Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and I’m looking forward to settling in with Reserved, a new romance by Tracy Ewens. Reserved is the fourth book in Tracy’s Love Story series. I’ve read the other three and have thoroughly enjoyed the author’s modern, sassy and a little bit steamy writing style.
Here’s a preview of Reserved, as it appears on Amazon:
Makenna Rye Conroy was living the dream—with an amazing husband and a beautiful new baby daughter—when one night changed everything.
Almost six years after Adam’s death, Makenna and her daughter Paige have built a solid, happy life together. Makenna manages her brother’s trendy restaurant, The Yard, and helps out at Ryeland Farms, the family business, all while navigating the world of private school parenting. Sure, being a single mom has its challenges, but she hardly has time to pack her daughter’s lunch in the morning, let alone think about dating.
Travis McNulty, the middle child and biggest disappointment of the McNulty clan, is a chef at his best friend’s new restaurant. He gave up apologizing for not being the football hero his family wanted a long time ago. In fact, Travis apologizes for very little these days. He loves creating great food—it’s more of a passion than a job—and he lives life on his own terms with few complications.
For the past couple years, Makenna and Travis have worked side by side at The Yard, bickering, teasing, and never taking each other very seriously. That is until Makenna has her usual reoccurring dream; but this time, instead of her late husband as the featured man, Travis stands in his place. Travis may be attracted to his best friend’s sister, but she’s a widow and a mother, which tops the charts for complicated in his book.
As the game changes, Makenna and Travis, with a little help from Paige, have to figure out what they are willing to risk to reserve a table for three.
Looking forward to reading Reserved soon!
Check out these terrific book covers and click on the titles below to read my reviews of Tracy’s earlier romances:
If only life were as simple as following a recipe…
Who’s looking for a little fun and romance during the holiday season? What better way than to curl up with a fun romantic novel? Enter my giveaway for a chance to win a free, autographed copy of Taste by Tracy Ewens.
Anyone will tell you that the restaurant business is tough, and food critics like Kara Malendar make it even tougher. Kara is known for her scathing reviews in the LA Times food section and the word is that her recent review of the Marco Polo was “the last nail in the coffin.” Kara loves the power of her job, but she feels a twinge of guilt when she sees the Marco Polo shutting down. What kind of career is being a food critic anyway? Kara’s not even sure she likes eating anymore.
As the daughter of U.S. Senator Patrick Malendar from California, Kara has spent most of her life in the public eye. And since she was a young girl, her mother Bindi has instructed Kara on all points of public life, what to wear, how to stand, where to look, how to smile. Kara’s just about fed up and somewhere deep inside her a change is beginning to take place.
Meanwhile, Logan Rye is putting all his energy into his new restaurant, The Yard, which is quickly becoming the hip place to eat. Logan and his friend, Travis are great cooks with high standards and they insist on using fresh meats and home grown produce from the Rye family’s farm. In addition to the best ingredients, Logan knows that hard work is the key to The Yard’s success. After all, hard work is all Logan knows. He’s been his family’s caretaker ever since he can remember.
Logan is working too hard to have a personal life, but no matter. He was stung before, by a certain LA Times food critic and there’s no way he’ll let that happen again with her or any woman. He’ll leave the womanizing to Travis. But when Kara is assigned to write a three-part feature on The Yard, it’s only a matter of time before these two worlds collide. Can Kara and Logan overcome past hurts and let love in?
In Taste, Tracy Ewens has set the stage for another hip, modern romance with plenty of good-looking characters, tantalizing dialogue, and a classy amount of spice and steam. But there are also realistic ups and downs, grounding moments of family conflict and consistent themes of friendship, family and love because in the end, that’s what it all comes down to, isn’t it?
Taste is the third in the series of love stories by Tracy Ewens, which was brought to life by her first romantic novel, Catalina Kiss. In each love story, Ewens focuses on one or two characters, but all her characters’ lives and histories overlap, making for a nice continuum. Each book stands alone and I believe the series can be read in any order.
