Interview with Bestselling Mystery & Suspense
author Tracee Lydia Garner
What are you working on now?
Write now I’m working on the final story in this trilogy. My current story, Deadly Affections releases Friday, March 30 and the conclusion to that is titled Fatal Opposition which I’m almost done with and I hope to debut in October this 2017.
I also write nonfiction and I hope to release my second nonfiction book called The Art of Side Hustle about balancing work and your side passion or business venture and making it all work, especially for those that work full time. This is a constant struggle for many to really build that second thing and transition into it and for some come to the realization that your main thing may float what your passion is and being all right with that.
Do you prefer to write mystery series books or stand-alones?
I love to write series, the problem is I don’t ever plan to write a series. When I release something someone will write and ask me about plans for a secondary or even tertiary character and I’m often like “What”? I hadn’t thought about them at all.
Since that happened, I try to think about planning better for these things and release if I want to write a series, I really, REALLY need to plan. I like stand-alones because I don't have to build as much and keep consistent (I feel) of the story or that particular story’s world and keep good notes just in an effort to apply them across series.
What is your typical day like?
I actually work in health and human service full time - so my writing life really only happens on the evenings and weekends. In my vision boarding and my own trajectory plan for my writing career and goals, I do see myself being a full time writer, speaker and teacher and I do all of those things now just not full time. As I write on the weekend and nights.
I’m also taking time to plan FB parties, my blog tour, appearances on various sites and doing all the work a publicist would do, even arranging my appearances at signings and workshops. It’s a lot of work but I do enjoy it so much. If I weren’t writing, I’d actually be an event planner. I try to have one big author launch event every other year. I love, love, love event planning.
I also do my own book trailers with a little help from Animoto and I try to write as much as I can because time is so short. The deadlines I self-imposed and try to meet are important. I also teach an 8-week writing course at the local college three times a year (one night a week) and a Self Publishing Boot Camp a few times a years. My writing has launched my platform for speaking and teaching and I wouldn't have those other outlets or streams of income if not for the books which will always be first. I find that systems and routines really help as well as some tech help with things like talk to text (something like Dragon) and other things like Evernote.
Do you have a favorite character from your books?
Honestly, the character I’m working on right then, is my favorite at that moment. Surprisingly, even though I love all my main characters and a lot of my stories are about family, it’s not the main character that I have but the children. A lot of my stories have children that add to the antics and I love kids so much, I didn’t even know I always had a child in my stories until I reexamined them all.
Who were your literary heroes growing up?
Surprisingly my literary heroes weren’t any mystery writers that I can remember, I loved Beverly Clearly but Judy Blume was my all time favorite. I don’t know why I don’t write more humor stories. I’m actually very funny and have thought about doing stand up at various intervals in my life, but that never seemed to appear very much in my actual writing.
Do you ever suffer from writer’s block, and if so, how do you overcome it?
I actually wrote a blog post here about overcoming writer’s block. I don’t really call my writer’s block. I have two things that I feel for me personally are going on: A. Overwhelm or completing interest, and then B. Simple Fear.
Both of these are annoying but I get quiet enough first, for the fear, for example, I can remind myself of all the writing I’ve already done and the victories I’ve had. I’m not on the NYT list or the USA Today but I can still get there. I recall the writing I’ve done and I’m kind of in awe, even reading my own work—passages--is a great motivator to me and I try to focus on the positives of that, rather than the “Oh, my gods how I can do this again”?
In the instance of the competing tasks that I can do, it might also be considered procrastination. I still get quiet and I just make a list or do a brain dump. In this world of social media, so much information in so many forms is coming at us that it’s just like I can’t get my own stuff done. So I love my To Do list strategy. I almost feel like that frees up some brain cells, telling them: “Look focus, it’s on paper now, move on and get to writing.”
How long does it typically take you to write a mystery book?
Because I work full time, it can make almost a year to eighteen months to write my books. My shortest time writing a book was just 6 months but that was absolutely tough--fun, certainly--but I was exhausted. Also because I’m what’s called a “Pantser” while I give my self deadlines and targets, I’m not crazy obsessive about giving them some elasticity and trying to be flexible. That’s the fun of being an indie author not that there aren’t also wonderful things AND headaches about being a traditional author, I love both but I love the non-pressure the indie vide brings.
When you start a new book, do you always know whodunit or does it sometimes come as a surprise to you?
I don’t always know whodunit, so I’m always trying to put just one more person in there who might have “dunit,” and just recently I had a major twist for a story I’m working on now, Fatal Opposition to wrap up my trilogy (comes out later this year) and someone to have possibly “dunit” that I thought about the other night, never even occurred to me, but it made me so excited to explore so off I went.
Thank you so much for having me Cathy. I had so much fun and appreciate the opportunity. Please visit me on my web and social media homes at:
How far would you go to uncover the truth?
Psychologist Leedra Henderson has a hidden motive in abandoning everything to accept a new job at the Anchored Empowerment Center. She secretly hopes that the new position will help her to investigate her own past – and to finally uncover the real story behind a string of mysterious deaths at her childhood foster home.
Now a strong, independent woman, Leedra doesn't need help: she wants to seek justice, and she will. Alone.
Can you really limit your involvement when love is on the ticket?
Dexter Parker needs his own answers about that time in the foster home so long ago. A grown man reeling from the fallout of a broken marriage, Dexter’s rational mind tells him never to try the risks of love again – but he knows he could fill in the blanks for Leedra, if only it doesn’t end up costing him his heart.
More urgently, Dexter needs to save the determined Leedra from the results of her detective work, before it all blows up in her face and costs both of them their lives.
Can the pair set aside their painful histories, avenge the lives that have been lost and – who knows – discover new love?
Tracee Lydia Garner is a bestselling, award-winning author who writes stories full of complex heroes and heroines, relationships and families that experience tough but realistic life challenges in their quest for love. Born and raised in a suburb of the DC metro area, Tracee works in health and human service by day, has a degree in Communication and is a speaker and advocate for people with disabilities. Find Tracee on the web at http://www.Teegarner.com or connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.