Writer Interviews: Tracy Ward





Tracy Ward is another of my colleagues from Sisters in Crime. She has some great advice below and a super cool blog called Corsets and Cadavers. Check her out:

1. Describe your writing routine and/or schedule?
I have two kids and it doesn’t seem to matter how much I try to established a routine, it often goes out the window. I try to write whenever I can. Sometimes all I get is a few sets of 15 minute intervals each day but often that is enough to reach my self-imposed 500 word/day minimum. I also take advantage of my kids’ extra curricular activities and bring my laptop along to write at a nearby coffee shop while they are at soccer practice or girl guides or dance lessons etc. Sometimes if I am on a roll I stay up late, writing until 1 a.m., but I try not to do that often because it wreaks havoc on my mornings. 


2. What do you do if you get writer’s block?
I try to have multiple stories on the go. Usually one novel and a few short stories. If I get stuck on my main project I switch to the shorts. A good bathroom cleaning or weeding session also seem to work wonders. Often a physical task that doesn’t require a lot of thought helps me clear my mind so I can re-think my creative direction.


3. Who do you read, or recommend other writer’s read, in regards to craft?
To be honest I don’t read writing books. I have come to realize my time is better spent reading good writing from all genres. While attending college a journalism professor I adore once told us that good writers read, read, read, read. He wrote that word on the whiteboard more than twenty times to drive home his point. He said the best way to become a good writer is to read anything we can get out hands on and it’s a practice I continue to this day. In my experience that is the best way to become a better writer.


4. Who do you read for fun?
I love Deanna Raybourn’s Lady Julia Grey mysteries and I buy her books almost as soon as they hit the shelves. I enjoy Sarah Waters and Anne Perry as well. I am currently reading The Hunger Games trilogy to my kids and I am enjoying that series immensely. I grew up reading Lucy Maud Montgomery and I often return to her books re-reading old favourites (The Blue Castle, The Story Girl and Emily of New Moon).


5. When did you first know you wanted to be a writer? Tell us about it.
When I was in elementary school the Teacher-Librarian was an amazing inspiration for me. She shared her love for books with me and I started bringing the little stories I would write to her to read. She was always so enthusiastic about my “Carebears fan fiction” that I kept writing. I wrote stories about my cats and my friends. In my Grade 6 year I wrote and illustrated a book about my friend’s birthday party and made it into a homemade book. She loved it so much she asked if she could keep it in the school’s library. She put a little pocket on it with its own check out card. Within a few weeks I saw names written on the card of all the people who had read my book and I was hooked. I knew I wanted to be a writer. I wanted to keep having that feeling, the feeling that other people enjoyed my stories. 


6. What advice would you give an aspiring writer?
Remember writing is a muscle, it MUST be worked every day. I graduated from Journalism school over 12 years ago thinking that as long as I was writing I was making steps toward my ultimate dream of being a novelist. I think writing newspaper articles helped, but it really came down to working on my creative writing every day. When you write everyday your project is always on your mind. You will get amazing inspiration when not in front of the computer screen but that doesn’t happen if writing is not part of your everyday consciousness. 


7. What do you think is the most important skill to have to succeed as a writer?
Tenacity. Never give up. Keep writing. Keep submitting. Never throw out anything even after one hundred rejections because you never know when the perfect market for your work will appear. When that happens you will have a rich cache of short stories, poems or even full length novels to throw at it.


8. What is your favorite food and/or drink?
Chocolate covered almonds are heavenly and as long as I am in confession-mode I might as well admit to having a slight Diet Coke dependency (but I never inhale). 


9. Do you have a favorite book or movie?
I’d have to say my favourite movie is a mini-series from BBC called North & South, based on the book by Elizabeth Gaskell. The story is historical about a young woman, Margaret Hale, who must move with her family from southern England to an early industrial mill town in the north and finds it difficult to adjust to the perceived harshness of life she finds there. My favourite book is Random Passage by Bernice Morgan, about Irish immigrants arriving in the early colony of Newfoundland and the hardships they faced while living in a secluded harbour on the eastern coast. Ironically this was also made into a movie produced by CBC. 

A former journalist and graduate from Humber College’s School for Writers, Tracy Ward has been hard at work developing her favourite protagonist, Peter Ainsley, and chronicling his adventures as a young surgeon in Victorian England. Her first book featuring Peter Ainsley titled, CHORUS OF THE DEAD, was published earlier this month. Her website can be found at www.gothicmysterywriter.blogspot.com. Tracy Ward is currently working on the second book in the Peter Ainsley mystery series. She lives near Barrie, Ontario with her husband, two kids and a brown, cocker spaniel puppy named Watson.

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This Writer’s Life: The F’in Aquatennial (Warning Profanity!)

I had an amazing night on Saturday, watching the craziest fireworks show ever as part of the Minneapolis Aquatennial celebration.

I was practically hoarse the next day from screaming. We dubbed it the “Fucking Aquatennial” after that scene in Stepbrothers where everyone starts calling it “The Fucking Catalina Wine Mixer”

It was amazing.

And then my friend Erik blew my mind with his photos. Check them out.

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Love me a cowboy hat!

I won this hat on http://stacyknows.com/

It’s from Hat Attack in NYC. You can check out their awesomeness at www.hatattack.com.

It kicks ass.