Taste is full of references to mouthwatering foods, sharp dressing, with a good amount of humor. It’s a fun escape with a fantastic finish, confirming the author’s belief in love and romance.
I received an ARC to review Taste, which will be released on October 27, 2015.
If you like romance, click on the titles below to check out my reviews of Tracy Ewens’ earlier romances:
Books: Catalina Kiss and the A Love Story Series (Premiere, Candidate, and Taste – out 10/27/15, Reserved – out 2/9/16)
Bio: Tracy Ewens writes contemporary romance and shares a beautiful piece of the desert with her husband and three children in New River, Arizona. She is a recovered theatre major who also blogs at From the Laundry Room.
Taste is her fourth novel, and the third in her A Love Story series. Tracy is a horrible cook, wishes she could speak Italian, and bakes a mean Snickerdoodle.
Favorite thing about being a writer: There are so many great things about being a writer. My mind is constantly working. I like that. There’s always something going on or something to figure out. I also like the people I meet in my head. It’s such a joy to create characters and then watch them evolve through a novel. They tell the story most of the time. I’m sort of like a crossing guard. I make sure they don’t get too far off track. Writing is honestly the very best job in the world, and believe me, I’ve had a few other jobs.
Biggest challenge as an indie author: That’s a toss up between finding the right support and promotion. It has taken me a while to find the right team of editors, etc. When I was traditionally published, I wrote the story and emailed the manuscript. What went on after that was simply a matter of, “This is how we are going to do it,” and me nodding. Publishing independently allows for so many freedoms, but with those come a pretty huge responsibility to present professional work that can compete with the sea of traditionally published stories backed by large houses. Typos, mistakes, are a death sentence for independent work because readers tend to discount you as an amateur.
Promotion is really my own personal hurdle. There are more avenues for independent promotion than ever before, but I often long for someone to tell me what to do and where to be. Selling myself, my work, is not a natural thing for me; so when I have to do it on my own, motivate myself, it can be challenging. But, promotion is part of the deal and I get better with each book.
Favorite book: Such an unfair question, Barb. On a desert island, I can only bring one book . . . Great Expectations. It’s as perfect a book as I have ever read, in my humble opinion. J
I’m looking forward tso getting started on my advance copy of Tracy Ewens’ latest book, Candidate – A Love Story. Tracy has written two other terrific romances, Catalina Kiss and Premiere. This one is about Grady Malendar, a character from her second book, Premiere. Be sure to visit Tracy’s blog, From the Laundry Room to stay up to date on everything she is doing.
If only life were as simple as choosing between Toaster Strudel and Fruit Loops.
Katherine Galloway is two years divorced and still living out of boxes. Between her brothers (cops that work with her ex) and her mother’s constant reminders that her clock is ticking, Kate is trying to hold it all together. But the truth is, she’s eating Toaster Strudel for dinner, and living and breathing her PR career.. When it comes to public relations, there’s nothing she can’t handle . . . or at least that’s what she thinks.
Grady Malendar, the only son of California State Senator, Patrick Malendar, has a reputation as a playboy who likes to have a little too much fun. The senator is running for re-election and needs Grady’s help with the youth vote. But what they want is a new and improved, headline-free Grady, so they hire a PR firm. Grady is willing to participate in the dog and pony show to help his father win, but there are some things about Grady’s life he wants to keep hidden. Especially from his snoopy new PR “babysitter,” Kate Galloway.
Somewhere between campaign stops and fundraisers, Kate and Grady discover that neither of them are what they appear to be on the surface. Tensions between them grow until there is no denying they are falling in love behind the scenes of a façade they both need to keep in place. Will scandal, old wounds, and secrets tear them apart, or will Kate and Grady realize, despite appearances, they are both candidates for love?
Candidate will be available for purchase on June 23, 2015.
Click on the titles for my reviews of Tracy’s other books. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!
I recently had a chance to interview Tracy Ewens about her latest book, Premiere. I’ve always been very interested in how writers develop characters and plots and Tracy has graciously and openly answered all my detailed questions – so thanks, Tracy, for such a wonderful interview!
