Earlier this week, I was lucky enough to sit down with Traci from the blog Mad Hatter Reads, enjoy some tequila and discuss everything from writing The Boy to my dream vacation. Traci pretty much rocks (you can follow her on Twitter at @madhatterreads or check out her blog at http://madhatterreads.com) and the interview was loads of fun so thought I would share it with y’all.
Take a peek…
Would you tell us what we can expect from The Sanctum Trilogy and the newest installment, THE BOY?
THE BOY picks up where the action from THE GIRL ended, which was on the battlefield with Dev and Wyatt disappearing into the portal.
Dev escapes New York City and is racing against time to save Wyatt, landing on the doorstep of her Ramyan Master, Qi, seeking his assistance. The Ramyan, a mysterious sect of Magicals, play a prominent role in Book II and the realization of the prophecy.
Meanwhile, Jools, Ryker and The New York Academy try to move forward and counter the Breslin powerplay, while also coping with their despair. Throw in a host of new characters, from a shapeshifter to a practitioner of Shindo (dark magic), mix them up with the usual troublemakers and you’ve got a pretty decent recipe for plenty of drama and mayhem.
That said, when I think on this book, even with all the political maneuvering, back-stabbing, hot sex and fighting, what stands out the most to me are the themes of loss and acceptance.
Wow! THE BOY sounds action packed! What is your favorite scene in the book and are there any scenes that are hard for you to write?
My favorite scene is towards the latter half of the book when Wyatt very matter-of-factly tells Dev that she is the only woman he wants, momentarily flabbergasting her with his brutal honesty. What I also love is that although he’s being sincere, she really is the only woman for him, he’s also messing with her, enjoying the opportunity to make her squirm a bit.
Darby’s sex scenes are a close second. They’re just downright hot.
Probably the most poignant scene and the hardest to write was between Josiah and Wyatt, when the father finally lets go of the son, admitting to himself he will never see his child again. That was kind of brutal, especially conveying Josiah’s desperation. It just broke my heart.
If you could invite any four of your characters to dinner who would you invite and why?
Jedda, Darby, Jools and Dev, mostly because it would be fun to watch a room full of strong, incredibly fierce women lord it over this incredibly sexy, virile, smart, cocksure man. Plus, we would all have a blast getting drunk together.
Now that would be a fun dinner! Who’s in charge? You or the characters?
A little of both although as the trilogy comes to a close, and I have very distinct ideas about what I see happening to certain characters, I feel the characters are starting to win and tilt the playing field to their advantage. I think they’re getting the upper hand as of late mostly because I don’t want things to end, you know? Especially Dev and Wyatt. They sit in this little part of my soul and I’m not quite ready to part ways with them any time soon, so we’ll see what happens…
Do you have any special quirks when it comes to your writing? It needs to be quiet, or music playing, etc?
Not really. I can kind of write anywhere, as evidenced by large chunks of books one and two being written on the Path train during my commute into and out of Manhattan. And although I’m only on that train for all of 16 minutes, I always seem to get quite a bit accomplished.
Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
Growing up, Judy Blume for sure. I loved her. I still do. Most recently, I would say Laini Taylor. I’ve said it many times over, her Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy inspired me to write The Sanctum. Her books are so beautiful and fanciful and fraught with emotion and I wanted to see if I could so something similar.
On a fangirl note, since becoming more active on Twitter to promote my work, she’s favorited three of my tweets, which really just makes me all kinds of crazy. I’ve taken pictures of the tweets she favorited. Snort. And to add to the cuteness, her husband has favorited two of them as well.
Squee!! It gives me a thrill when an author I admire favorites one of my tweets too! What do you feel are the essential elements to a great story?
This answer is probably different for every writer.
For me, I would say the characters. But I’m also the same girl who just received a one-star rating from someone on Goodreads who read THE GIRL and complained that I didn’t describe the settings enough, so take what I say with a grain of salt. HAHA.
I enjoy reading character-driven stories and write much the same way. In all honesty, when there are vast amounts of descriptive paragraphs in a book, I often find myself skimming them, trying to reach the next section of dialogue.
Good dialogue between well-developed, strong characters can carry a story just as well as detailed and descriptive narratives. It’s almost as if comparing active versus passive and I’ll take active any day.
Good sex scenes are also key. And if you’re not going to give up the sexy times, then at least have some serious physical attraction going on, some serious chemistry.
What do you feel is the best part about being a writer? The most frustrating?
The best part is the creative freedom, the ability to construct worlds and develop characters all on your own whim.
The most frustrating? That’s easy. Marketing.
What was the best advice you received when you started writing?
Ann McGinley, my legal writing professor in law school told me that one day I would write a great novel, but while I was in her class, I was going to learn to write like a lawyer.
It’s not exactly advice, but her faith in my capabilities as a fiction writer have stuck with me all these years later. I should send her copies of my books!
Would you tell us about your upcoming projects?
I’m currently working on Book III: The Prophecy, the final episode of The Sanctum Trilogy (meep) and have started taking notes on a series about Darby and Jedda.
They have a decades-long romance that I am quite intrigued by, but do not have time to delve into great detail about in The Sanctum. I was standing in line in the grocery store last weekend, thinking about how much I love them, both together and on their own, and realized they provide more than enough fodder for some good reading and writing.
And now for some rapid-fire questions:
Favorite color? Black, although I do love a deep blue. And some people would swear I’m partial to green.
Favorite ice cream flavor? In a bowl or a cone? Coffee ice cream and a bowl. Although my childhood girlfriend makes all kinds of crazy, homemade flavors and her candied bacon ice cream is to die for.
Where would you go on a dream vacation? Phu Quoc island, off the coast of Vietnam.
If you could have a super power what would it be? I’d love to be able to time-travel. Is that really a superpower, in the sense of Superman or Wonder Woman? I don’t think so, but man if I wouldn’t love to go back in time and have dinner with Zora Neale Hurston and then an after-dinner drink and a smoke with Mark Twain.
What are you reading right now? The Infected by Scott Sigler. All I’m going to say is the itching…
I’m so glad you stopped by today Madhuri! It’s always a pleasure to have you visit and you’ll have to come back to see us soon!