Interview with Tracey Alvarez

When did you first start writing?
I first started *writing* seriously when I was in my early twenties - in fact, my now husband bought me my first ever computer. You can understand why I married him! The first book I finished at around 22 or 23 was a combination of romance/suspense/paranormal/serial killer...yeah, it was a hot mess and will never, ever, see the light of day. I was never confident enough to send it out in the world (and publishing was a lot different back in the 90's) so I started writing short stories instead. I wrote a ton, won a few national based short story competitions, had a few published in women's magazines both here in New Zealand and overseas, and also tried my hand at a few articles--which I didn't enjoy as much. Fast forward to getting married and having two kids and making the decision to home-school them...writing got put on hold for a decade. When both of my kids went back into the school system at ages 10 & 13, I decided to have another go at this writing thing, and go back to my first love, novels. Specifically romance novels. This time I stuck to it, learning my craft, doing the hard hours of butt-in-chair, entering first chapter competitions for feedback and constantly editing and improving my work. Now I can't imagine doing anything else.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I remember in primary school aged around 7 or 8 writing my first 'fan-fiction' starring the three little pigs and being excited because my mother kept telling people how great my story was. In high school my Granddad gave me a Stephen King-esque monster of a typewriter. I wrote my first 'real' short story for an English assignment on that bad boy. I got an A+ but more importantly a scrawled note from the teacher saying I had talent and should keep writing...I can never thank that teacher enough for her encouragement, because although the story was pretty much a knock-off of every teenage horror movie I'd seen up to that point, she inspired me to have faith in myself.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I'd love to say I live a wildly windswept and exciting life, but alas, nope. I'm a wife and stay-at-home mum to two kids who have grown supernaturally fast into teenagers. The four of us live with my elderly dad since we lost my mum two years ago, and it's a privilege to spend this time caring for him. I also do some volunteer work with a pre-school children's music group, which is great fun but reminds me on some days why I'm glad my kids are now teenagers! If I'm not writing, then I'm usually reading or catching up with my favorite TV shows (I LOVE The Walking Dead, and I'm a long-time Survivor fan - regardless of the fact that I wouldn't last a day in the wilderness or with a herd of zombies after me). I also tend to go a bit mad over crafts, buying up tons of supplies and then fending off my husband's eye-rolls when they gather dust in their half-finished state. Currently I have enough card making supplies to present every person in my address book with Christmas/birthday/get-well/sympathy cards a dozen times over, and there's a half knitted scarf in a bag beside my bed that's been there...never mind. Let's just say that I better hurry up and finish it while the weather is cool enough to wear it. But my very favourite way to spend time is road-trippin' with my family. In 2007, 2009, and 2011 the four of us flew to the USA and spent weeks travelling the highways and byways. We've driven through 38 states and I'd go back again in a flash if money wasn't an issue! Maybe when I've sold a few more books...
What is your writing process?
My writing process is a work in progress! You may have heard of the terms ‘plotter’ and ‘pantser’? Writers who ‘plot’ out their stories before they begin, or writers who start with a very basic idea or character and make up the story as the go (writing by the seat of their *pants*). I’m somewhere in the middle. I usually have the key scenes in mind before I start, with a few ‘Ooh, that’d be cool’ ideas to toss around. I tend to plot a little, pantser a little, freak out that I don’t know what the hell I’m doing, pantser a little more, get stuck, have an eureka moment at in inappropriate time/place which requires frantic scribbling in a notebook that I carry everywhere, plot some more, moan to my patient husband that I’m never going to finish this book and I just want my hero and heroine to be eaten by one of Stewart Island’s Great White sharks, have another brilliant idea which turns out to suck until I get smacked upside the head by an even better idea at three in the morning, madly finish the first draft, swear I’ll never write a book this way again, wildly celebrate until the euphoria wears off and then realise I now have to edit this mass of 90,000 plus words. Craziness re-ensues.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I like to see myself as someone who's not afraid to be a little different. I chose to live in an area that relied on alternative power and I opted to home-school my two kids for many years when there were good schools nearby. I'm not a huge risk taker, so I like to research all options and then go with what feels 'gut-right' to me. Becoming an indie author felt gut-right. I like having the freedom to publish what I want, how I want, and when I want. I like being able to tell a story my way, and make the final decisions about everything from cover to blurb to whether I should or shouldn't leave that extra cool scene in just because I like it. I like making my own marketing decisions, pricing decisions and working to my own schedule. And I also love the feeling of unity and kinship amongst other indie authors, of kinda feeling in a small way like a pioneer, following in the footsteps of other great indie authors that have traversed this new path before me.
