Q&A With Tracy Brogan
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Q&A With Tracy Brogan
Thanks to Jamie Beck connecting, I’m doing a Q&A with USA Today, Wall Street Journal and Amazon Publishing Bestselling Author Tracy Brogan. Tracy mainly writes romantic comedies, some of which is “My Kind of Perfect,” “The New Normal,” “My Kind of Forever,” and “My Kind of You.” Tracy has one historical romance novel called “Highland Surrender”.
Q: Where do you get all of your ideas for your novels?
A: Ideas for my novels come from literally everywhere and anywhere, a photograph, a song, a news snippet about some interesting event the stranger the better because I usually write rom-com. I’m always on the lookout for something fresh and original that I can turn into a story, but I’ve also learned over the years that even the most mundane situations, with enough layers and twists, can be developed into a great book. I’m also an avid people-watcher because reality is often stranger than fiction.
Q: When did you realize you wanted to be an author?
A: Always. I was a dramatic little kid with a vivid imagination and a love for reading. Plus my father once told me if I couldn’t sleep, I should just make up stories in my head and I’ve been doing that ever since. In fact, I thought everyone did! But I guess not. Over the years, I dabbled with lots of ideas, starting dozens of manuscripts but not getting very far. When my youngest daughter started school, I decided it was now or never and finally completed my first book nine months later. That ultimately became my debut novel, CRAZY LITTLE THING, which was published by Amazon/Montlake Romance and has sold more than a million and a half copies worldwide.
Q: What do you love about writing romantic comedies? What do you dislike about writing them?
A: The hardest part of writing any kind of comedy is that humor is subjective. Stuff I find hilarious might not appeal to certain readers, but I’ve learned I need to stay true to my own voice. If you try to please everyone then you ultimately please no one so I focus on what I’m good at which is light-hearted, snarky, fun romance. There is some angst and tugging at the heartstrings but my main goal is to make readers laugh. And the flavor of my stories is pretty obvious right up front so readers know immediately what they’re going to get from me.
And how do I love thee? Let me count the ways! Working at home in my pajamas with the coffee pot just feet away comes to mind. Not having to deal with office politics or do too much people-ing is another plus. I do communicate with a group of writer-friends on a daily basis, brainstorming, commiserating, and cheering each other on. Writing is solitary but it’s important to have those touchstone people who will keep you sane. Getting fan mail is fun and reminds me that people are actually reading what I’m putting out there! But probably the best part of this job is getting to nurture and challenge my own imagination. I love when a character surprises me in my own writing.
Q: What’s your advice for aspiring writers who want to go for it? What’s your advice to anyone who struggles with writers block?
A: Those are two big questions so I’ll try to be concise.
First of all, just do it. Don’t worry about doing it “right” or following the rules. There are no rules and there is no one right way. There is no secret handshake.
Don’t get so bogged down worrying about the business side of things that you stop writing before you even start. Just get that manuscript finished and go from there.
Find some like-minded individuals to travel this journey with you. Join writers’ groups or even book clubs – any group that wants to talk about what makes a story good.
Submit your work to contests and get feedback. Learn from it and keep going. Find a good critique partner but realize that close friends and relatives cannot be objective.
Don’t listen to family. (See above.) Sorry, but it’s true. Unless they are writers and/or work in publishing, their advice is not that helpful. It’s great to have their moral support but leave it at that.
Read, read, read. Read from your genre of choice, and from all the others, too. Decide what makes you love a book, and what makes you not love a book.
As for writers’ block, I am familiar with it! There’s no magic wand to cure it but discipline is key. Writing is a muscle so go through the motions and write ‘something’ even if it’s awful. Eventually the pieces will fall into place again and you’ll start moving forward. If you’re stuck with a particular scene, try writing it from a different character’s perspective – even if you won’t use that bit in the book.
Q: If you were to collaborate with another author who would it be with and why?
A: Hmm, interesting prospect! I’m going to say Sally Kilpatrick because she makes me laugh all the time. She’s one of most underrated comedy writers and if you haven’t read her, you should.
Q: I saw on your amazon bio you are currently working on a historical fiction series. Can you reveal a little bit about what your series is about?
A: I would love to! I’ve previously written several contemporary rom-coms set on Trillium Bay (a fictional island location in Michigan) and I’ve just signed a three-book contract for another series set in that location but in the 1880’s featuring the Bostwick family – wealthy financiers who mingle about with people named Carnegie, Vanderbilt, and Astor. It’s gilded age but with a more rustic setting. A RAINY DAY ON TRILLUM BAY releases on September 12, 2023.
Q: Does Hollywood have the rights to any of your novels?
A: Nope, but I sure wish they did!