Welcome, Traci. So glad you could stop by today. I know we’ve had a little bit of time to talk on Facebook, but now we’re going to look at all the fun things we haven’t had a chance to talk about on the boards there.
So, we’ll start with the basics for you Traci. Where do you hale from, and what was life like for you growing up?
- I come from a small town in Georgia. I grew up with six sisters and one brother. My brother was killed in a car accident at age 21; I was only 18 at the time and we were very close. One of my sisters passed away tragically just last year. I am very close with all my sisters and both my parents, who are still happily married after almost fifty years.
Do you remember what made you want to be a writer, and inspired your first book?
- I fell in love with words and language at a very young age, perhaps eight or nine. Honestly, I had an amazing second grade English teacher named Ms. Anderson. She was so sweet and supportive of practically everything I did, but especially my writing. Also, my mom is a writer, so I guess I inherited some of it J
- My very first book was actually a potty training guide for parents. It was born after successfully potty training more than thirty children in my home child care setting and the parents began calling me, ‘The Potty Whisperer’. They suggested I write a book to help other parents.
Can you remember any specific event you can look back on and say, “That’s it. That’s when I became a writer!”?
- Even though I’ve not always been a professional writer, I’ve always considered myself a writer.
Have you had any support outside of family and immediate friends?
- I’ve actually found two entities that have been very inviting and supportive toward me. Rave Reviews Book Club, and Books Go Social.
I hear you about the Books Go Social. That group is kind of amazing. At least the small part that I’ve had a chance to interact with on Facebook. Have these groups lead you to new books or authors that caught your interest?
- I’ve met several Indie authors whose work I’ve thoroughly enjoyed. To name a few are: Jason Zandri, Tamie Dearen, Bethany Turner, Beth Hale, Harmony Kent, and more.
Do you have an author who you would consider a mentor, even if you haven’t met them?
- When I was young, I connected with the honesty and rawness of works by Robert Frost and Edgar Allen Poe. But I also enjoyed Emily Dickinson. Crazy difference, I know.
Do you have a favorite?
- Yikes – tough question. For traditional publishing, I’d have to say Louise Hay. Her books are so funny, yet inspiring. As far as Indie authors–Beem Weeks. His writing is so fluid it practically floats off the page to me.
What about books? Any that have influenced your writing?
- Several novels have made an impression on me in my life. Just to name a few are: To Kill a Mockingbird, Wuthering Heights, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Romeo and Juliet.
Have these books influenced your writing style?
- Not really. I just write what I know, what I connect with, and what I’m feeling. I’m a very emotional writer.
How much of your writing do you base on reality?
- The characters and events in this story are very realistic. I keep hoping ‘Lifetime TV’ will call me to make the movie J
Is the realism drawn from your own life and observations, or from someone’s descriptions of events?
- I believe that all authors pour a little bit of themselves in to their work, so yes, some of the characters and events were born from my relationships with some of my friends and family members, as well as experiences in my own life.
Can you share anything about your current projects and news?
- I just released my first adult fiction novella last year. I am donating 50% of the proceeds for it until June 1st this year to a single mom in my hometown that has stage 4 bone cancer along with other cancers. She has three kids, can no longer drive or work.
- Currently I am working on promoting ‘When Darkness Breaks’ and writing my second adult novel titled ‘UNSEVERED’. It will be a light paranormal romance. Yep, I’m a hopeless romantic.
Can you share a sneak peek yet, or do you want to keep it to yourself a while longer?
- Here is an excerpt from the beginning of my second novel, ‘UNSEVERED’.One.
One more brush of his skin on mine.
One more taste of his kiss.
One more wisp of his breath in my hair.People often say they would give anything to have ‘just one more’ moment with a loved one lost. That’s not good enough for me. I want it all back. How could I be satisfied with just one more fleeting moment with the only man I’ve ever loved—the one who owns my soul … and will forever?I can’t let go.
“Uh-uh, no peeking.” The man beside me is smiling. The corners of his lips almost reach his ears, as he adjusts my blindfold.
How do I know this? Because I know him—I’ve memorized everything about him. His soft, wavy hair is frolicking in the wind, without a care in the world, and the sky is envious of his dazzling blue eyes.
I throw my head back, lost in the moment, as a warm breeze dances across my face—offering the sensation of a dozen butterflies hovering in search of a soft place to land. After what seems like an eternity, my wait is almost over. The 1965 Chevrolet Malibu eases down a bumpy, winding road, and finally stops. I know I am in for a huge surprise because that’s the way Harley Decker does everything. From the moment we met, it seemed his only goal in life was to please me, and I adore every minute of it.
At the risk of sounding cliché, it was definitely love at first sight for both of us.
We met during karaoke night at a local pub just a year ago. I was having a girls-night-out with my besties who dared me to find a male partner to accompany me on stage to sing ‘I’ve Got You Babe’ by Sonny and Cher. A young man at a nearby table overheard our conversation and offered his vocal talents. He could not carry a tune in a bucket, but was the most impossibly gorgeous man I’d ever laid eyes on—donning a uniform that clearly professed he was a proud servant of the US Air Force. I felt the warmth in my face surface as he took my escorted me to the stage. Though I’m sure the tequila I’d enjoyed earlier played a part in my color-changed flesh, deep down, I knew it was the electrical current that surged through every nerve in my body at his touch.
We rocked the house and the crowd begged for a few more songs before we were allowed to escape the stage and seek refuge at a nearly table. I didn’t want that night to end. We sat and talked about everything under the sun. I learned that his mother died while giving birth to him and his father took his own life soon after, unable to deal with the pain of losing his one true love. I admired that he wanted to follow in his father’s career path and make him proud, “from wherever he was”.
