Tracy Krauss, one of my fellow authors from the brand new e-book 25 Years in the Rearview Mirror, 52 Authors Look Back, and I are doing a blog exchange, so after reading her interview here, you can check out mind on her blog.
If you enjoy magazine columns and Chicken Soup for the Soul books, then we’re sure to enjoy our collection of essays, designed to warm your heart, raise your spirits and compel you to examine your own life. Read about school days, quirky jobs, romance, raising a family, hard times, the writing journey, and find out what makes your favorite characters tick.
Get a full listing of authors, essay titles and retailers here: http://ning.it/OknwVR
Follow the 25 Years in the Rearview Mirror Blog and Radio Tour schedule here: http://ning.it/NZpHrP And don’t miss the chance to join the 25 Years in the Rearview Mirror Yahoo Group, a fun and inspirational group that discusses the past and will help you to stay on track for the future. Http://ning.it/O6vWdG
Guest Interview With Tracy Krauss
How did you get started writing?
My start in writing is actually the subject of my essay ‘Baby Steps’ in Stacy Juba’s book 25 Years In the Rearview Mirror. I started writing right after my first child was born. I was primarily a visual artist before that but found it difficult since we lived in a very tiny space and I was tired of trying to drag the paints out each day while my daughter napped and then have to put them away again. I borrowed my mother’s old typewriter and writing became my creative outlet. It kind of took over – I never stopped.
You write in a variety of formats – novels, plays, etc. – Do you find it hard to switch between them?
I don’t find it difficult at all because each has a very specific purpose. I teach drama and also direct an amateur theatre troupe. All of my plays were written specifically for one of these groups and have been ‘tested’ on stage in front of an audience. It’s one of the things I love about writing plays – the feedback is very immediate. Also, a play becomes so much more than the written words depending on the actors, the director, and the production crew. It’s an amazing thing to see your words come to life in this way. Writing novels, however, is more my passion. It’s what I do simply for the love of writing. If I ever retire from teaching or quit directing, I’ll probably stop writing plays, too. But I can’t imagine ever NOT writing another novel. I’ve got way too many untold stories in my head waiting to get out.
Tell us a bit about your writing process – are you a pantser or a plotter?
A little of both. I often start with detailed character development, probably because of my involvement in theatre. I find knowing my characters inside and out helps me understand their motivation which helps drive the story. Then I usually write a synopsis which might be anywhere from five to ten pages long. This is little more than a boring ‘telling’ of the basic plot line, but it helps me map out potential scenes. I find the story changes quite a bit as I write, though.
What do you do when you hit an impasse in one of your stories? How do you get around it?
If I come to an impasse I just switch to something else. I always have a lot going on at one time, and I find the best way to get past a problem or a block is to leave it for awhile and then come back to it with fresh eyes.
Who is your favorite heroine/hero from your stories and why?
It’s a toss up between Joleen Allen, the female protag in MY MOTHER THE MAN-EATER, and Thomas Lone Wolf, the male in WIND OVER MARSHDALE. Joleen was a lot of fun to create. She is a forty something ‘cougar’ on the hunt for a man. Thomas is a very complex character, torn between his heritage and his faith, and buffeted by racial prejudice.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Although I quit trying to pursue art as a career, I still paint, draw, and work in other mediums. Currently I mostly paint in acrylics in kind of an eclectic style, but at one time I did a lot of printmaking – both intaglio (etching) and linocut. I participate in at least one juried art show per year just to keep myself fresh and make sure I have new work to display. I took up quilting for awhile, too, but haven’t done much of that recently.
What is best piece of advice about writing you’ve ever gotten?
Join a critique group or submit your writing to the scrutiny of knowledgeable authors/editors. Even the best writers need a sounding board. It’s hard to be objective about your own words all the time, especially at first.
Blurb for Wind Over Marshdale:
Marshdale. Just a small farming community where nothing special happens. A perfect place to start over… or get lost. There is definitely more to this prairie town than meets the eye. Once the meeting place of aboriginal tribes for miles around, some say the land itself was cursed because of the people’s sin. But its history goes farther back than even indigenous oral history can trace and there is still a direct descendant who has been handed the truth, like it or not. Exactly what ties does the land have to the medicine of the ancients? Is it cursed, or is it all superstition?
Wind Over Marshdale is the story of the struggles within a small prairie town when hidden evil and ancient medicine resurface. Caught in the crossfire, new teacher Rachel Bosworth finds herself in love with two men at once. First, there is Thomas Lone Wolf, a Cree man whose blood lines run back to the days of ancient medicine but who has chosen to live as a Christian and faces prejudice from every side as he tries to expose the truth. Then there is Con McKinley, local farmer who has to face some demons of his own. Add to the mix a wayward minister seeking anonymity in the obscurity of the town; eccentric twin sisters – one heavily involved in the occult and the other a fundamentalist zealot; and a host of other ‘characters’ whose lives weave together unexpectedly for the final climax. This suspenseful story is one of human frailty – prejudice, cowardice, jealousy, and greed – magnified by powerful spiritual forces that have remained hidden for centuries, only to be broken in triumph by grace.
Link to an excerpt: http://tracykrauss.yolasite.com/wind-over-marshdale-first-chapters.php