Dani Bannister | Interview
Writing sexy books with laughter and feels.
Bestselling author Danielle Bannister joins me today for the release of Where You Left Me, Volume One. Let’s find out more about the author who writes both contemporary romance and romantic suspense.
Thank you for coming to this little chat and congratulations on your new release! Tell me a little bit about where you came up with the idea for this book and what it’s all about.
Thanks for having me! So, Where You Left Me, Volume One actually came from listening to a Taylor Swift song of all things. Her song Right Where You Left Me. That song talks about sort of being frozen in place when left by someone you thought you’d be with. But I thought, what if the woman didn’t freeze? What if she didn’t reflect? What if she was just impulsive and ignored going into that period of mourning? In my story, I have my character, Jasmine, being literally left at the altar. Instead of wallowing, or accepting what happened, she decides that she’s paid for a wedding and a honeymoon, and gosh darn it, she’s gonna have it. So she asks a volunteer from the waiting people in the church to get married and go on a free cruise to The Bahamas. She never expects someone does. Someone super sexy and the total opposite of her ex-fiancé. This is volume one of a series of rapid-release novellas that have high steam in them. A total popcorn read!
Oh wow! I adore the sound of this premise. So how many novellas are you planning in this series, and do they all revolve around the same couple?
The plan currently is five novellas with the same couple, but if readers want more, I'll write more!
Fantastic. Give the readers what they want! Tell me a little about yourself. What inspired you to become a writer?
Funny enough, I didn’t always want to be a writer. I wasn’t even a big reader in school. I was a theater geek. Went to college for it, moved to Chicago for a few years before moving back to Maine to pursue it. I wanted to be an actor. That’s where my heart was. Then, I got married (later divorced) and had two kids. Suddenly, there wasn’t time to do even community theater. My job, my soul reason for being was tending to two kids in diapers. I sort of lost my identity. I lost my creative outlet. That’s when I fell into writing. It was a way that I could ‘act’ if it was only on the page. I could create whole worlds and see the characters in my head. See where they were moving in space and time. And I could do it while my kids napped, or later, were in school. It’s been ten years now and I’m still going strong.
I love that. So inspiring. What challenges did you encounter in writing this particular book?
The biggest challenge of this one is that it’s part of a rapid-release series. That’s a first for me. Usually, I take about 5-6 months to write, polish, and perfect a story. While these are novellas and not novels it still requires a very diligent writing plan. Not a lot of wiggle room, which I usually like. Ha. But I’ve already got volume two up for pre-order and it’s in second draft and volume three is on the schedule to start next month. So far so good, but a very different writing strategy for sure. Being with these characters over a series is a first for me too. The longest I’ve stayed with characters is in a trilogy, so this will be a fun discovery for me as well.
That does sound challenging, and you have my writer’s brain intrigued at this schedule. If you can, pick a favorite character from your new release and tell me why they’re your favorite.
Well, the story is told from Jasmine’s POV, but I probably adore her love interest Shawn the best because I see him in my mind as Shawn Mendes. And what’s not to love about THAT? I have zero issues writing sex scenes when I can envision him. Haha!
LOLOL. So are you a plotter or a pantser? Do you have pre-writing routine or do you just go with the flow?
I’m a planner who allows for pantsing within set guidelines. By that I mean, every book I write has a journal. In that journal, I have worksheets I put inside. What’s the theme of my book? Who is the hero? Character Sheets, a beat sheet, a family tree, a place for series info. A whole packet of stuff for each book. I figure out the theme, who the hero is and what they want, their character sheets, and a few other things usually before I write a word. I use the beat sheet as a rough outline. Like, I know, for instance, that the catalyst, say, needs to happen right about now in my story. I don’t know what it is, but I know that something big needs to happen in this chapter. So it’s structured by beat, but what comes out is in the moment.
Very systematic. I approve. I like that you allow for some pantsing in between the beats. Describe your writing style or brand in three words.
