...

Hmm, the geekiest thing I do. That's a hard question! I guess that I'm so addicted to reading books. People at the gym are always making fun of me for reading while I wait for spin class to start but I don't let their teasing stop me!

AiringMyLaundry said...

I want to read this!

A geeky thing I do is watch the movie Labyrinth a lot. I guess? I'm not sure, ha. It's an awesome movie though.

Connie said...

I’d rather stay home with a good book than go out to a fancy restaurant. I love to cook and am happy at home!

Unknown said...

I enjoy solving Japanese logic puzzles.

Faithful Acres Books ~ Linda Marie Finn said...

I read and review books for my blog
Linda Finn

Diana Montgomery said...

I really can't think of anything geeky I do.

Jan H said...

I don't know what the Geekiest thing I do is. Constantly on the computer I guess.

Jane Cook said...

The geekiest thing I ever DID was in high school - I was the editor of the yearbook index!

Bonnie K. said...

I guess you could say that I was a geek in high school and college. I always had a book with me to read. I wasn't a social butterfly. Hmm. I think I'm still a geek. Being home with a book makes me happy.

bluedawn95864 at gmail dot com

Amber @ A Little Pink in the Cornfields said...

I guess the geekiest thing I do is carry a book with me everywhere I go!

Erica said...

So many geeky things that I do (sigh)... collect charms, collect keys, do crafts. The list could get VERY long.

wordywon at gmail dot com

bn100 said...

can't think of anything

Unknown said...

i recognise that picture-I was at that event also! Love Stacey and my book is arriving soon!

Hailey Fish said...

The geekiest thing that I do is I always bring a bag of books wherever I go! Even if it's just to the grocery store or even down the street to visit my grandma. Books is what define me. People wouldn't recognize me without my bag of books. I'm known to bring two or more books to work.

Melanie Backus said...

I, like one of the readers above, am a recipe collector. Unlike her, I am not a bit organized with them.

mauback55 at gmail dot com

Preet said...

I don't know my geekiest quality. I have quite a few I'm proud of/ Knowing random facts and always having a book on me are two.

Nova said...

I guess geekiest thing I do is always carry a book and wear glasses!