BCM: Congratulations on the publication of Premiere, your second novel! I really enjoyed reading the ARC you sent me. Tell me how readers can purchase your book.
TE: Thank you, Barb. Premiere: A Love Story is now available through amazon.com in both print and Kindle formats. It will be available in print through other retailers in a few weeks, and finally in NOOK format early next year.
BCM: And tell me about the Goodreads giveaway!
TE: I did this with Catalina Kiss and it was great fun. From 10/18 until 11/18, Goodreads members can enter to win one of five free copies of Premiere. Goodreads randomly selects five people and then I sign and send the books to them. I’ve opened it up to the UK and Australia for this book.
BCM: So, how was the process the second time around? Easier, more difficult? Were there different roadblocks?
TE: Premiere was more difficult than Catalina Kiss because when I wrote Catalina Kiss I really had no idea what I was doing. Sometimes ignorance is bliss. I was just happy to write and Catalina Kiss was such a simple story. Once I was finished with it, I wanted to do more, expand what I could write about and create characters with a bit more going on. That is easier said than done.
The story for Premiere came quickly, but the characters were challenging. There were periods when I didn’t like either one of them. I wanted them to grow up, or stop whining, but it took me a while to figure out how to fix them. I think Premiere was more difficult because I wanted more, more of a story, so it pushed me. I feel like each story does that, moves me forward as a writer. I’m enjoying that process.
BCM: And how long did it take you to get from the first page to today?
TE: I finished Premiere about 3 months after Catalina Kiss came out, so 2013. It was edited once and then I sat with it. No one wanted to publish it, so I reworked it here and there, gave up on it at least half a dozen times. About six months ago, I found Maya Rock and she was the editor I needed. She asked the hard questions and helped me find a story that was clear and that I was proud to tell.
Until the second edit, Premiere was…fuzzy. There were some parts that just lost me and I knew they would lose readers, but I wasn’t sure how to fix them. I was too close. Maya came in and said, “Yeah, you can delete this,” or “I don’t understand why he would do this. Make sure that’s clear.” She was a fantastic resource.
Steven King once said, “kill your darlings” in reference to being able to edit and slash things that, no matter how much you love them, are not working. I struggled with exactly that while writing Premiere. So, to answer your question Premiere took about four months to write and over a year to edit and publish.
BCM: I like how you linked Premiere to Catalina Kiss. You don’t have to read the first to enjoy the second, but it was nice for me to have that connection. Do you think you will continue to write stories which include a little bit of Samantha’s family history?
TE: Premiere is the first in a four book A Love Story Series. Candidate is Grady’s story. It will have bits of Sam and Peter and of course their families. The third book will about Grady’s bitchy sister, Kara, and Logan who is a chef. The final book in the series takes place in Pasadena and Bodega Bay, which is another area of California that I love. The last book will be about Logan’s brother.
So, not so much Sam’s family history, but there will be pieces and characters from other books throughout the series. None of them will need to be read in order, but as you mentioned, it will be fun to spot the references.
BCM: Premiere is a modern story about a romance that sparks between your two main characters, Samantha and Peter, great friends growing up, and then it gets complicated. Which was more fun to write about, the conflicts or the romance between these characters?
TE: Both. I really enjoy a great fight and the tender revealing parts of making up. There’s honesty on both sides. People tend to reveal things in anger and then stretch where they are willing to go for reconciliation.
Sam and Peter have a history that I love. I think it really grounds their relationship and maybe helps explain why they put up with each other during certain parts of the story. It also explains why certain things hit them harder than say, a couple just getting to know each other. The history also creates some lovely moments romantically for them too.
There’s a part in the book where Sam recognizes what a rare thing it is to know a man and also remember him as the boy getting his first bike. When two characters are that connected, I think it adds something to the romance. It allows for laughter and genuineness that I really enjoyed writing.
BCM: You mentioned in our last interview that when you were writing Premiere, you created Peter’s character first. I think readers often assume that modern romance stories are mostly about the female character, but Peter’s character is very developed, and really expresses the twenty-something male mind. Which character was easier to write about, Samantha or Peter?
