12 September 2012

Tracy Krauss ~ Interview Swap

Today my guest Tracy Krauss and I are doing and 'Interview Swap', so I took the opportunity to ask her several questions before offering you a peek at her book cover picture along with the blurb and an excerpt from Wind Over Marshdale

Tracy Krauss is a best-selling author, playwright, artist and teacher. She is a member of 'American Christian Fiction Writers', 'Inscribe Christian Writers Fellowship', and ‘The Word Guild’ as well as several writing related social networking groups. Originally from a small prairie town, Tracy received her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Sask. with majors in Art, and minors in History and English. She teaches High School English, Drama and Art. Apart from her many personal creative pursuits, she also directs an amateur theatre group and leads worship at her local church. She and her husband, an ordained minister with the PAOC, have lived in many remote and unique places in Canada's north, including Churchill Manitoba - the 'polar bear capital of the world', the Yukon, and the NWT. They raised four children and were active advocates of the homeschooling movement for many years. They currently reside in beautiful Tumbler Ridge, BC, known for its waterfalls.
How long do you take to write a book?
Oh dear! It varies greatly. One of my books PLAY IT AGAIN took 16 years to write. (Yes, I said 16 years!) I was writing other stuff at that time, too, but... It was my ‘first’ novel, although not the first published, and it needed a TON of revisions. On the extreme opposite end of the scale, I just send one off to my agent called THREE STRAND CORD and I wrote it in three months. I wrote the first draft during NANoWriMo and then revised, and edited it this summer during July and August.

Who is your favourite character and why?
I love all my characters, but I’m still enthralled with Joleen Allen, the protag
She’s ‘bad’. (In a good way!) I think my favourite from my latest book is
Thomas Lone Wolf. He’s very multi-dimensional. (Plus he’s sexy :-)

How many times do you edit your work before you submit it? And do you edit as you go, or wait until your story is complete before you begin?
I do a little of both. It’s easy to get strung up on editing while writing, so I try to
just get the story out and then go back and rework it. I always re-read the
previous days writing, though, just to help me get back into it and I always end
up changing things. Once I’m all finished, I probably go through it two or maybe
three times, with a break in between, which gives perspective and allows for
more objectivity.

I love the pictures of the quilts you’ve created. I’d never heard of quilting until I read about it in a romance novel. Please tell us a little bit about it and why you enjoy it so much.
I took it up when my friend opened a quilt shop and needed support. I took a class from her just to be supportive, but enjoyed it so much that for about six years I was part of a quilt group that met once every month or so and we would do what we called ‘all-nighters’. There were about eight to ten of us and we’d meet at one person’s house (two of them had large basements) and stay up all night quilting.
Sometimes we’d stop at 3am for a hot tub break, but mostly we sewed until 8am. Good times! That’s when I made most of my quilts. Unfortunately, I’ve had eye trouble in the last few years and I can’t see to thread my sewing machine anymore.

Looking at your art work, I get the impression colour is very important to you. Do you write in colour, if that makes sense?I definitely see everything in my head. I went through a black and white period in my art,
though, and was asked by a juror at the gallery where my work was on display if I was depressed...

When I write myself into a corner, I’ll often do what I call Free-writing, and go off and write a scene, which I may, or may not manage to include in my current work. When writing fiction do you find yourself writing in scenes or do you write to a formal plot outline?
 I do skip ahead to a scene I’ve envisioned if I’m getting bored with what I’m writing. I like to make an outline but it always changes as the work progresses, so some scenes definitely hit the cutting room floor, even if they’re ‘good’.

How different is fiction writing from screen writing for you, and do they ever overlap? Why did you choose the genre you write in?
I actually write stage plays, which is a whole different entity from a screen play. With a play for the stage, there is no zooming in, panning to the left, or reliance on outdoor vistas and other elaborate settings. Writing for the theatre is also different from writing a novel in that everything the audience needs to know must come from either the dialogue or very specific actions, which can be tricky because you also don’t want the play to sound expository. (The old ‘show don’t tell’ dilemma.) So far all of my plays are comedies and/or parodies of classic tales, so there is really no overlap at all. It’s just another way to express my
‘split’personality. :-)

What is your favourite flower, and why?
I’m not sure I have a favourite. I love the smell of roses...

If you were a car, what model would you like to be?
No clue. Maybe a classic corvette. Something cool, for sure!

Who or what is your greatest inspiration? Do you ever include family or friends in your books?
In retrospect, I’d have to say my mother was/is my biggest inspiration. She was an artist, teacher, and musician like me, and also loved drama. She was an all around eccentric person who was always doing off the wall, creative things. Sometimes as a teen it was embarrassing (imagine seeing your mom outside painting a mural on the side of a building, wearing underpants on her head to keep paint out of her hair cause she couldn’t find a scarf...) but now I appreciate her zest for life and her willingness to just be the person she wanted to be without worrying about what other people thought. Maybe she’ll appear in a book someday... hm... now you’ve got me thinking.

