Thursday, February 17, 2011

Author Interview - Tracy Krauss - Romance Author

Hunting Never Looked So good!

Does the title intrigue you? We hope so! In joining us here today, you're welcome to enjoy our outdoor spa at this beautiful resort. Close your eyes and breathe in the wonderful smell of the ocean scented with the flowers that are all around us. There are massage tables waiting for you to partake in a warm scented-oil massage to help you relax and look your best. When the interview is through, feel free to roam the grounds and get signed up for YOUR massage or facial mask. Every woman deserves to feel beautiful!

Today, I'm pleased to once again welcome romance suspense author Tracy Krauss who will be telling us about her new release, My Mother the Man-Eater! Her debut novel, AND THE BEAT GOES ON, also a romantic suspense, has an archeological and creationist twist and has met with very favorable reviews. She is also a playwright and has written and produced numerous plays.  She currently lives in Tumbler Ridge, British Columbia, and is working on several more works of fiction.

Deanna:  Tracy, thank you for joining our readers again. Let's sit and relax a bit before we get that facial. Tell us a bit about yourself that our readers might not know.

Tracy:  I direct an amateur theater group called the ‘KodiActs’. It’s a group for teens aged 12 to 18 and I currently have thirty two kids involved. We practice two to three times a week and put on two major performances a year. It’s major work, but tons of fun. I write a lot of their material, but jut recently had one of my plays published.

Deanna:  What made you want to become a writer?

Tracy:  The cliché is actually true. I love writing and feel compelled to do so. I was encouraged by one of my high school teachers, but I think it is more the passion to create that keeps me going.

Deanna:  Do you write under a pen name?

Tracy:  No my name is mine. I thought about it at one time. It’s a scary step to put yourself ‘out there’ for all the world to see. But in the end I decided against it.

Deanna:  What type of hero do you like best?

Tracy:  I like my characters to be flawed. If he (or she) is too perfect and has it all together, it comes across as fake. ‘Sweet’ and ‘sappy’ are synonyms in my books. *smile*

Deanna:  How many plots do you include in one of your books?

Tracy:  Yikes! I worry sometimes that I try to weave too many plot lines into one story. MY MOTHER THE MAN-EATER is very complex in terms of the various plots. In fact, I had to edit out an entire plot, and even then it comes in at a whopping 555 pages. This is the type of story I like to read, though. Lots of complexity, surprises and twists and turns.

Deanna:  Do your books have a common theme or are they all different?

Tracy:  Redemption is the common theme so far. Even though MAN-EATER and my debut novel AND THE BEAT GOES ON might seem very different on the surface, they are actually similar in that they are both Romantic Suspense, deal with flawed characters, and have this strong redemptive element.

Deanna:  What is the basic storyline of MY MOTHER THE MAN-EATER?

Tracy:  It’s the story of a forty-something ‘cougar’ with a penchant for attractive younger men. Basically, she’s looking for meaning in life and thinks this will satisfy.  Unfortunately, every time she meets someone, he ends up falling for one of her grown daughters instead. We discover through the course of the story that Joleen has lived a pretty tough life. She became a mother at 16, and has a less than savory past. But with hard work and tenacity she’s put the past behind her – until her ex-husband, Harold, reappears looking for revenge. He’s out of prison and has devised an elaborate plan to slander Joleen, ruin her financially, and destroy her relationship with their daughters.
      The complex relationships and family dynamics of the book are an aspect of the story that I love. It’s not only Joleen’s story, but it is the story of her five daughters as well. Each one of them has been affected by their mother’s choices, and eventually each one has to come to terms with her own spiritual immortality.

Deanna:  Would you say this is somewhat ‘edgy’ in terms of Christian fiction?

Tracy:  Most definitely. As far as Christian fiction goes, it has a fair bit of ‘spice’ sprinkled in, if I can put it that way. I’m not one to beat around the bush, but it is not blatantly explicit either. There is definitely a lot of sexual tension, implied sexual activity, and other ‘worldly’ stuff, but I’m not ashamed for my eighty-something Dad to read it! Also, because I love suspense/thrillers, I have woven lots of action and intrigue throughout. Over all, I’m really proud of this novel.

Deanna:  Where did your inspiration for this novel come from?

Tracy: This is probably the strangest ‘inspiration’ I’ve encountered, and perhaps the most embarrassing. I was actually playing the Sims.  I had created this household of women and corresponding ‘interesting’ males. The crazy interaction that followed mushroomed into an idea, which then became an outline … and well, the rest is history, as they say.  Perhaps gaming has some value after all …

Deanna:  You mentioned a redemptive theme earlier. Can you be more specific?

