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Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Learn All You Can About Writing: Author Interview with Tracie Peterson

Your bio says you’ve written over 100 books over a span of 25+ years. How do you keep your writing fresh after all those books?
I do a lot of reading and watching documentaries, etc. I am constantly keeping an eye out for new stories and ideas that will fit into plots I already have in mind. I believe the story ideas come from God and that He has given me a special gift to design and plot out the storylines.  So, I would say a lot of prayer and reading keep the plot lines different and fresh.

Is there any one book or series that is dear to your heart more than any other?
Not really.  I'm usually totally caught up in the book I'm writing and so that one tends to be the favorite for the moment.

With so many Christian publishing companies and bookstores either closing shop or being bought by secular publishers, do you think clean, wholesome Christian themed books will continue to be marketed by these companies?
Publishing for all sides is in a weird place where no one is sure where it's headed or what it's going to do next. Christian bookstores and publishers aren't the only ones who are struggling to figure out the future. I think, however, there is a definite surge of people who want clean reads and clean movies and I believe both will grow in popularity.

You’ve co-authors some of your books. What was that process like?
My first co-author experience was with Judith Pella. She's an amazing lady and I loved learning from her.  She helped me to get into Bethany House as she was already established there and that was such a wonderful thing for me. I've tried to help other authors the same way. The writing process has so many positives. We plot storylines together and are able to bounce ideas off each other. 

What are the pluses or minuses?
When you have a couple of people working on the story plot, you're able to see the holes and problems with characters and issues so that's definitely a plus.  You also have the added help with research and the actual writing.  In my situation - both authors plot out the story, then one writes the first draft which requires that same author to do the bulk of research.

Then the other author takes that first draft and goes over it adding to it, fleshing out and making changes. Then the second draft goes back to the first author.  We do this until we feel the book is complete and all the problems are corrected and then we send it off to the publisher.

What is the hardest part of writing for you?
That's a difficult question for me.  I love the creating and most everything about writing. I suppose if there was one thing it would be the English writing rules that tend to bog me down.  I find myself thinking, "Okay is that deep POV? Is this writing too passive?  Am I using too many "ly" words?  That's when the writing ceases being fun.

What does your editor remind you to do most often?
Not to worry about the rules and just write a great story.

We have all experienced rejection. How have you learned to write past it?
I had an editor once tell me she didn't think I was cut out for full-length novels and should just stick with shorter stories. That made me dig in and find what was missing, what I needed to learn and how to better make a complicated plot that would carry a 400-page book.

What has surprised you the most in writing/publishing?
I think the helpfulness and kindness of Christian authors for one another. The attitude I've experienced hasn't been competitive or fearful like I've experienced in the secular writer groups where authors seem afraid to discuss their work for fear of someone stealing it. 

What frustrated you the most?
That's hard to say.  I suppose the most frustrating is trying to figure out the best way to get the word out to the readers.  

What do you know now about writing you wished you had known sooner?
To just write my story, my way and trust the editorial team to help me craft it in the best way possible, instead of trying to write to please the editorial team or what I imagine the editorial team wants.

What is the best writing advice you’ve received or could give?
Do your research.  Research in historicals or contemporary will breathe life into the story.  I've worked as a managing editor before and nothing was sadder than to see a story that had a good plot idea, but the author dropped the ball in the area of research. 

Some authors would excuse it saying, "Well, it's just fiction."  That's no excuse.  Your story deserves the research to be solid.  If you're writing about a particular town in 1861 - learn about it, map it out, read the details of that town and how it was laid out - who was in charge of it - what were their goals.  Things like that really bring a story to life.

Are there any other points about writing you would like to add?
Learn all you can. Go to writer conferences and network with other authors, with agents and editors and learn all you can learn, even if you think you know it all.

What is the next book coming out? Can you give me a short synopsis?
The next book out will be the conclusion to my current series. What Comes My Way is the continued story of the Brookstone Wild West Extravaganza and it's all female performers. It will resolve an ongoing murder mystery and bring together Ella and Phillip who have been sweet on each other throughout the series. 

Ella has held Phillip at arm's length because of his drinking problem, but Phillip has fought hard to put the past aside and the drinking as well.  With the help of his brother, he learns about God and how to reorder his life.  Meanwhile Ella is stunned to learn the dark secrets of her family's business practices. 

Throughout the book there will adventure, intrigue and danger, but love will conquer all and my hope is that the reader will find this to be a most satisfying conclusion to the series.  Book 3 will be out in September.

Sounds intriguing! If you'd like to learn more about Tracie's writing, here are some links to get you started.

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