TE: Peter and I had a really tough time in the beginning and throughout the first set of revisions. He’s a complicated character and his first incarnation was super angsty. He was annoying and hadn’t really come into himself. I found myself wondering why the hell he came back at all if he still couldn’t get his act together. So, he took time, but I loved him by the final draft. It’s important for me that my men have dimension, that they are human beings and not simply a set of rippling abs. Peter grew into a really lovely, fumbling, damaged soul.
Samantha took some time too. I needed her to have a backbone and something to lose if she let Peter back in. At the same time, I wanted her to be vulnerable and loving. She comes from a great home and being a failed actress is always a touch dramatic. My editor still thinks she “cries an awful lot.” She’s solid, weighted in her family and deeply in love with Peter.
BCM: And so for you as a writer, does the character idea come first and then the plot, or do you develop both at the same time?
TE: The characters and the general place come first. I’m inspired by places. So, for Premiere, I had Peter and Sam in the room with me and I knew we were talking about a second chance and most of it would take place in a theatre. I always knew that theatre would be the Pasadena Playhouse.
The conflict arrives once I put them in the space, or figure out their backstory. Before the actual plotting begins, I have my ending. I always need to have some idea how the story ends, so I know where I’m taking these people.
The middle is the adventure; I’m often not sure what will pop up in the middle because it’s really driven by the characters.
BCM: In Premiere, you raise a sticky question that applies to all fiction writers. As a playwright, Peter’s best material comes from his own painful and very personal experiences. And Samantha and the rest of Peter’s friends and family have to deal with their personal lives being put up on stage for all to see. I think all writers do this to varying extents. Is it easy to remove yourself from your characters and give them attributes that don’t directly reflect your own experiences? How do you deal with ideas that come from your own experiences and put them into fiction?
TE: That’s a great question. I don’t see my characters as any one person in his or her entirety, but there are pieces of people I know, or have known, in my characters. The characteristics are usually jumbled and often pop up in the weirdest places.
For example, Grady says, “Progress, not perfection.” That is a phrase my mom’s husband uses all the time. Grady is nothing like her husband, but that phrase, that life philosophy, fits Grady, so it worked for the character. Gil, her husband, will recognize the phrase, but he certainly won’t think Grady is modeled after him. Another one is the breakfast that Peter eats every morning. It’s a breakfast my friend used to eat. I liked it because it seems so over the top to add all of that to Raisin Bran. It’s a quirk that works for Peter, but again, he’s nothing like my friend.
I’m a bit of a quirk collector, so those are usually things people in my real life will recognize, but my characters are always fiction. I have some people that I would love to directly translate to fiction, but I’m not sure I could do that. Knowing people is a bit of a confidence that shouldn’t be violated. If people let you in on a level that you could develop a character, I think that’s sacred and should be protected.
It speaks to Peter’s self centeredness that he doesn’t work harder to mask his characters or thinks nothing of sharing Sam with an audience of strangers. In his defense, the love scene is abstract, but it’s still a violation. It’s the only way he knows how to relate, or communicate for that matter, so it works for the character.
BCM: In our last interview, you named An Affair to Remember as one of your favorite movies, so that made it fun for me when Samantha and Peter watch this and one of Peter’s favorites, Some Kind of Wonderful, on their special movie date. How do details like this make it into your writing? Is it planned or more spontaneous?
TE: They are spontaneous. I’m not always sure where they come from. I was writing that scene and I wanted something that reflected the difference between Sam and Peter. Those two movies and specifically the two scenes noted in the book came to mind. I think if I had tried to plan it I would have messed it up, over thought it. When I’m open and my writing is flowing, the details are there, they appear. It’s one of my favorite parts about being a writer. I sometimes feel as if I have this buried treasure of things, events, people, conversations that I discover each time I allow myself the creative space.
BCM: Tell me about the Pasadena Playhouse. As soon as my review of Premiere went online, they followed me on Twitter! How did you choose that playhouse to be Premiere’s venue?
