Tracy Krauss is a high school teacher by profession, and a prolific author, artist, playwright and director by choice. She received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Saskatchewan and has gone on to teach Art, Drama and English – all the things she is passionate about. After raising four children, she and her husband now reside in beautiful Tumbler Ridge, BC where she continues to pursue all of her creative interests.
1. What is the basic story line of the book and what inspired you to write it?
An archeologist and his team find the remains of pterodactyls and humans carefully buried together while on site in Africa. This leads to all kinds of speculation, including theories about a pre-flood race of giants known as Nephilim mentioned in the Bible. The find has the scientific community in an uproar, and soon sabotage, ‘accidents’, and even death threats begin to put the find and Mark’s reputation in jeopardy. The book is a commentary of sorts on the creation/evolution debate. It is full of action and suspense, but also has a romantic element as Mark, the main character, falls in love with an unlikely woman from his past.
2. How long have you been writing?
I started writing my first novel about twenty five years ago, but I only made the leap into the ‘published’ world in 2009 when AND THE BEAT GOES ON released. It is actually the sequel to PLAY IT AGAIN, which is strange since the second book released before the first. They are both stand alone novels, however. I started sending out queries about seven years ago, so it just goes to show that for some of us, writing takes perseverance.
3. What role does character development play in your writing?
I’m big on character development. I want all my characters to be as believable as possible, so I spend a fair bit of time creating bios etc. I think it helps me to know how each one will react to certain situations. We need to be constantly asking, “What is this character’s motivation in this scene?” It’s similar to what an actor will do when preparing to take on a role.
4. What moral or message do you want readers to come away with after reading this book?
The story has a strong redemptive element. Even the most skeptical person can come to know Christ and its never too late in God’s eyes, no matter what you’ve done before. Also, I want readers to come away with questions about the origins of the universe and hopefully do some digging of their own on the topic.
5. How would you characterize this book in terms of its audience and genre?
It is definitely written from a Christian worldview with a very clear message of salvation at the end. However, it does contain what some would call and ‘edge’ in that the characters and situations in the book are not glossed over. It could be called ‘edgy Christian’ or ‘edgy inspirational’ and it is also within the romance category.
6. What exactly do you mean by ‘edgy’?
For me ‘edgy’ means writing from a place of authenticity. This doesn’t mean that it contains anything graphic or explicit, but it does mean that the characters act like real people. They aren’t perfect – even the Christians, so they don’t always think, act, or react perfectly. I don’t like reading fiction that is overly ‘sanitized’, so to speak, so I try not to do that in my own writing.
7. How is this different from other Christian fiction?
I suppose this might mean that it contains some elements that would not normally be found in most Christian fiction. It could be anything from some mild cursing to some sexual content to violence, or even just dealing with ‘touchy’ subjects. There are varying degrees of ‘edgy’ and I feel as if my work is actually quite mild compared to some that I’ve read. There is a fair amount of debate on the topic. I think there is definitely room for everyone, though. It’s what makes the body of Christ interesting. Not everyone is or has to be the same.
8. Who would you consider to be your greatest mentor in terms of your career as an author?
As far as authors go, I have always been a huge fan of Frank Peretti. He’s written some ‘edgy’ stuff but maintained his very clear Christian perspective. The same could be said for Francine Rivers. She blazed a trail with books like Atonement Child and others.
9. How does marketing and promotion factor into your writing life?
I spend several hours per day online doing various tasks such as blogging, social networking and other promotional activities. It’s just a fact of life in today’s industry – something I didn’t realize until after the fact!
10. What have been the highest and lowest points in your writing career so far?
High points would be holding my first published book in my hands, signing every new contract, and getting unsolicited positive reviews. Low points would be some of my early rejections. (I’ve since gotten much thicker skinned…)