Bella Books author Tracey Richardson is here.
Tracey is giving away one copy of Heartsick to one lucky winner. More details are below.
Please welcome Tracey Richardson.
Before we begin, thanks so much for stopping by today for a chat.
Most writers I know LOVE to talk about their writing, or any writing, or books in general for that matter. So it’s my absolute pleasure, thank you so much for suggesting it!
You first began to dabble in lesbian fiction after a tonsillectomy. How did the tonsillectomy lead to writing?
It’s kind of an odd little fact about me… okay, let’s go with unique instead of odd, haha! I was in my late 20s at the time and it was the mid-1990s. I’d never actually read a lesbian novel up to this point and didn’t even realize they existed. A good friend gave me a couple of lesbian novels to read while I was recovering (one was a Katherine V. Forrest novel) and I was immediately intrigued (and entranced)! It was a life changing moment for me, because I could identify and connect with these characters’ world in a way I couldn’t in mainstream fiction. So I sought out more lesbian novels after I devoured those first ones and it quickly began to dawn on me that I should try writing one.
How long did it take for you to publish your first novel? What were the biggest roadblocks you had to overcome?
I was extremely lucky. I wrote the first draft of my first novel in probably about three or four months. I sent it off to Naiad Press, which was really the only publisher of quality lesbian books at the time (or at least the only one that mattered). My idol Katherine Forrest was working for them as their senior editor at the time, so it was a thrill that she got to read my manuscript and comment on it. She was very encouraging, and after a couple of rewrites, Naiad Press agreed to publish me. (Oh and it was extra cool to also discover that Katherine Forrest was born in the same city as me!)
I was fortunate not to have many roadblocks with my fiction writing, though after Naiad was sold (four of my books having been published by them), I took a hiatus for a few years. I just sort of lost my desire to write fiction for some inexplicable reason, until about 2007 and “The Candidate” was born. So I would say my biggest roadblock was my own head.
You used to be a journalist. What’s your opinion on the state of newspapers today and the whole debate about Fake News?
That’s correct, I worked in the daily newspaper business, both as a reporter and as an editor, for about 27 years. And boy do I have some opinions about the business! It’s terrible, the state newspapers have fallen into. Everyone wants their news for free off the internet, which means there’s no money to pay reporters and editors to produce “real” news anymore. Newsrooms around the world have been absolutely gutted, and this scares me. We need professional reporters to bring us unbiased, factual news. In fact it’s crucial to the survival of our democracies as well as to be able to live productive and happy, healthy lives.
For myself, I left the business because I was no longer given the time or resources to do the kind of quality work that made me feel good about myself and my job. As an example, when I started working at my final destination newspaper, there were 27 full time employees in the newsroom alone. By the time I left two decades later, there were just six!
How has your background in journalism helped your fiction career? How has your training hindered writing fiction?
Oh I love this question! For me, journalism has been an excellent partner to fiction writing. Journalism teaches you many things. It teaches you how to talk to absolutely anybody…from a homeless person to a heart surgeon to the prime minister of Canada (I’ve interviewed all three!). You get to interview people at their best and their worst, you get a front row seat to history in the making, as well a backstage pass to people usually inaccessible to the general public. Most helpful of all is that by interviewing so many different people, you get to see what makes them tick. It’s a really neat window into their world. This has really helped me build fictional characters in my writing.
The other important thing journalism has taught me is that if you’re a professional writer, you’re a professional writer, whether it’s fiction or non-fiction. That means missing deadlines is forbidden (I once had a newspaper editor stand over me as I wrote a story, counting down how many seconds I had left to finish it because we were right on deadline!). It also means that if you sit down to write, you write. You don’t get to not write because you don’t feel like it or because you have writer’s block or some other excuse. As a professional writer, you sit in your chair and you get to work!
You’re learning how to play the guitar. How are the lessons going and do you have visions of joining a band?
I have to admit I’ve let the guitar lessons slide of late, but I still play, and I’ve retained enough of my lessons to be able to play a dozen or more songs quite comfortably, and I have enough of a base now to teach myself more songs. It was very cool learning how to play because I feel like it brought me a bit closer to the characters I was writing at the time (from my novel, “The Song In My Heart”). I can’t sing worth a crap though, so no bands for me, but I’ve joined a large drumming ensemble that gets together once a week and plays some songs together.
Do you listen to music while you write? If yes, do you have certain types you listen to help set the mood for scenes? Any examples?
I do sometimes, yes, but it really depends on the scene I’m writing. If it’s an intense scene that takes all of my concentration, then I do not listen to music. But if it’s a fun scene, or a love scene, I will definitely throw some mood music on.
Music really can be a writer’s best friend. A couple of years ago I was working on a 5,000-word short story for an anthology that was set in the Second World War. I made up a playlist of songs from that era (songs like As Time Goes By, Pennies From Heaven, Come Rain or Come Shine, Stormy Weather) and it really really helped transport me back to that era. I also have a couple of antique typewriters in my workspace, one from 1924 and the other from 1937, that also helped put me in the mood. I found that if I felt like it was 1943, then hopefully my readers would feel it too.
My next romance novel with Bella Books, which I’m currently working on, has a strong Motown theme woven through it. I grew up in the cradle of Motown music in the late 1960s and the 1970s, so I’m having some fun with this one. And I’ve definitely been listening to Motown music as I write this novel.
Your partner has asked you to plan a romantic date. What would you arrange to dazzle her?
Since it’s winter, one of the things my partner and I like to do as a romantic winter date is to go snowshoeing around the vineyards of a local winery. Then we go inside the winery, sit by the fireplace, drink a couple of really nice glasses of red wine and share a cheese plate. After that it’s home to our two chocolate Labrador retrievers, who always get a bit jealous if we do outdoor things without them! J
Thanks so much for chatting today.
Thank you so much again, I really enjoyed this! And happy winter everyone. Enjoy some good books by a nice warming fire somewhere!
Release date: January 12, 2018
An ER physician and a paramedic must heal the most painful affliction of their lives—their own broken hearts.
A seasoned paramedic and former soldier, Angie Cullen has spent many years helping to put people back together again. But her battle-tested heart is no match for the devastation of discovering that her partner has been cheating on her with the wife of ER physician Dr. Victoria Turner. When a car crash exposes the infidelity one evening in the ER, Angie and Vic find themselves unlikely and wary allies as they attempt to pick up the broken pieces of their lives. While each holds the remedy to the other’s broken heart, can Angie and Vic trust enough to love again?
MEET THE AUTHOR
Tracey is the author of eleven romance novels with Bella Books since 2008, including the popular By Mutual Consent, The Song In My Heart, The Candidate and The Campaign. Her most recent is Heartsick (December, 2017). She has been a Lambda Literary finalist for No Rules of Engagement and for Last Salute, and has been a finalist several times over for the Golden Crown Literary Society. In 2010, Tracey’s novel Side Order of Love won a first-place Rainbow Romance Award of Excellence by Rainbow Writers of America for contemporary romance. In 2017, Tracey won 2nd place in the Word By Word short fiction contest for her story So This Is How It Ends.
Tracey worked as a daily newspaper journalist for 27 years and now enjoys life as a novelist, a fiction writing teacher and paid proofreader. She was born in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, and lives with her partner in the Georgian Bay area of Ontario.
In her spare time, Tracey loves playing hockey and guitar and is a voracious reader.
CONNECT WITH TRACEY RICHARDSON
Enter here for a chance to win a copy of
All you need to do is fill in your email, check the box confirming you aren’t a robot, and hit enter.
Thanks so much Tracey for stopping by today.
Best of luck to everyone who enters the giveaway.