TE: They followed you…Yay! I love Pasadena and the Playhouse has an energy, a history, which I have always found fascinating. It’s a gem and has not always had an easy run. It seemed the perfect place to put two people in need of strength. The Playhouse is a survivor. She adapts and moves forward.
I liked that structural image for this story. There’s also a connection to the community that I’m not sure many theatres have. Since Premiere is so centered around home and community, it seemed like the perfect place.
BCM: So, as you mentioned, your next book, Candidate, is about Grady, another major character in Premiere. Can you tell me a little bit about it?
TE: Yes, Candidate is Grady’s story. The first draft will be finished 11/21/14. I have to say that I love him. I mean, I always love the characters I’m working on, but Grady is something special. He’s the charmer, the smartass, in Premiere. I wanted to explore that and he certainly opens up into so much more in Candidate. Grady is the senator’s son. He’s the definition of privileged and a bit wild, at least on the surface. His father is running for re-election and hires a PR firm to help him with the youth vote, make him more relevant.
Kate works for the PR firm. She is from a cop’s family. Very grounded and two years divorced from a cop. Candidate is about appearances, keeping them up and discovering what often lies beneath. We see a little more of Grady’s bitchy sister, Kara, in Candidate as a lead into the third book, Al dente: A Love Story. Candidate travels to Washington DC and San Francisco with plenty of time in Pasadena and Los Angeles. There’s a definite clash of collars, blue and white, in Candidate.
BCM: I’d love to hear about what you do to give your writing polish. Do you go to writing workshops or trade ideas and advice with other writers?
TE: I’m super boring in this area. I write alone. I don’t have a writer’s group and I don’t really attend workshops yet. I have this weird sense that I’m always new, starting out, and not quite ready for “real writer” stuff. I’m not great at sharing my work before it’s done, or while I’m in the process. I don’t really want anyone’s opinion at that point.
Once I’ve finished the journey, I do ask for people to read and comment. I now work with two editors and a small group of people that I share my work with prior to publication. My advice to other writers is always, do what works for you. Writing feels very personal for me and I think processes can be, and should be, as unique as the people trying to share their stories.
BCM: Have you ever tried writing short fiction? Do you have any other projects in the works?
TE: I have never tried writing short fiction, but I do have a lot of fun on yeahwrite.me. They give a micro fiction prompt every week where the writer needs to tell a story in exactly 42 words. I tend to be very wordy, so these weekly exercises in brevity are great for me.
I’m currently finishing up Candidate before it goes to my editor for a first read through and I’m always blogging, although I’ve been in and out of the laundry room lately. It’s hard to keep both going when I’m trying to finish a manuscript.
BCM: Thank you so much, Tracy, for taking time to do this interview. Best wishes to you!
TE: It is always lovely to be asked. Thank you for everything, Barb.
I am very excited to post an author interview with Tracy Ewens. I recently reviewed Catalina Kiss and, soon after, Tracy graciously agreed to an interview with me. Tracy has a broad range of interests which influence her writing on many levels. We met through blogging and she uses her blog site, From the Laundry Room, (http://fromthelaundryroom.com/about/) as a platform for her creative thinking. Tracy has shared many of her writing and publishing experiences below. I hope you enjoy reading her responses as much as I did!
BCM: Since you and I met through our blogs, the subject of blogging seems like a great place to start. In visiting your blog, From the Laundry Room, I see that you have been on the blogging scene for a number of years. What’s the best thing you have experienced about blogging?
TE: Blogging is interesting. I blog in a vacuum, tell myself no one is reading. Somewhere I know people follow the blog and comment, but each time I post I play a game with myself that no one will be reading. That’s the only way it works for me, otherwise I start filtering and that is no fun.
The Laundry Room has been my space for a few years, but I have started blogging regularly and reading other blogs for about two years. I follow some great blogs, yours included.
The best thing I’ve experienced? Probably hearing from people all over the world. It is incredible when something I write reaches people with vastly different lives and cultures.
BCM: I like thinking about different genres of literature and how each answers to specific reader tastes. I enjoyed reading Catalina Kiss, a romance, because it allows the reader to relax and enjoy an intelligent story and have a little fun along the way. How did you come up with the idea to write this story?
