Thursday, 23 April 2015

Author Profile - Tracie Podger

Hello and welcome!

I am so happy you could join us today.

T.P = Thank you for having me over today, Im thrilled to be invited to answer your questions.

G.H Thank you. How are you today?
T.P = Its a Bank Holiday here in the UK so its going to be a fairly lazy day just reading and writing. As I answer these questions.

G.H Sounds like a great way to spend the bank holiday.
G.H - When did you first start writing?
T.P = I first started writing about six years ago as part of my recovery from depression. I was encouraged to write a journal, and after reading that journal back a spark of an idea formed around an event in my life. I wondered if I could make a fictional story about it, just for me and as a way to exorcise my demons. However, writing became addictive and I havent stopped since.

G.H Oh my thats a fabulous use of a journal and not to mention the health benefits it gave you!
G.H - Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
T.P = Ive wanted to be everything from an actress - I was in a play in the West End when I was younger - to an Olympic dressage rider! I owned horses until fairly recently. Im also a Scuba Diving Instructor and owned my own dive school until the writing started to consume me.

G.H A play in the West End! Congrats! An Olympic dressage rider my goodness your aspirations have been all sorts. Your career sounds great, well done!
G.H - Are you a full-time or part-time writer? How does that affect your writing?
T.P = Im a full time writer, so in one way I have the available hours required to be able to produce the books within the schedule I set  for myself.

G.H That sounds perfect. I would probably struggle to remain focused though if I had all that time.
G.H - How did you become involved with the subject or theme of your book?
T.P = Thinking of the Fallen Angel series, I literally dreamt of a man telling me his story - sounds mad, doesnt it? I started to write those dreams down and once I had finished the first book I wrote, I started translating those scribbles. My main characters are Mafia and the books are set in Washington, DC. Thankfully I have family who live in the US and regularly asked them for help with research, specifically locations. It was the character that drove the theme to be honest. I just wrote what I dreamt or saw in my head.

G.H Definitely sounds mad but exciting too! Almost like someone wanted you to tell their story because they no longer could! Almost eerie!
G.H - Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre? If you write more than one, how do you balance them?
T.P = My books are contemporary romance, my main characters are passionate individuals in all areas of their lives. I dont think it was a conscious decision to write contemporary romance, I wrote a story and then decided where it fitted once I had finished. I guess The Fallen Angel series crosses genre to a degree. Although classified as Adult Contemporary Romance because of the content, as I said, they are a Mafia family so it also falls in the suspense and thriller categories.

G.H Ahh ok, at least you felt you could write what came to you and then slotted it into a category rather than writing in a category you felt you had to.
G.H - Where does your inspiration for these stories come from?
T.P = Dreams initially. I guess I have a very active imagination but I also gain inspiration from the people around me and the places I have visited. Ive been fortunate in my diving career to have visited some wonderful countries and to be immersed in various cultures that fire my imagination.

G.H It definitely sounds like you have some great dreams and experiences to draw upon which is fantastic!
G.H - What was your favourite chapter to write and why?
T.P = Now that has to depend on my mood I think. I have some super steamy sex scenes and I have some rather gruesome murders. I dont think I could pick a favourite chapter, although I am partial to a certain scene in Travis where revenge is taken on the father of a child, Ill say no more.

G.H Ooooh I am very interested!
G.H - Where is your favourite place to write?
T.P = Currently I sit at the kitchen table but I do have a building at the bottom of the garden that will eventually become my office. I just need to clear out all the dive kits and give it a clean.

G.H That separate space I am sure will be lovely.
G.H - Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? i.e. You listen to music, sit in a certain chair?
T.P = I have two cushions on a chair because I am short and I cant have music playing. I find I end up typing the lyrics! I set myself a word count goal but I dont get stressed if I dont reach that, it just helps me to focus if I have something to work towards. I am fairly undisciplined, I write straight from brain to laptop so having a goal helps me to concentrate.

G.H Haha I can just see some very funny editing times if you did listen to music!
G.H - Do you use a computer/laptop for your first draft or are you a pen and paper writer?
T.P = Laptop. Id never be able to read my own handwriting back.

G.H Is it really that hard to read?
G.H - How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?
T.P = I chose Washington, DC in The Fallen Angel series because it wasnt the obvious choice. There has been no established Mafia (so we are told) in DC. I could have gone with New York or Chicago but wanted something different. My familyare not traditional so a location that wasnt traditional too seemed the right way to go. As for names, all the characters in my book are real people, perhaps not in their real lives though. I chose Robert Stone for my main man because I wanted a surname that was hard and inflexible and Stone is my mothers maiden name. Robert came about because the character was born in the UK but I wanted something that could be Italianised- the family call him Roberto.

G.H Ahhh I see thats a great way to go!
G.H - Did you learn anything from writing your book? What was it?
T.P = I learnt a lot about myself, about how wonderful and stressful in equal measure the experience is and I learnt a lot about the people around me. Like many writers, Im full of self doubt - will people read or even like my work? What will my family think? But what came of that process and self doubt was my love of writing and the characters that I create. My family are fully supportive and extremely proud of me but writing is an isolating occupation. I dont see nor speak to family or friends for days on end when Im writing so, I guess, my circle of friends is smaller. It now only contains those who understand what Im doing and why my life has changed so much.

G.H I have to completely agree with you on that. Plus learning about yourself enables better writing.
G.H - How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
T.P = That depends on lots of factors. I can write between 8k and 10k per day if I focus so, in theory, I can write the first raw draft in a week. However, the editing is the longest process and that can take a couple of months. I have a schedule of one book per quarter and so far, fingers crossed, Ive stuck to that schedule. I am fortunate to have a fantastic team, my publicist, Paula Radell is also my editor. I have my covers designed by Margreet Asslebergs from Rebel Edit & Design. We work well together.

