Christa Ann Banister is a freelance author, scrabble player extraordinaire, author and lots of fun! Her novels, starring Sydney Alexander, are completely engaging and will have you laughing from the get go.
Enjoy getting to know the woman behind Sydney (aka Sydney’s mum!) as she shares about her life:~
If you could have chosen your own name, what would it be?
When I was a kid, I was obsessed with the names Tracy Lynn and Taylor Jordyn, so in retrospect, I’m glad I didn’t get to choose my own name.
Your first pet’s name?
We weren’t a big pet family, but we had a cute little puppy named Patches for about a month.
Your best friend’s name in primary (elementary) school?
Amanda Pflughoeft—gosh, I wonder what she’s up to today?
Did you have a special toy that went everywhere with you when you were young? Please describe.
I was a big fan of my Strawberry Shortcake doll until I accidentally threw up on her. I also had this homemade green and yellow blanket that I liked to drag around everywhere. I even had a special place for my fingers to go to ensure I wouldn’t lose it.
I’d love to sit down for a Q&A with Bono.
If you were stranded on a desert island what one object would you want with you? (Besides your Bible of course)
Can my husband be the object? ☺
What’s your favourite ice cream flavour?
Italy and Greece are definitely next on my list.
Besides God, who has influenced you the most?
Writing-wise, Judy Blume, Sophie Kinsella and Jane Austen have probably influenced. Personally speaking, it would have to be my hubby, Will.
What’s one (or more!) of your favourite books?
Here’s a quick snapshot: My favorites are Hemmingway’s “A Moveable Feast,” Brennan Manning’s “The Ragamuffin Gospel,” A.J. Jacobs’ “The Year of Living Biblically” and Jane Austen’s “Emma.”
What part of your daily routine do you enjoy most?
Making breakfast for Will.
What’s one (or more!)of your favourite movies?
I have so many, but my all-time favorite is “Roman Holiday.” Other favorites include “Gone With the Wind,” “Sunset Boulevard,” “Four Weddings and a Funeral,” “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “Amelie,” “The Holiday” and countless others.
Where’s the most interesting place you have been?
What’s your most fervent prayer?
To love the Lord my God with all my heart, soul and strength and to love my neighbor as myself.
What’s the bravest thing you’ve ever done?
After graduating from college in Minneapolis, I packed up whatever fit into my trusty Buick Century and moved to an apartment I found on the Internet in Nashville, Tennessee. Did I mention that I didn’t know anyone except a guy in a band?
What gift have you received that you will always treasure?
My engagement and wedding ring
What is your favourite Bible verse (or “one” of your favourites) and what does it mean to you?
Philippians 1:6, which always reminds me that there is a method to the madness.
What was your most embarrassing moment in High School?
My first day of high school when during one of the hazing rituals, a junior decided to pelt me with chicken nuggets at lunch. And just when I thought that was the worst of it, another junior decided to hose down my white t-shirt with a fire extinguisher. Yeah, it wasn’t my most shining moment, that’s for sure.
How did your husband propose to you?
I’ve always said that whenever I got engaged I wanted to be “knocked- off-my-bum surprised” when it happened. I didn’t want to look at rings at the mall together, I didn’t want any hints about when it was going to happen. So when Will and I were in Chicago for a U2 concert, Will give me the shock of my life when he proposed right in the middle of lunch at Gino’s East. Because we’d talked about getting married so many times before, I said, “Yeah, of course, I’ll marry you” between bites of deep dish pizza. And he was like, “No, this is the official proposal.” Suffice it to say, I got my wish of being surprised, and Will got to upstage Bono is a major, major way.
What was the best advice you received on marriage before you were married?
Always make time for prayer together—and I couldn’t underscore its value enough. It’s one of the most special things we do together.
Sydney Alexander Books
Please explain what “dating“ is! Funny question, I know but I think we do things differently in Australia.
How do you do things in Australia? I’d love to know. I think dating can be casual or more serious, depending on what the people involved decide. For some people, going out is a way to get to know if you’re romantically interested in someone. For others, it’s the first step toward a more serious courtship. But the thing both of those has in common is that the people have a mutual interest in hanging out with each other to see what happens.
Please describe Sydney, Rain, Samantha, Justin and Gavin in 5 words or less
Sydney—vivacious, sarcastic, optimistic, romantic, high-strung
Rain—earthy, opinionated, eccentric, devoted, open-minded
Samantha-thoughtful, missions-minded, cautious, methodical, energetic
Justin—seeker, imaginative, practical, detailed, inquisitive
Gavin—endearing, warm, gorgeous, intuitive, prayerful
What do you hope readers take away from these stories?
There are a couple of things I really hope readers take away from the stories of Sydney and her motley crew of friends and family. For one, I want everyone to enjoy the journey of his/her life, and dating and relationships is part of that. Even bad dates can be useful life experiences that only better us for the person we want to spend our lives with. Also, there’s a clear theme of not settling, whether it’s in your calling, relationships or personal relationship with God.
How does faith factor in to dating in your view?
Faith informs every area of my life, and so dating definitely falls under that. We should be seeking God in every area of our lives, and especially those that have lifelong ramifications. Who we spend our time with—especially romantically—is important to God. Yet at the same time, I think God’s gift of free will allows us to learn from those dating experiences that weren’t quite so stellar. I think that while it’s important to guard our hearts and not just let every crush we happen to have into it, it’s important to get out there and flex that dating muscle. Otherwise, you just end up living a life where you expect Mr. or Ms. Right to magically show up on your doorstep. And chances are, God isn’t going to choose that particular method for bringing someone special into your life.
What is in your writing pipeline?
Aside from my daily freelance work which includes everything from personality features for magazines to movie, music and book reviews, I’m working on my third (and final) novel in the “Sydney Alexander” series and another book idea that’s more of a women’s ensemble drama.
Christa ~ it has been both a pleasure and delight to have you at Relz Reviewz! Looking forward to reading Sydney’s last adventure
Relz Reviewz Extras
Review of Around the World in 80 Dates
Character Spotlight on Sydney