As you may recall I did a recent review of the book Altaica (https://writemoresleepless.wordpress.com/2016/07/27/book-review-altaica/), which I enjoyed quite a lot, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to interview the author, Tracy M. Joyce! I’m very excited to share this with you all, this is my first interview for my blog and I think it will help you guys to connect with the author and have an even deeper interest in her works!
Here is the interview:
Would you mind just introducing yourself? Who you are? Where are you from?
Firstly thanks, Savannah, for interviewing me. I’m Tracy and I’m an Australian writer of epic fantasy. I grew up in a small rural community known as Glenburn on, what was then, a dairy farm. When we weren’t doing chores on the farm I had my head buried in a book. Those books opened whole new worlds for me and it wasn’t long until I discovered that writing could do the same thing. From about the age of twelve, I knew that I wanted to be a writer, but I was told that I needed to get a real job. (Not bad advice, but not what you want to hear at twelve.) After years of “real jobs” I was finally able to pursue my dream of writing and lucky enough to be published by Australian publisher, Odyssey Books.
I live with my husband and two crazy, but loveable dogs and a cat who is queen of household.
I’ve got two books out – Altaica and Asena Blessed (books 1 & 2 in The Chronicles of Altaica) and am working on book 3.
Is there a specific message in Altaica that you would like your readers to grasp?
I don’t know that I set out with a specific message in mind when I wrote Altaica, other than to show how good people could be capable of doing appalling things or making terrible choices, but I suppose what people can take away from it is that we all have to learn to live with the consequences of our actions and choices. Even with the best intentions our choices can have far-reaching effects beyond what we envisioned. If you’re lucky, these may be wonderful, however sometimes the fallout can be destructive. Things can spiral off in directions that you never imagined. Yet, sometimes we have to be the person who will make the hard decisions and we must have the courage to do so and live by that choice.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Well, I suppose this question is a little like asking me which writer has influenced me and in light that, I would say writers such as Bernard Cornwall, Jack Whyte, Stephen Donaldson and early on, Jack Higgins. If I had to choose one of them to be a mentor it would be Jack Whyte.
What projects are you currently working on? And what can you tell me about them?
I’m currently most of the way through a short story/prequel for book three in The Chronicles of Altaica — this story will be made available free before the end of the year and is set 15 years or so before the events of Altaica.
At the same time I am working on book three of The Chronicles of Altaica. In this book I’ll take readers back to Arunabejar, the country that Isaura fled from, and the book will look at what is happening on that continent. You’ll get to meet the bad guys, the Zaragarians, and see what they have been doing in Isaura’s homeland and to the rest of the continent. There will be some more tidbits about Isaura’s lineage and you will meet a young heroine who is quite different from the others I have written. This young woman is disabled and she is a lesson that heroes come in all shapes and sizes. She has been partly inspired by my young friend Katie Attwood (https://www.facebook.com/Katie-Attwood-Para-Equestrian-652059731558421/) who is training hard with the aim of getting into the Aussie Para-Olympic equestrian team in Tokyo in 2020.
(The characters introduced in this novel will all tie in with the final book in the series which is aimed to be book five.)
What was the most difficult part about writing Altaica?
Gosh, I think the most difficult part was making the decision to effectively have the main character, Isaura, take a backseat for part of story and let the subsidiary characters carry the tale for a while. It was risky to do this – readers are used to having the main character as an active participant all the way through the book, but I wanted to show the readers how the others would treat Isaura at her most vulnerable.
It also gave a chance for those other characters to come “into their own”, which I hoped would mean that readers would want spin-off stories for some of them and that has been the case. For those of you who have not read the book, when I say “have her take a backseat”, she is still very much a part of what’s going on and everything is happening because of and around her – she is simply not able to be physically active in this section. She is at the whims of a wild magic which threatens to consume her. The other difficult decision was the multiple viewpoints. Some readers love this, while other readers hate it, but I believe it can enrich a story enormously. (By the way the character charts for the books can be printed from my website.)
What advice do you have for other writers?
Plan something – even if it is just knowing your beginning and ending and figuring out the rest as you go along. You must have a goal that you’re aiming for in your story that way your writing will more likely stay on track. Keep a notebook or a voice recorder with you at all times — write down or record all your ideas.
Programs such as Scapple, made by the people who make Scrivener, are incredibly useful to help you brainstorm, plan and plot.
Get good, objective, critical beta-readers – several of them as they are your market testing. Persistence is key and a hide like a rhino.
Above all write and try not to let self-doubt and fear of failure hold you back.
For my final question, is there anything you would like to say to your readers?
Yes, I want to thank them and I want to thank all of those who have been kind enough to write reviews whether they loved it or they hated it — all reviews count. For the ones who have loved it and who have emailed me, messaged me, written me fan mail and rushed up to me, excited at a convention, to find out where the next book is, I cannot tell you how much it means to me hear what the books meant to you and how much you love them.
If I make someone fall into the world of my books and see it unfolding before them like it was a movie, then I’ve done my job well. All I want is to create a world that you can escape in — a world that you will love. If I do that for some of you then I’m pleased. Thank you for your support.
I highly recommend you check out the currently available books in The Chronicles of Altaica, I’m reading the second book in the series Asena Blessed and I am enjoying it a lot so far.
A huge thank you to Tracy M. Joyce for this wonderful interview!