1. What made you decide you wanted to be a writer?
It was my dream as a kid to be a writer because I was such an avid reader. One of my best memories as a kid was when my parents would take my sister and I to the bookstore in the mall and we’d each get to pick one. We’d start reading on the way home, finish by the end of the day, and swap books to read the next. I’ve always had stories in my head but I didn’t start writing them down until my husband was on his first deployment. He loves all things zombie so I wrote him a story and sent it to him chapter by chapter. It kept us connected and it was like a little surprise for him every couple of days. When it was done, he told me to publish it. I told him he was crazy, but I did it anyway, just for fun. It sold 17 copies in that first week and I was convinced they were all purchased by my mom to make me feel good.
2. You write in multiple genres. Do you have a favorite genre to write in?
I love, love, love Young Adult Science Fiction. It can be aliens or dystopian – it doesn’t matter. I just love the genre. There’s almost always romance but it’s not the main focus. It’s like a sweet little treat you get inside a dark, swirling world of mystery and danger.
3. As an author that writes across multiple genres myself, I often think of future projects I would love to work on when I can get around to it. Is there a genre you haven’t written in yet but would like to some day?
Yes! I would love to write a standard Young Adult Romance – no sci-fi. No one can fly or read your mind or take out a zombie effortlessly. I feel like that would be a challenge for me and I think about doing it a lot. The only thing holding me back is I don’t feel like I have a story for that genre compelling enough to table some of my other projects.
4. What do you enjoy about writing post-apocalyptic/dystopian stories?
I like that it’s so different from the way we live right now. Dystopian hits a little closer to home in ways, but apocalyptic is drastically different. No power, no cell phones – none of the things we’ve come to rely on in our everyday lives. Everyone is outside their element and it’s interesting to see what you can do with a character when they’re in that vulnerable position. How desperate are they to survive? What barriers will they breach? My own characters sometimes surprise me when I’m writing that genre, and I love that feeling.
5. You’re a fast writer, putting out a number of books each year. How do you manage to write so quickly, still put out amazing books, and juggle family?
It’s hard. I put everything I have into writing and my family, and there’s little to nothing left for me. I also worry that the books suffer because of how thinly stretched I feel and I think every new release is the worst one I’ve ever written, but then the reviews come in and no one else sees the ugly that I do. It’s a relief but I go through the drama every single time. It’s exhausting to write as much as I do. I don’t recommend it and I’m actually working on pulling back. I’ve stopped reading other people’s books because it stresses me out. I feel like I should be writing instead of relaxing! That’s messed up. I need to be able to read and enjoy books again, so that’s sort of a promise I’ve made to myself this year.
6. What is a series/story you’re excited to write but haven’t been able to yet?
It’s actually one my husband came up with, which is crazy because it’s not even mine but I love it. My husband is an amazing ideas man. He fixes all of my stories when I get stuck, but he’s terrible at sitting down in front of a computer and putting his thoughts into literary form. One chapter could take him ten years. He tried for a bit but gave up, and it makes me sad because his series is amazing.
It’s set in a world that’s very steampunk and full of magic. There are airships and sky pirates and romance (at my request) and a friendship between two very unlikely, odd characters. It has so many layers to it and it’s just a fun concept, but I’d have to get him to sit down and seriously work on it with me and he’s hard to pin down like that.
7. If you could meet one other author who would it be and why?
My hero is Maggie Steifvater. She’s super successful but seems really humble and down to earth. She’s kind of my gold standard for YA. She does most of her book tours by driving across the country because she loves fast cars (same!). I think it’d be fun to do a tour with her riding across the country in a classic muscle car like an episode of Supernatural.
8. What is your daily writing routine?
I don’t have one, and that’s probably weird. I’m really loose about putting a book together. I work in the morning when my son is at a school or at night when he’s asleep and my husband is playing video games. I’m usually writing more than one at once, so whatever book I’m feeling that day, that’s the one I get into. I don’t write linearly either. I have a scene in my head that I have to put down on paper, then I jump around to something else, maybe something in a different book. It’s a mess, really, and it’s amazing my books make any sense at all.
9. What is your current favorite TV show or movie and why?
Brooklyn Nine-Nine is my favorite show because it’s hilarious, but also because it has nothing to do with the genres I write in. I need that departure from work. If I’m watching a sci-fi or romance, I automatically kick into work mode and start thinking about a new project or what I can do on a current one. With Brooklyn, I’m totally free to watch and enjoy. No strings attached.
10. Assuming being an author is your dream job, what would your second choice be?
I would want to run a bakery even though I’m a terrible cook! I don’t know why, but that just sounds so fun to me. I love to watch cooking and baking shows. I always think to myself, “I could do that,” even though I know it’s not true. A character in my romance runs a bakery with her best friend and I loved writing those scenes between them. I imagine my best friend and I doing that and it seems like the most amazing job. I’d be thrilled to get up at the crack of dawn every day to do that with her.
11. What is your favorite book you’ve written?
Sleepless (Bird of Stone #1). I’ve never been shy about calling that out as my favorite because I love it so much. I had that idea in my head for a long time before I finally wrote it. It’s Young Adult and Sci-Fi and romantic – all the good stuff! The characters are complex. I was very meticulous about finding each of their voices and staying true to them. I put them both through hell but I’m so proud of how they grew as people. That whole series is such a journey.
To learn more about Tracey Ward, you can visit her website at: www.traceywardauthor.com
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