I am very excited to get to interview the author of The Elite. Jennifer Banash is truly talented and not to mention super busy. From working on In too Deep, the sequel to The Elite, having plans for another book called Bitten and being the co founder and co publisher of Impetus Press, an independent publishing house. It makes me wonder, how does she find time to smell her dogs paws…..well you’ll get what I mean later on in the interview.
TP: How did you get the idea to write The Elite?
JB: The impetus to write THE ELITE was largely based on my own experiences going to a private school on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. I knew I wanted to write about that world, but that I also didn’t want it to be just an escapist fantasy–I wanted to temper that glamorous lifestyle with real issues.
TP: Do you have a favorite character from The Elite? If so, who is it and why?
JB: My favorite character changes all the time! Usually it’s Drew because I love walking around in a guy’s head ad figuring out what makes them so, well, difficult, lol! But lately, because I’m so cranky and tired, it’ Madison–there’s something really liberating about writing in her voice, and just getting to be as bitchy as I want with no repercussions (well, at least not in MY life!).
TP: What character do you most relate to?
JB: Casey. I always feel like everything I do is either wrong, or that I could’ve done a better job. I’m definitely harder on myself than anyone else could ever be. I also relate to Casey the most because she can really laugh at herself, no matter how bad things get, and that’s a quality I’m desperately trying to cultivate!
TP: In reading The Elite, I noticed that it has laugh out loud moments but makes a point of tackling serious issues, how hard was it to have a balance of both?
JB: It was really important to me. I think it’s irresponsible to write a series with no real issues or problems for its characters. That’s not the way life was for me when I was a teenager, and it’s certainly not the way it is now for many teens growing up. I gave the characters real problems because it reflects the world that young adults grow up in today. It’s funny, because my editor really tried to get them to take out the plot line about Sophie being a cutter, and I fought to keep it in. After all the appreciative emails I’ve gotten about that particular story line from readers, I’m very glad I did.
TP: How many books are planned for The Elite series and what can readers expect next in In Too Deep?
JB: There are three books scheduled so far. The next installment, IN TOO DEEP drops in January. The third book will be out sometime next June. All I can tell you about IN TOO DEEP is that it involves reality TV and a fabulous sweet sixteen bash! You wouldn’t want me to ruin the surprise now, would you? I think not.
TP: What is the best part about being an author?
JB: The best part about being an author is fame and money, the circling photographers that stake out my house daily, getting the best tables in restaurants, not worrying about my cell phone bill . . .
Oh wait. That’s Britney Spears . . .
The best part about being an author is getting to feel like I’m contributing something to the world–no matter how small.
TP: Who is your favorite author and what is it that strikes you about their work?
JB: My favorite author overall is Virginia Woolf. I love her sentences, how she wasn’t afraid to take risks in her work, her tenacity. Reading her books is like stepping in to a beautiful dream. I could spend hours lost in the pages of her writing. In terms of YA, I love Melissa Walker, RA Nelson, Barry Lyga, Alexa Young, Anna Godberson, and I’m dying to read SISTERS OF MISERY by Megan Kelley Hall.
TP: What is something that people might be surprised to learn about you?
JB: Umm . . . I smell my dogs paws a lot? He usually smells like corn chips, but lately since we have been going to the beach so often, he smells kinda salty . . .
TP: What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
JB: Just keep writing-and don’t let anyone’s negativity discourage you. Actually, I”m still trying to take my own advice on that one . . .
I would just like to thank Jennifer for allowing me to interview her and for giving me a glimpse into her Elite world!