Shades Of Romance Magazine: Please give the readers a brief bio on you the person and the writer.
Tracee Lydia Garner: I, Tracee Lydia Garner was born in Alexandria, VA. I now reside in the Dulles Hub of Northern Virginia. I enjoy speaking, and often write like I talk, in that me the writer and me the person really aren't that different. I love to talk, examine and just be around people absorbing who they are, culture, language, it's really to me what writing is all about. I enjoy cooking, reading of course and love writing articles for the web. I'm currently pursuing a degree in Communications and hope to work as a public relations specialist for a small firm or nonprofit.
SORM: Tell us about your current book?
GARNER: Come What May is a romantic suspense, set in Macon, Georgia. The Heroine, second-grade schoolteacher, Tisha Jameson, left her Virginia home when she could not save one of her precious students from the abuse she suffered at the hands of her family and later the foster care home she was placed in. Unrelenting press, overbearing/overprotective siblings, send Tish to Georgia to start her life anew. In a town where nobody knows her, she meets her wonderful rambunctious second-graders, and is particularly taken with Thomas Alton, and his former pro-football playing single dad. Love from the both of them is all she needs. The relationship endures many tests however, when Tisha must fight for her life when someone who used to work at the foster care home, has followed Tisha all the way to Macon to exact her revenge. Andrea Robinson believes Tisha Jameson ruined her life and her career when she set out to close the foster care facility. Chase is madly in love with Tish, but when his ex-wife returns determined to get their son or simply ruin Chase's life, a future with Tish seems distant. Chase can't seem to let go of the past and the heartache his shattered marriage brought him. Come What May, however, he's determined to try.
SORM: Which scene in the book is your favorite?
GARNER: I think my favorite scene in the book is the confrontation between Tish and one of the villains: Andrea Robinson. While's it's a brutal one and a friend of mine told me it sent chills down her back, it was one of the first scenes that came to me in developing this story. I think it's a nail biting, hair raised on the back of your neck kind of scene. I'm not a violent person, have no violent tendencies, except on paper, so it was spectacularly awesome to delve into this. This scene, I believe, puts the suspense in my romantic suspense.
SORM: What would you like your readers to take away from your book?
GARNER: A sense of triumph over evil. The heroine faces some huge obstacles, insecurities, and a meeting with those who wish her demise. She confronts these demonic people when she could just run home and hide and let her family fight her battles. Tisha is strong, and while it's easy to let someone else handle things, it takes a strong person to confront the issue themselves. So that the long answer. In short, entertainment is always big. If I've created a story where people can believe enough, empathize enough to buy into the story for the duration of it, and come away and say, "That was good!", I'm so very happy. Reading is about entertainment, escapism and when I read I want to wonder about the character after that last page. If the reader wonders about Tish and Chase, Jacob and Faye and even secondary characters such as Angie and Jojo, or Chyna and Dean, I know that they've got longevity beyond the pages and that's plus, plus, plus for me as a new author and even after subsequent books that will still b one of my foremost goals.
SORM: If your book could be made into a movie, whom would you choose to play the lead characters?
GARNER: I'm kind of infatuated with a particular Washington Redskins player, so if he were into acting, he'd be first draft pick. :) Other than him, I can't think of who would play him. I'm equally stumped on a heroine, but if I could mix two people, I'd say Jada Pinkett-Smith's physical make up, a dash of her firebrit, with the subtle, quiet shyness and temperament of Halle Berry. For what it's worth, if the woman (who I don't personally know and have never met) on my cover were into acting, I can honestly say that I can definitely see her as Tish, and see her as if the powers that be at BET followed my character description for her to the T-i-s-h-a.
SORM: Would you ever consider writing a historical?
GARNER: I don't think so. I commend Beverly Jenkins, who is like the ultimate when it comes to this category. Contemporary romance research is still to me a daunting task. I'm in the thick of a kind of governmental pile of research for the sequel to Come What May....I can't see having to do more than what I'm doing as far as researching goes and writing a historical would certainly require gargantuan research I'm not prepared to tackle. Now history to me, would be the fabulous 80's. Sounds pathetic, but I'm working on a mainstream coming of age story that starts in the eighties. New Edition, Adidas shoes, Kevin Bacon in Footloose, What's Love Got To Do With It, Tina Turner, RUN DMC, I'm a definite eighties child, so that's as far back as I can go. In a way it's history, in another, it's my pathetic attempt for me to say it's history. :)
SORM: Do you have a favorite historical book?
GARNER: I haven't actually read any. In my favor however, I have Beverly Jenkins' Always and Forever sitting on my shelf and I'm committing to reading it...one day. I tried to get into Gay G. Gunn's Nowhere To Run. Other than that, I'd like to get The Taming of Jessi Rose, also by BJ, but that's about it for now.
