Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Stacey Ballis, Room for Improvement

There was a time in my life when each Saturday night rolled around I was in front of the television watching Trading Spaces and nothing could tear me away. I knew every epsiode and when Hildy glued hay to a family's living room walls, I shared in their horror with my own fresh tears and disbelief.

If I was unable to move from the couch I just might have kept the channel on TLC and watched an episode of While You Were Out. I loved those home improvement shows but always wondered how things got done so quickly. A new entertainment center, freshly painted walls, new pillows, hand painted artwork and slipcovered furniture within two days? Amazing!

Room for Improvement by Stacey Ballis takes a look at what goes on behind the scenes of a fictionalized home improvement show called Swap/Meet. The heroine of the book, interior designer Lily Allen, is relatable and fun, the kind of girl you would want as a friend...although she just might be a little stubborn and lost on the topic of love.

I like the way Stacey plotted the book, through episodes of Swap/Meet (which is a smart premise for a show) and the many disasters in love and life that Lily encounters both on set and off. The book was a quick and humorous read. You will love it!

Which Do it Yourself shows make you stay in on a Friday night? Are you a sucker for a sawdust covered man wielding a hammer?

I miss While You Were Out tremendously, I think they got it right and were enjoyably up to the last episode. Lately I've been enjoying Design Star, Designer Finals, and I love the old episodes of This Old House. And Extreme Home Makeover is a guilty pleasure, I save them for when I need a good cry. And yes, I do have a certain affinity for a man in sawdust.

I painted my daughters room bright red complete with streaks and splotches, I learned about the art of primer much later. What have you attempted to do on your own?

My DIY projects are both too numerous to list, and legendary in some of their idiocy. Some successful projects include converting a cabinet to open shelving in my bathroom, painting a linoleum floor and formica counter, converting an open upholstered glass-topped coffeetable to a veneered display case coffeetable, and turning an old sideboard into an entertainment center armoire. However, my current project, painting the ceiling of my dining room with harlequin diamonds in gold on gold has stalled. For the last nine months.

Would you like to be on Trading Spaces? And if so, whose room would you make over? You can't go wrong with bright pink feathers and leopard print, it's a winning combo for any home owner.

I would not like to be on TS. I feel very much as if they have lost the desire to create beautiful rooms for people to live in, in exchange for shocking rooms that make for dramatic television. I would have loved to be on WYWO. But, if someone promised me that Vern Yip or Genvieve Gorder were going to tackle my room, I'd trade spaces with my sister, whose bedroom could use a major update, in exchange for my kitchen, which was last done in 1976.

You boldly write detailed sex scenes. Does writing these make you uncomfortable at all? Are you thinking of how your mom or grandma will be reading about some guys throbbing bulge?

I like writing sex scenes only slightly less than I like having sex. And my family is very hip and open, so I never have to worry for their delicate sensibilities. My grandmother doesn't even think my stuff is that shocking! But my dad does wish I would give sci fi or historical fiction a shot!

Where do you stand on the Chick-lit vs. Not Chick -lit debate?

It's semantics, and I frankly could care less what genre you label me, as long as someone is reading it. If calling my work Chick Lit guides some readers my way, I'm a happy girl. I think getting snarky about it is sort of juvenile.

What is the last book you read, what types of novels do you enjoy?

Last book was Second Glance by Jodi Picoult. I like all sorts of stuff, but some favorite authors are: Anne Lamott, Oscar Wilde, Tom Robbins, David Sedaris, Jasper Fforde, Joyce Carol Oates, Colette, and most of the Victorians. For Chick Lit, my faves are Laura Caldwell, Jennifer O'Connell, Jennifer Weiner, Liz Flock, Lynda Curnyn, and Cara Lockwood, and for chick-lit memoir, Jennifer Lancaster. And, of course, Grandmother of us all, Jane Austen.

What do you think about Rosie O' Donnell joining The View? Are you mourning the demise of Star Jones career or could you care less?

I have always loved Rosie in just about anything she has ever done, so I'm sure she will be great on the show. I have never particularly found Star Jones remotely appealing, and from what I have read about the whole debacle, I'm mostly embarrassed for her. But I have never actually seen The View. I'm more of a Daily Show kind of girl.

Who would play you in the Lifetime movie of your life?

Well, it depends what you're going for. If you're trying to capture personality, Queen Latifah, in a brilliant non-traditional choice. I mean, how much fun to watch her play a white jewish girl from Chicago? But if you want someone who might be able to sort of work the visual as well, Melissa McCarthy from Gilmore Girls would probably be terrific.


Blogger Manic Mom said...
ooh, I've met Stacey, at her Sleeping Over launch party. She is great! @ 12:38 AM  
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