|Tracy Krauss, Author|
Tracy, first of all, thank you for allowing me the opportunity to interview regarding your writing career and your newest novel, Play It Again.
Marcy: Tell us a little bit about yourself as a writer.
Tracy: I have been writing for a long time now – over twenty five years. Although I wrote and wrote and wrote in the early years, I did not even try to get published until about 2003/2004. After much rejection, revision and re-evaluation of my reason for writing in the first place, I finally signed my first publishing contract in 2008. Since then I’ve had three books published and two plays.
Marcy: Tracy, where can we find you on the internet?
Tracy: My website is at http://www.tracykrauss.com/This is where you can find out about all of my writing, read sample chapters, and link to a variety of purchase sites. As well, I maintain a blog at http://www.tracykraussexpressionexpress.com/Because I am also an artist and a director, I do a lot of musing on the creative process. There you will find links to Facebook, Twitter, and a plethora of other online sites where I hang out, under the ‘Resources’ page.
Marcy: Play It Again is a departure from your normal romantic suspense in that it is solely a romance. Why did you depart from your normal genre with this novel? Do you plan to write more romance novels in the future?
Tracy: I suppose to some degree it isn’t that big a departure, in that there is some intrigue in it as well. However, my first two novels had a lot more action and suspense in them (lots of murder and mayhem etc.) where as this is much more about the emotional conflict that the main characters are facing. Believe it or not, Play It Again was the first novel I ever started and the first one I ever finished. However, it was terrible the first time around and needed major revision. I’ve got several other novels in the works and they are all walking the line between romance and suspense. It seems that’s more where my head is most of the time.
Marcy: Where can we find Play It Again and your other novels?
Tracy: All of my work can be found in the usual places: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Chapters Indigo, Blessings, and a host of other online sites. Of course, you can also visit my website and I have links to all of the above or directly to the publisher. I also have a direct link to my Amazon page which is : http://www.kraussamazon.com/
Marcy: Where do you get inspiration for your characters and settings?
Tracy: I don’t have a simple answer for that. The inspiration for my book My Mother the Man-Eater came from playing an online game – ‘The Sims’. My bookAnd the Beat Goes On came from my interest in intelligent design after doing a lot of research on creationism with my children. I’ve been inspired by nature, by watching sports, by visiting art museums ... it really varies. If I recall, my first inspiration for Play it Again came from listening to the radio while driving. The book deals with a rock musician who is the daughter of a jazz musician.
Marcy: Play It Again took place in Canada. Is this where most of your novels are set? What drew you to using Canada for this particular novel?
Tracy: So far all three of my published novels are set in various Canadian cities, with some scenes outside of Canada. I am Canadian, so it makes sense to me to write from a place of authenticity. I have either lived in or visited a lot of places, so my work always seems to start from a place that I am familiar with, even if it branches out from there. I have one novel in the works that takes place in the US, but I feel comfortable writing about those places (Boston and L.A.) since I have visited both. I don’t think a writer has to visit every place they write about, but it is important to do your research if you can’t actually go there.
Marcy: Russ Graham, the hero, has many flaws. You did an excellent job of portraying a man who had been raised in the church and had enough religion to miss the relationship with Jesus. He felt very real. Do you draw on real-life situations that you have encountered to add realism to your novels?
Tracy: I try to write from a realistic perspective. I was not a Christian until my adulthood, so I know a bit about living in the world, and many of my friends and relatives are still not saved. As well, my husband and I were in ministry for several years so we’ve seen firsthand that being a Christian doesn’t mean you’re perfect. I don’t only mean in the lives of others, but in our own lives, too. Being ordained or credentialed for ministry doesn’t make you any better or more righteous than anyone else. Human beings are naturally fallen and it is a struggle against the flesh everyday for all of us.
What I really hate (and I mean HATE) is reading a Christian book where the main character is always repentant, always thinking pure thoughts, always praying for God’s guidance … Yuck! This is what we, as Christians, are supposedto be like, but the truth is, there is no one out there who is perfect all the time, especially not when we can see inside their head and know their true feelings. This is where the real war with the flesh takes place – inside of us. To the world we may look like we have it all together and I definitely don’t mind if a character in a book saysand does all the right things, but don’t try to make me believe he or she also thinksonly pure and Godly thoughts all the time as well!
Marcy: Your novels are considered “edgy” by the Christian book community. Can you tell us what is meant by “edgy”?
Tracy: This little word is bandied about a lot these days, but to me it means ‘fearlessly realistic’. As I said before, I want my stories to be about real people and this can make some folks within the Christian community squirm. Real people (even Christians) have impure thoughts sometimes. Real people engage in things like sex outside of marriage (or have extra-marital affairs). They drink sometimes and they swear. Violence and abuse are a fact of life for far too many.
Does this mean that my novels are full of sex and swearing and violence? No. I try not to be graphic or explicit, and I draw the line at using some words, even if a gangster probably uses them all the time. On the other hand, in order to make the story real, a certain amount of this needs to be included, even if it is the ‘camera pans left’variety.
It’s a bit of a dilemma because some readers want their fiction to be squeaky clean and if it’s labeled ‘Christian’they are expecting that to be the case. However, the non-Christian reader may feel duped when reading a book that turns out to be ‘Christian’ if it hasn’t been labeled as such. (To protect the ‘squeaky cleaner’s)
Marcy: Who are some of your favorite authors and what makes them some of your favorites?
Tracy: My current favorites within the Christian realm are Frank Peretti, Ted Dekker, and Sigmund Brouwer. I love a good thriller and all of these guys deliver. I also enjoy the fantasy/sci-fi genres. I still love the classics, too, like Jane Austen and I’m a huge fan of the Bard. (I’m a nerd. I read Shakespeare for pleasure.)
Tracy, thank you again for allowing me the opportunity to interview you.
Tracy Krauss's Play It Again is a real-life romance. Her characters are realistic and human. Even her Christian characters.
Russ, the hero, searches for meaning in hisdealing with excess baggage from a bitter divorce.
The young, beautiful rock and roll junkie, Deanie, sends Russ on an emotional roller coaster ride.
While a romance novel in the conventional sense, Play It Again has enough twists, turns and tension to keep the reading turning page after page until late in the night.