Watch out for the give-away question at the end of the interview.
Q: Congratulations on your R*BY win, Tracey. (Mainstream book with strong romantic theme, 2010). I see you were also a finalist in the Aurealis Awards (Best Horror 2009). That must have been a buzz. Do you think winning awards improves sales?
It was a very big buzz. It was great having my debut wo well received. The RuBY was just – wow. I never anticipated it would win, so much so I didn’t even prepare a speech. I’m never doing that again. And when I was nominated for the Aurealis – I was so over the moon, and for the horror category as well. One day I would like to write some pure horror.
Q: I see you live in far north Queensland. Were you affected by the category 5 cyclone that swept through there earlier this year?
Actually I live in the ACT, but grew up in Canberra. It was quite an ordeal first worrying about family and close friends in the Queensland floods. Then a few weeks later worrying about extended family up in the north of the state. Followed closely by the Christchurch earthquake. It has been a really horrible time for all the people that live in those areas and my heart goes out to the ones who lost homes, or worse, loved ones in those terrible disasters.
I got asked for my ideas, and give them an impression of what I would like to see. With the first book, when they asked what I thought – and I said the opening scene, where Antoinette (the heroine) is perched on the windowsill with the sword strapped to her back would be really cool. But I could never have anticipated the wonderful cover that eventuated. I actually cried tears of joy when I saw it. The second cover is just as amazing.
Q: I see there is a third book in the Dark Brethren series Sin’s Dark Caress. Can you tell us a little about it?
With the first book, I mainly concentrated on the vampiric Aeternus race, the second was shapeshifting Animalians, and in the third I am going to delve into the world of the magic wielders. I am finding this story is quite a bit darker again from the first two. And that is all I am giving away at the moment.
Q: It sounds like your books have a strong thriller/mystery in them. Are you a fan of thriller/mystery books?
I loved the Arthur Upfield, Napoleon Bonaparte (Boney) books when I was a teenager and I’m a big Agatha Christy fan, however mainly the TV series and movies rather than the books which I sometimes find a bit tedious.
I would say I am more of a fantasy and horror fan than thriller/mysteries. Having said that, I love something that will take me to unexpected places and have twists I don’t see coming.
Q: In the Dark Faerie Tales guest post you say: ‘I like to describe the Dark Brethren books as a series concentrating on a central group of characters similar to what you would see in a TV series. Each book has a self contained story with a different heroine and hero but some of the themes are carried throughout the series.’ This reminds me of Buffy or Angel. Are you a fan of Joss Whedon?
OMG yes – very big Joss fan. My favourite series of his though, is Firefly. I actually didn’t like Buffy or Angel as characters much, but loved the characters that supported them. I think Joss’ characterisation is fantastic. The richness and complexity he gives to each individual is one of the most amazing things about his work.
Q: I see in your bio you say your first book just ‘flowed out of you like molasses on a hot day’ LOL. Do you still write that fast? How does it take you to write a Dark Brethren book?
Unfortunately no. That was back in the days before I knew what I was writing was rubbish. Now I agonise over the words more than I want too and I am so grammatically challenged it’s almost a crime. Now I when I see what I’m writing is rubbish, I have to work it out before I can move on. This is a bad habit that I will have to get out of.
Q: I was prompted to start this series of interviews because there seems to be a perception in the US and the UK that fantasy is a bit of a boy’s club. Do you think there’s a difference in the way males and females write fantasy?
That is a very interesting question. I can’t say for sure and I definitely don’t want to pigeonhole writers. Of course every writer writes differently, it’s called the author voice. And there is not one better than the other.
But if I think about my some of my favourite writers, George RR Martin and Raymond E Feist, they have great books, and there are relationships, but I tend to think they concentrate on action, the sweeping epicness and the political intrigue of it all. Whereas my two favourite female authors, Jean M Auel and Anne McCaffery, their stories are just as sweeping and filled with almost as much action and intrigue, but I think the relationships (and I am not just talking romantic ones here) tend to have a bit more focus and feel a bit more personal. As I said – I don’t want to generalise. This is just purely my impression of the top of my head.
And sometimes I get the impression that if it’s a woman writer and the story has anything about relationships, some will say it’s romance, which for some reason is seen as lesser and something to be denigrated. Whereas if it’s a male, it can be seen as a well rounded story with depth and emotional pull.
Q: Following on from that, does the gender of the writer change your expectations when you pick up their book?
No. I read stories. I like to find out more about the author, especially if I enjoy their books. But what I’m really looking for is a story to get totally drawn into and lost.
Q: And here’s the fun question. If you could book a trip on a time machine, where and when would you go, and why?
OMG – that is so hard. The romantic in me would say in the times of the Vikings or Ancient Egypt, but it would depend of who or what I was there. I mean it wouldn’t be much fun going back to Viking days and being murdered in a Viking raid of my village. Nor would it be that much fun ending up as one of the slaves sealed alive in the tomb of a dead pharaoh. I think I am too much of a realist to want to go back in time. And I definitely don’t want to see what’s ahead for similar reasons.
Tracey will give-away a copy of latest book. Here’s the give-away question:
Tracey says – I’ve just started reading Game of Thrones, by George RR Martin, and I love this book because the writing is superb, the characters complex and three dimensional, the setting is vivid and beautifully described. It is what I would like to write when I grow up. What is your favourite book and what about it attracts your attention?
Follow Tracey on Twitter: @traceyohara