Interview with Pilar Alvarez from In Need of Therapy!


I recently had the pleasure of reading Tracie Banister’s second novel, In Need of Therapy.   I found Pilar Alvarez to be a very interesting main character and so I was very excited when Tracie connected us and Pilar agreed to answer some questions for me.  In exchange, Tracie interviewed Jane Frank, the main character of my second novel, “A State of Jane” which you can check out here:

So…without further ado! 

 1. Of all of the psychologists in pop culture/literature, who would you most like to be your shrink and why? Who would you least want?

I’d like Dr. Hartley on The Bob Newhart Show to be my shrink. My father used to watch reruns of that show when I was a child and I always thought that Dr. Hartley had a very soothing way about him. Plus, he had foibles and a sense of humor about himself and his patients, which I found endearing.

The fictional shrink I would never want to have is Fiona Wallice on Web Therapy. I couldn’t even get through one episode of that show because I was so appalled by how vapid, selfish, and completely uncaring Fiona was as both a person and a therapist. Her patients would be better off self-treating!  

2. What would you choose for your last meal?

Cuban roast pork with an extra tangy mojo sauce, black beans, fried plantains, and chocolate flan for dessert. My arteries would probably explode afterwards, but what a way to go!  

3. If you had to choose one family member to be stranded with on a deserted island, who would it be and why?

Not my older sister Ana because she’s too bossy, and not my younger sister Izzy because she’d just lay on the beach, napping and working on her tan, and expect me to gather food, build a fire, etc. My mother? I shudder at the thought. She’d be miserable without her telenovelas and that $650 skin cream she swears by (It has the secretions of honey bees or something equally disgusting in it.) And she’d probably spend every day telling me that if I’d only snagged a rich husband who could have financed an exhaustive search for us, we wouldn’t be in this situation. No, thank you! The only family member I would ever want to be stranded on a desert island with is my good-natured papá.   

4. Wedding dress style – princess/ball gown, fit and flow (mermaid style) or straight?

Mermaid style looks best on women, like myself, who have voluptuous figures. This is the style of red carpet gown that Sofia Vergara favors and we have a similar shape.  



5. Pick one male type: dark and exotic looking, blonde surfer dude, or all American clean cut  

Well, I’ve been attracted to all three, so I don’t think I really have a type. If I had to choose, probably All-American clean cut à la Channing Tatum.

6. If you weren’t a psychologist what would you be?

 Probably a teacher, at the high school or university level. Not sure what subject. Spanish would be the obvious choice, but I really enjoyed World History in school. So, I’d probably go in that direction as a teacher.  

7. You just won 5 million dollars in the lottery. How would you spend it?

 I’d pay off my house. Buy my sister, Izzy, her own place (I am over this whole roommate thing!) Set up trust funds for my three nephews (I have a feeling one or more of them will be needing bail money when they get older.) Send my parents on a nice, long cruise. Put some money into my psychology practice (Advertise, give my wonderful receptionist, Margo, a raise, update our computers, etc.)  And I’d invest in my best friend Sara’s swimwear line (I’m sure that she’ll be a huge success one day, so I expect to get a great return on my investment.)  

8. If you could immerse yourself in any television show, past or present, which would you choose?  

The Big Bang Theory. Those are some characters who are in dire need of my therapeutic help! Poor Raj with his female-triggered selective mutism, Howard with his bizarre mommy issues, and Sheldon with his egomania and anti-social tendencies. I’d have a field day with those boys!

9. What would you want to name your daughter? Son?

Rose for a girl, after my grandmother Rosalinda. Us Catholics are big on the biblical names, so probably Luke for a boy.   

10. Describe yourself in 5 words.

Work-oriented. Intelligent. Funny. Loyal.     

11. You have been cast in a movie. What actor would you choose to be your love interest and what other actresses or actors would you want to work with?

I would go with Michael Fassbender as my on-screen love interest as he has an intensity that really fascinates me. I’d, also, love to work with Ryan Gosling (The Notebook is one of my favorite movies!), Sandra Bullock (I could be her sassy, Latina BFF in a rom com!), and Salma Hayek (We could play sisters!)  