What has been the most important piece of advice you’ve received since you started writing? What would you say to an aspiring writing?
#1 - Join a critique group and get professional editing.
#2 - Join a critique group and get professional editing. :-)

Marshdale. Just a small farming community where nothing special happens.A perfect place to start over… or get lost. There is definitely more to this prairie town than meets the eye. Once the meeting place of aboriginal tribes for miles around, some say the land itself was cursed because of the people’s sin. But its history goes farther back than even indigenous oral history can trace and there is still a direct descendant who has been handed the truth, like it or not. Exactly what ties does the land have to the medicine of the ancients? Is it cursed, or is it all superstition?

Wind Over Marshdale is the story of the struggles within  a small prairie town when hidden evil and ancient medicine resurface. Caught in the crossfire, new teacher Rachel Bosworth finds herself in love with two men at once. First, there is Thomas Lone Wolf, a Cree man whose blood lines run back to the days of ancient medicine but who has chosen to live as a Christian and faces prejudice from every side as he tries to expose the truth/ Then there is Con McKinley, local farmer who has to face some demons of his own. Add to the mix a wayward minister seeking anonymity in the obscurity of the town; eccentric twin sisters– one heavily involved in the occult and the other a fundamentalist zealot; and a host of other ‘characters’ whose lives weave together unexpectedly for the final climax.
This suspenseful story is one of human frailty - prejudice, cowardice, jealousy, and greed – magnified by powerful spiritual forces that have remained hidden for centuries, only to be broken in triumph by grace

Published Novels:

AND THE BEAT GOES ON – a suspenseful romance where archaeological evidence for creation comes at a heavy cost      ISBN: 978-1-60976-809-6

MY MOTHER THE MAN-EATER – a self proclaimed ‘cougar’ takes on more than she bargained for when she tries to juggle five men at once    ISBN: 978-1-60976-585-9

PLAY IT AGAIN – an unlikely match during the 1980s rock n’ roll scene sets the stage for this suspenseful romance   ISBN: 978-1-61204-392-0

WIND OVER MARSHDALE -  strong spiritual forces rock a seemingly peaceful prairie town in this story of prejudice, greed, passion and deceit.   ISBN: 978-1-62135-041-5

All titles can be purchased online at Amazon: http://www.kraussamazon.com  or go to Tracy’s online store for more options at http://tracykrauss.yolasite.com/online-store.php

Published Plays:

(Performance rights must be obtained from the respective publishers)

EBENEZER’S CHRISTMAS CAROL - a unique twist on a seasonal favourite. Published by Pioneer Drama Services

DOROTHY’S ROAD TRIP – Frank L. Baum’s ‘The Wizard of Oz’ comes to life with fresh new characters and few unexpected twists. Published by JAC Publishing

A MIDTERM EVE’S PHANTASM – based on Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ set in a modern high school. Published by Big Dog Plays

LITTLE RED IN THE HOOD – an eclectic cast of fairy tale characters come together in this comdey suitable for all audiences. Published by JAC Publishing

THE WESTERN TALE – not your typical western, this is Shakespeare’s ‘The Winter’s Tale’ set in the old west. Published by JAC Publishing

All titles can be purchased through the publisher’s online catalogues, or visit Tracy’s online store for the links. http://tracykrauss.yolasite.com/online-store.php

Please visit Tracy's blog http://www.tracykraussexpressionexpress.com/ for my version of the swap :-)


Tracy Krauss said...

Greetings Sherry! Hope you get lots of visits here and I hope to see some folks stop by my blog 'Expression Express' to see what you had to say, too! All the best.


Jennifer Lowery (Kamptner) said...

Fantastic interview! I completely agree that finding a critique group is very important! A must for any writer, not only for the editing help, but the support and friends you'll meet. I love my crit goup! Your book sounds great! Thanks for sharing and I'm hopping over to your blog now :)

Sherry Gloag said...

Tracy :-) Thanks for suggesting this great idea, I'm delighted to have you here today and enjoyed reading your answers. I hope lots of folk hop on over to your site
http://www.tracykraussexpressionexpress.com/ too.

Sherry Gloag said...

Jennifer, I so agree about the importance of crit groups. I owe so much to the fabulous folk in the group I belong to. :-)
Thanks for dropping by.

Tracy Krauss said...

I'm off work from my 'day job' and thought I'd stop by again. Greetings!

Sherry Gloag said...

Tracy, I got some feedback that folk are visiting but unable to post their comments. Later, I'll check my visitor numbers and let you know what sort of traffic we've had.
If you're off work, I hope you're enjoying your time off.

Lisa Orchard said...

Great interview girls! I've got this book on my TBR pile!

Sherry Gloag said...

Glaad you made it back Lisa, thanks for revisiting :-)

Tracy Krauss said...

thanks for everything Sherry!

Deniz Bevan said...

Great interview!
And wow, 16 years? Now I don't feel so guilty for taking a year or two to finalise an MS...
Love the crit group advice!

William Kendall said...

I find critique groups to be absolutely essential.

Terrific interview!