Tracy, first, tell us a little bit about the manuscript you're working on now.
Tracy: I’m concentrating on two manuscripts right now. I have a historical romantic suspense novella with Ellora’s Cave that will be released on July 4, and I’m building up promotion on that one at the moment. I’m very pleased with that one…it has a fabulous cover – one of those covers that grabs you. I was very pleased to see it.
The other manuscript is a mainstream romantic suspense that Harlequin MIRA have asked to see. I can’t say a lot about it right now, of course, but it’s proving to be a lot of fun so far.
Debra: Can't wait to see that cover.
Ray Bradbury said, "We are cups, constantly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out." How do you keep your creative cup filled?Tracy: My first impulsive answer to this was “I haven’t got a clue!”. I’m usually so damned busy, I don’t have time to court the muse and lure her in. She just has to be there when I sit down at my laptop, or I’ll write the damn thing without her.
But I think that’s my answer right there: I have a very full life (too full!), one that includes three teenagers at home, one living in Shanghai, a husband that is juggling two careers and a day job, my own demanding day job, plus promoting and writing my books. Two cats, Merry and Pippin, and a rock python, Sam. A house that refuses to stay clean and tidy, and an extended family that is spread across every continent in the world except Antartica.
I also workout daily.
With all that, and the dozens of people I interact with in the flesh and on-line, and just watching the way the world works...the ideas come.
I’ve also grown very good at forced idea brainstorming over the years: Sitting with a pen and paper (lately, that has become a laptop and a blank new Word file), and making myself come up with new ideas.
It sounds like it’s a terrible way to build a story, but it’s actually a good way to tap into your creativity when life won’t give you the time to daydream and reach your ideas that way.
Debra: I am simply amazed at the many things you juggle and the way you pull it all off with flair. Such a full life must give you plenty of material to write about.As a child did any particular book or author pull you into their imaginary world?
Tracy: Just about every author I met managed to suck me in. I was a voracious reader as a child – I grew up without television, and without children my own age, and discovered books around eight or nine years of age. Back then it was mostly Enid Blyton (an English writer of children’s adventures), but later on I branched out into almost every genre there is, including the adult titles.
As a result, for many years, I could never pronounce unusual words; I’d seen them in books, and understood their meaning and grammatical usage, but because no-one around me used them in conversation, I’d never heard them pronounced properly.
One of the strongest spells to grab me was Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings. And not long after that I discovered Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising series, and Mary Stewart’s The Crystal Cave. Strangely, I rarely read fantasy these days. I go for more gruesome and realistic stuff.
Debra: Isn't it wonderful how books can enrich a child's mind in that way, words a child might struggle to pronounce such a stretch which expands a child's world? That's the beauty of language.Tracy, thank you for joining us here on this Make-believe Monday to share a little bit of the magic of writing with our readers.