TE: I’ve been to Catalina Island several times and the mermaid above the entrance to the casino has always intrigued me. She’s very sensual, but her face is pensive, smart. Something is going on in her eyes. I had never written anything before Catalina Kiss, but I wondered about her story. Catalina is brimming with history and interesting tales, but there wasn’t really a story for the mermaid, so I made one up. Then I wondered if my story could be a book. I started, got lost in a wonderful world and I kept going.
Gwen came first, I wanted to explore a struggle and see if I could show a character evolving. I’ve had several readers say she annoyed them; it’s a bit of a backdoor compliment because I was just happy I created anything real enough to be annoying. Gwen is frustrating, but I love that about her. She struggles and grows. She never really has all the answers.
Once Gwen was fully formed, I needed a man that would love her differences, her insanity. Michael was born and I fell in love with him too. These two people, their families and the backdrop of Catalina then guided the story. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of writing Catalina Kiss.
BCM: I’d love to learn about the process you went through in writing this book. Did you decide it would be a romance novel and structure it to fit into that genre?
TE: Catalina Kiss was originally titled Avalon, but when Avalon Books, from New York, purchased it (I know, so weird, right?), they felt it would be too confusing, so the title was changed to Catalina Kiss. I have never been crazy about the title; it always rang a little schmaltzy for me. It is a simple story and I hope it’s romantic, but it seems more about family, and a young woman finding her place than just a kiss. So, I suppose I always knew it would be a romance, but I didn’t follow a set formula or structure per se.
BCM: Tell me about your writing process. Do you write every day? How do you manage your regular work schedule and your writing schedule?
TE: I do write every day. It’s like exercise for me, not negotiable. It helps that I love it, but I also believe practice is essential. I have so many stories I want to share, but sometimes I trip over my skill level.
Writing is work and I want the very best instrument so I can do my characters justice. It’s such a privilege when someone opens your book and lets you to take them on a journey. Every book is my very best effort at the time I’m writing it. I wrote Catalina Kiss just over four years ago. If I were writing it today, I’d change just about everything, but it’s a reflection of where I was as a writer at that time, so I try to cut myself some slack.
As far as finding time to write, I don’t watch television. I have a couple of shows that I try to follow, but I watch on my computer so I can schedule my time. I’m a horrible cook, so my husband cooks for us and I’m fortunate that my work schedule is pretty flexible. That being said, I wrote even when my job was a nightmare. Everyone makes time for the things that are important.
BCM: Do you ask your family for feedback?
TE: I rambled for months about Michael and Gwen when I was writing my first book. My husband listened and shared his thoughts, he got into it for a couple of months, but he has not read any of my books. My children promise to read my books as soon as I write about vampires or aliens.
BCM: As a first-time author, what were some of the obstacles you faced in getting Catalina Kiss published?
TE: I paid an editor to review my manuscript. He was patient and brutally honest. I wrote and rewrote and then he said it was time to find a publisher. I sent out letters and a ridiculously long synopsis.
I received rejection after rejection. Yes, I saved them all. I think my favorite was, “this story didn’t really hold my interest past page two.” Ouch!
After a few months, right before Christmas, Avalon Books called and said they enjoyed my book and would like to publish it. I had no experience and I honestly couldn’t believe someone wanted to pay me. I enjoyed my brief relationship with Avalon Books. They were a small publishing house really interested in book making, so that was fun. A few months after I signed, Avalon was sold to Amazon and I was thrust into a pretty large machine. I waited about a year and then Catalina Kiss came out.
BCM: Can you tell me about the specific challenges of finding an agent?
TE: I have never looked for nor had an agent. I’m going to start that process next month, so I’m sure challenges will abound.
BCM: I’ve asked other writers this same question and gotten very different answers. It seems as if now more than ever, writers need to have a prominent and interactive internet presence. Readers choose their next book to read in a completely different way than they did years ago. People are spending less and less time in bookstores just browsing and more time actually researching what they’re going to read, through online book promotions and reader reviews. Do you enjoy the marketing aspect of being a writer?