When the bartender shouted out, “last call” to all the club-goers, I was already intoxicated—not by the alcohol—but by everything about this beautiful stranger who had just penetrated my life with little effort. We exchanged phone numbers and began spending every waking, and sleeping, moment together. Our hands fit perfectly—as well as our bodies.
One evening, during what I thought was just a normal date night, Harley took me back to the club where we met. After belting out his rendition of ‘Shameless’ by Garth Brooks, he dropped to one knee and proposed in front of everyone. I joined him on stage with a kiss and a resounding “YES” as he slid the ring onto my trembling finger.
The wedding was just as I had pictured it as a little girl. My father walked me down the aisle. My parents divorced when I was in high school and both remarried within a few years of each other. They are the type of people who make better friends than lovers, but are always cordial when I’m around and have always put me first. My father has two other daughters, much younger than me, with his new wife. They were my adorable flower girls. We don’t spend much time together, but I consider them to be my little sisters just the same.
Since Harley is a Second Lieutenant, the ceremony was true-to-form military style with all the elaborate traditions. It was held in an open field near the base. My dress was gorgeous, capped-sleeved, satin, with a sweetheart neckline and flowy bodice. I carried a bouquet of purple and white roses—purple is my favorite color. My veil was a simple circular flower arrangement with traditional tulle cascading down my back.
Some of the other military wives collaborated with my girlfriends to decorate for the event. White chairs were lined neatly in rows, covered with white linens and purple sashes tied to the backs. It was so elegant.
Harley was fit for the cover of GQ Magazine in his freshly-pressed uniform, with a purple rose pinned to the pocket of his upper left chest. Our eyes locked as I appeared in the back entrance and everyone and everything else disappeared. Our journey as husband and wife was set to begin.
I was enamored to learn that the passage through the ‘arch of steel’, presented by his fellow soldiers, was meant to ensure our safe transition into our new life together. The reception wasn’t nearly as elaborate, but was perfect for us. We serenaded our guests with our notorious rendition of ‘I’ve Got You Babe’ again.
Finally, we said our “thank-you’s” and “goodbyes” then made our escape to Port Canaveral to board the Lady of the Seas cruise ship—destined for the Bahamas for the next seven days. Unbeknownst to me, my husband had a huge surprise waiting upon our return—in true Harley fashion.
Do you have a favorite method for coming up with your titles?
- I will focus this question on my adult novella, ‘When Darkness Breaks’. It took me about a month to finally settle on this title. I tossed several around in my head, but when something clicks with me, there is no going back. I’m very intuitive. I just ‘know when I know’.
::Chuckles:: Somehow, I like that method. A lot. Definitely makes it more fun. At least for me.
With the variety of writing styles you have written in, what challenges have you faced and over come?
- Ha ha. Learning when to use ‘en dashes’ and ‘em dashes’ They’re a pain in the butt.
- I am such a realist and a ‘stick to the facts ma’am’ kind of person, I have a hard time drawing out a story to constitute a full-fledged novel. But it is something I’m working on with my second one. I also had trouble in the beginning learning how to use the single and double quotation marks and how to put the action before the telling in a sentence, but like I said, I’ve learned a lot over the past six months J
Have you learned anything you can pass on to other up-and-coming writers?
- What didn’t I learn? I mostly learned what NOT to do for my second one J
- Write what you know and what you are good at. It’s a good thing to stretch out of your comfort zone and try something new, but stay true to who you are as a writer. No one can tell your story like you. Also, always have a few beta readers and give your book at least two professional edits before publishing. Great content editors are worth every penny. They will make your book shine by enhancing your words, not erasing them.
From all of this, would there be anything you would change if you could start at the beginning of your journey again with what you know now?
- ‘When Darkness Breaks’ was my first foray into the adult fiction world. When I first published it, I had no idea how many rules I wasn’t following. I am a grammar nut, but did not have the knowledge about the technical aspects of fiction. To date, it has been through two editors, and several proof reads. I have gained a wealth of knowledge about writing through my new connections, which will help me in my second book. I definitely have the “novel bug.”
Did you design your own cover, or have someone help with that?
- 4Wills Publishing designed my cover for ‘When Darkness Breaks’
Do you work in messages for your readers to discover in your writing?
- Writing is, and has always been, a passion of mine. I promise to strive to offer you the best story I can from inside my head and my soul with each new book, and make it as much of an enjoyable read as I can.
- My ultimate goals in my writing, in general, are to make the reader feel something or to make them think.
It is said that writers are readers. May I ask which book has the place of honor in your to be read stack?
- I just finished reading Another Sunset by Jason Zandri, and now I am starting on Charlie Robot by Benedict Martin.
Would you call writing your career?
- I would love to be able to make a living from writing; but as it stands, I have to balance my writing time with my full-time J-O-B.
Any final words before we wrap up?
- Thanks so much for inviting me to participate in this interview. It has been a pleasure! I am continually amazed by all the talented Indie authors I meet.
It was great chatting with you as well Traci. Thank you so much for stopping by.
If anyone wishes to connect with Traci, you can find her on Twitter, Facebook, and her blog, where she offer samples of my poetry, excerpts from my books, parenting tips, writing tips, and other generally inspiring information, or through her book page for When Darkness Breaks.
Thank you all for stopping by, and mark your calenders. Traci will be back with Amber on Sunday. Amber is drawn from When Darkness Breaks. If you are interested in having me host an author and/or character interview, please check out my “Offered Services” page.
We’ll see you next time. While we’re apart, happy writing and peaceful dreams when you get a chance to nap!