What would you most like your readers to know about you that they would not likely read in your official bio?
My birthday is on Christmas day, and since I’m the youngest in the family, my older sisters refer to that as “The year Tracy ruined Christmas.” I’m pretty sure they’re over it by now but I’m not placing any money on it.
Tell us Scribblers a bit about LOVE ME SWEET, and what inspired this story?
LOVE ME SWEET is the third Bell Harbor novel and introduces Grant Connelly, brother of the hero from THE BEST MEDICINE. It was very fun to bring him back to town because the family reunion doesn’t go quite as he planned. As for the inspiration, I wanted to write a story about a woman who isn’t what she pretends to be, how her actions have an unexpected ripple effect, and what she learns from that.
I immediately became invested in your heroine, Delaney Masterson and hero, Grant Connelly. What traits do you believe are necessary in creating characters that will keep the reader turning the pages?
Relatability is essential. Even though Delaney is a reality TV star, I wrote her as an “everyday” kind of woman who isn’t actually interested in fame. She does the show to support her father but she suffers under the media spotlight and ultimately hides from it. She embarrassed about something that happened which is an emotion we can all relate to. She’s also misunderstood, and I think most of us have had circumstances where our actions were taken out of context, or we unwittingly hurt someone’s feelings. This is a bit of a redemption story, but at the core it’s a story about being your true, authentic self.
What is the one thing about your heroine, Delaney, that drives her hero Grant crazy? And what is the one thing about Grant that drives Delaney crazy?
Delaney doing yoga in their living room drives him crazy in a good way! And probably the thing about Grant that makes Delaney crazy is that he jumps to the wrong conclusion at a certain point, and that hurts her feelings.
Do your stories have a common thread apart from the romance elements?
Humor! I think laughter is the key to happiness so if I can write a story that tugs at a reader’s heart while also making them laugh out loud, then I feel I’ve done my job. Like is too important to be taken too seriously, and most problems can be overcome if people can just maintain their sense of humor.
How do you normally start your stories – with a phrase, a character?
I write my scene out of order so my stories start with a character, or more of than not, it starts with a hero and heroine, and I put them in some comical but cataclysmic situation that lands right in the middle of the story. Then I work from there. I’m a meticulous plotter and so I have to know what obstacles they’ll face, and I definitely need to know the framework of the ending and their happily ever after, too.
How much influence do your characters have on the direction the story takes?
Some characters are intended to be bit players in a story and then they take over the whole thing. In my first book, CRAZY LITTLE THING, the character of Fontaine Baker was supposed to be kind of a drive-by thing.
But once he showed up on the page, he wouldn’t go away and he wouldn’t shut up. Ultimately be became of one my favorite aspects of all the Bell Harbor novels.
What is your opinion on self-publishing vs traditional publishing?
I think this is a decision every writer has to make for himself/herself. I went the (mostly) traditional route by going with Montlake Romance and I am thrilled with the support I’ve received from them. It’s been a fantastic experience. Self-publishing requires a different mindset from going with a traditional publisher. Neither is right or wrong, or even “better” or “worse.” It just depends on what is the most comfortable avenue for a writer to get work out into the world.
I thought this story would make a terrific movie. If you could cast anyone to play the roles of Delaney and Grant who would you choose?
Anyone who has been to my Facebook page knows I have an unhealthy (but very enjoyable!) fondness for Jensen Ackles so I’d cast him as Grant. And Jennifer Lawrence is so fabulous that I could picture her as nearly any of my heroines.
Do you belong to a critique group?
I used to have a fabulous critique group and I credit them for making me the writer I am today! (Thanks, Kimberly Kincaid, Alyssa Alexander, and Jennifer McQuiston!) We don’t work together as much now because everyone is so busy with various projects it’s hard to find the time. But for any aspiring writer out there wondering if a critique group is helpful, I give a resounding yes!
Do you write to a specific word count daily or write to the inspiration of your muse?
I used to rely on the muse but have come to discover that she’s a fickle wench and oftentimes doesn’t show up when expected. Now I keep
myself to a word count schedule. And I write my totals in red marker on my calendar so I can see what days deserve gold stars and which days I fell short. Life is busy and it can be very easy to say, “Oh, I’ll get to my writing as soon as I finish this next thing.” But if you do that, you’ll never get to the writing. I’ve finally learned that making my word count has to happen before anything else. Some days I don’t even let myself have that first cup of coffee until I’ve written a certain number of words. But each writer has to figure out a system that works best for her.
If you were going to give only one tip to an aspiring writer, what would it be?
Diana Gabaldon gave a great piece of advice to a roomful of writers at the annual Romance Writers of America conference one year. She said the key to being a writer is this. “Read. Write. Don’t stop.” Such simple advice! And yet so true. The more you read, the more exposure you have to other great work. The more you write, the more you define your own voice. And as long as you never stop, then you are working toward all your goals and dreams.
What books or other projects do you have coming out in the near future?
I’m currently working on a new series set on a fictionalized version of Mackinac Island in Northern Michigan. It’s a wonderful place full of Victorian “cottages” and there are no cars allowed. Only horses and bicycles. I love it there. My series takes some liberties with the island culture, of course. I tend to write fairly eccentric characters so my version of the place is full of pretty colorful individuals.
Amazon and Wall Street Journal Bestselling author Tracy Brogan writes fun, funny stories about ordinary people finding extraordinary love.
She's a three-time Romance Writers of America® RITA award nominee for Best First Book in 2013, and Best Contemporary Romance in 2015 and in 2016, a Booksellers Best award winner, and a three-time Golden Quill award winner in both contemporary and historical romance. She’s also honored to have received the Amazon Publishing Diamond Award.
Her books have been translated into several languages including German, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Turkish, Hebrew, and Japanese, and have placed in the Amazon Top 100 Bestsellers list in both 2013 and 2014.. Brogan lives in Michigan with her quasi-functional family and their mindlessly hedonistic dogs.