TE: Sigh…I should say that I do, that I’m invigorated by the online community and promoting my work, but that would be a huge lie. I love writing, I’m honored when someone reads my work and it takes him or her somewhere, but I would rather have a root canal than promote/market myself. I don’t mind discussing my writing to a certain extent, but the “selling” of things is not my strong suit.
BCM: I would think that having an internet presence goes hand-in-hand to being tech-savvy, being able to manage a wide variety of social media platforms as well as having knowledge of the many different devices people use to get information about your books and other creative efforts. Do you enjoy this high-tech element of our modern world? What do you think is the most useful part of social media?
TE: I have a love/hate relationship with high tech anything. There is no question the ease and access to information is unprecedented and exciting, but there’s a distance that all this technology creates. It’s wonderful because we can share information and stay in touch, but I think it has to be tempered with occasional handshakes, eye contact. I would say the most useful part of social media for writers is being able to reach readers independently. There’s no longer a wall or barrier between authors and the readers that enjoy their work. That aspect opens up a lot of avenues for writers.
BCM: You have written a new book, Premiere, another love story. And in this book, the story centers around the stage premiere of one of your characters. I read on your website that you majored in Theater/Acting. Were you able to draw from these experiences to write this story?
TE: After Catalina Kiss, I wanted to write a contemporary story, so I decided to write about Michael and Gwen’s granddaughter. Premiere is her story. The books are not dependent upon each other, but there are some references to Catalina.
I’m honestly not sure why this one was set in a theatre. I knew I wanted to write a story about friends that become more and in this book Peter, the hero, developed first. I have always loved the theatre and my major gave me a familiarity that was so helpful. I liked the idea of making amends or working out issues through a play. Samantha, the heroine, studied to be an actress, so I was intrigued by the juxtaposition of a playwright that is never on the stage and an actress that puts everything out there. Theatres are so romantic, at least I think they are, so I enjoyed being in those spaces for the months I was writing and I suppose it did bring back memories.
BCM: Do you think this college major has helped you with story-telling?
TE: I think it may help. Theatre/Acting is about realizing a character, creating a world for that character to live, so that aspect is helpful. I’m starting to think there’s a bit of a downside because I often get trapped in my character’s head. That’s not always good for story telling, but kept under control, it brings a depth to my characters not always found in romance.
BCM: I noticed that you like listening to a wide range of music, from Frank Sinatra to Lady Gaga. I’m sure that helps with writing stories. Of all the music you listen to, is there any one artist that has influenced you the most?
TE: Oh, very tough question. I create playlists for each project. I have A LOT of music and I like to write to music. It’s interesting because in my non-writing life, I enjoy music that is lyric heavy (Dave Matthew’s Band, Sara McLaughlin), but I can’t listen to those songs when I write. Too many words swimming around. I usually pick songs that evoke a mood or put me somewhere when I’m writing. John Legend, Rascal Flatts, that one by A Great Big World… Say Something, is a current favorite.
BCM: Do you think your interest in movies has also influenced your writing? Any favorites?
TE: Hmm…I don’t think I’ve ever thought about movies and their influence on my writing. One of my favorite chapters in Premiere takes place in a movie theatre on Catalina Island. Peter and Samantha discuss movies. I love going to the movies and that moment when the lights dim and it’s story time. My fourth novel will move around a woman who inherits an old movie house, so I suppose like every thing else, my love of the movies bleeds into my writing.
Favorites? Oh boy, there’s not enough time. Room with a View will always sit in the top ten. After that…well I’ll just ramble what comes to mind. Out of Africa, The Godfather, The Young Victoria, Tommy Boy, An Affair to Remember, The Dark Knight, Ratatouille, Hangover, and Anonymous. Oh, also Amelie and the new one I recently reviewed…About Time. That was a lovely film.
BCM: What kinds of books do you enjoy reading?
TE: I like books about relationships. They can be between a man and a woman, friends, family, but I need some kind of human connection. I like to read anything where people are interacting. I love witty dialogue and seeing characters trip over themselves while they figure out their life.
