I'm happy to introduce you to Tracie Peterson, in case you haven't read any of her books. She is multi-published and a very popular author. I first had Tracie as a copy editor on my second novel. Back then, I was intimidated by editors. It wasn't her fault. I just felt that I knew so little. Then I met her at a conference, and she was so warm and friendly. Her husband Jim attended with her, and since we're from Scandanavian families, a bond was formed. That bond has grown across the years. When Tracie was acquisition editor for Heartsong, she bought seven manuscripts of mine. I highly respect her as an editor, I love to read her writing, and I count her a friend.
I’m sure there is a moderate amount of what I’ve learned over the years – Bible applications, individual dramas that have played out and resolutions I’ve seen. I think every writer can’t help but put a little bit of themselves in their characters, but I find my best characters come when I think outside of my personal experience and ask, “How might someone else deal with this issue?”
Good advice. What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
Hmmm, not really sure. I suppose the main one that comes to mind is attending the Glorietta Christian Writer’s conferences where I first met Jayce Oneal, a wonderful young man who has great writing potential. I thought he was so much fun and decided I’d use his name as a character in a book. Karen Ball was at the same conference and told me she was using it. We both ended up putting Jayce in several books – much to his amusement.
I have a T-shirt that says, "Careful or you'll end up in my novel." I wore it to work in the bookstore at one of the youth services and my granddaughter's very good friend asked me to put her in my next novel. When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I think a better question for me is when did I know I was a storyteller. I don’t remember a time when I didn’t like to entertain folks with stories.
I know what you mean. I was always telling stories to whomever would listen when I was young. Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
Just about anything. I read nonfiction and research books of course, but also read contemporary, science fiction, historicals, romance, children’s books, memoirs, etc. If it’s well-written, I love it. If it drags on and on with tons of purple prose or textbook/technical detail, I tend to skim it.
What other books have you written, whether published or not?
I have written nearly 80 books total with 30 or so for Heartsong and Barbour Publishing and the rest in various contemporaries, non-fiction, historical and collaborations for Bethany House Publishers.
See, I told you she was multi-published. How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
I write. :-) Writing is my escape and my passion. It keeps me even, along with prayer and a passionate relationship with God.
Yes, that relationship shines through your stories. How do you choose your characters’ names?
Sometimes I run across names while reading or doing booksignings. Recently I was doing multiple signings with Judith Miller and Cathy Marie Hake. We would get introduced to people with unusual names and one of us would say, “Oh, I’m taking that name.” Sometimes characters just seem to beckon you to call them a certain thing. I have actually changed a character’s name in the middle of a book, because they really seemed to be someone else.
My daughter, who is a hairdresser, called me last week with the name of a young man she'd met. She thought it would make a good name for the hero in one of my novels. I agree. What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
If I can claim it as an accomplishment, it would be my 3 kids. They are awesome, and even with all their issues and problems, they are the very heart of me. I’m also thrilled to write books that spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. What a wonder to be able to share the Lord with people, and see lives changed.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
What a funny question. I’ve never honestly considered that question but I suppose it would have to be a rabbit, because my husband Jim loves rabbits just about more than any other animal and I would want him to keep loving me.
What is your favorite food?
Anything chocolate, crème brulee, steak, fried potatoes, man now I’m getting hungry.
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
Limiting myself to write in a box – or one single style. I talked to a lot of other authors, studied other writing and really focused on what I wanted most to do with each book as an individual project.
What advice would you give to an author just starting out?
The same advice that was given to me. Write what you know. Learn what you don’t know, and never give up on the dream. I add to that to seek prayerfully the direction that God would have you go, and then head that direction.
A LADY OF HIDDEN INTENT is book 2 in an independent series of 3 books called the Ladies of Liberty series. Each book stands completely alone with only the time period and setting of Philadelphia in common. Each shows a strong female lead character who battles against the injustices around her, while losing her heart to that special someone. Book one is titled A LADY OF HIGH REGARD and came out last July. Book 3 is titled A LADY OF SECRET DEVOTION and comes out next July.
How can readers find you on the Internet?
Answer: www.traciepeterson.com or www.bethanyhouse.com
Or at myspace.com or shoutlife.com
Thank you, Tracie, for spending this time with us. I'd love to have you back when book 3 comes out.
Readers, check out Tracie's web site to find out more about her and her books.
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