Best-selling author, Tracie Peterson, joins us this week on Favorite PASTimes. Married for over twenty-one years, Tracie and her husband Jim have three children. They currently reside in Montana. Visit Tracie at http://www.traciepeterson.com/.
Don't forget to leave a comment with your name and e-mail address if you'd like to be entered into a drawing for one of Tracie's books.
Welcome to Favorite PASTimes, Tracie. Please start by telling us a little about your journey to Christian fiction.
I accepted Christ at the age of six and throughout my spiritual walk, He has continued to mold and make me. Sometimes it’s been quite pleasant, rather like a peaceful walk through a mountain forest. Other times, it's been a trial by fire and it's hurt a great deal. Sometimes the storms have bent me over – sometimes they've snapped me in half – but always God has been faithful. I was amazed at the times I saw people fall in love at first sight with God, only to have that love fade from their hearts as the vision of God wore away. They relied on that warm fuzzy feeling – that peace like a river – that mountaintop experience. And while all those things are possible and wonderful, they aren't what sustains. A relationship – a one-on-one daily interaction – is how you get better acquainted with another human being – why not also find that true with God? And because of that, I felt a strong desire to share the Bible truths that hopefully could draw people closer to God as they walked with Him. My desire is to write books that will help people regain their sight and hope. I pray that you will be blessed as you read my books, but even more, I pray that God will make Himself very real to you.
And how has the publishing industry changed since you first started?
When I first felt called to write Christian fiction, there really was no such market. You had Eugenia Price and George McDonald, Catherine Marshall, too, but no established market that was titled “Christian fiction.” That of course has changed tremendously. We now not only have Christian fiction – we have dozens of genres that include romance, westerns, mystery, science fiction, fantasy, thrillers and futuristic. When Christian fiction started to really be received in the market, it seemed that publishers would take anyone and everyone so long as the book had a marginal suggestion of God or faith. Now, that market has been refined and we are seeking to have the quality that this area deserves.
Speaking of that refinement and the shift to more quality books being published, you had first-hand experience on the other side of the desk, so to speak. You also spent a few years working as an acquisitions editor. What was that experience like, and would you ever return to it if the opportunity presented itself?
I loved acquisitions, mainly because I love new authors. Their fresh perspectives and excitement for writing hasn’t yet been overly jaded by the business of writing. I would return to acquisitions if the time was right and that was where God led me.
Balancing acquisitions and writing couldn’t have been easy. What is the biggest challenge/obstacle you face in protecting your writing time?
I’m probably my own biggest obstacle. I need to remember that I have to be disciplined and devoted. I have to give writing 100%, if not 110% of my focus when I am at the task. I can’t allow that attention to be divided out by running to do a load of laundry, talk on the phone or run to the grocery store. I need to sit, write and complete.
In order to do that and stay focused, you usually need to have a specific area that’s perfect for writing. So, could you describe your work place for us?
I share an office with Jim, my husband. Two of the four walls are floor to ceiling built in bookshelves that are full to overflowing with research books. One wall is home to our desks with a common table that divides us and holds reference books such as dictionaries and such, and on my side of the table I have a stack of the research books that are relevant to the writing I’m currently working on. The fourth wall has a huge window and it looks out over my porch and off to the mountains. I have a gorgeous view that inspires—it was something I always wanted and it doesn’t disappoint. I work at a desk top computer primarily, but often need a change of pace and go upstairs to our bedroom to a nice comfy chair and ottoman and use my laptop. I find I can write just about anywhere.
Being right next to each other and sharing that space no doubt helps with bouncing ideas off of Jim and having his help with your research. You’ve made it known that you and your husband both love history. In fact, he has helped you in your research for years. What historical time periods interest you the most and how have you immersed yourself in a particular time period?
Is there an all-encompassing theme that you find exists in all of your novels? Something above and beyond the primary or obvious one?
Come back tomorrow for a second visit with best-selling author Tracie Peterson and the answer.