Bestselling, award-winning author Tracee Lydia Garner pens stories of complex heroes and heroines, and families that experience tough but realistic life challenges in their quest for love. A Washington, D.C.-area native, Tracee is a health and human service counselor and speaks and advocates for people with disabilities.
What’s the hardest part of writing romantic suspense?
Tracee: For me the hardest part is the ending. I want to make it really good for the reader, but I also need to wrap it up. I think that us regular people can be difficult and it’s actually a good thing, it means we’re not conniving crooks because we can’t make ourselves think that way. In the mysteries I watch, I always seem to know whodunit and for me that’s annoying. I don’t want to feel like I haven’t done a good job of fooling the reader and I don’t want the ending to be so predictable or that being clever requires a lot of thought.
When do you find time to write?
Tracee: I have a full-time job out of the home, and I mostly write when I get home from work and on the weekend. I also write a little after I’m in bed, using the mic button on my phone for dictation. I can get another 300 or so words out before I drift off or if I happen to wake up in the middle of the night unable to sleep.
What’s your go-to when you need a pick-me-up to keep writing?
Tracee: I read. I think there is almost like a writer’s constipation that happens for all of us and I find that whenever I’m stuck and I just can’t figure something out, I pick up a book on my TBR pile and just go for it. I did that recently—read a short little Love Inspired story, the ones you can read in a day or a few hours and instantly, my fingers were itching to write. I teach a writing class, and I’ve told my students a work around for some stories that are coming on strong is to write out your fears. What are you afraid of? Did something occur that set you off? This something that I’ve also done for myself over one of my books and it kind of set me free to move on. I couldn’t change what I was afraid of but I didn’t have to keep it and hold onto it any longer either.
Why do you like writing romantic suspense?
Tracee: I find straight romance a bit boring. There is something super-romantic about women in peril or danger and a strong man to help protect her. But I attended a audiobook panel recently at the Charlottesville Festival of the Book, and the voice actors said that nowadays, women are saving the day. I find that even in my own books unbeknownst to me, LOL. I know how can it be unknown to me I wrote it, but we’re moving into a period where women are more resourceful, stronger, and more diverse in a myriad of professions. So of course this is interesting to me and sometimes I have let my heroine save her own day and that of the hero too.
Have you ever regretted killing off a character? Why?
Tracee: I haven’t regretted killing a character but I have regretted some name choices I’ve made. For some of the names I’ve chosen, I didn’t expect to revisit with them—they were usually a secondary or supporting character, but of course a reader/fan will write and ask, “Are you going to do so-and-so’s story?” Of course then I’m like, D-OH. J
Current book: Deadly Affections
Dexter Parker doesn’t believe Leedra Henderson is who she says. Leedra needs answers about her sister. When she starts digging, old hurts resurface. Will the truth remain buried?