Author Interview: Tracy Fabre

Have you ever read a book and immediately liked the author as a result? Well, that is exactly how I felt when I read Evan’s Castle by Tracy Fabre. I liked Tracy immediately. Perhaps, it’s the fact that our leading males share the same last name: Callahan. Or that Callie is a name in our current books. Perhaps, it is something much more important: I was very impressed with  Tracy’s writing. So please enjoy this interview…and tomorrow I will post my review of Evan’s Castle
 
 
~Q & A with Tracy Fabre~
 
 
#1: Getting to Know You
 
* Where are you from? I am from many places – I’ve lived in eleven states – but I consider the south, and particularly Alabama, my home.  
* What is your favorite color?
Blue! No, brown! No  — sorry, I thought this was the Bridge of Doom from Monty Python & The Holy Grail.  You were supposed to lead with “WHAT is your name?” and “WHAT is your quest?”  (Seriously, it’s GREEN.)
* What’s your favorite place in the entire world?
Sittin’ on the dock (any dock) of the bay (Mobile Bay, eastern shore, bay breeze, blue sky, puffy clouds, sunset, pelicans, gulls, ahhhhhh.)
 
#2: Writing: General

* What is the address for your blog and/or website?
My website is http://www.tracyfabre.com.  I don’t have a blog per se, but I do post odds and ends on Gather.com, where I can be found at http://tracyfabre.gather.com.
* Some writers use notebooks, journals, scraps of paper—even typewriters and then transfer their work to the computer; others type out their thoughts. What is your preferred writing method?
Once upon a time I wrote longhand–didn’t everyone? I bought a word processor in the mid-90s thinking it would suit me more than a PC, but yeah, that was a silly idea. I use Word, and when I’m unable to add to a working document, I will send myself emails with partial scenes and bits of dialogue I don’t want to forget.  Sometimes I will keep a piece of paper near the PC with quick facts, like timelines and plot points I know I need to resolve. Plus, of course, the aliens dictate what they—umm, never mind. *bzzzzZzzZzzt*
* Since becoming a writer, what is the most exciting thing that has happened to you? 
Having people read what I write, voluntarily, and then tell me—voluntarily–that they like it. Nothing tops that. Nothing. Well, winning the lottery and moving to Mobile Bay to resume writing there would be moderately nifty. And getting rid of those aliens.
 
 #3:  Writing: Specific
 
* Which came first, the novel or the title?
The book you read, Evan’s Castle, was the first one I had published but not the first one I completed. The title came halfway through, and of all my books, was by far the easiest. I have one unpublished novel which I have renamed about six times and I hate all versions of the title. If only the aliens would tell me what… ummm, never mind. *bzzzzZzzZzzt*
* How do you come up with your character’s names?
I like ordinary names, simple and straightforward. (The one exception was in my novel Reasons, which, since I started it in my tender know-nothing teen years, features a young woman named Delphi.  When I took up the unfinished and reekingly awful beginnings of that novel 25 years later, I intended to change Delphi’s name, but she flat-out refused to cooperate.)  I use online naming sites to give me ideas, and try not to reuse names or name anyone after people in my 3-D life, unless it’s an in-joke, as in Sending Rupert Home when I gave ‘off-camera’ school-kids the names of my nutty uncles. (As an aside: I know a man who said his wife let him name their daughter based on three criteria: it couldn’t be the name of any child in their neighborhood, it couldn’t be the name of any of the children she taught, and it couldn’t be the name of anyone she hadn’t liked when she was growing up.)  
* Your characters seem so alive and real…what is your secret?
Olive oil and a little—I mean, listen to the people around you. Listen to how they talk. Listen to what real people sound like and watch how they act, and make your characters like them: natural. Believable. Real.
* If you could have dinner with one of your characters, who would it be?
From Evan’s Castle, I believe I would like to have dinner with Isabel Collins.  She doesn’t have a huge role in the novel but she seemed like a classy, interesting lady, and I understand she’s an excellent cook.  
 