What do you read for pleasure?
I'll read pretty much any genre of fiction if it grabs my attention. Sitting on my to-be-read *shelves* (no pile for me, LOL) I have paranormal romance, contemporary romance, suspense, horror, post-apocalyptic fiction, YA, fantasy romance, urban fantasy, mystery, science fiction, literary...yeah, pretty much everything. Just hook me in those first five pages and I'm yours.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
I'm not sure I can answer why, because there are so many special things about these 5 books IMO.
The Stand - Stephen King
Outlander - Diana Gabaldon
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - JK Rowling
The Best Man - Kristin Higgins
Simply Irresistible - Jill Shalvis
Who are your favorite authors?
I'm discovering new favorites every time I try a new book. But as of today, my favorites would be: Stephen King, Jill Shalvis, Kristan Higgins, Diana Gabaldon, Hugh Howey, JK Rowling, and Nora Roberts.
What do your fans mean to you?
I don't know if I have *fans* yet - if you are one, send me an e-mail, 'kay? Authors love knowing they have fans! But I do have readers that connect with me on social media like Facebook and Twitter, and they tell me how much they love my books. That keeps me going on bad days when the words dry up, it really does. I appreciate every single one of those readers for spending their precious reading time in my world. Goodness knows, there are millions of books they could choose from, so that they were willing to give me a chance to tell them a story? Priceless. Without readers, my stories are dead on the page - readers breath life into an author's words, and I'll never take that for granted.
What are you working on next?
Coming up next is the 10th book in the Stewart Island series, Bending the Rules. This book features a hero I've been dying to write since I started the series - Noah Daniels, the island's sole-charge police officer.
Published 2018-07-05.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Beneath The Christmas Stars
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 24,190. Language: English. Published: November 23, 2019. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary, Fiction » Holiday » Christmas
Karen Wallace's festive spirit has gone A.W.O.L 3 days before Christmas. Her perfect solution? Take a road trip to spend the holidays with her friend's family. Then a broken down car leaves Karen stranded at her friend's brother's house, along with his Grinch-like roommate, Art. Nothing will make the next few days bearable. Not even Art's stolen kisses beneath the Christmas stars.
Love Everlasting
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 66,600. Language: English. Published: June 25, 2019. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary, Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
Darby Livingston is a survivor. If she can survive breast cancer, she can survive dealing with Reid Hudson. Reid can make Darby's amateur theater production of Cinderella a success and she needs his help, because the play's donation to a cancer charity means everything to her. Along with her terrier side-kick, can Darby convince Reid that if the shoe/slipper fits, maybe she's his Happy Ever After?
Bounty Bay Vol. 1
Series: Bounty Bay. Price: $6.99 USD. Words: 219,130. Language: English. Published: August 22, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary, Fiction » Romance » General
Read the first 3 full-length standalone romance novels from USA Today bestselling author Tracey Alvarez’s Bounty Bay series. Hide Your Heart (Book #1) Hiding in plain sight just got complicated… Know Your Heart (Book #2) When the landlady from hell becomes the one woman he can't live without… Teach Your Heart (Book #3) Some men need to learn the hard way…
Bending The Rules
Series: Stewart Island. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 97,150. Language: English. Published: October 20, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
Cop Noah Daniels doesn't believe in unicorns or true love, not since his life went to hell six years ago. Emotions are easier to handle when they're out of sight, out of mind. But when script writer Tilly Montgomery crash-lands into his world on Stewart Island for a month, she might just be the one to convince him that unicorns and true love do exist. If they're prepared to bend the rules a bit.
