Today we both get to meet Tracee Lydia Garner.
I love finding new authors to bring you and new books to read.
Welcome to An Indie Adventure, Tracee. Tell us, what inspired you to write your book Anchored Hearts?
Thanks, L.A. I'm pleased to be here with you today. I actually wrote out of the dire need to explore and find “something else” in case my schooling didn’t work out. I was in college and it just wasn’t my thing. I prayed and asked for “something else” very specific I was, knowing that if academics didn’t pan out and I couldn’t make the grade, I needed something to fall back on. He supplied big time in the form a writing contest hosted by a large publisher. I saw it one day online (probably should have been studying something) and soon as I read the contest details, I knew it was for me. In short, I won the grand prize and the rest, they say, is history. I did finish school and writing helped me to bring up my grades in almost every subject. It was an awesome experience.
I realize I digress but wanted to encourage anyone on a different journey but writing (or “something”) is pulling at you and you need to detour to find out what “that” is!
Regarding Anchored Hearts, I love when the main characters know each other, they separate for whatever reason but find their way back to each other. Love and the familiar is exciting- so that’s the first thread. The second is that I always wanted to write a story about what happens when a child is left in your care and the parent, in this case, the mother calls and begs you to take care of the child? What do you do? Such is the case for Allontis Baxter, her life is turned upside down by secrets and she’s trying to juggle it all and still keep herself together.
What were your experiences as a child or adult that contributed to you becoming a writer?
Probably contributing to my writing, are that I’m super, overly analytical and descriptive. I have a mobility disability so more often than not, I’m telling someone how to best assist me and direct them to do my care. All those details aren’t lost on people -people are always saying wow, you really know how to give good instructions. This is likely because I want to get in my wheelchair in an upright position and not find my ass sprawled on the floor. I definitely use these details in my writing to really bring all those things running around in my head, to life.
What is most difficult for you to write? Characters, conflict or emotions? Why?
For me the endings are always difficult. I’m like a plane, circling the runway, but never putting the wheels down. This obviously makes landing impossible. I just kind of hover, and hover and hover some more. I seem to start off great, with a bang, everything comes into place quickly really in a few short months and I can usually type as fast as my brain thinks. I’m a fast typist. Then sometimes the endings can take forever to complete. I’ll think about it forever and then one day, it hits me, it seems to take forever, so sometimes now I just writing an ending, even if it’s bad and hope that in the bad part I will get to the real, good conclusion. One other possible contributor to this problem with endings is that I’m also a “pantser”. Know what that is? People who don’t take the time to plot their way in a story but write by “the seat of their pants.” Come to think of it, no wonder I can’t get off the plane, I’m not wearing any pants.
What is the first thing you do when you begin a new book?
When I start a new project…I THINK about the characters obsessively. I’m like Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction just without the killer tendencies or anything awful like that.
I try to eat, sleep and breathe my characters. It's usually a feeling or a line from their mouth that I write down first. I often start with their feelings and the dialogue comes in spurts and from that line of dialogue I have to build the story up to meet what I wrote or write what comes after.
Most pantsers aren’t linear writers. I write tidbits and eventually move, cut, paste things as the entire things come together. I also use a lot of placeholders. When things are coming, I’ll write - describe this more here- or -research this here-. Eavesdropping and people watching are often fun to me. The things people talk about. Wow! Talk louder, please. LOL :)
If you were a TV, film or book character, apart from one you've created, who would you be? And why?
I’m in love with Superman. I’ve always identified with his goofiness and knowing there was something deeper. I think that as a person with a disability, my perceived limitations often speak, (erroneously) for me/about me, to others. We see with our eyes and I’ve always wanted people who judge on sight, to know that there is something so much deeper than what their eyes can behold.
Superman is perceived often as an idiot, clumsy, super cute, am I, but still dismissed often as a total klutz. They have no idea he is the strongest man in the world. We as humans often do that, place limits on that first encounter.
Give us a brief summary of Anchored Hearts: Anchored Hearts is about a couple of different things, all central to my stories, love, the quest for truth, trust and overcoming adversity. Imagine running a successful center for abused and battered women and within the center, those women you are charged with caring for, one of them decides to leave their child behind. Said woman also calls you personally and begs you take the child, keep her safe and ensure her father doesn’t find her or you and the child could end up dead?
Allontis Baxter, director for the Anchored Empowerment Center, doesn’t know why she’d be thrust into such a dire situation but she is. She’s just trying to live her life and help the women find peace and create lives their own.
To top off the secret of harboring a child until her mother can find safety from God knows where, Allontis’s old flame, restaurateur Cole Parker returns to town to see if second chances exist and is bent on rekindling a long lost love affair with Allontis. Allontis wants all of this and more, but the juggling act ensues, devastating secrets can harm fragile relationships and the entire thing could blow up in her face, leaving her fighting for her life, the child’s life and jeopardize her newfound love with Cole.
I am a Virginia native and the author of five books. I write contemporaryromantic suspense and sweet romance. Launching my career and sealing my love of writing, at 23, I won the BET First Time Writer’s Contest for my novella Family Affairs, which was published in the 2001 All That & Then Some anthology.
My full-length novels include Come What May, The One Who Holds My Heart and Love Unchosen. My fifth novel, Anchored Hearts released last spring. Currently, I’m working on the sequel to Anchored Hearts, tentatively entitled A Warm Embrace (it’s about Cole’s brother) and my first nonfiction book about event planning.
I teach an 8-week novel writing course, three times year at my alma mater and I work for a social services agency during the day. I was diagnosed at 2 years old with Muscular Dystrophy and have a used a wheelchair since elementary school.