Tuesday 28 August 2012


BLURB from Amazon.co.uk

Shane Connelly - a pretty young entrepreneur - is determined to shake things up as she leaves her drone of a boyfriend Marc, and the mean streets of Miami far behind. She goes in search of greener pastures in the North Carolina mountains, but finds it’s anything but the perfect spot to while away the hot summer months.
Her recently acquired country home turns out to be a burned out hovel in the middle of nowhere - and after a series of unexplained and chilling visions - she suspects it’s haunted. With her hopes dashed before her adventure can even begin, she is about to head home when a handsome stranger unexpectedly arrives at her doorstep.
Before she can beat a trail out of Swan Creek wine country, Shane and her handsome Cherokee neighbor Jesse are inexplicably drawn together as they dodge bullets, unearth ghosts, and unravel a dark town secret. As events reach a surprising conclusion, Shane realizes that it’s not the high altitude that’s making her head spin, but her tall lover with the penetrating dark eyes.

Available at Amazon.co.uk 

What is your name, where were you born and where do you live now? 
I am Diane Jacques, and write romance under the name of Alexia Banks. I was born in South Florida, USA, where I continue to reside today. You can’t beat those warm tropical breezes and sugar sand beaches. I love it here.

Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
I have always been a writer. I started out in public relations and moved into writing screenplays for movies, television and documentaries. Recently, I added novelist to my resume and it is the achievement for which I am most proud.

When did you first consider yourself as a "writer"? 
I can’t remember a time in my life when I wasn’t a writer. I actually wrote my first short story when I was in second grade. My love affair with words and stories has been life long.

Did it take a long time to get your first book published?
 I was absolutely over the moon when my first book was sold by my agent only a month or so after I completed the book proposal. Then, about one month later, I completed the first book in my Swan Creek Paranormal Series
Forgotten Dreams and sold it to the first publisher to whom I submitted it…Adams Media. It’s been a remarkable journey, a dream come true.

Do you work another job as well as your writing work? 
I continue to develop movie and television projects, but hope to eventually phase that out and concentrate on being a novelist full time.

Who is your publisher? or do you self publish? 
Adams Media

Do you have a "lucky charm" or "lucky routine" you follow when waiting for your book to be accepted by a publisher? 
I do a lot of finger crossing!

How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it? 
I never begin a book until I have fully realized the concept through an embellished synopsis. Once I have the outline worked out, I can finish a novel in about sixty days or less.

Which of your books were easier/harder to write than the others?
The non-fiction book on the 1944 Ringling and Brothers circus fire in Hartford, Connecticut was challenging. I lost my aunt and first cousin in the blaze fourteen years before I was born and since it’s been nearly seventy years, information is difficult to come by.

What can we expect from you in the future?  ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
 I am currently working on Frankie on the Rocks, my follow up to Forgotten Dreams, and am also working on Just Desserts, a contemporary romance that pits two rival TV chefs one against the other.

Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series? 
Yes, Forgotten Dreams is part of my Swan Creek Paranormal series.

What genre would you place your books into?
 It is a paranormal RomCom.

What made you decide to write that genre of book? 
I love to read the genre, and enjoyed writing it just as much.

Do you have a favourite out of the books you have written? If so why is it your favourite? Do you have a favourite character from your books? and why are they your favourite?
 With exception to my bad guys, all of my characters are reflections of people that I have known and loved in my life. Therefore, all are near and dear to me.

If you had to choose to be one of your characters in your book/books which would you be? and why?
 I think I’d like to be Carol Ann because she’s a totally free spirit…a smart, feisty, “take no prisoners” kind of gal who isn’t afraid to go after exactly what she wants.

How long have you been writing?, and who or what inspired you to write?
 My mother Beatrice Jacques inspired me to write. She is an enormous talent and always encouraged me along the path of creativity.

Where do you get your book plot ideas from?What/Who is your inspiration? 
The strange thing is, ideas crystallize in my mind. When it’s quiet and I’m alone with my thoughts, stories just begin to take shape, almost as though they were planted there by someone else.

Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? ie You listen to music, sit in a certain chair?
 I’m writing just about all day, every day. I sit in my living room on my laptop, so that I can enjoy the company of my French bulldog Mimi and Mexican Hairless Pete. They are my muses.

Do you have anybody read your books and give you reviews before you officially release them?ie. Your partner, children, friends, reviewers you know?
 My mother is such a great writer herself, and is therefore, a great sounding board. Also, my daughter Bianca and son Stefan frequently provide great comments and criticism.

Do you read all the reviews of your book/books? 
It’s always interesting to hear how others interpret your work, so yes. I do.

What was the toughest/best review you have ever had?
 I’ve been very fortunate with my debut paranormal romance. So far, I’ve received very favorable reviews.

Would you ever ask a reviewer to change their review if it was not all positive about your book/books? 
To me, that is clearly crossing the line, so no.

How do you come up with the Title and Cover Designs for your book/books?Who designed the Cover of your books?
 My son created a mock-up and it appears my publisher Adams Media liked it enough to keep many of the elements. I haven’t yet seen the final, but expect it to be a hybrid of his work and the publisher’s.

Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title?
I always write the story first. The title always comes later.

How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?
My character names are influenced by the region, ethnicity and cultural background of each person in the story. All of the locations in Forgotten Dreams are actual.  

Are character names and place names decided after there creation? or do you pick a character/place name and then invent them? 
Characters and stories frequently evolve at the same time. The characters exist before I give them names.

Do you decide on character traits (ie shy, quiet, tomboy girl) before writing the whole book or as you go along? 
I know exactly who my characters are, down to the color of their nail polish, before I ever begin writing.

Do you basic plot/plan for your book, before you actually begin writing it out? Or do you let the writing flow and see where it takes the story?
 My writing is largely drawn from the summary. Often, the process of writing a novel has a way of leading the author on an impromptu journey.

What do you think makes a book a really good/bestseller ? 
Good books evoke a strong emotional connection with the reader. Not every good book is a bestseller, but virtually all bestsellers are good books.

Have you ever suffered from a "writer's block"? What did you do to get past the "block"? 
Fortunately, I have never suffered from writer’s block. I think that’s because I know where I’m going with my story before I ever sit down to write it.

What do you do to unwind and relax?Do you have a hobby?
 I love my pets. I also read a lot, enjoy movies, and as much as I hate to admit it, I watch a lot of reality television.

Have you ever based characters on people you know or based events on things that have happened to you? 
Frequently, my characters are composites of people I’ve known and are often a combination of more than one person.

Are there any hidden messages or morals contained in your books? (Morals as in like Aesops Fables type of "The moral of this story is..")
Love conquers all.

Is there a certain Author that influenced you in writing?
I love Jennifer Crusie’s books, although I read a bit of everything. My all time favorite book is Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove series.

Which format of book do you prefer, ebook,hardback, or paperback?
 I’ll read anything in any format, as long as it engages me. I do however, think the eBook readers have raised the popularity of reading.

What is your favourite book and Why?  Have you read it more than once? 
Lonesome Dove. When I finished it, it was like losing a valued friend. I just wanted the story to keep going.

Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is you favourite/worst  book to movie transfer? 
As a movie producer, I can honestly say, it depends. Film is a different medium and there is simply not enough time on-screen to deliver as much material as a book. I believe the best film adaptation was the Lord of the Rings films. They were stunning and did an amazing job of capturing the spirit of the books.

What are you currently reading? Are you enjoying it? What format is it?(ebook, hardback or paperback) 
At my daughter’s urging, I’m about to begin reading the Hunger Games on my Nook.

Do you think ebooks will ever totally replace printed books?
 I believe that it is an environmental necessity. And although I am a die-hard paperback reader, I would never return to paper books. It’s far more convenient to use my eBook reader

Do you think children at schools these days are encouraged enough to read? and/or do Imaginative writing? 
It is wonderful to see the growth of reading among young people. The Internet, in large measure, has made young people much more comfortable with communications through the written word. I think that has translated to the explosion of the YA genre.

Did you read a lot at school and write lots of stories or is being a writer something newer in your life? 
I have been a reader and a writer my entire life.

Did you have a favourite author as a child?
 I loved E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web.

Do you have a treasured book from your childhood? If yes, what is it? 
No doubt, that would have to be The Secret Garden.

Do you have a favourite genre of book? 
I prefer character driven stories, and like all genres. 

Is there a book you know you will never read? Or one you tried to read but just couldn't finish? 
I don’t think I’ll ever read Fifty Shades of Grey.

What do you think about book trailers? 
Putting my movie producer hat on here for a moment, I’d say it depends upon the book. If the title lends itself to visuals, say, science-fiction or fantasy, it’s probably a good thing to have. Otherwise, I still believe people buy books based on reviews and word-of-mouth.

What piece of advice would you give to a new writer? 
Often, inexperienced writers give up before they’ve finished an entire manuscript. It’s always a good idea to map out your story, and finish what you start before beginning something else.

 Do you or would you ever use a pen name?
 Yes, Alexia Banks is my pen name.

If you could invite three favourite writers to dinner, who would you invite and enjoy chatting with?
 I’d invite Larry McMurtry, Jennifer Crusie and Isaac Isimov. Not only do I like their writing, I think there’d be some very riveting conversation at that table.

Where can readers follow you? www.alexiabanksromance.com.

Your Blog details? It’s on my website, URL provided below.

Your Web site ? www.alexiabanksromance.com

And any other information you wish to supply?
 I would just like to thank you for bringing books to the forefront for the people who read them and write them.

Also I have a two minute promo on you tube if you would like to watch that, here is the link


  1. Wonderful interview, Diane. Lots to learn about you! One of my most favourite childhood books is Charlotte's Web too. E.B White is a genius.

    Wow, you write a book in 60 days! And you've got your synopsis done. You are amazing!!!

  2. Wow, I didn't know you used an agent to get into Crimson. Interesting :) Great interview. I learned a lot!

  3. Yep, was under the gun and banged it out in under four weeks. Now, though, I need to go back in and do the prequel and sequel to fill in the blanks. As for my agent, I found the deal (didn't even tell her I wrote romance, too) and had her broken it for me. Thanks for stopping by, ladies. It's always a pleasure.