Friday, May 21, 2010

Interview with Tracy Krauss: author, playwright, artist, teacher

Tracy Krauss has finished four novels and eleven full length plays, and has three other novels in the works. She is also currently working on an illustrated children's book based on a song her mother used to sing called "The Sleepy Town Express." In addition to writing, she is a high school teacher of Art, Drama, and English; she is also an artist and theatre director. "Life is pretty full!" she says. "I have four grown children, so I have more time for writing than I used to, but it still seems like there is never enough time in a day." Tracy took the time to stop by and talk about her writing life. Her new book, And The Beat Goes On, is available at her blog: www.tracykraussexpressionexpress.blogspot.com

How did you first discover your love for writing?

I always enjoyed making up stories and in my childhood years I would draw elaborate story boards to "tell" them rather than write them down. Later, in high school, I had a teacher who encouraged me to hone my craft. It wasn't until I had finished University and was married, however, that I really began writing seriously.

I have been writing for more than twenty five years simply because I love to write. In the early days, I wasn't sure where it all would go, but my compulsion kept me clacking away! I had stories to tell and I needed to get them on paper! About five years ago I started seeking publication. As the procrastinator that I am, I just never got around to it sooner. Boy, were my eyes opened once I started down that track! Getting published is a very competitive endeavor. One has to be very thick-skinned and be able to take criticism and rejection and learn from it.

What is your writing routine? Do you write every day? Do you have a certain time or place you write?

Wow! I wish! Because I teach full time and am heavily involved with my acting troupe of teenagers, I don't write as routinely as I would like to. I find I go in spurts (thus the twenty five year thing!) I spend most of my summer vacation and spring break writing, and then I try to squeeze in whatever I can during the rest of the year. Not the best recipe, I know, and not one that I would recommend. However, it's the best I can do at the moment.
I have been known to scrawl on bits of paper while in airports or hospital waiting rooms, but most of the time it is in my office at home. I also enjoy taking my lap top out doors in the summer. Once, while on a fly in fishing trip, I spent the whole time on the deck writing while my husband and our friends were out fishing!

Is there anything you wish you could tell your younger self about your writing life? What is your biggest advice for writers just starting out?

Like most things in life, writing is not something you should do if you are doing it for the money or the fame. Neither of those things might pan out. I write for the pure enjoyment I get from it and that's it. For me, it is almost more of a compulsion than anything else. I wish I would have tried breaking into the marketplace sooner, but then again, I believe that everything happens for a reason and at the right time. So I guess I'm on track.

What is the editing process like for you?

I go back and write and rewrite umpteen times. If I haven't been at it for awhile, this takes even longer as I have to get back into the "mood" or the moment of what was happening. I also think it is invaluable to get other unbiased opinions. We can get so attached to what we've labored over that we don't see the flaws and can't be objective. This is another reason why coming back to something that has been sitting for awhile can be a good thing. I think it is why I have always had more than one project on the go at once. When I come back to something after an extended break, I can be more objective. As far as grammar and style, that's what editors are for.

What "life lessons" have you learned through wrting?

Do what you love to do. Make time for what is important. Be true to your own calling and don't try to fit into a niche just because it might be marketable or trendy. I'm not really a romantic, although my writing could be categorized as "Romantic Suspense." I also like to present things in an "edgier" style than would normally be considered for the Christian market. However, I believe there is a market out there for my style of writing.

It's a philosophy that I've tried to carry over into every aspect of my life. As a former pastor's wife, I have had to face the unrealistic expectations of many people. It can be a bit of a fish bowl existence and it would be easy to try to play the part. However, as an artist and writer I've tried not to succumb to that way of thinking. Shakespeare's words "To thine own self be true" have been my motto in both writing and in life. People ultimately respect that. Nobody likes a phony.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Thanks for having me on your blog. Hopefully, I can inspire other fledgling writers - even those who have been at it for awhile - to persevere if it's their passion. You can visit my blog at www.tracykraussexpressionexpress.blogspot.com

Thanks, Tracy! It was a delight to have you on the blog today!


3 comments:

Virginia S Grenier said...

Tracy, you are a trooper. I use to think my life was crazy busy, but after reading your interview . . . not anymore. If you can do it, I sure should be able to. Thanks for sharing your passion of writing with us.

Nike Chillemi said...

I thought I was busy. Wow.

Keep on keeping one!!!

viny said...

Tracy "you've got something to say to the world" continue...courage and blesings!


regards,
Vincent