Interview with Award-Winning Author, Traci Hall
Vickie: Traci, what inspired you to write your first book?
Traci: Reading was always an escape for me . . . even as early as kindergarten I told stories to entertain--my stuffed animals, my little brother, the kids in class. I guess I wanted to make people laugh. Of course, my report cards read, "Traci is very social," or "Traci won't shut up," or "sit down" or . . . .
Vickie: What or who has been the biggest influence in your writing career and why?
Traci: I remember reading Mrs. Piggle Wiggle books. I read everything I could get my hands on, but Mrs. Piggle Wiggle was funny and ridiculous, and I loved how the kid who needed to learn his lesson always got his comeuppance! And it was clearly his own fault. LOL.
Vickie: You write in many genres: Young Adult Paranormal, Coming of Age Young Adult, Historical Romance and Non-Fiction. What made you branch out into different genres, and do you have a favorite?
Traci: My favorite genre is whatever I am writing at the time. <g> I am a Gemini, so split personality was a guarantee. All of these other personalities are bonuses! I like everything, and for me the story comes as an idea, and what if, and that can lead anywhere . . . which is an amazing journey.
Vickie: What is your current work-in-progress, and can you summarize it in a few lines?
Traci: I just finished The Queen's Guard: Peony, which is the second in the QG series. It takes place, literally, during the second crusade, 1147. The first book starts in Constantinople, and each book after will be along the road until the crusade is over. In my version of history, Queen Eleanor had to have had a group of women spies, and this is about those women and the duties they might perform, and of course, the love they find along the route.
Vickie: What is your writing schedule like? For example, do you write any time of the day, or do you prefer a specific time of day? Do you write for a set amount of hours or pages?
Traci: My deadlines dictate my writing schedule. I can go for a week or more without writing anything fresh, but once I am on deadline for something, I try to really commit and get to work. No Facebook, no checking numbers on Amazon, LOL. No, no. Bad writer.
My recent schedule looked like this: Wake up at 5 am, go to work at Starbucks until 10 am, come home, eat, write, nap for an hour, get up, write until 7 pm, at which point, I am brain dead as I try and coherently speak with my family over a LARGE glass of wine and food. Any food is good, because I didn't have to make it. I have a very supportive husband who ignores the mess in the house, does laundry and will make dinner if I haven't ordered something in.
(Vickie: He sounds like a keeper, Traci.)
Vickie: What is the most difficult or challenging part of the writing process for you?
Traci: Layering in emotion sucks. I would rather crack jokes or have action and plot carry the characters through, but that is not what readers identify with. LOL. So I have to dig deep and make sure the emotions are there.
Vickie: Do you ever experience writers' block? If so, how do you cope with it?
Traci: There have been times when I've been so overwhelmed by my inability to control my career that it has been hard to sit down and write. What helps is reminding myself to write a book that I like, personally, and then it doesn't matter after that. However, I don't pay the mortgage with my writing $$$, so I can say that. I don't rely on my income to do anything other than pay for the occasional conference and a pedicure, sometimes a new pair of sandals.
Vickie: Do you plot or write by the seat of your pants? If you're a plotter, do you have any plotting tips to share?
Traci: I use a plotting board, critique partners, a dozen or so notebooks, and I have post it notes in every room, vehicle and purse. I have character sheets. I have story notebooks. I have research books piled on the floor. I use whatever I need to in order to move forward. I know some people who write chapters out of sequence. I can't imagine doing that. LOL.
Vickie: What is your personal writing goal?
Traci: It's a secret. But if you promise not to tell, lol, I will share--I want to make a lucrative living as an author. I want New York, I want it all . . . bwahahahahahahah!
Vickie: If you could choose anywhere in the world to write, where would it be?
Traci: I live in Jupiter, Florida. It's pretty beautiful. I think I'll stay! Although a condo on the beach would be very nice . . . .
Vickie: Describe your writing space, that one corner of the house that is all yours?
Traci: If by corner of the house you mean corner of my bedroom, then yes, I do have a space. It's by sliding glass doors, so there is plenty of light. I usually have the curtains pulled because I am very, very easily distracted, lol. I have my desk, my printer, my easel board, maps everywhere and the two dogs sleep by my feet. By the end of a book, we are all fat from pretzels and junk food. This book I tried substituting gum for M&Ms . . . totally not the same.
Vickie: What are you most proud of accomplishing in your life?
Traci: As corny as it is, my family is the thing that makes me whole. Sheesh. But they are really proud of me and how hard I've worked to make my dreams happen, which is cool. They've seen for themselves that dreams come true!
Vickie: What is the strangest thing that ever happened to you at a workshop, presentation, book signing or conference? What is the funniest?
Traci: I got nothing, Vickie . . . oh, wait, there was a signing where a woman made me a necklace. That was really nice and a little strange. She'd read one book, my first historical romance, Love's Magic. It inspired her to give me jewelry. The jewelry didn't have anything to do with the book, lol, but it was very thoughtful.
Vickie: On a personal note, name three things you can't live without.
Traci: Family, the ones I like, lol, and friends. White Zinfandel over ice. A good book!
Vickie: As a reader, instead of a writer, what is your favorite type of book to read?
Traci: I love, love, love reading historical fiction, and I adore funny books. Christopher Moore is a favorite. I have Erma Bombeck books I still pull out if I need a quick pick-me-up. Amanda Quick for historical funny romance. Patrick Dennis' Auntie Mame.
Vickie: What advice would you like to give, one writer to another?
Traci: Never ever lose your enjoyment of the journey. Celebrate every small thing between the big things. They matter, and you don't want to look back and wonder where the fun went. You have your proposal accepted? Celebrate! You sold another book? Celebrate. Publishing can be brutal, but I believe a writer will be more resilient if they have that stack of positive stuff in the 'win' pile.
(Vickie: Very important advice, Traci! My first sale was celebrated with friends over a special dinner at Buca di Beppo.)
Traci: Thank you so much for having me, Vickie--and congratulations on your sale. :-)
Vickie: Thank you on the congrats. And thank you for the interview. I enjoyed it. Loved your answers.
Traci, thanks for a terrific interview!
Traci Hall is the award winning author of the Rhiannon Godfrey series for teens, as well as the Boadicea medieval romance series, and Diary of a Bad Boy, a coming of age novel. The Queen’s Guard: Violet is her latest historical romance series, beginning in May 2012. Zombyre, My Love is the newest teen paranormal series, available in April 2012. She is a member of RWA, MWA, FRW, IERWA and YARWA, and volunteers her time for school library visits. She lives in South Florida with her husband and children, and spends her free time on the Jupiter Inlet.
Visit Traci at http://www.traciehall.com/
You can write to Traci at firstname.lastname@example.org