Thursday, June 18, 2009

An Interview With Author Tracy Madison

Good morning happy readers! Today I am pleased to introduce Tracy Madison, author of A Taste of Magic and the upcoming, A Stroke of Magic. Tracy and I "met" after I did a review of A Taste of Magic and luckily, I was able to get my hands on an ARC for A Stroke of Magic. Look for my review of Stroke in the next few days. But until then, enjoy reading more about this magical writer!

First off, as a writer and avid reader, one thing I always want to know from published authors – when was The Moment when you knew you were going to be a writer?

I don’t think I ever had one defining moment. To quote my mother, I’ve always had an “impressive” imagination. Add that to my love of books, well…deciding to become a writer was more of a gradual realization.

Do you read books over and over again? What are your favorites?

Not as much as I did when I was a kid. I loved the Trixie Belden mystery series and had to have re-read each book multitudes of times. That being said, this past year, I’ve re-read Outlander by Diana Gabaldon and Lightning by Dean Koontz. Those two books right there will show you how varied my fiction tastes are! I have favorites in nearly every genre, which means I have far too many to list, and literally every week my answers would be different. This past week, for example, I’ve been reading Iris Johansen and loving her Eve Duncan series. Next week, I’m reading a debut women’s fiction title (A BUMP IN THE ROAD) by Maureen Lipinski, and I can already state that I’ll be loving it.

Each month on my personal blog, I share the titles I read in the previous month, and even I’m surprised when I type my list up each month, because I really do read a little bit of nearly everything!

You participate in the Novel Girls Blog. Tell us a little about what you do there. How did you get involved? Do you always know what you’ll post beforehand or do you write at the seat of your pants blog entries?

I love my fellow Novel Girls! We’re a group of women who each had/has a debut book releasing in 2009. We virtually met last summer when Jenny Gardiner (author of the awesomely hilarious book Sleeping With Ward Cleaver) hooked us up. As to what we do there, well---we mostly share our opinions and experiences as debut authors, along with slices of real life stuff. We choose our topics usually a month or two ahead of time, and on my day (Mondays) I post on that week’s topic. And no, normally I don’t pre-write them, but I usually have already thought about what I want to say so the writing of each post is fairly simple.

Allow me just a minute to brag about the rest of The Novel Girls. Our “first” release in 2009 was Lesley Livingston’s amazing Wondrous Strange. It’s a young adult novel filled with fantasy and fairies, and is truly a delight to read.

Jillian Cantor’s release coincided with the release of my debut, A Taste of Magic. Her novel The September Sisters is a young adult drama that is poignant and heartfelt and brought a few tears to my eyes. She tells a powerful story of loss, love, and coping through the eyes of a young girl.

On June 9th, Maureen Lipinski’s debut A Bump in the Road released. It’s on my list to read next week, and I can’t wait to delve into it! The story follows how one woman’s unexpected pregnancy alters her life in humorous and emotional ways. Maureen is an exceptionally funny woman, so I am positive I’ll be chuckling through A Bump in the Road.

Last, but not least in any way, is Lisa Patton’s debut release, Whistlin’ Dixie in a Nor’easter, which is set to release on September 29th. She tells a story about a Southern belle who moves to rural Vermont to open a B&B with her husband. The book is described as heartwarming and hilarious, and I can’t wait to get my hands on it!

I know you have four children and a very busy household. Is it difficult to find time to write?

My household is loud, busy, and sometimes more than a little crazy. Unfortunately for me, I’m one of those writers who cannot write new material in the midst of noise that belongs to me. Meaning, if I’m at home, then the noise of kids playing, arguing, etc., belongs to ME, and I can’t *not* pay attention to it…but if I take my laptop to the library or a coffee shop then that noise doesn’t belong to me, so I can focus. Weird, I know, but there you have it.

So, to answer your question, it’s not really time that’s the issue, it’s the hectic nature of my household. During the school year, I can work around the kids schedules and write during the day, but throughout the summer things become a little tougher. So, in the summer months, I tend to stay up really late and write when the house is sleeping, and then on other days when I’m awake, I’ll steal away to a coffee shop. Most of A STROKE OF MAGIC was written at a Caribou Coffee just up the road from me. :)

Now, light editing and revision work I can manage much better at home, even with the noise. The difference, I think, is that when I’m editing I’m not really in “storytelling” mode, because the bones are already there.

