I was introduced to Tracie through another blogger. I read Letters To Lincoln through NetGalley. I was very happy with it. I loved it. It was one of those books where my husband and I actually talked about it as it applied to us. You can read my review here.
If you weren’t a writer, what would be your dream job? Oh, when I was younger I wanted to be an Olympic dressage rider, an actress, a model (I didn’t grow tall enough), a writer, and probably a load of other things! If I had to pick one of those, I think an actress would be fun.
Where do your ideas come from? I have a very active imagination but I also draw my inspiration from life. I might see a news story and wonder how I can weave that into a story. I might overhear a conversation or witness a situation. I think the majority of stories started life as something seen or overheard.
What is the best writing advice have you received and what would you advise new writers? The best advice I’ve received is to write from the heart and write what you want. The best advice I could give would be the same but to add this. Listen to your gut. You’ll make mistakes, you’ll listen to advice that turns out to be the wrong advice and that’s all okay. We can only learn by making mistakes, absorb it, learn from it, and then move on.
Tell us all the genres you write. I write Contemporary Romance, Erotic Romance, Romantic Suspense, and I write thrillers/suspense. I love to read different genres and therefore I like to write different genres. Whether I should have started my thrillers with a pen name, I’m still deciding. It can be a little bit of a shock from my thriller readers to pick up my erotic romance!
Do you consider yourself a pantser or a plotter? Both! Each year I start a new notebook that is sectioned into five. Each section is a book that will be released that year. For my romances I’m more of a pantser, I do tend to plot a little for my thrillers but that’s because they are more complicated. I love when a book grows organically, when characters take an unexpected turn and I just let it flow.
Describe your dream vacation. Oh, I have two. I do love the Maldives and have been lucky to visit. I’d love to visit Bora Bora. I’d also love a cabin in the woods in the middle of winter with deep snow, a log fire, plenty of books and wine!
How do you decide on names for your characters? I’ve usually decided on a characters name before I’ve started the book. I see the book in my head, like a movie, and I see the characters. I hear their voice and I ‘know’ them. They ‘tell’ me their names right from the start. That’s not to say I haven’t changed a name, of course.
Describe any writing rituals you use. I need to be in a quiet environment with little distraction. It’s hard right now because I’m a full-time carer and I get very little ‘me’ time to write so I tend to work at night and early in the morning at the moment. I don’t think I have rituals, as such. I will give myself a word count or a timed writing session but that’s just good discipline!
What snacks do you eat while you write? Do you listen to music? If so what kind? I quit smoking recently so I’m eating absolutely everything and anything. Of course, it helps that it was recently Christmas so we still have bowls of chocolates and sweets. Generally, I drink a lot of tea and eat chocolate biscuits. I might listen to music but not often. As I said before, I prefer a quiet environment to write in.
What is the last book you read and why did you choose it? I don’t read while I’m writing, normally. However, I’m writing something that means I need to re-read something I wrote a while ago. So I’m reading my own work right now, I just can’t tell you about it!
What was the first book you remember reading? My favourite childhood books were Wind in the Willows and Aesop’s Fables. I can’t say which was the first book I read; I have always been an avid reader. I had all the Flicker and Black Beauty books; I was a big horse fan.
You can only have five books on your bookshelf. What are they and why? They would be mine. Whenever I feel tired or down, or exhausted, or miserable, I look at the shelf above my desk, the one that holds my books and it cheers me up. If I never sell another book, I can sit there and know, I did that. I wrote those tens of thousands of words. I’ve inspired someone to write their own story; I’ve inspired someone to consult a doctor about their depression. I’ve made an impression or an impact in someone’s life and that knowledge is not only amazing but also mind-blowing sometimes. So, it would be my books to remind me of that.
Tell us about your love for scuba diving. How did you start? Why? And did you really swim with sharks? My mother and I were on a holiday many years ago. We both loved to snorkel and watch the underwater world. We decided that we’d like to learn to scuba dive and we’d often watch the divers get ready; we’d shadow them from the surface as they dived below us. When we returned to the UK we found a dive school and in the middle of November, in a freezing cold lake we took our Open Water Scuba Course. We hated it! However, we went back to the Maldives and in the two weeks we were on our holiday we dived every day and fell in love with it. I’m not the greatest swimmer in the world and I used to have a fear of being out of my depth. But with a tank of air on my back I felt safe and as the years went on I took more and more courses. Eventually, I became a diving instructor myself and I opened my own dive school.
Yes, I’ve really swum with sharks. Anyone who dives in the sea has the chance of seeing sharks, they really are not scary nor are they about to eat us. I used to photograph sharks for identification and conservation purposes, especially whale sharks (the largest fish in the ocean). I love them; they are the top predator in the ocean, vitally important to our ecosystem and hunted mercilessly for no sensible reason.
You write in multiple genres. Do you attack each one differently or is the same approach for all of them? I think I attack each book regardless of genre differently anyway. My thrillers often need a little more planning than my romance because they are not always straightforward stories. But then, I write angsty romance so they are not straightforward either. Ultimately, I have a story in my mind and I always know the start and ending. How we get from one to the other is the fun part and not always what I had planned.
Did you make any New Year’s Resolutions? If so how’s it going? If not, why not? No, I never do. I don’t believe in making plans I’m not likely to keep! If I want to change something, I will, I don’t wait until the end of the year to do it.
Thank you, Tracie.