Break Your Heart
Series: Bounty Bay. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 84,120. Language: English. Published: June 15, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
Fake girlfriend. Real sizzle. What could possibly go wrong? Single mum Vee Sullivan has a little girl to provide for and an eye on Bounty Bay's newest shopping center to expand her clothing business-if only she could afford it. So when Sam Ngata offers her a fake girlfriend deal in exchange for his retail space, Vee is tempted. But saying yes might mean risking a broken heart…
Home For Christmas
Series: Stewart Island, Book 12. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 36,100. Language: English. Published: November 26, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary, Fiction » Holiday » Christmas
They’re dreaming of a White Christmas… Carly Gatlin can’t wait to take her fiancé to Colorado for a snuggly snow-filled Christmas, only a freakish summer storm sweeps in disabling everyone’s plans. Still, with holiday surprises in store and even a secret admirer for Stewart Island’s elderly notorious matchmaker, the happy couples of Oban might not mind being home for Christmas after all.
Due South 2
Series: Stewart Island. Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 284,170. Language: English. Published: November 14, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary, Fiction » Romance » General
The Due South 2 Boxed set contains 4 books of USA TODAY BEST-SELLING author Tracey Alvarez’s series set against the stunning backdrop of Aotearoa, New Zealand. If you like heartwarming, small-town romances with a touch of comedy, you’ll love sharing the journey with these authentic men and women struggling to find their special someone. Includes books 6,7, 7.5 & 8.
Mend Your Heart
Series: Bounty Bay, Book 4. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 84,970. Language: English. Published: September 15, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
An idiot’s guide to falling for your best friend’s widow… Former rugby star Isaac Ngata was New Zealand’s golden boy until five years ago when a tragic accident took the life of his friend and team mate. Now he’s got a screwed up knee and a burden of guilt toward his friend’s wife, Natalie Fisher. Natalie’s teenage daughter’s rugby team needs a coach and the man she can’t stand has volunteered…
Romance Down Under
Price: Free! Words: 157,750. Language: English. Published: October 16, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
Read the first two full-length standalone romance novels from USA Today bestselling author Tracey Alvarez’s Stewart Island and Bounty Bay series. In Too Deep (Stewart Island Book 1) Two hearts. A second chance. Everything on the line… Hide Your Heart (Bounty Bay Book 1) Hiding in plain sight just got complicated…
Kissing The Bride
Series: Stewart Island, Book 9. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 19,930. Language: English. Published: June 20, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary, Fiction » Romance » Short stories
WARNING: If you’re new to the Stewart Island world, this fun and sexy short story of Del & Shaye’s wedding isn’t the book to start with. It’s 7 days until Shaye Harland and Del Westlake finally tie the knot. While marrying the man of Shaye’s dreams beats chocolate as an Easter treat, a few mini-catastrophes like Boris the obstinate sea lion threaten to ruin their special day.
Saying I Do
Series: Stewart Island, Book 8. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 87,770. Language: English. Published: May 16, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
A jilted small-town doctor. An allergic-to-white bridal boutique owner. Can these two gun-shy cynics ever say 'I Do'? Dr. Joe Whelan lost his taste for love when he was left at the altar; he won't be fooled again. MacKenna Jones loves a good wedding—so long as she’s not the one walking down the aisle. Is love in the cards for MacKenna and Joe when what happens in Vegas doesn't stay in Vegas?
Teach Your Heart
Series: Bounty Bay, Book 3. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 84,470. Language: English. Published: November 25, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
Some men need to learn the hard way… Doctor O-for-Awesome Owen Bennett is all about being responsible. But when he’s temporarily put in charge of three precocious kids, chaos reigns and his list of household rules gets tossed out the window. Except one. Under no circumstance will he get involved with the kids’ tempting new nanny, Gracie Cooper. Some rules are made to be broken…
Drawing Me In
Series: Stewart Island, Book 7. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 100,490. Language: English. Published: May 16, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
A nine-year-old secret he never saw coming… Bree Findlow’s ordered life just got complicated. Harley, the man who once broke her heart has moved back to Stewart Island, and her sister arrives with a boy with Harley’s eyes and artistic talent. With Harley’s dark past, he never wanted to risk a family. But what choice does he have when Bree won’t see reason? Fight hard, fight dirty. Fight to win.
