Interview with Tracy Dunn

How do you approach cover design?
While I'm writing a story, it feels like I'm watching a movie in my mind; a book cover is simply a snapshot on that movie reel. I know what it should look like and I tell Dane Low of and he, through his magical process of talent and medium, gets it to look exactly like how I've described to him.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I remember a story I read as a third grader. It was about a girl who survived a shipwreck off Chesapeake Bay. I don't remember the title, though, which is so frustrating, because I would love to go back and re-read it. The poignant part of the story has stayed with me. The man, who rescued the girl, died. She refuses to accept that and spends a very long time watching over his cold, dead body, trying to chafe his feet to bring warmth to them. She believes if she can just warm his feet, he'll be okay. Even now a part of me roots for that girl, for her efforts to have a different outcome so that her friend and hero can be restored to her.
What is your writing process?
I go somewhere quiet, usually outside in a park and think of story ideas. At first I merely jot them down. After a while, I pick the single one that holds the most promise and ferret it out. It's important to let your imagination have free rein---don't shut out any possibilities, follow every trail of a story until it seems to reach its own natural conclusion. Then think of another story, something apart from the first one. If there are any intersections between these two stories, one is the main plotline; the other is the sub-plot. Depending on how many plotlines I need, I repeat this process. The simplest (and most difficult) task is to ensure all these plotlines connect. If life is all about making connections, then writing is even more so. Once my mind has these factors sorted, I scribble madly on paper, hitting the highlights. Then begins the work of fleshing it out, which comes in spurts and stops.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
I loved "The Year of Magical Thinking" by Joan Didion. If you've ever lost someone close to you, it changes you in ways that are inexplicable and while I was reading her book, I knew that she "got" it. My favorite book of all time is "Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen. She's the best for creating memorable characters. The "Harry Potter" series fascinated me from beginning to end. I love J.K. Rowling's sense of humor. "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee inspired me to become a lawyer. The best line in literature was the, "Stand up, Scout. Your daddy's passing by." As a person of great optimism, I'll reserve the last choice for a future favorite book.
What do you read for pleasure?
I read mostly fiction, though I have enjoyed a few non-fiction works, like "How the Irish Saved Civilization" and "Understanding Physics." My favorite genres are traditional science fiction, romance, and humor. If a book can make me laugh out loud, it's an unqualified success. If it makes me cry, all the better.
Describe your desk
My stepfather, a carpenter, made my desk. It's natural oak with gold, filigreed handles and it's a beauty. On the outer edges of my desk, there's a lot of clutter, but the center portion where I work is tidy. It has my notes and my laptop. Next to my desk is an 'inspiration board,' where I keep photos of my kids and favorite people and a copy of William Faulkner's Noble Prize acceptance speech.
What are you working on next?
Right now I'm finishing up another full length novel, a historical romance, tentatively titled, "Prudence." I say this, tongue-in-cheek because while it is the heroine's first name, it is the hero's decided lack of this attribute that creates such delicious friction between the two characters.
I've another manuscript in the works, a screwball, zany comedy entitled, "In the Suds," which is Regency-speak for "Holy crap, we're in trouble!"
I've still yet to revise "A Governess' Lot," which I suppose should probably happen sooner, rather than later, don't you agree? It appears 2016 will yield 3 adult novels from me, if I can finish these projects. Of course, I do have a fourth in the wings...
What motivated you to become an indie author?
There's been no secret that the publishing industry has been revolutionized by digital technology. A lot of major publishing houses have consolidated with each other, leaving many different stories and viewpoints shut out from the market place. At the start of publishing, generally speaking, the author had to pay for his/her work to be printed and distributed, so today's indie author is a throw back to those earlier times.
When we were cave dwellers, stories were told. Perhaps a tribe sat around a fire in the open and entertained its members with stories. That tradition continued until the printed word became ubiquitous. Then people would sit in a house, near a hearth, and listen to a story teller read from a book. That went on until radios cleared the way and a family huddled around the AM dial to hear the old time radio, of course, came television, then cable. Stories will always be told but the medium in which they are shared will evolve with our technology. I think the future stories will be told, in stereo, in a pod, with pop-up pictures flashing across a helmet-sized screen. Too far-fetched? I don't think so. It's coming at us faster than we can blink.
Published 2016-01-22.
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Books by This Author

Alex & the Lost Souls
Series: Alex & the Immortals. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 74,650. Language: English. Published: June 12, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Sci-Fi & fantasy
Alex & the Lost Souls continues the adventures on Eros, the second book in this trilogy. Heady from successfully banishing the Dark Master earlier, Alex's grown cocky and is caught off-guard when the Dark Master ambushes Eros. Epic battles occur in the galactic skies and the world will feel the Dark Master's wrath as Alex suffers a stinging defeat and horrendous loss.
Alex & the Immortals
Series: Alex & the Immortals. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 69,440. Language: English. Published: December 13, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Action & Adventure / Survival Stories, Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
(5.00 from 1 review)
Teleported to Asteroid Eros, Alex and his friends must learn the ancient arts of flying, bottling lightning bolts and mental telepathy to prepare for battle. It's up to them to fight an evil, shape-shifting amoeba, which is killing every living thing. Even with help from Greek mythological heroes like Cyclops, Pegasus, and the gorgon sisters, the warriors are overwhelmed. Can Alex save anyone?