Thursday, 14 June 2018

Blooming Fiction Meets Tracy Rees

In this edition of Blooming Fiction Meets I'm absolutely delighted to introduce the lovely Tracy Rees. I've had the pleasure of meeting Tracy and I couldn't be more excited that she's agreed to take part in this little series.

Keep reading to see what she had to say.

1. Do you have a special place where you gather your thoughts and ideas for a new story?

Not really. Ideas and thoughts tend to filter through anytime, anywhere - usually at the most inconvenient moments when I’m up to my eyes in something else and really can’t give them the attention they deserve! Hence notebooks EVERYWHERE, all full of incomprehensible scrawls! Having said that, I do have a favourite cafĂ© by the sea where I like to go early in the process of dreaming up any book. I like to go there with a notebook and do a good few hours’ daydreaming and scribble down whatever comes to me. There’s something especially inspiring about staring at the waves, and something very comfortable about the bustle of families buying ice-cream and dogs under tables that makes it somehow the perfect spot! In fact, I’m due a visit!

2. How do you decide on a titles for your books?
It’s a collaboration between me, Quercus, my publishers, and Eugenie, my agent. Each book has been different so far. Amy Snow was so-called by accident really. It was just what I’d called the document on my computer when I was working on it and when I sent it off I forgot to think of a title! But they liked Amy Snow so that was that! Florence Grace was Quercus’s suggestion to continue the theme of nineteenth century stories with strong heroines from my first book. The Hourglass needed to be something different, because the book was very different from the first two. We went back and forth for some time brainstorming that one, and eventually The Hourglass emerged as a motif in the book (it wasn’t in the first draft!) and I thought it would make a lovely title. Everyone else agreed! As for my new book, I used Darling Blue as my working title and that was agreed upon by everyone very quickly. When you read it you’ll see why!

3. Is there one of your books in particular that you consider the pride of your collection?
I suppose in one way it’s Amy Snow, because it was the first, the book that got me published and made my dreams come true. I’ll always be so grateful for that experience. Because of the Richard and Judy connection it’s done incredibly well and keeps doing remarkable things even three years later. Good old Amy! But honestly I love them all, they’re like my children. They’re all so different, and reflect different times, struggles, preoccupations etc in my life. They each have a different character, atmosphere and seem to appeal to readers in different ways. They’re all a part of me, I suppose, and I take real pride in my growing collection as a whole. I love seeing all three lined up on the shelf and imagine, I’m about to start writing book FIVE!!!

4. What’s the strangest thing you’ve been inspired by?
Oh, definitely a name! I remember working in London when I was about 25 and flicking through a magazine on my lunch break. I saw a headline about the model Christy Turlington and all of a sudden the name Turlington Grace popped into my head. With that, I could SEE him - a Victorian gentleman in top hat and wing collar, longish hair, slightly tortured… I got that tingle of knowing I’d “met” a character. My lunch break came to an end then so I had to get back to work but he never left me. When Quercus asked me if I had another Victorian novel after Amy Snow I said yes immediately! I finally got to write about Turlington nearly 20 years later. Thanks, Christy!

5. Have you created a character who is the fictional version of you?
Not in its entirety, no, but I do think there are little scraps and fragments of me in all my main characters - and quite a few of my supporting characters! It’s inevitable I suppose, they’re all created out of me, out of my subconscious, after all. I used to think that Amy was like the good girl version of me and Florence was like the bad girl version of me! Then Nora, in the The Hourglass, is very different from me on the surface, very sensible and organised etc, but her anxieties and sense of growing dissatisfaction with her city life had quite a bit of my experiences in my late 20s in them. As for Blue in my new book, she’s romantic but puts all that on hold for her dream of being a writer, she loves Richmond, she’s reflective and dreamy but outgoing too… no similarities there then!

Quick Fire Questions

1. Salt & Vinegar / Cheese & Onion

Cheese and onion

2. Sweet / Savoury

3. A week in Florida / A weekend in Paris
Weekend in Paris

4. Indoors / Outdoors
Oooh, can I say both again? I LOVE curling up on the sofa with a blanket and a good book or a DVD, but I LOVE being in the garden with the birds singing and the bees buzzing around, feeling the sun and breeze on my skin…

5. Pen / Pencil
Pen. Specifically a blue plastic bic biro. I go through THOUSANDS!

6. Halloween / Christmas
Definitely Christmas. I love the songs, the lights, the shop windows, the messages of hope and goodwill. I love planning what to buy people, as well as spontaneous little impulse buys when I see that perfect gift. I love wrapping presents and really go to town on the ribbons and bows. I love the food, the films, the company and the magic… Every Christmas I’m six years old again.

7. Book / Film
Oh God. Both. Sorry, but it’s true. Both books and films are my “first love”. I remember hiding away in a birthday party with a Famous Five book when I was ever so tiny - utterly transported - and I remember seeing my first ever film - Bambi - when I was equally tiny. Both are portals to other worlds. Both still enchant me.
8. Fish and chips / Pie and mash
Pie n mash!

9. DVDs / Netflix
DVDs. I’m so retro!

10. Cats / Dogs
Dogs. I love all animals but for me dogs are the personification of pure joy.

Buy Some Great Books From Tracy Rees

*PR Samples received unless otherwise stated. Some blog posts contain affiliate links. Any quoted prices are correct at the time of writing the blog posts.

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