12. Would you prefer that you love your partner more than he loves you or that he loves you more than you love him? Equal is not an option.

I’ve always been more of a giver than a taker, both in my profession and my familial relationships, so I think it would be heaven to have a partner who loved me more than I loved him. Not in a clingy way, hopefully, but in a “I value you above everyone else” way. SIGH    

13. Favorite date outfit: jeans, sexy top and heels; little black dress; capri pants, tank top and flip flops; pencil skirt, blouse and pumps; sun dress and sandals?

Jeans don’t really work in Miami, plus they do my bootie no favors. Little black dresses aren’t really my style, and again, they’re not really appropriate for Miami. We’re all about bright, vibrant colors here! I’d probably go with a really pretty, form-flattering sundress in turquoise, yellow, or coral and a sexy, strappy sandal with a heel if I wanted to impress a date and feel my best.   

14. If you weren’t the middle child, would you rather be oldest or youngest?

I think it might be nice to be in Izzy’s position. When you’re the baby in the family, you can get away with murder! You never have to take responsibility for anything and your siblings and parents will always coddle and make excuses for you.

15. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I’m too trusting by nature, which has been my downfall on more than one occasion. I wouldn’t want to be cynical or suspicious, but it would be to my benefit if I didn’t always assume that people were being upfront with me.   

16. Best physical attribute? Worst?

Best would probably be my hair as it’s thick and healthy and has a pretty caramel color. Worst is definitely my JLo-sized butt – the curse of being a Latina!


Eve Mendes/Pilar Alvarez

Book Blurb (In Need of Therapy):  Lending a sympathetic ear and dispensing sage words of advice is all part of the job for psychologist Pilar Alvarez, and she’s everything a good therapist should be: warm, compassionate, supportive. She listens, she cares, and she has all the answers, but how’s the woman everyone turns to in their hour of need supposed to cope when her own life starts to fall apart?  While working hard to make a success of her recently-opened practice in trendy South Beach, Pilar must also find time to cater to the demands of her boisterous Cuban family, which includes younger sister Izzy, an unemployed, navel-pierced wild child who can’t stay out of trouble, and their mother, a beauty queen turned drama queen who’s equally obsessed with her fading looks and getting Pilar married before it’s “too late.” Although she’d like to oblige her mother and make a permanent love connection, Pilar’s romantic prospects look grim. Her cheating ex, who swears that he’s reformed, is stalking her. A hunky, but strictly off-limits, patient with bad-boy appeal and intimacy issues is making passes. And the sexy shrink in the suite across the hall has a gold band on his left ring finger.  When a series of personal and professional disasters lead Pilar into the arms of one of her unsuitable suitors, she’s left shaken, confused, and full of self-doubt. With time running out, she must make sense of her feelings and learn to trust herself again so that she can save her business, her family, and most importantly, her heart.

 Where you can find Tracie Banister:


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  1. Michelle on October 8, 2012 at 9:31 am

    How fun! I just laughed imagining Pilar and either Izzy or her mama stuck on a deserted island together. One would not be coming back alive, I fear.

  2. Susan Buchanan on October 8, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    What a laugh! Having read the book, I can imagine, as Michelle says those scenarios. And Pilar is very close to her dad. I always find out more about your characters, Tracie, whichever interview I read. They are always very fun. I love how you have the Cuban food down pat! Well done – great interview! Sooz

  3. Natalie on October 8, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    What a fun post! I think we should have Pilar counsel Jane and see what happens!

  4. Samantha Stroh Bailey on October 8, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    Oh, Dr. Hartley! Wow, that takes me back and makes me think of my dad, too. A fantastic interview and a character I can’t wait to get to know. This was such a unique swap of character interviews!

  5. Libby Mercer on October 8, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    Love this interview! Pilar’s personality really came out well here. I feel like I know her a little and can’t wait to read her story! And I second Natalie’s idea. That would be hysterical!

  6. Jackie Bouchard on October 8, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    Great interview, ladies! Such a fun idea!

  7. Lauren Clark on October 9, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    LOTS of FUN! 🙂

    xxx, Lauren

  8. Tracey Livesay on October 12, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    Great interview. Lots of fun! And I’d take Channing Tatum, too. 😉

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