Award-winning author Tracy Garrett has always loved to disappear into the pages of a book. An accomplished musician, Tracy merged her need for creativity, love of history, and passion for reading when she began writing western historical romance. First published in 2007, Tracy joined Prairie Rose Publications for its inaugural anthology, Wishing for a Cowboy, in 2013. She is a regular blogger on Petticoats and Pistols. Tracy resides in Missouri with her husband and their fuzzy kid, Wrigley.
What is the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done?
I’ve had all kinds of “adventures” in the 33 years my dh and I have been married. My mother would tell you its all his fault! lol I learned to snow ski, tried water skiing (unsuccessfully), got certified to skipper a 50’ sailboat, learned to snorkel… Lately, we’ve taken up Cowboy Action Shooting, where we dress in clothing from the 1800s and shoot at steel targets. We have a blast and we’ve made some wonderful new friends.
What adventure would you like to have that you haven’t done yet if money and skill were no problem?
I want to ride in a race car! I don’t care to drive—I want to sit in front while we go faster than I’ve ever been, digging into turns and sliding up close to the wall. Someday…
Nora Roberts, Christine Feehan, Lorraine Heath, Jo Davis, Addison Fox, Sarah MacLean—I could go on. They all create characters that are so real, I have to know what happens to them. Some of them I hate to leave behind when the book ends.
I believe color says something about a person’s personality. What’s your favorite color?
Green—a deep, rich, teal.
If you could have a do-over life, what one thing would you do differently? What would you do again?
I wouldn’t let myself gain the “freshman fifteen” pounds! As for the rest, I’d do it all again. I like where my life is, where I’ve been, what I’ve experienced.
What is your writing process from conception to finished MS?
I usually have the characters in mind first, and the major conflict—what’s keeping them apart. And I have a good idea how the final scene will go. Then I start writing and let them tell the story. I do a lot of revising and layering as the story unfolds and I get to know the characters better, of course, but the process works for me.
Are you a planner, panster or both?
I’m a pantser. I’ve tried plotting and I get so twisted up, I can’t make any progress. It isn’t worth the grief. I just write, rewrite, and repeat.
How did you research for your book?
The stories in Lassoing a Bride and Lassoing a Groom are set in River’s Bend, Missouri, a town I created on the far western edge of the state. I had to do some research on medicine and doctors in the 1850s for Lassoing a Bride; and on immigration through that area, particularly settlers from Germany, for both books. I love research!
What is your all-time favorite TV show?
Star Trek: Next Generation (Bet you expected Gunsmoke or Bonanza—both of which I loved, too.)
How important do feel writing workshops are to any writer?
Vital! I always learn something from my colleagues. As a newbie, workshops helped me sort out where I was as a writer and what came next. As a published author, they’ve kept me in touch with an industry that is changing at light-speed.
If you could learn one new skill, fear and money no deterrent, what would it be?
To paint. I see something beautiful and I want to capture that image. My grandmother was a painter, but that skill seemed to skip me.
If you had a million dollars to donate to any one charity, what would it be?
Probably one of the groups in my community who help with food, rent, medical bills, etc. Life is tough and getting tougher for so many people. These people help make life a little bit easier and I want to help them keep doing it.
What advice would you like to give to an aspiring writer?
Never give up. If you want to write, do it, but learn your craft like a flutist learns to play or a painter to paint. Write every day, even if you don’t ever show it to anyone. Every word will make you a better writer.
I’ve had several mentors, amazing, generous writers who read my early work, gave advice, told me when things stunk and when things worked. And helped me learn when to take advice and when to stick with my own vision. I absolutely wouldn’t be where I am without them.
What is the best advice anyone ever gave you?
Just write! Don’t worry about word count, about who’s going to buy it or read it. Just put words on paper.
If you could live anywhere in the world you wanted to, where would it be? (Language is no barrier)
On a small island in the Caribbean. I love sea air and salt water.
Where do you write?
Anywhere, really. Mostly in my living room looking at the lake or in my writing cave—aka my office—where I have a large monitor and fewer distractions… like looking at the lake.
How much time do you devote to writing each week? Do you have a day every week that you take off?
When I’m working on a book, I try to write 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week. The weekends are for my family. Unless I’m on deadline, then I write every spare moment.
What is a genre that you have not attempted that you would like to try?
Young Adult. I have a contemporary/paranormal story idea that I’ve started on a couple of times, but it hasn’t come together yet. But it will someday.
Is there anything you would like readers to know about you?
Besides being a published author, I’m a musician, too. I have the degrees to prove it! lol I love music—making it, listening to it, discussing it… Music feeds my soul.
Find out more about Tracy and her books on her website.
Thank you to The Romance Room for allowing us to reprint this interview.