First I want to thank you so much for interviewing me!
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I live in rural Ohio near of the Scioto River. I am from a very small town and have lived in small towns settings throughout my life. I am a wife and mother and have a successful career outside the home. I love traveling and seeing new places. I also love meeting new people. My job is extremely stressful, but writing is my outlet. Trying to juggle my career, my family, and writing hasn't been easy, but apparently I am a superhero. LOL :)
What do you do when you are not writing?
I am always working or doing things with my family. Sometimes there's very little time for me to write quite honestly. I also do a lot of promoting and marketing in my spare time to get the word out about my current titles and about my publisher.
Do you have a day job as well?
Yes. As I said, I work outside of the home. I work in the field of child protective services as a supervisor/director. I've been involved in this field since 2005 and was promoted in 2012.
When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?
I have always loved writing and anything involving fine arts. I started writing my first book at age sixteen. That book is completed but needs a really good overhaul. The first book I published was finished in the spring of 2012.
How did you choose the genre you write in?
Originally, my interests swayed toward crime novels. However, as an adult, I've been drawn to the paranormal; not vampires and werewolves, but ghosts and demonology. I also have a master's of arts in forensic psychology, so there's still a criminal element lurking about in my work. Nonetheless, in my first published book, Between Worlds Series, volume 1: The Fine Line there isn't a criminal aspect. In fact, that book is solely to introduce the characters. In fact, I wasn't going to even make that book into a series, but I've decided to after all.
Where do you get your ideas?
I get my ideas from just about anything. Dreams, music, situations, movies, TV shows. I can be inspired from just about anything.
Do you ever experience writer’s block?
All of the time.
Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
I am not very good at sugar coating anything. After being rejected multiple times from publishers and then nearly being picked up by a major publisher and then getting dumped by that major publisher, I guess you could say I was desperate. I didn’t know what to do or where to look. I was alone in the author community and I hadn’t started networking yet. Looking back on it now, if I would have networked I probably wouldn’t have picked BookLocker, but nonetheless, I did. I am also not one to bash companies or individuals, so I’m going to say this to all of you who are searching for publishers: READ YOUR CONTRACT AND ASK ABOUT COSTS! I don’t regret completely the decision to publish with BL because if it weren’t for that, I wouldn’t have learned some very valuable lessons and it brought PDMI and me together. So, it’s all good.
PDMI Direct Publishing/Injected Ink coming into my life was nothing short of a miracle. I actually submitted my second title (a stand alone book) to them. They signed me for a traditional publication immediately. Then I told them about my first book, so they signed that one for a traditional contract and it re-released April 12th. That publishing experience has been much better I love the company deeply. They are loyal, personal, and we talk constantly. I would recommend them to anyone who is considering getting published. They not only offer traditional, but also freelance/self publishing.
How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?
Now that you think I’ve bashed BL, I’m going to give you some positives about them. They provided to me a marketing guide to help me through bringing attention to my work. Granted, most of it has not worked well, but some things have. I set up a Twitter account and have learned (and am still learning) how to use it. I set up on LinkedIn and joined groups. Shelfari, Amazon, GoodReads, Facebook, there’s your social networking giants. I got my own website and this blog. I also interviewed with local newspapers after blowing up their phones. I have announced it everywhere I can that I published something. I have also held a contest and there is a give-away that I sponsored in the month of March to bring attention to my work. I also donate SWAG to fellow author events. I have been involved in local events as well and a radio show. Interviews and reviews also help get the word out. My goal isn’t to become rich. My goal is to give people hope when they read my stories. So if I don’t become a best seller, I’m okay with that. I just want to inspire people.
As far as what avenues seem to work best for me, I'm still tracking that data. I'm still in the very beginning stages of all of this, so honestly, I'm not sure what works best.
Can you tell us about your upcoming book?
My second title, Idolum: Visions of the Undone will release in late 2013. Here is the synopsis:
A hedonistic serial killer is on the loose targeting and abducting strong, independent college women. Once he snatches his prey, he sets the woman loose in the woods, hunting her as if she is wild game. When each one is caught again her hope of escape quickly disappears as soon as she awakens buried alive in a plastic sarcophagus.
Lauren Hillard, a brilliant and nationally respected forensic psychologist, is called upon by the FBI to help track down and stop this murderer known to the public as The Phantom. It’s then that she meets Nicholas Bennette, the newly promoted director of the Dayton, Ohio FBI field office. A southern gentleman originally from North Carolina, he finds it difficult to work with Hillard because of her social awkwardness. It doesn’t take long, however, for their trust in one another to grow, realizing that it’s going to take teamwork to track down and stop The Phantom.
To solve the crime, Lauren must not only rely on her training and education, but also her supernatural empathic abilities. Through visions she sees, smells, and hears the crimes through the eyes of the victims and hopes that these fragmented visions will help her bring peace to the dead and stop the killings. The deeper she gets into the investigation, the more detailed the visions become, but she knows she can’t possibly solve the case through paranormal means alone. Lauren confides in Nick hoping he can use both her gifts, as well as, more accepted methods to bring justice to the victims. Yet, this isn’t Lauren’s greatest challenge. Making sense of the visions and trying to understand what the victims are telling her is the most difficult part. Lauren is overwhelmed to the core because the victims feel so much has been left undone in their lives.
