Thursday, December 23, 2010
Tracy: I can find something to laugh about in just about any situation so the humorous element in the stories is definitely reflective of me.
Jenness: I seem to pop up here and there—with beverage selections, other preferences, incidents from my life, etc.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
Jenness: Um, I kind of live the whole quirky thing, so I can’t think of one incident to share, and Tracy’s in the same boat. :-) But if we’re talking about things that happen to me, I did get stuck in my truck for an hour with firemen standing guard as they waited for the power guy to show and remove the live downed power line from my bumper. Yes, I took good notes and it will end up in a novel somewhere.
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
Tracy: My love for books is almost as old as I am. My secret desire to write started in my teenage years, but I did not act on it. When my youngest son, Isaiah, was born ten weeks premature in 2004 he had a very long hospitalization and multiple ongoing health issues. I started a Caringbridge blog to keep family and friends updated on his progress. Blogging was therapeutic and fun. I have been writing in some form or the other ever since then. It was actually a blog that caught the attention of Jenness, and she asked me if I would be interested in co-authoring with her.
I had become a published author before my second grandson was in first grade. When we went for grandparents' day, he proudly showed me the book he'd made and told me he was both the author and the illustrator. I got a kick out of that. Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
Tracy: I just love books! My personal library is very eclectic.
Jenness: Though I tend to read more contemporary romance or romantic suspense, I frequently branch out to, well, just about anything.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
Tracy: I walk at least three miles with a group of my closest friends almost every day. The fresh air and great conversation, with no one demanding anything of me, gives me fresh perspective and energy.
Jenness: Music, and girls’ nights out.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
Tracy: :-) Eeny, meany, miney, moe. This is actually one of my least favorite parts of the process.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
Tracy: That my husband and I have managed to reach seventeen years of marriage, and I love him more than ever before.
Jenness: Although I’m pretty proud of some amazing Black Friday deals I managed to get, I’ll say managing (which so much help from so many people) to have a novel published. When it’s something you’ve told people you’re going to do ever since first grade or so, it’s quite the relief when you actually pull it off. :-)
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
Tracy: I would like to say something majestic and graceful, like an eagle. The reality is that I would most likely be a monkey, sitting around picking through my kids’ fur.
Jenness: A meerkat—they make me laugh, and they look cute with potbellies. (Which ties in wonderfully with your next question.)
What is your favorite food?
Tracy: I love a good steak...and a good salad…and the Blooming Onion from Outback…and…okay, I confess, I just love food. :-)
Jenness: Depending on the mood I’m in…Cincinnati Chili, Santa Fe salad, my mom’s apple pie, various forms of chocolate…(Excuse me while I go grab a snack.)
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
Tracy: My greatest roadblock is time, and I am not sure that I have overcome it. My current plan is to sleep when I’m dead.
Jenness: Time and focus. And…I’m still working on it.
Tell us about the featured book.
Tracy: Bliss is about a girl who is trying to find herself. Our main desire was to show that God is the ultimate source of happiness, and to have a little fun in the process.
Jenness: Bliss comes at things a bit differently. Indie, our heroine, is intent on following the stars, but she keeps winding up in some crazy disaster. It takes a quirky cast of trailer park neighbors, a hunky boat captain, a moody roommate, a baker, and more, to help her meet the Maker of the stars.
Sounds really interesting. Please give us the first page of the book.
Perhaps if I had tripped over the heels of my chunky sandals the first day I came to Rabbit Hole, Kansas, I wouldn’t hate it here so much. Flat on your back, you at least get a break from the ever-present wind, and instead of never-ending plains of nothingness you can see…hmm, yes. That cloud looks just like an ice cream cone.
“Indie, babe, are you okay?”
My vision of calories is obstructed by masses of red curls and large, colored stones. Healing stones, to be exact. My mom thinks if one necklace can provide health for the body, then four should keep you in tip-top shape until the day you die—of old age, of course. They have yet to find a stone to cure that.
“I’m fine, Mom. Just couldn’t see over Miss Matilda.”
I’d rather blame the stuffed hippo sticking out of the box I carried than confess I tripped over my own shoes. Again. This is the fourth time they’ve landed me on my back. At least this time only two people—Mom and her main squeeze, Steve Gaines—witnessed my current disgrace. As opposed to an entire movie theater audience, like last year in Chicago.
I have a long list of similar humiliating events, and a corresponding list of the places I’ve lived. A few perks come with moving every year, like you don’t have to worry about running into someone who has watched you make an idiot out of yourself. New location, new audience.
“Maybe this is a sign.” Mom tucks a strand of that crazy hair—I can say that because she passed it down to me—behind her ear, and the strand of wooden beads on her arm becomes entangled in a dozen or so curls. While her hands flail as she attempts to extricate her hair from the beads, she says, “I think you still need me.”
Who needs who? With a deft twist of a curl, I set her free. “I have a sign, Mom. Pisces. And I am following it.”
“How do you know your horoscope meant for you to move to Florida? It’s so far away!”
“Everything is far away from Rabbit Hole.” But it’s a good question. It’s a shame I don’t have a good answer. I’m not going to tell her that the same day my horoscope told me to follow my sign, I learned Celine Dion had a home in South Florida.
Pisces is a water sign. Its symbol is fish. Water, fish. Together, those two practically scream South Florida. I’m not picky; if it’s good enough for Celine, it’s good enough for me.
I’m desperate to get out of Rabbit Hole, with its tornadoes, dusty roads, and, of course, my free spirit mother flitting from store to store—all three of them.
Horoscopes don’t come with specific instructions. Each reader must interpret the meaning. To give myself some credit, my reasoning has to be more sound than my mother’s—like the morning we picked up and left Dayton, Ohio, to move to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, because Mom’s daily horoscope stated, “Find the right path.” Right. Wright. Wright brothers. Why not? They ended up in Kitty Hawk, and so did we for ten whole months.
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Thank you, Tracey and Jenness, for the amusing interview.
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