Your debut novel, A Taste of Magic, is a fun ride into the world of magic and romance. The second book, A Stroke of Magic, hits bookstores at the end of this month. Tell us a little about the inspiration for these novels.

For me, all of my inspiration for all of my fiction material starts with character—not plot. And then, almost 100 percent of the time, it’s the heroine who crawls into my brain and refuses to leave me alone. A Taste of Magic started with Elizabeth (who wasn’t actually named at the time). At first, I had no idea there’d be even a smidge of magic in the book, as the story began with the idea of a somewhat bitter ex-wife who has to bake her ex’s wedding cake for his wedding to his new bride—all because of a glitch in communication.

How would she feel? Would she do it? Could she do it? I’ll be honest—I tried to ignore Elizabeth’s voice in my head for a while, as I was working on another project at the time, but dang! This woman wouldn’t leave me alone. So I played with the idea for a while, but something felt flat…wrong, even…and I couldn’t figure out what it was. The idea of the magic, and the Gypsy bloodline, opened up to me then, and I ran with it. I had the most fun writing A Taste of Magic than I’d ever had before. I was hooked.

A Stroke of Magic evolved naturally from A Taste of Magic, as Alice (the heroine in Stroke) is Elizabeth’s sister. I SO couldn’t wait to start her story, but knew there was no sense in spending time writing it if A Taste of Magic didn’t find a home, so I (again) ignored the voice in my head for a long time. And then I sold A Taste of Magic in a 2-book deal, so I was able to tell Alice’s story. I was thrilled! And I had just as much fun writing A Stroke of Magic as I did writing A Taste of Magic.

I love that the heroine’s name in Taste is Elizabeth Stevens. Did Bewitched play a role in the book’s concept? (Elizabeth Montgomery as Samantha Stephens)

You are (I think) the first person who’s caught on to the Bewitched angle with Elizabeth’s name! As I said, the Gypsy magic wasn’t part of my original inspiration, and Elizabeth wasn’t even named at that point, but yes—once I focused in on her magical bloodline, Bewitched definitely came to mind. No, Elizabeth isn’t a witch (she’s a gypsy)—but the story I wanted to tell was one filled with humor, magic, and some odd-ball family members, which immediately made me think of Bewitched. I’ve been a fan-girl of Bewitched since I was a little girl, so it definitely made me smile naming Elizabeth!

I adore the book trailer for A Taste of Magic. Were you involved in the creation of the trailer? Tell us a little about the process. (you can view the trailer on Tracy's website)

Isn’t it fun? I so love my book trailer for A Taste of Magic! Diane Whiddon-Brown from Novel Website Design created my book trailer, and she did a fantastic job. She asked me some questions about what I’d like to see, the tone I’d like expressed, etc., and then she delivered two different trailers for me to review. I liked one better, but wanted a few of the aspects from the other trailer—which she was happy to include. The end result is the trailer I have now. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to have a trailer created for A Stroke of Magic, but whenever I do have another book trailer designed, I’ll definitely want to use Diane’s services again.

Are you part of a critique group or do you have just one or two beta readers? How did you find your critique partners?

I am involved in a critique group, and let me just say this: my books are better because of their input. Hands down better. I am so lucky to have these amazing gals as my first, second, and sometimes fourth and fifth eyes! I think finding the right critique partners is difficult, but essential. Two of my critique partners are members of my local writing group, and the other three are long-time writing friends. One of them sees my fairly raw writing, while a couple others help me out after I’ve polished once or twice, and the rest are there if I still need another opinion. They all rock.

So, A Stroke of Magic is due out on June 30th. Can you tell us a little bit about what you might have coming up?

Well, I wasn’t going to mention this just yet (and it’s not even on my web site yet), but I recently sold the next two books in the series. Yay! Book 3 will likely be a spring or summer 2010 release, and book 4 *should* squeak in before the end of 2010. I don’t have official titles or release dates yet, but I’m happily writing away on book 3. I don’t want to give any spoilers away, but for anyone who reads A Stroke of Magic, they should easily be able to figure out who the heroine is in book 3. As to book 4? That will be Scot’s story and I am wicked excited to write it!

I’m a big fan of those email forwards that ask you to describe yourself in five words and then forward to everyone you know. What five words would you use to describe yourself?

