Q&A With Tracey Lange
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Q&A With Tracey Lange
Tonight’s Q&A is with New York Times Bestselling Author Tracey Lange. Tracey Lange is the author of the novel “We Are The Brennans.”
Q: When did you realize your calling is to be an author?
A: I’ve always been a voracious reader and very drawn to writing, but for many years I just didn’t believe I had the skills or talent to actually write a novel. I went into the field of psychology, and for many years my husband and I owned and operated a behavioral healthcare business. My role in our company entailed a lot of writing, particularly psychosocial assessments, which was essentially telling people’s stories. Though it wasn’t fiction writing, it was of a very analytical nature, which helped improve my overall skills. When we sold our company and I had the chance to jump into writing fulltime, I felt ready (or as ready as one can be to take on a novel) and decided to go for it.
Q: What do you like most about being an author and what do you like least?
A: My favorite thing about being an author is engaging with people through my writing. There’s nothing like hearing a reader say they found a special connection to my book. As far as the process goes, I love creating and developing characters, letting them come alive and getting to know them. They tend to take the story in the direction it needs to go, which is one of the most exciting elements for me during the first draft. And they all stay with me, long after the project is done. What I like least is the self-doubt that inevitably comes with creating and sharing my work. It creeps in at different stages of the process, sometimes when you least expect it. The first few times this happened it really knocked me down—I felt temporarily crippled. I handle it much better now, and those feelings are less intense. It still happens (no way around it), but I know I have to just keep going and it will get better.
Q: Where did you get your inspiration to write “We Are The Brennans”?
A: Books about messy, complex families have always been my favorite, probably because I come from one. Our families tend to know us the best, or, at the least, in a way that many other people don’t. I love diving into those relationships and dynamics, so I knew that’s what I’d be drawn to when it came to writing. Brennans started with idea of someone returning to the family fold after being absent for several years. From there, all sort of questions presented themselves—why did she leave and how did it affect the family? How will her return impact them? What will it set in motion?—and I wanted to explore all that.
Q: What advice would you give to an aspiring author? What advice do you give to anyone struggling with writers block?
A: My biggest piece of advice is to find your writers group. I have people I’ve worked with for years now, and they’re so important to my process. We all write different genres and have different strengths, and they help to enrich my work. Writing is a such solitary endeavor, and there’s often quite a bit of rejection involved. It’s important to have people who will support you, hold you accountable tell you when something’s not working, and problem-solve with you. As far as writer’s block goes, in my experience it usually comes down to one of two things: either the creative well has run a little dry, which is when it might be time to take a breather and soak up some content (books, TV, art, nature); or fear is getting in the way (Can I pull off this story? Am I taking in the wrong direction? Will anyone want to read it?), in which case you just have to keep going. You can’t make the material better until you get it on the page.
Q: What advice do you give to new and aspiring authors when it comes to dealing with negative feedback, whether it’s with dealing with family members and friends who are not supportive, negative reviews and/or online trolls who take delight in bullying others?
A: I’m always open to feedback and constructive criticism—in fact, I want it. But it’s important to ask the right people for that feedback, people who can read and critique with your intention in mind as the writer, and help you reach your goals. If you’ve asked someone to read your work who has no experience critiquing, it’s a good idea to provide specific questions so they know how to be helpful. When it comes to negative reviews, they’re just a fact of life for a writer. Books are so subjective, and it’s unlikely you will be the one to finally write that singular book that everyone in the world loves. My advice is to not seek out the negative reviews; enough will come your way without you tracking them down. As far as anyone who is strictly negative and unsupportive, I tend to limit my exposure to such people, or simply ignore them. I’m hard enough on myself without that.
Q: Does Hollywood have the rights to “We Are The Brennans?”
A: Not at this time. A couple of people have sort of knocked at the door and asked a few questions, so maybe in the future.
Q: Are you writing a new novel now? If you are can you reveal any details?
A: My second book, The Connellys of County Down, comes out summer of 2023, and it’s about a woman trying to rebuild her life after serving time in prison for a drug charge. She returns home to live with her older siblings, who are each dealing with their own significant issues, so it remains to be seen whether they will help or hinder her efforts to start over. It’s a story about loyalty, good intentions gone awry, and the idea that sometimes the family member that looks worst on paper actually has the least to hide.