I’m so happy to introduce you to a fellow Mid-Michigan RWA chapter member and debut author, Tracy Brogan. Tracy is a two-time RWA Golden Heart® finalist. This prestigious contest is for unpublished writers and finaling often leads to publishing contracts, as Tracy well knows.
Welcome, Tracy. Please tell us about yourself.
Thanks for inviting me to visit your blog, Diane! It’s a pleasure to be here. I am a two-time RWA Golden Heart® finalist who writes fun and breezy stories about ordinary people finding extraordinary love, and also stirring historical romance full of political intrigue, damsels causing distress, and the occasional man in a kilt. As a Michigan native, I’m one of those people who points to the palm of my hand to show where I live. I have one bemused husband, two very dramatic daughters, and two dogs, one of which is brilliant, the other of which is not-so-very brilliant.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I didn’t choose writing. Writing chose me, and I’ve done it all my life. I dabbled with historical manuscripts on and off for years but when my youngest daughter started school I realized it was time to get serious. I wrote my first book that year and it was the first one I’d actually completed. It debuted on October 23rd, but it went through a lot of changes and I encountered a lot of growing pains as a writer while working to get it published. And it’s contemporary. I never imagined I’d write a contemporary. I’m not sure where it came from.
How long does it take you to write a book?
There is much banging of the head against the desk when I am writing, and an inordinate amount of “pre-thinking.” I am a plotter of the highest order and cannot start writing until I know my characters thoroughly. When I finally start getting things on “paper” I can write pretty fast but the weeks (months!) leading up to that are agony. Those people who can sit down and draft a novel in a couple of weeks – without knowing the ending first – those people make me want to throw myself down an open elevator shaft. I am jealous of their ability.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Think about writing.
LOL I know what you mean. What does your family think of your writing?
My family is incredibly supportive. Last weekend I went to hotel alone, just me and my laptop, to get some writing done and my husband took care of the kids. He’s more excited about my books getting published than I am! Well, maybe not more, but equally excited. And my kids will get off the school bus and say, “What was your word count today, Mom?” because they know if I met my goal, everyone will have a more pleasant evening!
How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I’ve completed two, CRAZY LITTLE THING, which just got released, and HIGHLAND SURRENDER, which comes out December 4th. I’m currently finishing up HOLD ON MY HEART, another romantic comedy, which is scheduled for release in June, 2013. It’s so hard to say which is a favorite! SURRENDER lived in my head for more years than I care to admit. CRAZY is the book that got me an agent and a publisher. And HEART is the one I’m immersed in now, so I love them all equally even though they each mean something different to me.
What do you think makes a good story?
I want to be engaged with the characters emotions. I don’t care if there are bombs blowing up, a mystery to be solved, a werewolf to tame, I want to know how the characters FEEL. A simple exchange between two characters sitting at a coffee shop can be just as riveting to me as a chase scene as long as I can “see” what they’re feeling. Donald Maas has this great explanation (and I’m paraphrasing) but he says when your character is being chased by a panther, it’s not the chase that has your attention. It’s the tension. And a good writer can create tension with just about anything as long as the character has a reason to feel it.
What is the best part of writing for you?
I adore brainstorming a new story. That’s the most fun part. But the most satisfying part so far has been typing The End and sending my story off to my editor. This has been a huge year of ‘first times’ for me so each part is exciting. I got my first ARC’s (Advanced Reading Copy) and my first reviews and had my first release day. It’s all good right now. I feel VERY lucky.
What are some jobs you've done that would end up in a book?
My husband is an emergency medicine physician and so is the hero in my book. This being the case, I cannot convince my husband that the hero is not based on him. I can assure you, though, the job is where the similarity ends. <g>
What two authors would we find you reading when taking a break from your own writing?
Oh, I can’t pick just two because it depends on what kind of mood I’m in. So I’m going to cheat and list a bunch. Kristin Higgins and Jennie Crusie are my probably my two favorite contemporary writers. Reading a Higgins book feels like visiting old friends. You just know you’re going to laugh and have a good time.
For historical writers, my new favorite is Cecelia Grant. Her voice is so bold and confident and original. I’d like to live inside one of her books. I also think Joanna Bourne has an incredible talent for creating a deep point-of-view from the character. I’m always immersed in her world when I read her books. And Kieran Kramer is another recent find for me. Her books are so fun and clever with just the right combination of light and depth. I’ll stop there but I have several more authors I adore.
Tell us about your latest book.
If Sadie Turner is good at anything, it’s putting stuff in order. So when she finds her “perfect” life in disarray, she hopes a summer vacation at her aunt’s lake house will help her piece it back together. She wants to relax, reboot, and heal the wounds left by her cheating ex-husband. And that requires time away from men. All men.
Or so she thinks.
With two slobbering dogs and two cousins living there—one a flamboyant decorator intent on making over Sadie—it’s hard to get a moment’s peace at eccentric Aunt Dody’s house, especially with everyone so determined to set her up with Desmond, the sexy new neighbor.
Desmond is Sadie’s worst nightmare. Tall, tanned, muscular…and to top it off, he’s great with her kids. But he must have a flaw—he’s a man—so Sadie vows to keep her distance.
CRAZY LITTLE THING is available digitally and in print at Amazon:
My historical, HIGHLAND SURRENDER, has more depth and the plot is significantly more complex. I love writing in both genres because while writing contemporary, I can exorcise my sense of humor (yes, I do mean exorcise as opposed to exercise J) but my natural writing voice leans more toward historical. Plus I adore history.
HIGHLAND SURRENDER will be available digitally and in print on December 4th: http://amzn.com/1612186963
My latest book, HOLD ON MY HEART, blends history into a contemporary setting. It’s the story of a career-driven woman who loses her job and her fair-weather boyfriend and has to move back in with her parents. She agrees to help her father realize his dream of opening a vintage ice cream parlor in an old, abandoned one-room schoolhouse. Enter a sexy historical building restoration specialist who is estranged from his pre-teen daughter and you have the set up for a history lesson in good, old-fashioned romance! HOLD ON MY HEART will be released in June, 2013.
Where can readers find you?
Tracy has graciously offered to give away a copy of either CRAZY LITTLE THING or HIGHLAND SURRENDER to one lucky commenter. Be sure to leave your email address.
Thanks so much for being here, Tracy. Much success on both your books.