Welcome to another fabulous day on Life As I Know It. Today, we are being joined by Author, Todd Tracy, and we get to enjoy an entertaining Q&A. We’re discussing passion, inspiration, research, and dreams. Get ready to dive into the man behind the book………
1. When did you discover your passion to write?
My passion began with reading. I can clearly remember being a teenager and reading “Cannery Row” and every book by John Steinbeck. I was hooked on the idea that one day I would be a writer. However, it wasn’t until many years later that my local newspaper asked me to blog about my hometown. Three times a week, or more, I wrote about 500 words. The subject matter made it easy because I know a lot about Westport. But I found myself wanting to express different situations and ideas with words. I began to study literature every day. While writing those blog posts, my passion for writing began to bloom and it became something that I did daily.
2. Your mother was a writer. Did she help influence you at all?
My mother was the single biggest influence on my life. When I was ten years old she got a job as a writer/reporter for a local newspaper. I can still hear her clacking away at the old typewriter in the bedroom next to mine that she had turned into a makeshift office. She started her new career at 40. She started winning awards. I could see her transformation from mom to hot-shot reporter. When I was 16 she was nominated for a Pulitzer in the feature writing category. Her experiences shaped my world view. Her death was the kind of tragedy that took years for me to fully understand. Her example taught me that I could do anything I set my mind upon. I don’t have her talent. I only pray that it is in there somewhere; if only I could have a little of her skill-set and empathy for humanity, I could be happy!
3. Where do you find inspiration for story ideas?
I find the human condition to be odd, generally. Any absurd situation will get me to thinking. I ask myself, ‘is it possible to explain this with words, in a simple a clear manner so that anyone could understand what I am perceiving?’ I am still learning about themes, plot-lines and characters. Mostly, humanity, just living provides the inspiration. Also, the books I read by Hemingway, Kafka, Hesse and Dostoyevsky I find inspirational for stories.
4. You have a great deal of writing experience from working with your local newspaper. Have you taken away anything from your time there? Any writing know-how or even story ideas?
Hearst Media has been so kind to me. At one point, I begged them to let me write for their newspapers, not just the blog. They assigned me an editor. I thought I was dreaming when my article was the lead on the front page. To be honest, I needed a lot of editing – ha. They could tell I had a passion for the work. But the blog, the daily writing for that was the key.
5. You also previously worked as a record producer, but always knew you wanted to write. Has your producing background contributed to your writing career?
Yes. That was really my first dream. When I was 25 I moved to Hollywood and got a job as a staff producer for a record company. I have natural talent with music, whereas the writing has been hard work to learn. I was trained to stop at nothing to produce the most professional content possible. I am hoping to bring that work ethic into my novels. Hollywood burned me out after 10 years. I moved back to my hometown.
6. What makes you stand out as an author?
I have read thousands upon thousands of novels, literally. I just know about things. My life has been filled with wonder; incredible ups and downs. I am hoping to cultivate a “plain speaking” style that people can relate to. I think I am still evolving as an author.
7. Do you have a special writing process or routine?
Having a routine is essential to completing work. I tend to set a goal and then not let up until it’s complete. Writing my first novel was insane because the work never ended. So, wow, that process was much more intensive than I had been prepared for. On the second novel, I will be able to be more efficient with the time.
8. What about research? Is that something you enjoy and include when writing?
Oh yes, for Xing Xang I got heavily into Carl Jung and Freud. I am always researching one thing or another, so I would tend to put that stuff into my writing. I have been studying economics, logic, debating techniques and many topics of interest. Write now I am studying psychology and literary theory.
9. Let’s talk about your debut book, XING XANG. Tell us a little about it.
Xing Xang is a coming of age adventure story about a 17-year-old boy. In the first scene, his small sailboat capsizes and he is rescued by a Chinese freighter ship. He travels the world and learns about being a man.
10. What inspired the idea?
It sounds corny, but I had a dream.
11. A lot of time and hard work went into this book. What or who helped push you to publishing it?
I’ve been lucky enough to be supported by my friends. I learned that if I am authentic about my endeavors the right helpers magically appear.
12. Your character, Eli, is on what could be a life-changing mission in your book. There’s a lot of self-discovery, a lot of mystery too. Reviewers are easily drawn to Eli. Any secrets to the creation or development of your characters?
I wanted Eli to transform. I wanted the reader to see how he became a different person.
13. How do you make him so realistic?
I didn’t want him to be a super-hero. He has fears and big questions. He is desperate to find his father. He wants to know his place in the world.
14. I’m curious about the cover art. Will you tell us about the creation behind it?
I have ten different covers. Still working on that.
15. Aside from writing, what can you be found doing? Passions? Hobbies? Secret talents?
Ha. I produce content for Hearst Media. I have retired from music, personally and professionally. I love creative projects like carpentry or fixing my car. I ride my bike many miles per day, that is exhilarating.
16. What can we expect next from you?
Not a clue. That book took a lot out of me. There will be at least 2 sequels. But for now I am reading psychology, plotting my next move.
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Xing Xang is an adventure story of a teenager’s emotional, physical and moral transformation. His foster parents and friends at school think he has drowned at sea. He travels around the world searching for a lost civilization in his quest to find the clues left for him by his natural father – a once-famous psycho-archaeologist. With the help of a curious group of intellectuals, after a series of life-transforming events, Eli finds out who he is.
Thank you so much for joining us today. Please help in supporting today’s guest with likes, shares and comments. Don’t forget to check out his book, XING XANG.
Until next time, lovelies……………………Happy Reading & Reviewing!!