Today we have Tracie Peterson with us. Thanks for taking the time for this interview. Tell us a little about your new book. What is the main storyline?
My latest book is IN PLACES HIDDEN, book one in the GOLDEN GATE SECRETS series. This is a story about 3 young women, strangers who meet on a train bound for San Francisco. Each is headed to the city to find something. The focal heroine of the story is searching for her brother who has disappeared amidst political scandal and illegal activities. What she finds, however, is a testing of her faith and an unlikely romance.
Okay, I’m intrigued. Tell us about yourself. How long have you been writing?
I’ve written most of my life, but I’ve been published since the 1980s.
That’s a long time. When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
One of my first memories is of loving to tell stories. I’m a storyteller and it seemed only natural that I would want to write them down.
I love your stories. What inspired you to write this book?
I wanted to do a series that dealt with the great earthquake and fire that destroyed much of San Francisco in 1906.
Did it turn out the way you first thought it would? If not, what was different?
I plan out each of my books in a series so that I have a broad idea of where the series will go and how each book will play out. There were a few little surprises along the way, but the general idea stayed firm.
It’s interesting how some writers plan out their books like you do, and others don’t. How long did it take you to write? Tell us a little about the process.
Since I’m constantly working on 3-4 books at a time, I’m always in some cycle of research, plotting, writing or editing. I usually read nonfiction for pleasure and often it is a part of my research for upcoming series. I usually take a couple of weeks to plot out a book and then a month to write the first draft. After that, it’s editing and adding in additional research. Given the schedule I have of producing 3-4 books a year, you can pretty well see that each book gets about 3 months devoted time, with additional time for edits and research while I’m working on other stories.
Wow! That takes a lot of discipline. Did you need to do any special research for this book?
Always. I am well known for my research. It’s the main thing that’s earned me the title “Queen of Historical Christian Fiction”. I always try to go to the places I write about or if that’s not possible then I watch documentaries, read a great deal on a variety of subjects related to the area and people (including dairy and newspaper accounts of the time) and speak to people from those areas who are experts on the history.
Do you have a special place or atmosphere you like to write in best?
I love my office. I have a nice quiet office where I can escape to write. When the weather is nice, I also enjoy writing outdoors on our wrap around porch.
Are you like your main character?
In this story the heroine is a strong feminist who believes in women’s rights and that every woman should attend college and get an education. While I firmly support education and women’s rights, I know that God has a particular plan for each person and college isn’t always in the mix. I only attended college for a few classes and so I know that it isn’t always the right path for each person, while my character in this story is adamant that it’s needed for each woman.
What character do you relate to or like best?
That’s hard to say. There’s something in each character that appeals to me, while each are flawed with troubles from the past and hopes for the future.
Did you learn anything new about yourself while writing this book?
As I wrote this book and researched the 1905-1907 time period, I kept reading about racial unrest, prejudices, and political corruption. It reminded me that there is truly nothing new under the sun, just as King Solomon said in the Bible.
Yes, very true. We often think things are better in another place and time. What project are you working on now?
A three-book series about a Wild West series with all female performers.
What advice would you give a new author?
Be disciplined and learn your craft. That may mean having to sacrifice time and money, but it’s necessary. You need to network with others in the industry which generally means joining writer groups and attending conferences. That’s costly, but it will be some of the best money you ever spend.
How many books have you written and how can we find your books?
I’ve written over 115 books. You can get a full list of them at my website. Bookstores across the country sell them, as well as online stores like Amazon.com, Walmart.com, and Christianbooks.com to name just a few.
Do you have any closing comments for us today?
For me, writing is a ministry. I write to share Biblical encouragement and the Gospel message. My theme or motto if you would, is Soli Deo Gloria! To God Alone the Glory! I’m always blessed by the letters I receive from my readers. It touches me to see how God uses the books, so I always encourage my readers to write and tell me how God has used the book in their life. I want to thank my readers for being so supportive and encouraging over the years. I look forward to hearing from them in the future.
Thank you for taking the time for this interview. It’s been an honor.