Tracie Podger currently lives in Kent, UK with her husband and a rather obnoxious cat called George. She’s a Padi Scuba Diving Instructor with a passion for writing.
Tracie has been fortunate to have dived some of the wonderful oceans of the world where she can indulge in another hobby, underwater photography. She likes getting up close and personal with sharks.
What inspired you to start writing?
I’m always very open with this question. I suffer with depression and some time ago was placed in the nut house, as I affectionally call it. I was encouraged to write a journal and once home I continued to write. I found I could lose myself in the fiction and the characters and it was cathartic. I loved it, and somewhere down the line I believe it went some way to helping me overcome my issues.
How long have you been writing?
I’ve been saying six years for a few years now! I guess about seven or eight. The first book I wrote, A Virtual Affair, took me just a matter of weeks. Of course it was full of errors and with no structure, but I wrote that story just for me. As soon as I finished, I started the Fallen Angel series and I haven’t stopped since.
What advice would you give a new writer just starting out?
Oh, I have a few pieces of advice. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it. You can. If you have the desire, then write. Research is important; as much as we are writing fiction, if you use a location, make sure you know all there is to know about that location and the people who live there. Believe me, someone will know you’ve made it up if you do! Know your target audience but write the story you want to tell. Don’t be influence by what’s hot, just look into your heart and follow your gut.
Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?
Thankfully I don’t. I guess I have way too much going on in my brain, too many characters and stories needing to get heard.
Who is your favorite author and why?
I have tons. I admire Colleen Hoover and, although I’ve never read her books, J K Rowling (I know, don’t stone me!). Both those women turned their lives around; they came from difficult situations and put all their energy into their stories because they believed in them so much.
What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?
A strong plot and characters your readers can relate to are really important. Now, that’s not to say you can’t write about aliens, but make those aliens provoke an emotion in the reader.
How do you develop your plot and characters?
I’m a brain to laptop writer. I don’t plan as such. I know the story, I see it as a movie in my head and I write what I see. I let the story develop as I write. I’ll be in the middle of a scene and those images in my head will shift. I’ll be like, ‘oh, oh’ and bouncing on the chair. I just write and somehow I get to the end.
What comes first, the plot or characters?
For the Fallen Angel series, in fact for all the books I have planned, they are character driven. Robert Stone, and this is going to sound mad, came to me in a dream. Night after night I dreamt about a man and it was as if he was telling me his story. I would wake, write it down (as a way of discharging) and eventually I read back through those notes and realised those scribbling’s would make a good story. I knew who he was, why he was, and I sat at the laptop and let it flow.
Tell us something about your newest release that is NOT in the blurb.
Oh, mmm… Fallen Angel, Part 4 is due for release 4th December. There was never going to be a part 4 but I wasn’t ready to let go of those characters. So, what can I tell you? A few people get killed – is that enough? No? Okay, can you imagine what it must feel like to not know your past? To not know if your name is even your birth name? And then, imagine if you will, what it would feel like to discover it all? To know your past was a lie would devastate wouldn’t it? *insert wink emoticon here ha ha* That’s about all you’re going to get from me.
Are you working on anything at the present you would like to tell us about?
I mentioned A Virtual Affair earlier. Initially that was a book just for me, a way of exorcising demons. However, I’ve completely rewritten it and it will now be the first release of 2016. It’s with Beta’s now; it goes for editing at the end of November and is a book I’m very excited to release. After that there will be a choice of two – I’ll have to come back to you on what order they will be released.
What are you reading now?
I have very little time to read, sadly. I won’t read when I’m writing so I can’t be subconsciously influenced but I am reading Priest by Sierra Simone.
What books or authors have most influenced your own writing?
I can’t honestly say there is one particular author that has influenced my writing. As I said before, there are authors I admire and on days I want to quit I go and read a post or two of Colleen’s and it boosts my resolve to carry on.
How do you come up with the titles to your books?
The Fallen Angel series causes some confusion. I have now put a pinned post on my Facebook page to explain that the books are not paranormal. Whether I made a mistake with the title, I don’t know. It refers to two things. The main character, Robert Stone, was led to believe, as a child, he had the devil in him by his mad, religious old aunt. The devil is nothing more than a Fallen Angel! However, the title also refers to the tattoo he had inked on his back when he felt he had ‘made it’. It’s his way of sticking two fingers up to all those that abused him.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’m a storyteller; I guess that’s the same thing. The minute one puts words onto a piece of paper they are a writer in my mind. I became an author the minute I published.
Describe your writing space.
I sit at the kitchen table, which is often messy with my notebook, chocolate, cigarettes, phone, books and other ‘junk’. I do clear it all away when people come for dinner of course. I have an office, at the bottom of the garden, but the Wi-Fi doesn’t reach!
What is the hardest part about writing for you?
I think some may hate me for this but I don’t find anything hard. Perhaps that will change, but for now I have a ton of ideas, some good plot lines to explore and I love it. I think the minute I stop loving it and it becomes a chore, I’ll discover all those hard parts. I’m grateful to have a wonderful team to support me and they make my job easy.
What is your work schedule like when you are writing?
I am quite disciplined, although Facebook can be a major distraction sometimes. I set myself a daily word count, but I don’t fret if I don’t meet that. When I’m on a roll, I will write for about eight hours a day. I’ll stop for breaks, of course – I have dodgy eyes and dodgy hands, and those need a break. I’ll also spend about two to three hours on marketing (code for faffing about on social media).
