Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Meet the Author - Tracy Sweeney

What inspires you to write and why? I live in my head.  I script conversations.  I daydream.  I run through plots.  There’s a lot going on up there.  My imagination is vivid.  I love developing characters and delving into their brains.  I love drama and a big sopping HEA.  Sometimes the simplest things inspire me.  A creek in the floorboard in the middle of the night spurred my most recent piece.

Can you tell us about your main character? I think people identify with Jillian because she’s like so many of us.  When we’re young and insecure, sometimes we just need a gentle nudge out of our shell.  In Jillian’s case, the nudge was more like a push. She went from one extreme to the other.  She has no happy medium.  Finding that is part of her journey.

Did you learn anything from writing this book and what was it? I’ve always written but not professionally—not for anyone to see other than myself or my friends or a professor.  I was pretty green when I started writing LIVING BACKWARDS but I had a really clear vision for the story that I wanted to tell.  That’s great but you need to be disciplined with outlining and storyboarding.  You need to have a basic grasp of grammar and punctuation (even if, like me, you reject the need for the semi-colon).

Who would you cast in a movie adaptation of your book? There are so many instances where I wish I could cast an actor in movie after they’ve already passed the appropriate age.  When I was reading Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins, I saw Jude Law circa The Talented Mr. Ripley for Finnick Odair.  He’ll always be Finnick in my head.  It’s the same situation with LIVING BACKWARDS.  I always saw Ilsa Fisher for Jillian and Robert Pattinson for Luke.  And I would totally pull a Stephenie Meyer and cameo as a chaperone at the prom.  It looks like a good time.

If I could be anybody besides myself, I would be… Justin Timberlake and host SNL every week

Name one thing that drives you crazy. There are a lot of things that drive me crazy.  I’m not the most patient person.  But since we’re discussing writing, I can say that I go nuts when someone types “your” instead of “you’re”.  We’re a very text/email focused society and I’m constantly texting.  I see it all the time and I want to jump through the phone and give them a grammar lesson.

There are a lot of late 90s music references in LIVING BACKWARDS.  What was your favorite 90s song? I was a huge New Kids on the Block fan.  Hometown boys and all.  So a little Please Don’t Go Girl will always tug on my heart strings.  (Even though Jordan was my pretend boyfriend, not Joe.)

Tell us about LIVING BACKWARDS. What’s the story about? The main character, Jillian Cross, falls and bumps her head while trying to squeeze herself into a very unforgiving pair of skinny jeans.  When she wakes up, she’s back in her childhood bedroom.  It’s 1999 and she’s a senior in high school.  Because she’s aware that any change she makes can affect  the future, she sets off to walk the same path she walked more than ten years earlier.  Unfortunately, she finds it’s hard to be the same person she was when she was seventeen.  Mostly because the first time around, she didn’t have a pink, sparkly flask.  And she hadn’t met Luke.  It’s hard to be reasonable when there’s a cute boy on a motorcycle.

Do you have a critique group/partner or beta readers, or do you self-edit? I self-edit constantly.  I’m always tweaking words and sentence structures. If I sat down with LIVING BACKWARDS now, I’d probably reword the whole thing.  I’m terrible that way.  But at some point, you need to stop and take a step back.

I have a few people who then read for errors and will poke holes in my plots and tell me if something makes absolutely no sense at all.  When it’s cleaned up, it goes to my beta readers.  It takes a village, folks.

Do you follow an outline when you’re writing? I’m definitely a plotter.  I usually start with a broad outline.  When it’s time to dive into a chapter, I’ll flesh it out a bit with points I want to touch upon.  That’s not to say that I don’t go off on a hundred tangents once I start writing but I have a very definitive idea of where I’m going and how I’m getting there.  At least on the page.  In life, I’m lost without a GPS.

What’s the hardest part of writing for you? Free time is at a premium for me.  And I don’t like forcing myself to write.  I’d totally fail at NaNoWriMo.  If I’m not in the right frame of mind or the words just aren’t coming, I can’t do it.  It just sounds forced.  I’m constantly struggling with when I want to write versus when I have the time to write.

Tell us about Luke. At first sight, Luke is your typical bad boy but he has good reason for the chip on his shoulder.  Life has dealt him some unfortunate blows.  So he’s guarded and he’s just biding him time until he can strike out on his own.  When he meets Jillian, everything changes.  I think he’s probably more shocked than anyone that they form their connection.

Present Day Luke is another story.  Different chip, different set of problems.  But man, he makes me weak in the knees.  The number one comment from my pre-readers was “Luuuukkeeeeeee”.  That made me happy.  Like my work here is done.

Tell us about Joan, Jillian’s pink sparkly flask. When Jillian turned twenty-one, her best friend gave her the flask as a gift.  It was pink and sparkly and nothing she ever would have owned in high school.  They named it Joan.  When Jillian had a little too much to drink, it was Joan’s voice in her head egging her on to do things that may not have been the best idea.  Dance on a table.  Do another shot.  Make out with the random guy in the corner.  Breaking out of her shell is an understatement.  Everyone should have a Joan.  (I’m a bad influence.)

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Chick Lit
Rating – PG13
More details about the author & the book
Connect with Tracy Sweeney on Facebook & Twitter


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