#4: Advice to Other Writers

* Do you have any advice for writers?
When people give you guidance about structure, grammar, punctuation, spelling, or flow, listen. When they ask you to change characters or plot lines to their liking, listen with one ear closed and the other tuned to ‘skepticism.’ The story should be yours, not theirs. You should be able to look at it and see your creativity, not theirs.  Unless theirs is better, in which case, steal their work and—wait. That would be wrong.  *cough*
* How do you deal with negative feedback—like rejection letters and bad reviews?
I wrote a post about this issue for Gather.com (http://www.gather.com/viewArticle.action?articleId=281474978050919) when Reasons got a bad review. The important thing is to be able to separate comments about the writing from comments which only reflect the reviewer’s personal issues.  I didn’t like the bad review but at least I was able to step back, study it carefully, and see that the reviewer obviously barely read the book, since most of her critical remarks were factually incorrect. Plus she seemed like a really cranky woman, so I was already better off.  😉
 
 
#5: Wrap-Up Questions

* What are you working on now? (required)
I’m in a kind of limbo now. I edit for other writers (for Stonegarden.net, my publisher) and I am doing the final final final edits on my summer novel, Callie By The Bay, out in June.  I still regularly write in my head, however (not on my head, though; not that limber).
* Do you have any upcoming appearances or releases that you would like to share with us?
Why yes! Yes, I do! Callie By The Bay, a mystery set on the eastern shore of Mobile Bay, will be out in June. Also, I will be participating in a three-way author chat hosted by Connie C. on Gather, May 5, with Peter Joseph Swanson and Shirley Ann Howard, who are also Stonegarden authors. I hope to update my website soon to include excerpts from Callie and more review links to Evan’s Castle, Reasons, and Sending Rupert Home.
* If you could leave your readers with one bit of wisdom, what would you want it to be?
I’ll give them more than one! 
–Never stick a sewing needle into the mattress while you’re hemming slacks if that mattress is a water bed.
–People talk. They just do. If you don’t want them talking about you, then don’t do idiotic things in public.
–That “I before E except after C” so-called rule is a complete crock. 
–Write. You can never be a writer if you don’t write. You might not be a great writer even if you do write, but if you don’t write, then you can’t even be a mediocre one.  

Wednesday Whatnots #4

What’s New!

Click here to see Nothing but Trouble after Midnight listed as “More Great Teen Reads” on Free Book Friday for Teens. This is a great site to visit: They give away autographed copies of books every week. With four channels—fiction, teens, indie, and romance—there are lots of books…and lots of chances to win.  

 

FYI: Read an EBook Week is this week: March 6-12, 2011.

The e-book version of Nothing but Trouble after Midnight is available at these online retailers:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Smashwords

 

What I’m Reading: I am reading through the True Colors series by Melody Carlson. This series deals with adolescent issue from a Christian perspective.  

 

What I’m Writing: I’m on page 173 of Book #2 (tentatively titled Light after the Storm), and you can read the rough draft of Chapter One here.  

 

 

What Else?

In April, I turn the blog over to poetry, and my goal is to spotlight poets throughout the month. Please email me at kimberlyblackadar@yahoo.com if you are interested in being featured next month.

Wednesday Whatnots #3

What’s New!

On Thursday, I received incredible news: Nothing but Trouble after Midnight will advance to the next round of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award.  And yes, I cried happy tears!

 

FYI: The e-book version of Nothing but Trouble after Midnight is available at these online retailers:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Smashwords

 

What I’m Reading: I am finishing Joan Bauer’s Best Food Forward, a sequel to Rules of the Road. She is a very prolific YA writer and has just released Close to Famous. (Someday I hope to be prolific.) Next I’ll be tackling a book for my “Weekend with a Writer” post and sharing my review on here!

 

What I’m Writing:

I’m on page 164 of Book #2 (tentatively titled Light after the Storm), and you can read the rough draft of Chapter One here. After being stuck in one chapter for two weeks and suffering from acute writer’s block, I now see the “light after the storm.” 

 

What Else?

