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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Meet Jennifer Banash - Our Guest Author!

Our guest author, Jennifer Banash, is finally here and I'm thrilled to present her to you.
First of all, she comes from my state and the city where I was born. Secondly, because I have read her book, Simply Irresistible, which is the third in the series and is probably the best YA novel I've read this year.:)

Here is a little bit about her before we start the interview:

Bio for Jennifer Banash

Jennifer Banash attended high school on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and currently divides her time between Paris and Southern California—where she lives with her beagle, Sigmund, and her vast designer shoe collection.

She is the author of The Elite novels, published by Berkley Jam, and the novel Hollywoodland: An American Fairy Tale.
She is the author of the Young Adult series THE ELITE, which is published by Berkley Jam. THE ELITE, the first book in the series, was published June 08. The sequel IN TOO DEEP, is in stores now! The third installment, SIMPLY IRRESISTIBLE, is now in stores and all online bookstores too. Email her at, and for review copies, please email her publicist Caitlin Brown at

Jennifer, welcome to Barbara's Meanderings and I am so happy that you could take the time out of your very busy schedule to visit with us. We'll begin our interview now.

Barbara: The Elite novels take place on Manhattan’s upper east side. How much of the characters’ lives are like your own life when you grew up there?

Jennifer: I knew some people whose lives were very much in the same ballpark as Mad, Phoebe, Sophie, and Drew. The Upper East Side is a strange place to attend high school, to say the least. Glamorous and exciting, for sure, but strange because your sense of reality is suspended when you're living in an environment like that, where money is no object, and rules are optional.

Barbara: I was only able to read the last book in the series, Simply Irresistible. When you wrote the first book did you have a series in mind or did this evolve as you kept writing the book?

Jennifer: The books were planned as a series from the very beginning, so I had an idea of where I wanted the story to ultimately end up from the first book to the third.

Barbara: Did you base the character of Casey McCloy on someone you knew? Or is she a combination of people and their characteristics?

Jennifer: Actually, she's not really based on anyone I know! She came straight from the quagmire of my brain. Her grandmother, Nanna, is 100% based on my own grandmother, who cracks me up on a daily basis.

Barbara: The character of Madison Macallister is the kind of person who is a typical “mean girl”. Did you ever know anyone like her?

Jennifer: Yes, I do. Madison is actually based on a number of people I've known over the years. She's a mean girl, but hopefully the reader can see why--she has a pretty tough home life.

Barbara: I see you use the present tense. So you are still friends with people like her. I've found in my own experience that everyone mellows over time. :) What I liked about her character was how much compassion I felt for her as the story continued.

Barbara: Most writers have someone who influenced them to either start or continue to write. Who was that person for you?

Jennifer: I'm weird, I guess, because I didn't have that "person." I just started writing on my own, because I had to. I think I would've gone nuts without that outlet in my life.

Barbara: What was the time frame from when you wrote your first novel to when it was published?

Jennifer: I wrote my first novel in 1999, and it was never published. It did help me get an agent though! My second novel, Hollywoodland, was finished in 2004, and published in 2006. The Elite was conceived in 2007, and published in 2008.

Barbara: Would you please share your writing process with our readers?

Jennifer: Ummm . . . basically I mess around on the Internet for about an hour, and then I sit in a chair and type until pages come out :) I have a rule that while I'm actively working on a book, I have to write 5 pages a day--no exceptions.

Barbara: What would a typical day be like for you?

Jennifer: If its summer, wake up, check all the gossip columns online, eat some toast. Write for 3 or 4 hours, then go to the beach. If its during the school year, I work all day teaching English at a private school, and only get my writing done at night, or on the weekends.

Barbara: Will there be a fourth book in the Elite series? Are you currently working on another book? When will it be published?

Jennifer: Not sure. If Simply Irresistible sells well enough, then yes. I'm working on a book loosely based on my days as a club kid in the 1980's in NYC called White Lines. My agent is sending out the proposal in September, so hopefully it will sell shortly after that, but in this economy, who knows?

Barbara: How important do you think it is for an author to have an agent? How did you find your agent?

Jennifer: VERY important. I didn't have an agent when I sold The Elite series, and brokered the deal myself, which is NOT advisable! I just switched agents and signed with Lisa Grubka at Foundry Literary & Media, and she's amazing.

Barbara: How do you feel about eBooks and the Kindle? Where do you think publishing will be in ten years?

Jennifer: Not sure how I feel about them. I love the feel of having an actual book in my hand, and turning pages, but I'm also secretly drawn to Kindle, and entertain the idea of breaking down and buying one every month or so.

Barbara: Who is your favorite character in the Elite series and why?

Jennifer: Probably Madison. She's just so much fun to write! And everyone wants to be the diva-bitch for one day in their lives . . . or longer!

Barbara: With the popularity of shows like “Gossip Girl” and the new “NYCPrep” your book adds more to the story of these privileged kids. Have you had any interest from movies or TV?

Jennifer: Yes, there have been some people interested in buying the rights to the series, but we'll just have to see what happens! Stay tuned for more info . . .

Barbara: Please let our readers know what events are planned for publicizing Simply Irresistible.

Jennifer: I'm doing a TV tour, and will hit Chicago and Saint Louis next. I'm also appearing at a book festival in Bar Harbor Maine with Carrie Jones, on the weekend of Spetember 12th.

Jennifer, thank you so much for spending some time here talking about your books and your writing. I know I have a lot more questions and I hope that if any readers have questions they will add a comment. I would love to give away a free book to the lucky winner. You can be a winner if you leave a comment. Anyone who comments has a chance to win.

By the way, our last winner, the writer of the blog: has not responded yet. If he doesn't respond by this week I will do another drawing. So if you want to win a free book for the last guest author's interview leave a comment or question for Penny Ehrenkranz and do it soon so you can win the free eBook.:) I also wanted everyone to know that the drawing is done very scientifically.:) I write your names on small pieces of paper, fold them up and then put them in a container. After shaking them I let my daughter, who couldn't care less who wins, pick the winner.

I'm hoping to see a lot of comments and questions here, and since Jennifer is such a celebrated author I may be giving away two copies free. You never know.:)

Until the next time, thank you to my new readers and of course to the readers who continue to read my meanderings.:) Next post I will be reviewing Simply Irresistible, by Jennifer Banash. If you can't wait, I believe it is available everywhere. With reviews in Seventeen, this book is going to go far. ( Just a taste of my review.:)) Also please go to Jennifer Banash's website to read more about her and her writing. You can get a preview with her new video about Simply Irresistible.


  1. Great interview, Barbara.

    I enjoyed reading about your books, Jennifer. Adding them to my TBR list.

    Thanks, ladies.


  2. Interesting interview, as always, Barbara. It was educational learning how another writer tackles the problems of writing and publishing.

  3. Berverly and Penny,
    I'm glad that you enjoyed this interview. Thank you for stopping by and commenting. The book is really good.:) As I said I'll be reviewing it next week.

  4. Barbara,
    Love the interview. You ask the questions I want answered. Writing 5 pages a day like Jennifer does keeps her in the driver's seat. She's going places and has an agent who expects a topnotch product and gets more than enough to work with.

  5. Thank you to all who left a comment here. Jennifer told me to tell you she appreciates your comments, but because of her schedule she is unable to answer them. The winner for the free book will be announced on the most recent post - August 20th.


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