Denise: Hi Tracy! First, let me thank you again for taking the time to answer these questions for me and the From In Here community. If there is anything you want to skip, I understand. I am presenting questions with the assumption that my readers don’t know anything about you or your process.
Tracy: Sounds good to me! Thank you for featuring me in this, I appreciate it, and hope some of your readers will become interested in my work after this!
Denise: The first book of yours that I read was “The Lady is Trouble: Steamy Victorian Paranormal Romance” and I was so thrilled with its amazing creativity of the concept! If a reader is completely new to your work, where would you suggest they start?
Tracy: Denise! Thank for, first, for the support! So thrilled you liked The Lady is Trouble. Well, I have, to date, written in a few sub-genres. I’m southern, so starting with the old “write what you know”. My first books were all set in the south. The Garrett Brothers series is set in the Outer Banks, 1898, and features a marine biologist who returns home to the woman (of course!) he left behind. I chose this setting (Beaufort, NC) because there is an actual marine laboratory built around this time. And that’s why Noah goes back! So for a reader who likes small-town (but a lot of HEAT, I write hot), I’d start there. The second book in that series, Tides of Passion, won the National Readers Choice for Best Long Historical and is a reader fav. It’s also about the hottest book I’ve ever written. But it’s a good love story. #steamywithastory 😊 And it’s free coming up.
However, I had this idea for years about a viscount who touched objects and saw “things”. And had someone he loved that also had a gift. So, The Lady is Trouble was born! It’s a Victorian romance with all the expectations of that genre with the paranormal/psychic twist. I’m working on #3 in the series (The Duke is Wicked) right now. I’d recommend the lover of more intrigue/Victorian-type romances (and again, steamy) start there.
Now, are you sorry you asked yet? I’m also dipping my toe into true REGENCY. If steamy Regencies are a reader’s love, I’d try Tempting the Scoundrel or Chasing the Duke! I have a series that came out in 2021 that is all Regency.
Honestly, I think if someone likes a writer’s voice, they’ll go along. That is my experience as a READER. My voice is strong. A reader is either going to love it or hate it. So maybe the actual setting or time period is not as much the draw. Idk.
Denise: How do your unique ideas come to you? In the shower, in a dream, prompted by experiences in your life or people you’ve met, purely out of the mysteries of imagination, etc.? I get a lot of my ideas for the blog from everyday life, so I’m interested in where others draw their inspiration.
Tracy: I used to worry about the ideas – and now I have more than I can handle. They come to a lot of times, from other books. I read a great romance (I’m a HUGE reader of the genre) and I think, oh, what about this? Or I see a movie – and think, oh, what if that happened instead? Purely imagination. There are pieces of me in the books, for sure, song lyrics, things people have said to me, but mostly my little nugget of a brain is where it comes from.
Denise: Can you give us some insight into your writing process? In other words, do you outline a story first before you start writing it? Are the characters in a story fully formed in your mind when you begin, or do you find they develop and change along with the story? Do you write the story in order as it unfolds, or do scenes come to you sometimes out of order?
Tracy: I like to think I’m a don’t plot – but I do. I have this running list of notes broken into what I call “scenes”. I usually end up having one for each scene or most. I have dialogue I want a character to say – a description I want to be mentioned, ETC. However, on the flip side, characters ALWAYS develop as you write. They are never fully formed for me. They say things I had not planned. And this leads to some revisions in the scenes, too.
One thing I insist upon in my little Romancelandia world. The characters need a passion. At least one of them.
Tides of Love: Noah, marine biologist, Elle, suffragette
Tides of Passion: Savannah, suffragette, Zach, the town constable
Tides of Desire: Macy, female physician, Caleb, boatbuilder
The Lady is Trouble, Julian is an artist in addition to a viscount and a psychic.
Tempting the Scoundrel: Kit is a watchmaker, the most famous one in England! (Based on a real person!)
Denise: I love Tides of Love, one of my favorites. Okay, so what about your physical writing process? Pen and paper, post-it notes, Laptop, desktop, notecards, wall charts … do you have a usual way of working? Should we picture you writing in a home office or on the dining room table? Do you like to write in pajamas or sweats or blue jeans?
