Please welcome a wonderful lady and very special friend of mine, Tracey Rogers, to the HPT hotseat. I met Tracey when she was a fellow New Voices contestant back in 2011. She has since signed a two-book deal with Beachwalk Press. Today is the release of the first of those two books, Daring to Wish, as well as the launch of her book tour. I'm so thrilled she's here.
Q) Tell us something about yourself, Tracey.
A) I live in Staffordshire with my husband and three children. I have a fear of celery (I don’t know why either) and I love to read contemporary and paranormal romance. I have always loved writing and got back into it when I had to quit work and studies because of health problems (Fibromyalgia). I became a frequent visitor of my local library and one day noticed a poster promoting the New Voices writing competition and decided to give it a go. It was the best decision ever! Not only was it a great way to get feedback, but it was a wonderful introduction into the writing community who are so supportive. I found some amazing friends because of that competition.
To be more exciting I could tell you about my super powers, but then my secret identity could be revealed and that’s against the rules.
Q) Tell us something about Daring to Wish.
A) Daring to Wish is my first release with Beachwalk Press. The story asks the question – what happens when you dare to wish? Do you really get what you need in life? In an effort to regain her independence and break out of her shell, shy Eve Ward writes a daring wish list. Adrenaline junkie Lucas Riley becomes Eve's "victim" in a kiss-a-stranger dare, and she thinks he's perfect for her one-night-with-a-stranger wish. When she starts to earn many more ticks on the list she starts to wonder if he’s too good to be true.
Q) How did you decide what should be on the list?
A) I’d just found out I wouldn’t be able to do a skydive, which I’d always dreamed of doing, so I began thinking of things I’d wish I’d done and those nagging ‘what if’ questions arose. In the end I decided I wouldn’t change anything about my life, or I wouldn’t have the friends and family I have now. So I started to think ‘what if’ someone didn’t have friends and family, and their life was a complete blank canvas. Then the idea of the story came alive. I thought of all the things you could do if you wanted to experience life to the full and have fun doing it.
Q) I love Eve. She’s the perfect balance of vulnerability and strength. That’s not easy to achieve. How did you do it?
A) Eve made me do it. She starts off very vulnerable and lacking in confidence, but I think she was always strong, but didn’t know how to show it. As soon as I introduced her to Lucas she soon found her confidence so gradually I had to let her take over. And thank you, I love Eve too.
Q) What you’ve produced with Lucas, our hero, is a skilful blend of dangerous and sweet. What inspired you to write him?
A) Oh well I knew Lucas needed to be that bit special to tempt Eve into going through with her dares. He’s a bad boy trying to be good. I thought it would be fun pairing Eve with someone at a completely different crossroads in his life. But because of Eve’s past she deserved someone with a sweet side. So when I pictured ‘that bit special’ I saw in my head a combination of Brad Pitt, Josh Holloway and Matt McConaughey. Who wouldn’t be tempted by any of them?
Q) Do you ever get inspiration from real people for your characters?
A) I’m more of a listener than a talker and I love to people watch, so I do find real people and their personality traits and experiences very inspiring.
Q) I adored the humour in your writing. I laughed out loud several times. I take it that’s a natural part of your voice?
A) Thank you! I try to be serious, I really do. But sometimes I can’t help myself. If you ask me to tell a joke a tumbleweed will come drifting by before can I think of one. But I do have a sense of humour and once I start giggling I can’t stop.
Q) Why be an author? And why romance?
A) I want a reason to keep writing and being an author is a dream job. I love romance. When I was young and the Christmas chocolate tin was handed around, I used to save the shiny wrappers and make wedding dresses for my dolls out of them. In my world I want to be rescued by my hero, or even rescue him!
Q) How, when and where do you write?
A) I write in my living room during school hours, my bum shape in the sofa proves it. Although I’m more creative at night, as soon as my head touches my pillow.
Q) What’s your greatest strength as a writer?
A) Having the strength to say I’m still working on that answer! Writing is a learning experience and I want to keep improving.
Q) And what evokes you to bang your head against your desk?
A) Being OCD about writing in sequence. If I’m stuck on a scene I stay stuck even if I know exactly how the next scene works out. I can’t move on and then go back. I’m like an ant that’s just lost its group. I waste so much time this way and it doesn’t help with the frown lines.
Q) Have you learned anything from your first experience working with an editing team?
A) I have even more respect for editors now, they are such busy people. I discovered I have a habit of using unnecessary words and also I learned that you have to be prepared to give up part of your voice at times. What sounds good to you might not sound as good to others, but some scenes can work better than you’d hoped. You have to store up every scrap of advice you can.
Q) Are there any words that mean something special to you? These can be from a book, a quote, song lyrics or movie lines for example.
A) Okay here’s my best Yoda voice: “Named must your fear be before banish it you can.” Sorry couldn’t resist.
Honestly, special words for me are the song lyrics of The Scientist by Coldplay. Each line sounds simple and innocent until you put them together. To me the song is about loss, and it’s a reminder that you can’t go back, so make the most of what and who you have now.
Nobody said it was easy
It's such a shame for us to part
Nobody said it was easy
No one ever said it would be this hard
Oh, take me back to the start
Q) What are you most looking forwards to about being a published author?
A) Having the proof that it really did happen!
Q) And what scares you the most about it?
A) Letting people see what goes on inside my head.
Q) What do you hope for in your writing career?
A) I owe a lot to books and authors, and if I can make someone feel the same emotions that I have, then I will have achieved everything I hope for. I want to take readers on a journey.
Q) What’s next for Ms Rogers?
A) My second book, Best Fake Day will be released in December.
Thank you so much for inviting me here!
It was an absolute pleasure, Tracey. I wish you SO much success with your writing career – you totally deserve it.