Laughter, Feels, Sexy
Love it! Now I know that you also write romantic suspense, so what three words would you use for those books?
Dark, gripping, gritty. (At least for the ones I have written so far! Ha!)
Nice! Girl On Fire is next on my TBR pile. Can’t wait to dig in. Now, here’s a fun question I like to ask authors, what are the top three items on your bucket list?
1. Be in a Marvel Movie. What, it could happen?
2. Take another cruise to The Bahamas with a ‘Shawn’ of my own. 😉
3. See a show on Broadway. (I know, the actress who has never been to Broadway. Tragic.)
Oh! I love all of those. Take me to the Bahamas with you! I promise not to be a third wheel LOL. Are there any words of wisdom you want to share with new writers?
I’ll steal words from Stephen King (a fellow Mainer) “Write a lot and read a lot. There are no shortcuts.” There really isn’t. If you want to be a writer, you have to do both. Constantly. You need the practice. You won’t get it right the first time out of the gate. Just like any skill, it takes practice and dedication. You’ll likely not be an overnight success. Patience will serve you well.
Very true words! What are you working on right now? Does it connect to your new release?
I’m neck deep in volume two of Where You Left Me. Volume three is close on its heels and working on a suspense that I’ll release under my other name, Danielle Bannister either later this year or next depending on how the writing of it goes.
Perfect. And where can readers interact with you or find out more?
I’m all over: Facebook/Instagram/TikTok. But you can find all that at my website www.daniellebannister.com
And my newsletter sign up here.
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Thank you for chatting with me today! Let’s leave some links here so readers can find your newest release and give them a taste of what to expect.
Where You Left Me: Volume One is available now!
So, this is it. This is the place where you left me. Not very original, I have to say. I would have thought you’d come up with something less cliché than leaving me at the altar, but now that I’ve had a minute to think about it, everything about you was predictable. Ordinary. Nothing earth-shattering. Not even the sex. Yeah, that was all fake by the way.
Believe it or not, you leaving me standing here all alone is not the worst part about this messed-up day. It’s what you’re making me do now that’s pissing me off. Because of your spineless ass, I need to go out to that waiting crowd and face my parents. Hell, I have to face your parents and all your dipshit friends you made me invite. This should not be my job. You’re the one who couldn’t keep your hands to yourself. Because, of course, you were banging one of my bridesmaids. You couldn’t be more of a tool if you tried.
Then again, what does that make me in this story? No. I will not be the loser in this scenario. Screw that. Screw you. You saved me a lifetime of regret and bad dick. So, you know what? Thank you. Thank you for taking years of misery off my shoulders.
My fingers stopped their assault on the phone’s keypad while I read over my response to Dwayne after his dramatic dash from the church moments earlier. Emma’s bouquet still lay on the floor where she’d dropped it to take his hand to run down the rose petal aisle together. To hell with the both of them.
Never reply in anger, I could almost hear my mother whispering in my ear. I took a deep breath and rolled my shoulders back. I put the phone down without sending the message but keeping the words for fine-tuning later.
Adjusting the bottom of my dress, I winced. The tug against the sticky tape holding my girls in place reminded me not to move quite so much. Stupid strapless dress. After a quick check, I determined they wouldn’t be escaping their cage anytime soon. I wished for the umpteenth time I had gone with the A-line dress I’d wanted instead of this strapless monster. I hated strapless anything. My boobs were too big for such a dress, but Dwayne’s mother, Dwayna, of all things, had insisted on it. She’d gone on and on about how strapless dresses were her little Dwayne’s favorite. Dwayna and Dwayne. That really should have alerted me right there that family was nuts.
While there was a ridiculous amount of relief knowing I didn’t have to marry the guy, I found myself being angry as hell about missing out on the honeymoon. That was the only thing I’d been looking forward to. Not being his wife, but finally getting to go to The Bahamas.