While I was working on this post, I clicked back to my email, something I do numerous times in one day, and a link to this review was in my inbox:

Nothing but Trouble after Midnight

by Mindy Fulton

An example of excellent teen fiction that’s not just for teens. This book addresses what has the potential to be a very difficult subject in a mature, thoughtful, and ultimately uplifting manner. I have taught this book in my 9th grade English classes, and they have devoured the book each time. It provides parents the opportunity to discuss with their son or daughter important aspects of growing up, making decisions, and maintaining relationships, while reminding them what it is like to be 17. For teachers, it offers opportunities to teach characterization, conflict, themes, allusions, and rich vocabulary. Whether you are a teen looking for an enjoyable read, a parent looking for a good book for your teen (13 and up), or a teacher looking for a high-interest book that still affords you the opportunity to teach critical thinking and literary analysis, this book is a great choice!

 Mindy is amazing and I only wish there was—and maybe there actually is–a place to review friends. (I’m only kidding, you know?) She would get five gold stars and a long, glowing recommendation. Thanks for everything, Mindy! 😉

Wednesday Whatnots

What’s New!

I will be discussing my novel and the writing process on a live author chat tomorrow night at 9 P.M. (Eastern) on Gather. Follow this link to join the conversation and have a chance to win an autographed copy of Nothing but Trouble after Midnight.

FYI: You can download a free preview of the e-book version on these sites:

 Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Smashwords

 

What I’m Reading: I just finished Even Now by Karen Kingsbury. She delivers the best in Christian romance and never disappoints.  Right now I am reading Joan Bauer’s Best Food Forward, a sequel to Rules of the Road, and after five chapters, I give it a thumbs up. She is a very prolific YA writer and has just released Close to Famous.

 

What I’m Writing:

I’m on page 153 of Book #2 (tentatively titled Light after the Storm), and you can read the rough draft of Chapter One here. This week’s writing could be summed up with the following line: “One step forward, two steps back.” And yes, I’m quoting Paula Abdul’s “Opposites Attract” and showing my age in the process.

Romance novels are often about opposites attracting and what eventually pushes the characters apart—and sometimes what pulls them back together again. Well, I am working on the “pushing apart” scene in the book. And every morning this week, I get up and write the scene, and then the following morning, I read it, delete it, and begin again. It’s a rotten cycle for any writer, and I hope next week goes better.

 

What Else?

Jonathan Clay has been added to my short list of “Best Music to Listen to While Writing a Romance Novel.” Yes, I need to work on the title of that list, but first I need to make an actual list.

Recently, Jonathan Clay teamed up with Zach Chance to form Jamestown Revival, and you can vote to put them on the front cover of Rolling Stone—making them the first unsigned band ever to be featured!  Click here to vote!

 

Oh, and don’t forget to enter my giveaway for Lindsey Kelly’s CD. You have the opportunity to win one of three autographed copies.

Wednesday Whatnots

What’s New!

Nothing but Trouble after Midnight is climbing the ranks in eBook sales. Thanks to all of you!

NBTAM (for Kindle) on Amazon

NBTAM (for Nook) on Barnes & Noble

 

 

What I’m Reading: I just read Hate List by Jennifer Brown, and it’s a really poignant YA novel. I highly recommend it, since it deals with bullying and an extreme case of retaliation. I’m finishing up Even Now by Karen Kingsbury. I enjoy Kingsbury: she delivers the best in Christian romance and never disappoints.

 

What I’m Writing: I’m on page 148 of Book #2, and you can read the rough draft of Chapter One here. The book will go to editing on March 21. In addition to finishing up the novel, I’m working on a program for the Souled-Out Women’s Conference; the workshop will be on writing, and it will be my first all female audience.

 

What Else?

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway for Lindsey Kelly’s CD. This is my favorite song, and it’s playing right now: “Don’t Say”

CD Giveaway: ALL I REALLY WANT

Welcome to the final post of “Weekend with a Writer.”

Thank you for following along with the blog series on Lindsey Kelly, and now comes the best part: We will be giving away an autographed copy of All I Really Want.

How to Enter: Post one comment below and describe all the ways you entered the contest. The deadline is March 10th or 50 entries, whichever one comes first.

 

Ways to enter the contest: (Remember to post once in the comment section, but in that post, tell us the different ways you entered the contest–up to five. Good Luck!)