Tracy:  As soon as I started writing, I realized the potential for a redemptive element. Joleen, the main character, is not saint.  I immediately thought of the prophet Hosea and God’s instructions for him to marry a prostitute. God uses unlikely people for His purposes all the time. This was the premise for my heroine’s character – a promiscuous woman whom God could use despite herself. There are lots of other Biblical examples, as well - Rahab, Mary Magdelene – the list goes on. God is a God of miracles. There is no one whose past is too stained that they can’t be washed clean by God’s redeeming blood.

Deanna:  That’s quite a title. How did you come up with it?

Tracy:  I tossed a few other ideas around for quite a long time. I wanted the title to grab people’s attention and have ‘flair’, like Joleen, the main character. Somehow nothing fit. I actually submitted the book to various agents and publishers under a different title and had no takers. Then one day MY MOTHER THE MAN-EATER just popped into my head. Zap! Just like that. I resubmitted and had multiple offers. Goes to show that a good title is worth its weight.

Deanna:  Do you write in the same genre that you read?

Tracy:  Yes and no. My favorite genre for reading is Sci-fi/fantasy/thriller. I love a good twist and I actually enjoy the shock factor, as well as stories that portray some of the darker elements in life. My writing fits in that I add a fair bit of suspense and action (murder, mayhem etc. J) but I haven’t as yet, ventured into futuristic musings. As far as reading, though, I actually enjoy just about anything – classics from Jane Austen to Shakespeare – and anything in between.

Deanna:  What else are you working on?

Tracy:  I’m pitching two novels right now - One is called Wind Over Marshdale. The elevator pitch goes something like this:  “Beneath the quaint facade of a small prairie town, hidden evil resurfaces as one man pits his faith against the ancient medicine of his ancestral roots.” 
      The other is the prequel to my first book (And The Beat Goes On) and it is called Play It Again. It’s pitch: “Sparks fly when an ex-rock and roll junkie and a stuffy accountant rendezvous at a local resort, but neither are prepared for the emotional complications or the danger from the past that resurfaces.” 
      Add to the mix several plays, editing my NaNo script from last November and a children’s book that I am illustrating and I’m keeping busy.

Deanna:  What does a typical writing day look like for you?

Tracy:  Typical. That is almost a paradox. Like most authors these days (unless you’re Tom Clancey or Stephen King) I work full time, so my writing is relegated to the evening, weekends, and holidays. I used to do most of it during my large chunks of time, like spring break and summer vacation. (I’m a teacher) but I’ve recently found that writing creatively, beyond the marketing, blogging, and pitching, needs to happen more consistently. Right now those other writing obligations suck up a lot of my writing time, but I am purposing to be more consistent in writing creatively on a daily basis. It doesn’t always happen, but …

Deanna:  Can you tell us a bit about My Mother the Man-Eater?

Tracy:  Let me share the book blurb with our readers:

Book Blurb:  Loaded with humor, action, intrigue and romance, My Mother the Man- Eater is the story of a woman whose search for meaning in life finds an unexpected outlet. Joleen Allen is on the hunt for a man. Unfortunately, every time the mother of five meets one, he falls for one of her daughters instead! At forty-four, Joleen has lived a tough life. She became a mother at 16, and her five daughters are now grown. Her ex-husband, Harold, is out of prison and back in the picture, looking for revenge. He’ll stop at nothing – even murder – to ruin Joleen’s reputation as well as her relationship with their daughters. My Mother the Man-Eater makes for some truly tempting and redemptive reading.

Deanna:  Where can readers find out more about you and your books?

Tracy: Visit my blog, website, or Amazon links. I’m also on Facebook and twitter as well as several other social networking sites. The links are below.

Deanna: Tracy, thank you so much for taking the time to be with us. I know you're busy getting the book release launched so good luck with that. You have an upcoming special running with the release of your new book on the 24th. Tell our viewers about that.

Tracy:  Thank you for inviting me to spend time with your readers again, Deanna. I hope they stay tuned for the Amazon Best Sellers Launch of MY MOTHER THE MAN-EATER on Feb. 24.  Buy the book on that day and get in on all kinds of other fantastic free gifts – everything from sample chapters, free editing, critiquing, and more!

I'd also like to choose one commenter on Saturday to be the winner of the eBook version of My Mother the Man-Eater so please leave a comment or question for me along with your email addy so I can contact you if you are chosen as the winner!

Deanna:  Readers, be sure to leave a comment or question for Tracy before you run off to get your facial scheduled and be sure to stop back on Saturday to see who our winner is! Good luck to all of you!