Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Interview: Tracey Martin

Author: Tracey Martin
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Sci-fi
Books: Another Little Piece of My Heart, Miss Misery Series, and RedZone Series

Yesterday I blogged about the release of Revive, the first book in a new sci-fi YA series (you can read my review here). The author Tracey Martin let me read her book early and pick her brain a little! It's very hard to discuss the specifics of this story without revealing major spoilers, but we managed to find some things to talk about.

Not only do you write young adult fiction, you also throw in science fiction and fantasy. What steered you toward these specific genres when you started to write?

I’ve always loved fantasy and science fiction. Epic/secondary world fantasy is my favorite, and so it was the first genre I tried writing. But after a couple attempts, I realized I found it much easier to immerse myself in someone else’s made up world than in my own. I moved on to writing stories set more in the real world and discovered on the way that my writing voice skews young, so setting out to write YA just made sense. My non-YA books actually started out as YA, but I knew the YA ages weren’t working for the stories I wanted to tell so I had to make the characters older. I think all my main characters end up having a lot of YA in them. Figuring out who you are seems to be my go-to theme.

In Revive, Sophia has amnesia right from the start. Where did the idea for that come from?

The entire idea for Revive actually came to me while watching a science fiction movie. I can’t remember the title, but I was getting very bored with it. Halfway through I just had the thought that I could have made better use of the premise. Of course, Revive ended up being nothing like the movie except for the idea of alternating timelines. The amnesia itself was just a convenient way to pull that aspect of the story together. I was on a big spy/thriller kick at the time, and so many spy stories make use of amnesia as a premise.

Was it more difficult to write the story with the amnesia factor thrown in there? Did you have to approach the writing process any differently than usual, as far as having to outline or plan ahead?

Ugh, yes! I always outline because if I didn’t, my stories would never go anywhere. But for this, I needed to basically outline two stories that built on each other until they came together in a way that made sense and sprinkle in clues, red herrings, and twists—and gah. It was so painful. Then I showed a version of it to my agent at one point, and she told me it was too confusing and suggested I pull it all apart and reassemble it, which I did. After that, I vowed I’d never write a story like that again. And I didn’t—until I wrote the sequel. But now I mean it, never again!

I love hearing about an author’s process – do you have a specific writing spot you prefer?

Other than my house, no. I’m so easily distracted that I can’t write in public places, or with the TV on or music. I can edit, but I can’t write. I wish I had a nice, dedicated spot in the house for it too, but I don’t.

Who was your favorite Revive character to write?

I’m going to refrain from saying the name, but definitely my villain. Villains are almost always my favorites. Most of us are taught our whole lives what’s right and what’s wrong, and we want to do good things. What makes a person do something evil then, how they break free of that teaching, and how (if) they justify their actions—that fascinates me. Although, in this case, getting inside Sophia’s head also gave me an interesting way to tackle the idea.

 Which character do you feel you relate to the best?

When you have a story packed with badasses, it’s hard to relate. I’m going to have to with Audrey, Sophia’s best friend at college. Audrey always has her nose in a book and an abhorrence of doing scary things—that sounds an awful lot like me. We’ll both take our thrills vicariously, thank you.

Are any of the names of your characters important?  For example, is anyone named for someone or inspired by someone?

Kyle and his mother, Sarah, were both names shamelessly stolen from the Terminator movies. I was Netflixing the Sarah Connor Chronicles around the time I wrote Revive, and I know it influenced me. Using those names was a way to acknowledge it.

Revive takes place mostly in Boston – what made you choose the setting?

I love Boston. I was born in Philadelphia, but Boston is my favorite city. All the Boston locations in the story are places where I’ve spent way too much time, so choosing them was partly for convenience. It also just fit the story well. There are so many colleges in the Boston area, and I knew how easy it would be get my characters to the locations I needed.

And now for random questions that have nothing to do with writing!

Crayons, markers, or colored pencils?

Favorite alcoholic beverage?
Red wine

Vanilla or chocolate?
Chocolate all the way, the darker the better.

Do you enjoy breakfast or dinner more?
Breakfast, in fact, I could eat breakfast for every meal.

If you had to choose only one book that you’re allowed to read for the rest of your life, which one would it be?
Can I pick a series? Harry Potter.

Favorite Harry Potter character?
Ack, favorite is hard, but I think I'll go with Neville. I have a thing for underdogs, and he's kind of the ultimate underdog. He's the almost-was hero of the story, a misfit who gets bullied, and on the surface not very talented. But when he's pushed, he shows incredible inner strength. He not only becomes a leader, he becomes a total badass who takes out the most dangerous horcrux. No one could have seen that coming. Neville is the quiet one who kicks ass.

Are you a morning or a night person?
I’m a morning person who wishes she was a night person.

Are you binge watching anything on Netflix or Hulu right now? What is it?
I tend to only watch TV with my husband, and he’s anti-binge watching. But if I could, it would probably be Orphan Black or Game of Thrones.

Buy her brand new book, Revive, here: AmazonBarnes and Noble

Tracey Martin grew up outside of Philadelphia, the lucky recipient of a drama-free childhood, which is why she spent so much time reading about other people's lives. It was while she was working on her doctorate in psychologry that she had an epiphany - imaginary people are way more fun than real ones. And so she began writing.

She likes her coffee simple, her music epic, and her movies to contain explosions. A city girl at heart, she doesn't understand how she and her husband ended up living in New Hampshire, but writing keeps her off the mean, small town streets.

Although she considers herself a hermit, she's a friendly one. You can find her online here:

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