Lindsey Kelly: All I Really Want

 Lindsey Kelly: All I Really Want
 
Backed by the creative team of husband /writing partner Ken Kelly and Mark Trojanowski of Sister Hazel, Lindsey Kelly debuts this weekend with All I Really Want. Just like in her poetry, Kelly’s lyrics exude emotion, and  the album is a true showcase of her writing talents. In every song, she weaves verses and choruses together to form a lyrical tapestry. 
 
 
 
“All I Really Want”
The title track, “All I Really Want,” sets the tone for the album. The heartfelt ballad, recounting Kelly’s childhood struggles, opens with these powerful lines:
 
Once when I was a little girl

I was so shy, so scared

So afraid of everyone

I could not believe 

Why anyone would put me down

Cast me out, make me hide

Oh, what a lonely child

For Kelly, this album is a release of her inner hurts, and by exposing them in her songs, she hopes to speak to others through her music. “All I Really Want” has an important message, especially for young people. It deals with forgiving those who hurt us. The chorus resonates the message: “…but I forgive them / ‘Cause I have found that / All they really want is Love.”
 
Perfect “Strangers”
“Strangers,” a song selected by LeeAnn Womack to be played on Continental Airlines flights, reflects Kelly’s present perspective on life. Upbeat and fun, the chorus repeats:  “We are just strangers in this world / We all just need to Love one another now.”  Kelly, coming a long way from the “lonely child” to a very self-aware woman, writes compelling lyrics. The bridge of “Strangers” is one of Kelly’s most inspired pieces:
 

In a dream we walk

Along the same path

Though we separate

Together we make it back

 
“Don’t Say” Says It All
I hate to play favorites, but my front runner on the album is “Don’t Say.” Kelly’s voice, soft and sultry, ignites as the song opens and stays dynamic throughout the track. Written about the lingering effects of a bad relationship, she captures the emotion effectively–through her voice and the lyrics. Giving her husband most of the lyrical credit on this song, Kelly says “it’s a real team effort as far as song writing goes.”

Don’t say you don’t hang around anymore

I still see your car outside my door

Don’t say you won’t touch me anymore

I still feel the pain come again.

Listen to the entire track of “Don’t Say”: 05_Don_t_Say_hifi.m3u 

Or visit Lindsey Kelly’s website to hear the entire album:www.lindseykelly.com

Thank you for joining me for the second segment of “Weekend w/a Writer.” Please return tomorrow to find out how to win an autographed copy of All I Really Want.

Interview: Lindsey Kelly

Welcome to February’s edition of “Weekend w/a Writer” 

This edition features singer/songwriter Lindsey Kelly and her debut CD, entitled All I ReallyWant. Read her interview today, the review tomorrow, and most importantly, check back on Sunday to find out  how to win an autographed copy of her CD!

 

 

Interview: Lindsey Kelly 

Lindsey Kelly, originally from McHenry, IL, now resides in Tampa, FL with Ken Kelly, her husband and writing partner, and their two dogs. She describes her family as “loving, supportive, and super hilarious,” and while contemplating her favorite color, Lindsey says, “It changes; right now I am enjoying purple.”

One thing that never changes about Lindsey Kelly (in the 25 years I have known her) is her fun creative side and her overwhelming desire to write. This release, even though it is her first album, is not her foray into the music industry.  Her journey, however, began several years ago…

 

Q & A:

When did you first know that you wanted to become a writer?

It was in middle school that I began journaling with you, Kim. We had these silly notebooks we’d pass between classes with a few friends and we’d write silly stories and comments mostly. Then when my mom divorced my stepdad of 13 years, I really began to write as a form of releasing my upsetting thoughts. I also began writing poems more often and enjoyed English classes in high school the most. Kim and I ended up becoming best friends through journaling. But the main reason I became really interested in writing was that I had a huge love-crush on a really hot guy who was an awesome writer, and I wanted him to notice me more. Hey, I’ve got to tell the truth, right?

What is your writing routine? Do you write every day? Do you have a certain place you like to write?

I journal quite a bit, practically every day. There are many times, especially with a song idea, I just have to get the idea out of my head because it keeps running over and over like a loop. The only way it stops is for me to record it or write it down. It’s a relief and a cathartic release all at once!

Do you need quiet or music to write? If you listen to music, which genre or artist evokes the muse?

