Blog Archive

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Hone your own Voice: Author Interview with Tracy Brogan

My interview today is with a three-time finalist for the Romance Writers of America RITA award, two Amazon Publishing Diamond Awards, the Booksellers Best Award, and several Golden Quill awards. So, read on to learn what makes Tracy so successful. 

Your bio says you started writing when your girls were in school. How did you start? 
I had always dabbled with writing stories and started multiple manuscripts only to get distracted by life and not finish them. When my youngest started first grade, I decided it was either time to complete a manuscript or stop saying I was "going to write a book someday." I completed that manuscript in nine months and it ultimately became by debut novel, Crazy Little Thing, which published in 2012 and has sold over 1 million copies.

Were you active in critique groups, took writing courses, or wrote on your own? 
I joined Romance Writers of America and through that I connected with some fabulous critique partners who were in the same place in their writing journey. We all went on to get published and to be nominated for awards although we all wrote in different genres.

Was Highland Surrender one of your early books since that’s the only historical romance? 
I'd always imagined myself as a historical romance writer and all my early attempts at writing were in that genre. When I decided to get serious about being published, I had an idea for a romantic comedy and decided to go with that. When that sold to Montlake publishing, I was just putting the finishing touches on Highland Surrender, so, fortunately, they bought that book as well.

Both books were published in 2012. Then I landed a contract for one more historical and multiple rom-coms. One of these days I'll write another historical and I look forward to that.

How far along were you in your writing process when you joined RWA? 
I was right at the beginning. I had one completed manuscript, and another one nearly finished but without the connections I made through RWA, I don't think I'd be published today. 

You were nominated twice for the Golden Heart. Has either of those manuscripts been published?
Yes, those were the two books, Crazy Little Thing and Highland Surrender. I'm even more fortunate that Crazy Little Thing along with The Best Medicine and Love Me Sweet were also nominated for RWA RITA awards.

How did you go about finding an agent or publisher?
I got my agent the typical way - by sending out many, many query letters. She, in turn, subbed to all the publishers and I was thrilled to land with Montlake publishing. I had two completed manuscripts when I signed with Montlake.

From the point you were offered a contract, how long did it take to make to print?
It took about a year from the time they signed me to get a book released. Now when I turn one in it takes about 8 months to get it released.

What is the hardest part of writing for you?
Getting started with the actual writing is always the hardest part for me. I do a lot of mental plotting and re-plotting in my head so by the time I sit down to write, I know my characters and the story very well. I'm not at all a pantser. But inevitably I don't leave myself enough time in the drafting phase and I'm always scrambling to meet my deadlines!

What does your editor remind you to do most often?
Meet my flippin' deadlines.

What’s the best encouragement you’ve had in your writing?
To trust my own voice and my own instincts. I write comedy which is very subjective and not everyone is going to love my books or my humor, but I've learned to roll with my own style and fortunately, I've connected with a great group of dedicated readers who seem to enjoy my work.

We have all experienced rejection. How have you learned to write past it?
That can be tough, and no matter how many books I've written, each new one feels like an insurmountable task. So, I try to ignore the rejections or the bad reviews and just focus on writing the best story that I can write for the readers who have shown me the most fabulous support. One-star reviews are kind of a badge of honor, so I don't let them get me down.

I see you’ve written two series – Trillium Bay and Bell Harbor. Did you have that in mind when you started the first book in each series? 
I never imagined Crazy Little Thing would ultimately become the first book in the Bell Harbor series, but I wanted to hear more from those characters after I'd finished the first book. And since it was selling so well, my publisher encouraged me to write more in that series.

I did plan for Trillium Bay to be a series. It's much easier to know that from the start because then you can weave in great secondary characters to star in future books.

What has frustrated you the most in writing/publishing?
Marketing is the most frustrating because virtually every author I know is trying to figure out the right strategy for selling more books. There's just no telling when something will hit really big, or why a great book might not get the traction and attention it deserves.

What surprised you the most about the process?
I didn't realize, as a novice, just how much revising happens after that first draft is finished.

What do you know now about writing you wished you had known sooner?
I know it always takes me longer than I think it's going to. Still, deadlines sneak up on me all the time.

What is the best writing advice you’ve received or could give?
Read. Read. Read. Write. Write. Write. Revise. Revise. Revise. And don't give up.

Are there any other points about writing you would like to add?
The state of publishing is completely different now than it was even 10 years ago when I first started. It can be overwhelming to try to learn and understand everything about the business but just do your best. Focus on the craft of writing. Hone your own voice. And don't compare your journey to anyone else's. 

What is the next book coming out?
My next book is called The New Normal. It releases on June 2nd, 2020.

Can you give me a short synopsis?
Since Carli Lancaster’s divorce, she’s worked hard to keep life as normal as possible for her daughters. When she lands a job as co-host of a local morning show, it looks like a fresh start. So does the arrival of a handsome new neighbor, who has more in common with Carli than just a property line.

Ben Chase is also new to single parenthood. And like Carli, he’s focused on the future. From navigating neighborhood gossip to decorating for holidays to reaching out in times of trouble, they quickly learn to rely on each other. Just like a couple but without the complications of coupling! Sure, there’s attraction. They’re only human. But they’re also friends, and who wants to ruin a perfect relationship with romance?

They’re both thinking about adding some perks, though, and even if their new normal isn’t perfect, it’s definitely somewhere in the neighborhood.

Sounds like a fun read. If you’d like to learn more about Tracy’s books and maybe buy one or two, here are two links to get you started.

No comments:

Post a Comment