SORM: What was the best writing advice you received?
GARNER: The best advice, to keep your name out there from mentor and friend, Jacquelin Thomas. A heck of lot easier said than done. For me that just ain't happenin. Two books a year I believe would do that (keep my name out there), but right now, I'm a slow poke, and I can't seem to do more than a book a year. I'm so in awe with fellow writers who are just so on the money, they write, they write, they write and the books are coming out of the woodwork to show for it. My Northern Virginia neighbor Celeste Norfleet, or even Brenda Jackson! Man oh man, how do they do it? In my own head, the ideas are definitely there...the research the typing, the edit and revise, however, is not.
SORM: What are your goals as a writer?
GARNER: Uh, type, research faster? Well, okay, honestly, I'm a career path thief. What does that mean? That I take a look at the paths others I admire have taken and adapt them to myself. Overall, I'd like to show some stability with a publishing line/imprint right now, and then move on as sooo many other authors have done. So about 10-12 romances with one or maybe two places, then the mainstream ideas are under development. I'd also like at some point to have the coveted illustrated cover/lead author status, but it seems there is no direct, sure fire method to attain this so I'm just plunking away knowing I'll get there at some point and time. We shall see. But I always have a plan in mind, it may get altered but I'm never too far off my map. I'd also like to develop the nerve or I guess the story to kill off a main character. Why oh why? I love romances, they end happy, main characters do not, DO NOT die in romances, but as I branch into other waters, if people have ever read LuAnne Rice, or Nicholas Spaks, people die and at times these story depress me, there is something significantly emotionally tangible about such stories that send me (and many others) to the bookstore for more. I'd like to know if in my own writing world if killing off the main character could still make good story. Is there a story out there that I would feel the need to do this? Maybe, maybe not, but I'd like to try to write one where things don't end so happily but where maybe someone still triumphs in some respect despite the loss. Other goals that I have and would like them to take flight on the wings of my writing include: public speaker, writing lecturer, maybe an instructor at a university though I'm probably more like community college material. I love community college because it seemed love me. Laugh!
SORM: What advice would you give someone whose book is about to be published?
GARNER: Research, research, research, not just the story, aspects of the story, all that should have been done throughout the writing process, but promotion. It cannot be stressed enough, there's so much to do, so much promotional issues that need to be addressed it can be downright depressing, but if you want to sell any of those wonderful stories, it's a task all about-to-be-published writers can take on. I would also say don't buy any books on promotion unless you're a real by the book person. I bought a book and it cannot compare to that of the wonderful world-wide-web. I haven't looked at the book more than twice. Everything, I mean everything!!! you need to know, fresh ideas, old ideas, how to's, it's all there, just look or well click and keep clicking your mouse until you find it. Print those out, follow them and that's really all you need to be a promotional guru. It's out there, trust me.
SORM: What is the latest pager-turner you've read?
GARNER: Ghosts of Fire by friend, and around-the-beltway neighbor Maureen Morah Smith. Currently, I'm also reading Chesapeake Blue by Nora Roberts and P.G. County by Connie Briscoe.
SORM: Do you have any advice for those aspiring writers?
GARNER: Don't ever give up! Pray, hope, believe, and receive...it all.
SORM: How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)
Tracee Lydia Garner
PO Box 651362
Sterling, VA 20165
www.Teegarner.com - please sign my guestbook
SORM: Can you give us a sneak peek at your next book?
GARNER: The Pursuit of Happiness (TPOH) is the sequel to Come What May. TPOH explores the story of Tisha's brother Dean Jameson. Chyna and Dean, I hope have made enough of an impression on the readers of Come What May to warrant people wondering about them and wanting me to explore them.
TPOH is also a romantic suspense. Chyna Lockehardt formerly married to California Senator Gary Williams was believed to have had it all. People don't know however about her shattered marriage, Gary's illicit governmental dealings, his unhappiness with himself, his verbal abuse of his former wife and the consuming hate he carries for the man he feels has always been an invisible obtainer of his wife's affections.
Chyna always loved the man just a door down from her childhood home only she believed Dean Jameson didn't love her back. Dean, always did, and still does. While Chyna gives up on them, it's up to Dean to try to convince her that they have a chance at love, the lifetime kind and make her want to pursue both their happiness. With so many against them, Gary Williams, a woman who joins with Gary to get Dean, another up and coming Governor candidate who despises the Jameson's, it just may seem impossible to pursue anything other than their next breath.
SHADES OF ROMANCE MAGAZINE WOULD LIKE TO THANK MS. GARNER FOR THIS INTERVIEW. WE WISH YOU MUCH SUCCESS WITH YOUR CAREER..