No, it comes like a leaky faucet— turn it on, turn it off, but it still drips. I am grateful for the drips; that’s when the best stuff comes—the pretty words, as I like to say. (Not like these words that I am hammering out, because it is super late and Kim’s got deadlines for me. :0)

Since becoming a writer, what is the most exciting thing that has happened to you?

I co-wrote 4 songs with the drummer for Sister Hazel and my writing partner/husband Ken.  Three of them are on two different albums. The first song I ever wrote was “Better Way.”  That’s an interesting story, I suppose. It was post 9/11/2001, during a period of reflection and contemplation in my life, past and present. I was actually putting a poetry book together when the first song I ever wrote came about. Ken, who had just tour- managed for the band SISTER HAZEL and was out on another tour with another artist, called me up and asked me to listen to a bare-bone track (a song idea without lyrics or a bridge). I remember playing it the first time and getting “the chills.” I remember being compelled to listen to it over and over, with this inspiring energy moving through me, singing to me the words that ended up being the song, “Better Way.” For six hours straight, that “chills” feeling stuck with me while I wrote out the lyrics and recorded my ideas. The rest of it was co-written with Mark Trojanowski and Ken Kelly. “Better Way” went on to be recorded by SISTER HAZEL and released on their successful 2009 album, RELEASE. It also opened up the creative flood gates of lyrical and melodic composition. That’s when I had a feeling I was supposed to be a songwriter, and so I’ve been writing ever since, both songs and poetry.

Which comes first, the chorus or the verses?

Isn’t this the same as asking which came first? The chicken or the egg?  Well, for me, it is anyhow. It can begin with the ending or end with the beginning—if we are speaking of inspiration. Structurally, I tend to stay with the pop culture style of open musically with a few bars of the chorus (no lyrics) and go right to the verse, keeping it relatively short, then into a pre-chorus to chorus to verse 2, to pre-chorus, to chorus 2 into a bridge to chorus 3 and out. 2-1/2 to 3-1/2 minutes are usually the range I like to stay in. Really, brevity is an ideal thing to have when writing a song; otherwise you bore your audience to death and come off looking quite indulgent and ego-maniacal. Well, there are exceptions of course, bands like Pink Floyd, Led Zepplin and Queen got away with it. So, forget everything I just said and let the song flow out naturally; then let it go! Share it and let it go. Too many writers are so afraid of sharing their songs because of fear that someone will steal their idea. Well, this is a good way to never get your songs heard by anyone other than yourself and your few friends and family. Share, share, share…it keeps inspiration flowing, soon you may discover the secret, that giving and receiving are the same. It’s never “to get.” Once it’s about “getting,” look out here comes some good blocks to the inspiration. Let it out and let it go, this lets the inspiration extend through your heart to touch another’s heart. There is nothing more gratifying in this world then extending your heart.

I leave you with Lindsey’s favorite quote, written by Henry Miller: The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware.”

Yes, Lindsey, you are aware of life, fully aware, and you capture the essence of it with such beautiful words. Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions—and thank you for 25 years of friendship. Here’s to many more…years of friendship and songs!

Find out more about Lindsey at: www.lindseykelly.com.

Here are the liner notes for “All I Really Want”:

ALL I REALLY WANT: LINER NOTES

by Lindsey Kelly on Tuesday, February 8, 2011 at 6:45pm

ALL I REALLY WANT

–Lindsey Kelly’s Album 2/11/2011

Produced, Mixed & Engineered by KEN KELLY

Co-Produced by MARK TROJANOWSKI

Mastering by BRAD BLACKWOOD, EUPHONIC MASTERS, Arlington, TN

All Songs Words & Music by LINDSEY KELLY & KEN KELLY

Additional writing on “Don’t Fall” & “Embrace the Fear” by MARK TROJANOWSKI

LINDSEY KELLY: Vocals

KEN KELLY: Guitars, Piano, Keys,

Strings and Programing

MARK TROJANOWSKI: Drums (All songs except tracks 5 & 9)

SCOTT BANNEVICH: Bass (Tracks 1, 2, 8, 11)

BELA WURTZLER: Bass (Tracks 3, 4, 6, 10)

