Please welcome my Wednesday's Guest, Tracy Krauss. She is one of the authors who contributed to 25 Years in the Rearview Mirror, a collection of essays from 52 authors who look back and remember what they were doing 25 years ago. Some of the stories are humorous, others are more serious, but they are all fun to read. As part of the blog tour that started in September, Tracy is visiting me here today. For a complete blog tour list and information on how to win prizes, visit Stacy Juba's blog. She came up with the idea for the 25 Years in the Rearview Mirror project as a companion to her novel Twenty Five Years Ago Today.
Welcome to It's Not All Gravy, Tracy. First off, give the readers a short intro to who you are and what you write.
I am a high school teacher by profession, and an author, artist and playwright in my ‘spare’ time. I teach Art, Drama, and English – all things I love – so my day job actually meshes well with my other pursuits. I live in British Columbia, Canada in a small town called Tumbler Ridge, known for its many waterfalls and hiking trails. I’m a fairly new transplant here, though, having lived in many other places in the far north such as the Yukon, North West Territories, and the ‘polar bear capital of the world’, Churchill, Manitoba. I have four grown children, so I have more time for writing now than I once did. My novels are romantic suspense and my plays are comedy parodies.
- Have you always wanted to be a writer, or have you come to writing after another career? What was that career?
I’ve always been making up stories, although at times these have been ‘realized’ through my art instead of the written word. My earliest ‘real’ play was written when I was in Grade Four at school. I read a book called Ghosts Don’t Eat Sausages and I was so enthralled that I wrote a play and convinced my friends to rehearse with me at recess. When our teacher saw what was going on, she arranged for us to present it to the whole school. It even made it into the yearbook! That was early validation, for sure.
I decided to go into teaching because I was looking for a way to make a living while still working as an artist. However, when I was home pregnant with my first child, I started writing in the afternoons while she napped and I guess the rest is history. My creative outlet changed and I haven’t stopped writing since.
- What is a typical writing day like for you?
During the summer months I try to do my online promotional stuff in the morning before lunch and then after lunch I write for at least three or four hours. I often do one or the other in the evenings as well, but not always. Once school is back in session, I have to squeeze my emails etc. in after school and then hopefully still have the energy to write for an hour or so in the evening.
- What is the most unusual or interesting research you have done for your books?
Probably the research into ‘intelligent design’ for my book And The Beat Goes On Even among non-religious researchers there is growing interest in natural phenomenon that is difficult to explain using typical evolutionary theory. I also came across some very interesting cultural information from an indigenous tribe in Zimbabwe which found its way into the book.
- What is the hardest thing about writing?
The promoting. If I had the luxury of just writing and letting someone else handle that end of things, I would be happy, indeed!
This is tough because I actually do other things that I love already – direct, teach, and do art. At one point I thought about becoming an interior designer and this thought still appeals to me. I pretty much need to be doing something creative. That’s what gives me energy. I absolutely abhor numbers and paperwork, so anything clerical or numerical is out of the question!
- What other creative things do you do?
I am a visual artist working mostly in acrylics at present, but I actually majored in Intaglio printmaking in University. At one point in my life I was very focused on pursuing my career as an artist, and I did a fair bit of commission work, entered as many exhibitions as possible, and just generally tried to sell my art. Somewhere during ‘children’ that changed and I switched to writing. I also write plays and I direct an amateur theater group. We put on two major productions a year, so that keeps me very busy with rehearsals etc.
- Where do your stories begin? With character or plot?
I think my stories begin with the characters. I love characterization and I tend to develop pretty elaborate profiles for each one. Perhaps this comes from my work in theater. I love to delve deep into what motivates people, which then comes out in how they behave. Most of this back story never makes it into a novel, but it helps me to understand them and makes the subsequent writing easier.
Tracy Krauss is a high school teacher by profession, and a prolific author, artist, playwright and director by choice. She received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Saskatchewan and has gone on to teach Art, Drama and English – all things she is passionate about. After raising four children, she and her husband now reside in beautiful Tumbler Ridge, BC where she pursues all of her creative interests.
About her book:
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.