I like some of the classics. I’m pretty silly for Dickens. He was a master. I love Shakespeare’s rhythm, but I stopped reading his work back in college. I like watching his plays interpreted on stage and in film.
I read a lot of romance, I’ll even read cheesy romance, as long as there are no handcuffs and the women aren’t stupid. Nora Roberts usually handles my romance fix. She writes happy, wonderfully warm, stories.
BCM: I really like the cover of your new book, Premiere. It’s very inviting. Tell me about the process of choosing a book cover design.
TE: When it came time to design the cover for Catalina Kiss, I was given a choice of three covers. Because it was my first book, there were some things I insisted on (no kissing couple on the cover), but for the most part I had very little say. I think I drove them nuts because they finally said, “Attached is the cover we will be using.” Ha.
The cover for Premiere was my own design because I needed something for my website. Let’s hope when it’s published they agree because I’m really found of it too. Thank you.
BCM: When will Premiere hit the shelves?
TE: Oh that’s a very long story. After about two years and several editors, Montlake/Amazon rejected Premiere a couple of weeks ago. So, I’m working with my editor on a one-page synopsis and a super catchy query letter. I will go one round of letter and rejections to see how it goes and if I can’t find a home for Premiere, I’ll probably self-publish and move on. I’ll keep you posted.
BCM: Anything else in the works?
TE: I’m currently writing Candidate, which is Grady from Premiere’s story. He was so much fun while I was writing Premiere that he needed his own story. Grady is a senator’s son and he falls in love with a very different woman. I’m a little over half way through the first draft, so it should be ready for editing by July.
BCM: Thank you so much, Tracy, for taking the time to do this interview. I’m looking forward to reading Premiere and Candidate!
TE: Thank you, Barb.
Here is Tracy’s bio from Amazon.com:
I would love to say that I’ve always wanted to be a writer, that I have volumes of journals filled with enchanting stories, but that would be a lie. It’s sort of important to tell the truth on your own website, so we’ll stick with the truth.
My name is Tracy Ewens, I was born Tracy Leigh Wildberger. That’s right, when my children have the security question, “What’s your mother’s maiden name?” they get to use that doozie.
I was born in San Francisco and even though my parents moved when I was a baby, I like the way “I’m from San Francisco” rolls off the tongue. In my mind it elevates me to cool, sophisticated, able to eat anything I want because I “just have one of those metabolisms”.
Tracy from San Francisco always rocks jeans and she drinks shots of espresso. Tracy from San Francisco navigates a big city with ease, she can name classical composers upon hearing a few notes, she’s a fabulous dancer and her closet is filled with things that miraculously fall together every morning into perfect outfits. Sigh…I really love San Francisco Tracy, but honesty must prevail.
Tracy Wildberger was born in San Francisco, she moved around a bit as a child, spent several youthful years in New York and her teen years in Phoenix, Arizona. She went to the University of Arizona, but transferred to ASU to earn a degree in Theatre/Acting. Tracy Wildberger married a really great guy and she became Tracy Ewens. Alright, enough with the third person…
I live with said great guy and my three brilliant, talented and ridiculously good looking children (I think that’s how they wanted it written) in New River, Arizona. We have a house on a big piece of beautiful desert and while I curse the commute, I love my home. We laugh, hike, cook, enjoy greek yogurt, bake, travel and occasionally fight in front of the children.
I started writing my blog (www.fromthelaundryroom.com) a few years ago. I talk a lot and I like writing things down. I enjoy words and my imagination knows no bounds, so I decided to write a book. I know, no dream, no vision on a cold night, but I’m sticking with the honesty schtick.
This “write a book” idea turned into Catalina Kiss which was published on November 13, 2012.
If you’ve made it this far through my bio, you’re a trooper. I will close by saying that I believe television is highly over rated and almost everything worth saying comes from either Anna Quindlen or Robert Fulghum.
Thank you for visiting. Thank you for reading my books. I truly hope they take you some place wonderful and you spend time with people you care about.
If romance isn’t your thing, please visit my blog and enjoy the pure insanity that often appears in the laundry room.
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