Due South Boxed Set: 5 Sexy New Zealand Beach Romances
Series: Stewart Island, Book 10. Price: $7.99 USD. Words: 330,470. Language: English. Published: November 19, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
The Due South Boxed set contains the first five books of USA TODAY BEST-SELLING author Tracey Alvarez’s romantic series set against the stunning backdrop of Aotearoa, New Zealand. If you like heartwarming, sexy and sweet romances with a touch of comedy, you’ll love sharing the journey with these authentic men and women struggling to find their special someone. 5 Stewart Island Books are included.
Playing For Fun
Series: Stewart Island, Book 6. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 86,200. Language: English. Published: December 17, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
New Zealand’s octogenarian matchmaker is at work, with Holly Parker and Ford Komeke in the cross-hairs. One kiss forces them out of the friendzone, but the ugliness in Ford’s past holds his heart hostage. Playing for fun or playing for keeps? Holly and Ford must decide because the consequences of falling in love means that someone’s heart or someone’s dream will ultimately end up shattered.
Know Your Heart
Series: Bounty Bay, Book 2. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 77,500. Language: English. Published: June 16, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
When the landlady from hell becomes the one woman he can’t live without… Kicked off a movie set, actress Savannah Payne flees to her vacation house in Bounty Bay to prepare for the audition of a lifetime. Only a stubborn, sexy lawyer is currently renting it and he won’t budge an inch. But all’s fair in love and war, including his kisses that make her want to surrender.
Hide Your Heart
Series: Bounty Bay, Book 1. Price: Free! Words: 60,730. Language: English. Published: April 16, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
(5.00 from 1 review)
Hiding in plain sight just got complicated… Lauren Taylor and her young son fled back to her hometown to escape fame’s cruel spotlight, and all she wants to do is start over. No press, no pictures, no problem. She thought she’d be safe in the middle-of-nowhere, but her sexy new neighbor is about to ruin everything…
My Forever Valentine
Series: Stewart Island, Book 5. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 16,070. Language: English. Published: January 31, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Short stories
(5.00 from 1 review)
Dive into the Due South world to find out what your favourite characters are doing to celebrate Valentine’s Day with these four short and sweet romance stories. Because these four short stories of approximately 3,000 words each contain spoilers, they are intended to be read and enjoyed after: Book #1: In Too Deep Book #2: Melting Into You Book #3: Ready To Burn Book #4: Christmas With You
Christmas With You
Series: Stewart Island, Book 4. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 43,420. Language: English. Published: January 31, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary, Fiction » Holiday » Christmas
(5.00 from 1 review)
Carly Gatlin doesn’t want to spend another holiday alone so she’s come to New Zealand to be with her step-family. Kip Sullivan’s big, boisterous family have also arrived en-masse—please shoot him before the match-making gets out of hand. Kip wants to make Carly’s first Kiwi Christmas special, but will he gain more than mistletoe kisses from the woman who threatens to claim his heart?
Ready To Burn
Series: Stewart Island, Book 3. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 94,830. Language: English. Published: October 23, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
(4.60 from 5 reviews)
Take a little Miss Perfect. Add a bad-boy chef to the mix. Watch the sparks fly in the kitchen… There’s a fly in sous chef Shaye Harland’s soup, in the form of Del Westlake—a cocky, infuriatingly sexy outsider who muscles in on her kitchen. Can Del keep his secrets, keep his hands off Shaye, and prevent his bad-boy ways from destroying his shot at being her Mr. Perfect?
Melting Into You
Series: Stewart Island, Book 2. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 88,520. Language: English. Published: June 7, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary, Fiction » Romance » Adult
Big, sexy men who don’t relate well to kids need not apply… Ben Harland doesn’t need more drama in his world. So cue insta-daddyhood to an eight-year-old girl who lands on his doorstep and an out-of-control attraction to Stewart Island's widowed school teacher. But no matter how much Kezia yearns for Ben’s touch, and her daughter Zoe longs for a daddy, can he ever be the right man for the job?
In Too Deep
Series: Stewart Island, Book 1. Price: Free! Words: 97,400. Language: English. Published: December 18, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
(4.67 from 9 reviews)
What if the man you loved played a part in your father's death? Piper is haunted by the ghosts of her past. As an elite police diver, she's forced back to the one place she'd sworn never to return. She left her hometown on an isolated New Zealand island, and her first and only love stayed behind. Can they face their past and be together?