You know, this is sort of perfect for me right now, because I’ve become a Sims 3 addict…and in the Sims 3, you get to choose *five* traits to personalize your Sims characters. So…my five traits are:

1. Artistic

2. Bookworm

3. Loner

4. Charismatic

5. Friendly

Tracy, I really enjoyed the interview! Thanks for joining me today!

Thank you so much for having me here today! I loved answering all of your questions! I’d also like to share that I’ll be at Night Owl Romance on June 30th for a totally cool virtual signing.

And now for the giveaway! Tracy wants to know:

If you could have one magical power, what would it be and why?

Post your reply in the comments and Monday, June 29th and Tracy will choose the one she thinks is the funniest. That person will receive a signed copy of A Taste of Magic.


Maureen Lipinski said...

What a wonderful interview with my fab friend Tracy! I seriously cannot wait for her second (and third and fourth) books to come out!

Way to go, Tracy!

Barbara said...

Hi, Tracy!! Wonderful interview. I'm actually new to your books but they sound great!!

If I had one power...I would say being able to become invisible whenever I chose. I'm kinda nosey, so I'd love to hear what people are blabbering about behind closed doors, lol!

Tracy Madison said...

Aw, Maureen! Thanks for stopping by!

Hi, Barbara! I hope you enjoy the first two books in the series! Oooh, what a great power!

I Heart Book Gossip said...

Hello Tracy!

If I were to have one power, I would love to travel in a blink of an eye. That way I wouldn't ever have to take public transportation or an airplane.

Tracy Madison said...

I Heart Book Gossip: Oooh, that's a great power! I could definitely get into that one.

Thanks for commenting!

My Blog 2.0 (Dottie) said...

Hi Tracy!

Great interview, funny responses!! Another new author for me, but your books sound great!

If I had one magical power, it would be to step forward or backward through time. First I could undo any mistakes that I have made, and boy, have there been a few. Second, I'm always late, maybe I'd be on time for a change, nah just wishful thinking, I'd still be late, it's just the way I am! (but you know, it might be nice to know those winning Lotto numbers too) LOL!

Dottie :)

Pamk said...

either teleportation or flying would work for me. Any way I can get out of traffic.
The book sounds great.

donnas said...

Great interview.

If I could have one power I would want to be able to fly. I just think that would be awesome.

bacchus76 at myself dot com

CrystalGB said...

Hi Tracy. Great interview. If I had one magical power, I would like to be able to heal injuries/illness.

Tracy Madison said...

Hi, Dottie! I'm glad you enjoyed the interview :)

Stepping backward in time would rock, but knowing my luck, I'd correct some past mistake and change something I love about my present day life. So, I'd probably be too chicken for that...but um, the lottery thing? I'm so there!

Tracy Madison said...

Hi, Pam! Like I said, I'd love to be able to teleport, except then I'd get nothing done because I'd be too busy traveling, lol.

Thanks for commenting!

Tracy Madison said...

Hey, Donnas!

Yeah, flying would be awesome...I agree with you there. :)

And thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed the interview!

Tracy Madison said...

Hi, Crystal!

I love the idea of being able to heal injuries and illnesses. That, truly, would be a wonderful power to have.

Thank you for stopping in! :)

dag888888 said...

The power to heal and help others would be awesome!

Beth said...

What a great interview, Emily! I can't wait to read Tracy's books. Any suggestion of Emily's is usually a pretty good bet.

Kytaira said...

If I had a magical power it would be to time-travel with an automatic restriction on interfering with my own family history/ future.

You said that you were able to get a contract for both books at once, yet A Stroke of Magic wasn't yet written. Did you put it forward as two books? Or did they as about the possiblity of a second book?

Kytaira said...

I forgot to explain my caveat. If I was able to travel anywhere in time, I just know I accidently wipe myself out of existance if there wasn't a built in protection. Remember that scene in Back to the Future? Michael J Fox nearly prevent his mom and dad from getting together since she has a crush on him. With my luck I'd cause a family feud or something!

Tracy Madison said...

Hi, Beth: Thank you! I hope you enjoy the stories :)

Kytaira: LOL, I totally get your caveat! And to answer your question: I submitted a synopsis of what I'd planned for A STROKE OF MAGIC after the offer for A TASTE OF MAGIC came in.

Tracy Madison said...

I've had such a great time here this past week, so I wanted to pop in and say thanks to Emily, but also to everyone who stopped in and commented.

Also--Congrats to Barbara! I'll be getting your copy of A TASTE OF MAGIC in the mail sometime within the week. :)