If you missed it, you can check out the article I wrote for Stacy a while back on why I can never be a normal parent: http://stacyknows.com/2012/ill-normal-parent/

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Writer Interviews: Amy Plum














When I first signed with my agent — the awesome Stacey Glick — I made it a point to check out the other authors she represents and came across Amy Plum. I love young adult books, paranormal books, great writing, and Paris, so naturally I loved Amy’s books. And isn’t the cover stunning? Not to mention the gorgeous author! Here she is in her own words:

1. Describe your writing routine and/or schedule?

When I am in first-draft mode, I try to write 2500-3000 words per day. That’s about a chapter and a half for me. I’m a “pantser” so I don’t really know what I’m going to write until I sit down in front of the computer.

So basically for me it’s:

1. open computer

2. read 2500 words I did the day before and make edits

3. send those 2500 words to Claudia, my Beta reader

4. write new 2500 words

5. if I get stuck or can’t figure out what’s going to happen next I take a walk until it comes to me – sometimes up to an hour.

et voila!

For second drafts I try to edit double of what I write in first drafts, so 5000 words/day. And I can do that in a much more relaxed atmosphere, with music, in a library, whatever. But for first drafts I usually write in bed.

2. What do you do if you get writer’s block?

*knocks on wood* I don’t get writer’s block. I only get lack of motivation where I go around and do everything else I need to do except writing.

3. Who do you read, or recommend other writer’s read, in regards to craft?

My favorite book for writing is Stephen King’s book “On Writing.” He too is a “panster” —not a “plotter”—which appeals to my way of working. And everyone I’ve referred the book to has gotten a lot from it.

4. Who do you read for fun?

The New Yorker magazine.

5. When did you first know you wanted to be a writer? Tell us about it.

I taught myself to read when I was 4 years old, and have been a book fanatic ever since. I had a poem printed in the school newsletter when I was six, and kept writing poetry until I got a rejection from the college literary magazine and took that to mean that my writing must be crap.

After that it took a long time for me to get my confidence back. I didn’t think I could make a living writing, so concentrated on getting a masters in Art History and working in the art world.

It wasn’t until I began writing a blog about my experience of living in the French countryside, and accrued a large following of very enthusiastic readers, that I began to think that I might have a talent for telling stories. I wrote my experiences into a memoir, and that is how I got my agent!

6. What advice would you give an aspiring writer?

For aspiring writers, I would say, “Write every day.” Your creativity is a muscle—you have to work it out to make it strong. The more you write the better you will get. And get a broad spectrum of readers to show your work to – not just people of your own background or age group.

7. What do you think is the most important skill to have to succeed as a writer?

Tenacity. And self-motivation. And a capacity for being alone.

8. What is your favorite food and/or drink?

My favorite food is Wonderful Salt & Pepper Pistachios. And my favorite drink is San Pelligrino with frozen-lemon-juice ice cubes. (But if we’re talking drink drink, a dirty gin martini.)

9. Do you have a favorite book or movie?

My favorite book is The Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin. Although the author rejects the label of “magical realism,” that’s how I see it—New York described in a way that gives a glimpse of the magic lying underneath its deceptively ordinary mask.

10. Is there anything I didn’t ask you that you’d like to share?

Thanks for hosting me on your blog!

Amy Plum is the author of the International Bestseller DIE FOR ME, which is an Indie Next List pick, Romance Times top pick, and recipient of a starred review from School Library Journal. DIE FOR ME is the first novel in a YA trilogy set in Paris. Book 2 in the series, UNTIL I DIE, releases in May 2012.

Amy grew up in Birmingham, Alabama before venturing further afield to Chicago, Paris, London and New York. An art historian by training, she can be found on most days either daydreaming or writing (or both) in a Parisian café.

Her website is: http://www.amyplumbooks.com


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This Writer’s Life: Family & Friends

Fixings for 3 Lbs Pasta and Kids Making Sign for Dad


The Perfect Summer Weekend


This past weekend was spent the way I dream every summer weekend should be spent: hosting get togethers at our place, eating good food with good friends and family.

My honey is blessed with the voice of an angel and this weekend had a chance to audition for The Voice. Because of some connections from a friend, he was able to avoid the cattle call and was ushered in as soon as he arrived.

He was cut.

On the bright side, the casting director actually looked up from her laptop when my honey sang and watched his entire audition. The rest of the singers in his group (9) apparently didn’t even warrant a glance. She kept her eyes glued to the computer and acted as if she would rather have pencils shoved in her ears than listen to them sing.

She did scold my husband for picking the two most popular audition songs: An Adele song and Etta James “At Last.” She asked him what else he had and he sang “Only You” by The Platters.

In his defense, those two popular songs really showcase his range and his voice. In fact, he has been flown to weddings across the country to sing his rendition of At Last. And his Adele song — well he KILLS it as you can tell even from this terrible video:

Anyway, because we lived in LA for years and know how fickle Hollywood is (I worked at EMI Records and Rolling Stone Magazine) we knew it was a crapshoot, but decided to have a party no matter what happened at the audition.

So Saturday night was spent with our gigantic family spilling out of our tiny house and into our back yard as we ate and ate and ate and the kids watched movies inside and tried to beat the heat with a small window air conditioner that a dear friend loaned to us when our central air broke on the fourth of July.

I was so crazy busy I didn’t take one picture of the madness and now am wishing I had. Oh well. I’m sure we’ll have another party soon. Our immediate family and a few close friends meant about 30 people at our tiny house. Fun times.


Hot wings, Shrimp, Potatoes, Pineapple, Rose

Then, on Sunday, we had dinner guests again, some journalism friends who are moving across the country to Maine. We tried out a new recipe from my friend Jasen and — as with all the recipes he shares — we we’re not disappointed.

P.S. That is my super talented friend, Mark, who took the amazing photo of me above with the rainbow in the cemetery!

It's not a party until the guitars come out

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