What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
I don’t think I have one. Does that me sound boring? I want a quirk now! Maybe I do have a quirk but it seems so normal I don’t view it as such. I’ll come back to you on this one.
What do you like to do when you are not writing?
Lately I’ve done nothing but write, or edit. I’m a Padi Scuba Diving Instructor and although I don’t teach anymore, I don’t have the time, I still enjoy diving. I’m very keen on underwater photography and I like to get up close and personal with sharks.
What is the most surprising thing you discovered while writing your book(s)?
Mmm, here’s where I may upset a few people. The loss of friends surprised me. Not many people outside the ‘book world’ understand the level of commitment, or the hours required to produce a book. I gave myself two years, full time, and I mean seven days a week, to get my series out there. I’ve achieved that. Part 1 was published mid December 2013, Part 4 concludes the series this December. It’s been hard work and long hours. Family and relationships have suffered, but it’s something I had to do. I’ve never done something just for me, and thankfully I had the full support of my husband and family.
How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I’ve written nine (technical eight and half because I haven’t finished one) in the Fallen Angel Series, A Virtual Affair, half of Jackson, and three children’s books. Jackson is part of the Passion series (a three book standalone series) that starts in 2016, and as for the children’s books, I’d like to release those at some point under a pen name. As for which one is my favourite? I love all the books I’ve written. Virtual has a special place in my heart because it was the first book I wrote, but Fallen Angel, Part 1 will always have a little of my soul. After such a devastating time for me, and my family, to put my work out in the public domain took a level of courage I didn’t believe I had. I was exposing myself to criticism at a time I wasn’t mentally able to cope. But I did, and without sounding all ‘Hollywood’, that book, and that experience, helped me recover.
Do you hear from your readers much? What do they say?
Lots! Most say nice things, thankfully ha ha! I love hearing from readers. I love to talk books, and I especially love to hear how they felt about mine.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I’ve wanted to be everything from an actress (I was in the Old Vic Youth Theatre) to an Olympic dressage rider. I wanted to be a pilot in the Navy—I don’t like heights; a model—dismissed that idea when I didn’t grow beyond the five foot that I am.
How do you do research for your books?
Google is my friend. I write about the Mafia, I did spend some time contacting the FBI but eventually they ignored me. I also spent time chatting to Italians about their life ‘back in the day’. I do have someone who helps me with legal, logistical, and realistic criminal issues. I am a believer in, no matter what you write, make it real. I do a lot of research, I’ve been to many of the locations I feature, and if I haven’t, someone I know has. There is enough reference material on line to assist any author with any story (perhaps not sci-fi, but I’m sure you get my drift). I get very cross when I read a book where there has been no obvious research. As a reader, I feel cheated.
Fallen Angel, Part 4
It was in a small room in a hotel in Washington, DC, that Brooke Stone’s life changed forever—again.
Life had been peaceful, as peaceful as being a member of one of the most powerful crime families in America could be.
But life has a habit of throwing a curve ball, a curve ball so fast and so wide it knocks everyone from their feet.
From the streets of DC to the hills of Tuscany, from death to the utmost joy – Join Brooke for the final chapter in the Fallen Angel series and witness the birth of a new crime dynasty.
This is a story of discovery, of finding a past, of heartache and the greatest of love.
‘I’ve seen death and I’ve faced my worst fears – I survived.’
A Mafia Romance
Contemporary romance for readers over the age of 18 years.
Pre-Order from Amazon – myBook.to/FallenAngelPart4
Excerpt – Fallen Angel, Part 4
© Tracie Podger
Unedited and subject to change
It was in a small room in a hotel in Washington, DC, that my life changed forever—again.
My son, Gerry, had hit his nose causing a river of blood to run down his chin and on to his dress shirt. Sam and I had taken him from the party to clean him up when all hell broke loose.
As we crossed the reception of the hotel I noticed a man, one of the many security detail Robert had installed to ensure his fortieth birthday party was not disturbed. He watched me leave the ballroom and just as I entered the restroom I heard him speak.
“Can I help you?”
I hadn’t turned to look and see if he was addressing me, I was too focused on Gerry. I had enough time to grab a fistful of hand towels before it happened. Before an invisible force hit me like a tank and I was thrown forwards landing heavily on my side. My ears rang, my vision was blurred and my heart raced in fear.
What had just happened?
A cloud of something grey swirled into the room. Was it dust or smoke? I wasn’t sure. My brain couldn’t compute what I saw, couldn’t comprehend what was going on. I heard screams, I heard shouts but the ringing in my ears distorted the sound. The solid oak door to the bathroom hung from one bracket, a gap had formed but not wide enough for me to see through clearly.
The sound in my head lessened, replaced by the shrill of a fire alarm. Splatters of water hit my face. The smoke, or dust, must have triggered the sprinkler system.
I heard a moan and it was as if fingers had snapped in front of my face, my son was lying somewhere on that cold tiled floor.
“Gerry?” I called out, my voice sounded strained even to my ears.
Another moan came from the direction of a cubicle. I got to my knees my body was shaking but adrenalin took over. I crawled to where I thought I heard the moan and pushed open the door. Gerry was lying on the floor and blood had congealed on his face.
Fallen Angel, Part 1
Fallen Angel, Part 2
Fallen Angel, Part 3
Evelyn – A Novella
Rocco – A Novella
Fallen Angel, Part 4
A Virtual Affair
The Passion Series – Jackson