I’m pleased to welcome Tracey Cramer-Kelly to the blog today. What an interesting life she’s led. You’ll have to read on to find out. *grin*
Welcome, Tracey. Please tell us about yourself.
Hi Diane, and thank you for hosting me today! I’m writing from small-town Minnesota, where I live with my hubby and two kids, age 5 and 10. I work a full-time job, running our family motorcycle business.
At heart I am a storyteller; I love digging deep into a character and exploring how things that happen in their life impact and transform them. I’ve published two novels (both of which have been winners or finalists in contests), and my third will release this summer.
Where can readers find you?
My “hub” is my web site (www.TraceyCramerKelly.com)
Take Two freebies will be posted to my blog: http://www.TraceyCramerKelly.com/blog
What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
There is no such thing as a typical day when you own a business and have active kids! So my writing time is “stolen” hours whenever I can get them (I’m writing this in a coffee shop). It makes it harder to get into the “flow” but I’m proof it can be done if you want it badly enough! I also daydream anywhere and everywhere, so that when I do sit down to write I have an idea where I want to go.
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
I spent five years in the Army National Guard as a paramedic, and that figures prominently in my writing. I’m also a biker chick, so I started writing motorcycle-riding characters. Because of my hobbies and my military background, I’ve had the fortune of meeting, working and playing with some very interesting people! I think everything I write is affected by what I’ve experienced. Yes, there’s a healthy dose of imagination and plenty of creative license, but a seed has to be sown somewhere, and for me it is often a ‘human’ interchange.
I like to say that my second book (True Surrender) led to my third. The first video I produced (“The Rose / Surrender Version”) features scenes from True Surrender. The experience of seeing my writing come to life was exhilarating and empowering but also humbling. The seed for Take Two was planted then, but as is often the case, the characters told me what would happen next!
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
My favorite way to spend time is riding my motorcycle, especially if my kids and hubby are with me. Unfortunately, here in Minnesota I’m lucky if I can stretch that to seven months of the year.
I’m also a vocalist (I’ve released two cover songs and been featured on other albums) and play taiko drums, which is like a cross between martial arts and banging on BIG drums (great exercise!). I’ve even toyed with video and production; in fact, my second music video, featuring a female motorcyclist, was just released: http://www.traceycramerkelly.com/cool-rider-music-video/
What does your family think of your writing?
My 10-year-old son is one of my biggest cheerleaders.
I was late picking my kids up from Awana one night, and when he asked why, I said, “you want to know the real reason?” I proceeded to tell him that I’d made it to round two in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award (it starts with 10,000 entries) and I was so amazed to find my name on that list that I had to close the page and re-open it to make sure I hadn’t imagined it… and then I had to FB and Tweet and email my writers group (and do the happy dance, which he thought was hilarious, of course) … and by then I was late!
He wanted his own (signed) copies of each book, which he keeps on his bookshelf. He has said he wants to read them together (although we are currently on a serious Hardy Boys streak). Honestly, I hesitated to do that, since my books deal with some very adult themes, and there are references to sexual situations. But when he decides he’s ready, that’s just what we’ll do.
What a great supporter.
How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
Three so far!
My first, Last Chance Rescue, is about two members of a search-and-rescue team who have a problem trusting each other with more than their physical safety.
True Surrender is a military romance with a wounded veteran hero whose struggle with an amputation and PTSD nearly destroy his relationships and career.
My upcoming novel, Take Two, is about an actor who is poisoned on set and forced to recover at the (rather older, ahem) director’s home with her two teenage daughters. For this one I’m doing something special: sharing FREE “installments” on my blog each week! I’d like to invite your readers to check it out here: http://www.traceycramerkelly.com/read-my-next-novel-for-free-heres-how/
What is the best part of writing for you?
When I hear from readers that my writing touched them in some way, it really makes my day. Sometimes it is hard to keep going, and balance is always an issue. But ultimately, I have this need to share, and hopefully I’ll find readers who are receptive to my style of writing, which is not your formulaic romance.
That's the best part for me, too. It never gets old.
Where do you start when writing? Research, plotting, outline, or...?
I am an incorrigible pantser! Even when I try to “outline” a story (and I use the term loosely), the characters will ambush me at every corner. I do envy (just a little) those who can sit down and write about a complete outline and then follow it. Perhaps they can complete a novel faster than I can. But being a pantser allows you to be surprised by your characters (“you used to do WHAT?”), and I love that.
I know exactly what you mean. What did you learn from writing your first book?
That I could do it! Honestly! Think about all the people who say they “want” to write a book or “have an idea for” a book… but to actually do it and hold it in your hands is an incredible feeling. For me it was a lesson in perseverance and hard work; now I tell my kids, “I may not be the world’s greatest writer, but I work it Baby! I work it hard!”
Finishing a book is a great feeling. Now tell us about your newest book.
blurb for Take Two: a Hollywood Romance with a Twist
When a 29-year-old Hollywood actor is poisoned on the set, there’s only one logical thing to do: move in with the 41-year-old Director and her teenage daughters.
For Zac Davies, acting has been a way to live someone else’s life ever since his parents were killed. This is his Big Break—and he can’t afford to screw it up.
Director Gina Devereaux has made a name for herself despite the fact that a past humiliation—and broken heart—nearly cost her her career. She’s not about to let anyone close enough to do that again. Especially an actor.
But when the producer threatens to destroy everything Gina and Zac have worked for, she puts her reputation on the line…and allows Zac into her life until he recovers.
Away from the set Zac discovers that Gina is not who he thought she was. She and her daughters give him a whole new outlook on life…and an unexpected gift.
But once back on set, Zac and Gina’s friendship is sorely tested. In the media frenzy that follows, Zac fears that his tragic past and uncertain future have become the story. He must decide where his heart lies: in the world of bright lights and fame…or in the arms of a motorcycle-riding, small-town-at-heart woman with a big chip on her shoulder.
Take Two will be available in late Summer 2013.
Tracey’s books are available at: http://www.traceycramerkelly.com/store/
It's been a pleasure having you here today, Tracey. Best wishes for your career.