As time passes and the body count continues to rise, Lauren fits the puzzle together and discovers the identity of the killer. She soon learns she’s been targeted by The Phantom and she comes face to face with him. When Lauren Hillard finds herself at the mercy of the psychopathic serial killer she realizes she’s left much undone in her own life.
What project are you working on now?
Right now I'm working on the second installment in Between Worlds. The second volume is entitled Through Glass Darkly. The book will follow Olivia Gregory into her adulthood. Because it is in the very early stages, I'm going to leave it at that. I will tell you that there are aspects of the paranormal that will be coming into play and there will be a new cast of characters along with a cameo appearance from Dr. Lauren Harris from Idolum.
Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
DO NOT GIVE UP! And RESEARCH! Don’t get sucked into something that you don’t have peace about. Think everything through. Make sure the decision you’ve made feels right. If it doesn’t keep looking. PDMI is my home now and I’ve waited a long time to find them. I’m not saying they’ll accept what you send them, but I highly recommend them. They are honest and will do things right. DREAM BIG!
Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?
THANK YOU so much! I couldn't have come this far without your encouragement and support!!!!
I’ve now started some FUN and Wacky questions for those interviewed on my site.
1. Do you prefer fuzzy or tub socks? Neither: flip flops please!
2. Are you a person who makes their bed in the morning, or do you not see much point? I prefer to make it, but when my husband is still laying it, that makes it sort of hard.
3. Be honest, how often do you wash your hair? At least every other day to every two days.
4. Do you get road rage? Y E S!!! I have problems with this. :)
5. Coffee or Tea? Coffee, decaf; caffeine gives me a horrible headache.
6. What’s your biggest pet peeve when it comes to social media? (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
I hate seeing depressing, sad, horrid images. I despise animal abuse and child abuse. When I see images of this, I hide the story and often go to the notifications and take that person off my list. Life is too traumatic to see this on social media. There's a difference between making people aware and just making people sick. I see enough tragedy every day in real life; I don't want to look at it all evening. Blah!
Where to buy:
BLURB FROM Between Worlds Volume 1: The Fine Line
The day wore on. Troubled by the conversation with her husband, Robin knew staying busy was her best option for keeping her mind off of things. So she continued with her laundry chores. Standing in the basement at the long table with towels scattered about, she listened to the music playing on her phone. Suddenly, the music faded out and then stopped. She grabbed the device and shook it. “Damn,” she whispered. She assumed the battery went dead.
Quickly, the room temperature dropped and the hair on her arms and neck stood up as the goose bumps peppered her skin. The fog from her lungs expelled from her mouth. She realized she was seeing her breath. An invisible strength wrapped around her neck unexpectedly and the gasps for air were futile. Terrified, she clutched her throat trying to remove whatever was choking her. Coughing and panting, the tears began falling down her face. Her feet felt as if they were lifting from the ground and the grip around her neck worsened. Unable to scream or even speak, she realized the urgency of the moment.
Finally, she felt the release and bent over the table trying desperately to catch her breath. When her ability to speak returned, she screamed for Matt and heard him running through the house. The basement door swung open so hard it shook the drywall at the top of the stairs. He thundered toward her as she continued resting her elbows and torso on the laundry table.
“Robin!” he shouted.
She still struggled to breathe. “I felt like I was being hung.”
“Yes. My music on my phone completely stopped and the next thing I knew the room got cold. I felt like something was hanging me. I felt my feet lift off of the ground,” she cried.
She stood up and dropped into Matt’s chest, sobbing uncontrollably.
“I’m here now,” he said softly as he caressed her hair. “It’s okay. I’m here.”
BACK OF THE BOOK:
Set in Southwestern Ohio, Dr. Matthew Gregory and Robin Hillard meet, fall passionately in love, marry, and settle into their newly restored historical dream home originally constructed in the 1800’s. However, their dreams of a happy life together are challenged by misfortune surrounding the purchase of the home. Soon, they realize that they have stepped into another world, filled with spirits, paranormal phenomenon, and unexplainable realities. The stark realizations as well as other traumas challenge their personal beliefs, the stability of their marriage and, most of all, their sanity. Matt’s logical, scientific certainties are defied when his daughter, Olivia, realizes she is a psychic medium and is able to communicate with the dead. Robin recognizes that her dreams are actually visions of the past directly associate with the previous owners of the home.
The Gregory family soon learns that there is a fine line between the world they live in and the world they can’t see. They seek direction through organized religion as well as through unconventional methods in an effort to understand the strange world of the paranormal. Ultimately, the family grows stronger and the relationship between Robin and Matt becomes unbreakable. They finally realize that they can face anything as long as they are together and have faith.
Social Media connections:
Linked in: www.linkedin.com/pub/tracee-ford/63/56/753/