G.H Oh good on you sticking to your schedule! Sounds like you have a great support network there.
G.H - Can you describe the feeling you had when you saw your published book for the first time?
T.P = Oh, that is indescribable. When I get that paperback proof it makes all the tough times worth it. I still get that same thrill today as I did with my first book.

G.H Aww good, I am getting the impression thats the same for every author. I know its the same for me.
G.H - Who are some of your favourite authors?
T.P = I have many favourite authors, the ones I admire the most are the indie authors, the ones that took their dream and had the courage to make it real. I especially admire authors such as Jasinda Wilder, Colleen Hoover and JK Rowling - those ladies took their dream when times were hard for them and never gave up. That is something I find admirable. My life hasnt been easy the past ten years, its been a financial struggle, Ive been ill enough to warrant being hospitalised and spent years in therapy. Writing, as dramatic as this is going to sound, saved me so I can understand and totally empathise with those authors.

G.H Wow they are definitely inspirational authors as are you.
G.H - Have you ever suffered from a "writer's block"? What did you do to get past the block"?
T.P = Thankfully I havent. I guess I just have too much craziness in my brain right now, too many stories and characters wanting to get out.

G.H That is great news!
G.H - Time for a few crazy questions!
T.P = Love crazy questions!

G.H - Do you write naked?
T.P = No, but never say never. When Im in full writing mode I will confess to sitting in my PJs day after day for very long hours with dirty hair and endless bars of chocolate to keep me going.

G.H Haha oh I love it!
G.H - What is your biggest failure?
T.P = Not getting my first book edited properly, something that is about to be rectified.

G.H I think thats a common mistake.
G.H - What is the biggest lie you've ever told?
T.P = Erm, not sure I have told a biglie - no, wait, I told my brother we found him under a bush and he was never to tell our parents that he knew, it was a family secret that he believed until early teens. I guess that was a bit mean really.

G.H Hahahaha oh my gosh! What a terrible sister you were! I cant believe he believed it though!
G.H - Have you ever been in trouble with the police?
T.P = Oh, oh, let me think if my dad is likely to read this interviewNo, I have never been in trouble with the police *keeps fingers crossed behind back*.

G.H Oooh now I am interested!
G.H - Do you drink? Smoke?
T.P = Yes to both, unfortunately. I do like a nice glass of wine and cigarettes are a nasty habit that I intend to kick soon.

G.H I am beginning to see a pattern with writers and wine!
G.H - What is your biggest fear?
T.P = Heights, Im not so good with heights. Being buried alive (not that I intend to be buried, see question below) is another but probably my biggest fear is failure after investing so much time and causing a lot of stress for my husband by leaving my job and writing full time.

G.H Heights and buried alive are the same for me too which is the reason I intend to be cremated! Well it seems to me you dont have to worry about failing! J
G.H - What do you want your tombstone to say?
T.P = Im not being buried, I intend to have my ashes loaded into a firework so I can go out with a bang!

G.H Oh wow thats a fantastic idea!
G.H - If you had a superpower, what would it be?
T.P = Time travel, Id love to go back and rectify some things I did in my life but Id never go forwards. I want the future to be a surprise.

G.H Yes past regrets are common and I agree the future should be a surprise.
G.H - What secret talents do you have?
T.P = I dont know that I have a secrettalent, I think most people know all there is to know about me!

G.H Ooh a every open person then? J
G.H - What is something you want to accomplish before you die?
T.P = I used to have a bucket list, I threw that list in the bin years ago because to not achieve something Ive written down would actually leave me very disappointed. Im a believer in trying no matter what the outcome. To have tried and failed is far better, for me, than to never have tried to begin with. So right now, I think I am accomplishing everything I want to do. Im writing, Ive travelled to some far flung countries, Ive dived some amazing seas, Ive photographed sharks and other critters, Ive been financially secure and Ive been totally skint. Im 46 years old, I think Ive accomplished a lot so far, all I hope for now is that my books are enjoyed by readers, they continue to support me and I progress as a writer.

G.H A nice fully lived life there with plenty more you can still accomplish.
G.H - Do you have any scars? What are they from?
T.P = I have loads! I have scars from childhood from falling out of trees and I have medical scars. I have a Y shaped scar on my right palm after falling into a pile of broken bottles as a child, I have scars from operations, from being kicked by a horse. I like scars, I like flawed bodies. Every scar on my body tells a story, its who I am.

G.H Gosh you have been through the wars! Scars are definitely an interesting feature.
G.H - Do you dream? Do you have any recurring dreams/nightmares?
T.P = All the time, my brain is more active at night than during the day sometimes. I have very strange sleep patterns and have to keep a pad by the bed so when I wake I can write the dream down. One thing I learnt when I was in the nut house, as I affectionately called it, was to write everything down, its a good way to discharge that memory or thought from the brain.

G.H Another pattern I am sensing with authors. Id love to write down my dreams but most of them disappear as soon as I am awake!
G.H Back to normal questions!
T.P = Phew, although I enjoyed those :)

G.H - What piece of advice would you give to a new writer?
T.P = If you have a desire to write then you should. Make your story your own, make sure it reflects you and your personality. Get beta readers and not just family or friends. You need people to read your story that you trust will give you an honest opinion and be open to that opinion. And if you can, invest in a good editor!

G.H Excellent advice.
G.H - Would you share a deep dark secret about you with us?
T.P = Nope!

Thank you for letting us get to know you and your books. It was an absolute pleasure to have you with us!

T.P = Thank you so much for this opportunity, its been fun.

Where to buy her books?

Everyone, please remember any questions or suggestions please write them in the comments section below.

Thanks G :)

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