Tracy: I’m all laptop. I do make physical notes – and place them into the larger digital files. I also make notes on my phone. But like it all to be in the proper place. I’m not much for charts and notecards – but I do have a small area next to my desk. I like to have a hero who inspires me.
The Duke is Wicked – I’m ALL about Sherlock right now!
The Rake is Taken—this: (Remember, Finn is the supposed most gorgeous man in England. And a mindreader. Oh, it’s nothing much! LOL)
Denise: Can you tell us a couple of your own favorite books that you have written?
Tracy: Well, my favorite character is probably Noah Garrett from Tides of Love. He’s a sexy geek. It’s my thing. But his brothers are pretty good, too. 😊 I have a real affinity for Finn (The Rake is Taken) as well – because he’s so handsome and so good. Funny even when cursed. I’m really pleased with Chasing the Duke. Fun, fun, fun to write!
Denise: What do you like to read in your free time? Can you tell us about a couple of favorite books that other authors have written?
Tracy: I read a lot. Romance only mostly, no joke. Hot. Contemporary and Historical. Favs from the classics? Judith Ivory, LyVyrle Spencer. Current. Tessa Dare is fantastic, IMHO. Roni Loren (contemporaries). Of course, I’ve read my fair share of the master, Nora Roberts. I’m trying to read a lot of indies: Darcy Burke, Colette Cameron, Sue London, ETC. Check out my Bookbub. It’s insane. https://www.bookbub.com/profile/tracy-sumner
Denise: I believe all of your stories are historical romance. Do you enjoy the research that goes into creating a solid historical romance? Would you consider writing a contemporary romance?
Tracy: All of my publications are historical. Though to make your head spin, I do have a contemporary series I may release. I have one novel + an opening novella ready. Stay tuned!
I love the research. For example, with Tempting the Scoundrel, I really got into the watchmaking component. Had a drawing of the guts of a pocket watch and the tools they use to refer to. I also have a Charles Dickens map of London I used while writing about the streets surrounding Hyde Park in The Duke is Wicked. I’m constantly looking into phrases (did they say that in 1872?), clothing, locales, and customs. ETC.
Denise: If you ever deal with writer’s block, do you have a way of usually shaking it off?
Tracy: I honestly don’t get writer’s block. I procrastinate. And life is so busy (I work FT in addition to the writing gig) and my son is at home for remote school, well, the challenge is just to sit. Compose. And write every day! Which I’m trying to do.
Anyone out there who is interested in writing should read Stephen King’s ON WRITING. There’s a bit of advice for you. Don’t wait for the muse!
Denise: Wow, will have to add that Stephen King book to my list! Okay, so beyond reading and writing, would you share a few of your favorite things to do?
Tracy: Of course! Here are a few
- Breakfast – Toast with peanut butter + fruit
- Snack – Nuts, hummus
- Indulgence – Wine, craft beer! 😉
- Color – Violet right now, this changes
- Ice cream flavor – mint chocolate chip
- Beverage — Kombucha
- I like one cup of coffee in the morning (light sugar/cream), then I do tea – unsweetened – the rest of the day. Green tea. I try to eat/drink fairly healthy after breast cancer.
- Love alternative rock. Vampire Weekend is a fav of mine right now. And the 80s: The Cure, XTC, Duran Duran, The Police.
- Dogs, cats, or birds? Cats! I’m all about cats! Banksy, my one-eyed devil.
- Historical time period – I’d love to go back to the 1920s. Or Victorian era.
Denise: I think we have a few common hobbies and favorites! Love that for us haha.
Denise: Is there anything else you would like us to know about you or your books?
Tracy: After all that? What else is there to add? THANKS so much for your support and encouragement, Denise.
Denise: Tracy, thank YOU. I truly cannot thank you enough for all the writing you do the happiness you create for me and all your other readers, and your very kind support of my blog website. ❤
Feel free to e-mail me at email@example.com to share your thoughts about this interview. Please also let me know if you’d like me to enter your name in a special drawing to win three of Tracy’s books!