Drums by Drums On Demand (Tracks 5 &9)

Photography & Make-up by GLENN SWEET

Mastering by BRAD BLACKWOOD, EUPHONIC MASTERS, Arlington, TN

ALL I REALLY WANT ALBUM RELEASE 2/11/2011

How the album came about:

“The songs on this album were inspired between the years 2002-2006, post 9/11/2001 during a period of reflection and contemplation of my life, past and present. All songs, words and music by Lindsey Kelly and Ken Kelly, Ken contributing the most in the writing, recording, producing, engineering, editing and mixing of this entire album. He is absolutely the most talented songwriter and musician I have ever known and I am so grateful to him for all his creative, technical and moral support throughout the creation of this album. I am so greatly thankful to our friend, Mark Trojanowski, from SISTER HAZEL, for his openness to have me co-write on several of his tracks for SISTER HAZEL and being such a huge part of my very first album as co-producer, writer and performer. I am so honored by the massively impressive musical skill of everyone playing on this cd. I’d like to thank Scott Bannevich, formerly Edwin McCain’s bass player, and Bela Wurtzler for adding their masterful bass parts to this cd. Also, a huge thank you to Brad Blackwood for the beautiful job he did mastering this album and really sweetening up the sound to the highest quality. This musical team’s synergistic, raw, natural groove carries throughout the entire cd and I hope inspires and evokes the senses within all those who listen.”

 

The Know-It-All Quiz

I’m a huge fan of Trivial Pursuit, and the Know-It-All edition is my absolute favorite. So here is a quiz with only the most obscure tidbits from Nothing but Trouble after Midnight. Best of luck–and even I had to flip through the pages to find some of these answers. How many can you answer correctly? (If you have to know the answers, they are posted somewhere on this blog.)

NBTAM: The Know-It-All Quiz

  1. What is the name of Grandma Preston’s cat?
  2. The book begins on a holiday. Which one?
  3. What was Robert Callahan’s middle name at birth?
  4. What color was Chloe’s guitar?
  5. Who says the final words in the book?
  6. What book does Rob read out loud to Chloe in “The Truth” chapter?
  7. At which university (in Florida) did Grandpa Preston have tenure?
  8. Which song did Rob’s mom sing at Grandma Preston’s funeral?
  9. Which picture hangs above Rob Callahan’s bed?
  10. What is Rob’s favorite professional baseball team?
  11. What’s Mr. Martinez’s first name?
  12. During their junior year, how many of the Seven C’s attended Riverside?
  13. What color was Carly’s hair at prom?
  14. What was Chloe’s weeknight curfew?
  15. Who was the first girl that Josh Callahan ever kissed?

Writing: “A World without Minutes”

Before taking requests from the audience, I closed Friday night’s Barnes & Noble reading with this paragraph:

A rush of words poured out of my heart and filled my head, and I knew I might never feel the same inspiration again in my entire life, but as a writer, I would always remember my first time, the first time the words flowed effortlessly onto a page, and how those words consumed me and time held no importance. I was in a world without minutes, and when the porch light went on, I brought my legs up to my chest and rested my journal on a knee. I couldn’t keep up with the words in my head, and the feeling inside my heart was invigorating. It was like a runner’s high, and I had reached the covetous plateau where my pen scrawled effortlessly across the blank lines of the page. And when I emptied the last words from my head, I heaved a sigh of satisfaction and closed the journal. (Nothing but Trouble after Midnight, 197)

It was a perfect ending, and I placed my book on the table, feeling like I had given closure to the evening. But that night–along with so many other aspects of my Tallahassee trip–was more about beginnings than endings.

Previously, I had taken a hiatus from book promotion as well as writing. Life–and not “words”–had consumed me, and months went by without visiting my “world without minutes.” This morning, I found my way there again, and without thinking, the words appeared magically on the page, filling huge gaps in the pivotal Chapter6. 

My inspiration has–and always will be–the students, and I know that now more than ever before. Without students and their words of praise and encouragement, I would have no desire to write. Every time I step into a classroom, I am reminded of why I became a writer and why I will continue to write. My thanks to the students at Leon High for inspiring me once again…