Interview with Tracey Alvarez

Published 2018-07-05.
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.
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Books by This Author

Stewart Island The Complete Series
Price: $29.99 USD. Words: 746,220. Language: English. Published: August 6, 2020 . Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary, Fiction » Romance » General
(3.00 from 1 review)
Stewart Island The Complete Series contains all of USA TODAY bestselling author Tracey Alvarez’s romantic novels and novellas set against the stunning backdrop of Aotearoa, New Zealand. 7 Full-length novels 3 Novellas 1 Short-Story Collection
Bounty Bay The Complete Series
Price: $19.99 USD. Words: 545,810. Language: English. Published: August 5, 2020 . Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary, Fiction » Women's fiction » General
(3.00 from 1 review)
Bounty Bay The Complete Series contains seven full-length novels from Tracey Alvarez's best-selling series set against the stunning backdrop of Aotearoa, New Zealand. If you like heartwarming, sensual and sweet 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.