Most of the writers I know are juggling lots of balls in the air, but my friend Tracy Deebs always seems to have just a few extra in motion. Besides writing multiple books in multiple genres every year, she also teaches English at a local college and somehow manages to keep up with three children. How does she do it? I know from personal experience with Tracy that it involves talent, time management, and an awe-inspiring amount of hard work.
Please welcome Tracy Deebs to Murder She Writes. She is on tour right now with her new YA novel TEMPEST RISING, about a surfer girl in California who is half mermaid. Be sure to leave a comment to be entered in Tracy’s giveaway!
Laura: What prompted you to do a book for young adults after many years of writing romance fiction?
Tracy: I really believe that some of the most exciting, innovative writing being done today is in the YA market. There are so many incredible books out there with new and interesting ideas that I’m going broke trying to keep up with them all. How could I not want to be a part of that?
Plus, I think I’ve always wanted to write YA—I taught junior high and high school while I was in graduate school and my students were always looking for good books. But, for a while, the desire to write for them kind of got lost in the shuffle of writing romance. But when a dear friend of mine read my tarot cards at a local RWA meeting, the cards pretty much shouted loud and clear that, at that time, I wasn’t writing what I loved. I went home and plotted a paranormal romance series (my dragons w/a Tessa Adams) and a YA trilogy (of which Tempest Rising is the first). I was lucky enough to sell both and I haven’t looked back once.
Laura: What have you found to be challenging about making the switch?
Tracy: Part of it is balancing the level of sensuality in my YA romance, as I write really hot paranormal dragons for NAL. Also, really starting with a bang and keeping the action up all the time. In adult romance, your readers will give you a little time to set things up/world build/etc. but in YA you have to find a way to fit it in around the action if you don’t want to lose your readership. I do think writing YA has made me a better writer in general, however.
Laura: Will TEMPEST RISING be part of a series, or is it a stand-alone story?
Tracy: Tempest Rising is the beginning of a trilogy. The proposal for book two, Tempest Unleashed, is on my editor’s desk as I write this.
Laura: With so much going on in your personal and professional life, what do you do to keep yourself sane–especially when you’re under deadline?
Tracy: Ha! Do you really think I’m sane? I don’t know—I just put my head down and get through it. My three boys are really good (most of the time) about respecting Mom’s writing time, so I try to keep a set schedule, hours that they know not to bother me unless there’s blood. Plus, I had so many deadlines on books I was writing this spring, plus books to launch (I had to promote three books for three different names in five weeks) that I took the semester off teaching (one of the perks of being an adjunct professor these days). Other than that, I just chop out the things that aren’t important to me—for example, I can’t tell you the last time I sat down to watch television …
Laura: Any advice for aspiring authors?
Tracy: Like any of the arts, this business is difficult. It will grind you up if you let it, so don’t let it. . Take the bad with the good and understand that there is a lot in the process (after you’ve written the book) that is out of your control. Don’t beat yourself up over that—just control what you can and accept that there is only so much you can do. Otherwise, you’ll drive yourself crazy. Of everything I’ve learned in this writing gig, that acceptance has been the hardest.
Today Tracy is giving away a signed copy of TEMPEST RISING. Just leave a comment for a chance to win!