Another contemporary author voicing her thoughts in our times is Traci Sanders. Apart from promoting her first adult romance (Valentine’s Day ahead, right;)?), she has also dedicated part of her proceedings to a good cause. Let us meet her a bit better.
1. Why did you decide to write When Darkness Breaks?
I enjoy television shows like Grey’s Anatomy, Army Wives, and Lifetime movies of all kinds. I’m an avid reader of romance and drama novels as well. Last year, I decided to challenge myself to construct a story like those, and that’s how ‘When Darkness Breaks’ came to be.
2. What were your biggest challenges in tackling adult romance?
Well, quickly, I realized that writing adult fiction is NOTHING like writing non-fiction or children’s fiction, which is what I typically write. I had no idea about terms such as POV, en-dashes, em-dashes, etc. I learned a lot with my first novel, and met some awesome mentors who helped me along the way.
3. When you write romance, do you have some real people or actors in mind?
So far, I’ve only written one adult fiction book, and I’m working on my second one, but most of the time, I’d say yes, I am able to conjure up exactly what I want my characters to look like and act like in the story fairly easily. I have five sisters, so I often get “material” for my stories from their life experiences 🙂
4. Would you call this book a typical romance representative and why?
Probably not. I’ve read many romance novels, and mine isn’t quite as ‘fluffy’–meaning, I didn’t throw things in to fluff up the story content. I’m a cut-and-dry realist who just tells it like it is, so I’m not certain I will ever be able to pen a full 300-page novel, but I am challenging myself to do that in my next one. Plus, I like happy endings in romance novels … that’s not always the case in others I’ve read. And I don’t really like to leave the reader hanging, but who knows, that may change as I hone my skills with my future novels.
5. Who is your favourite character in your book and why?
I just adore both my main characters, actually. That’s another difference about my book. The ‘main character’ changes halfway through the story. It begins with Amber’s POV, then changes to Drake’s, then ends with Amber’s. She is not the typical ‘damsel in distress’. She’s strong, confident, and smart; but she’s also a great mother and wife. And Drake seems like a womanizing jerk, but ends up being a wonderful husband and father with a tortured soul.
6. You have generously decided to donate a portion of the proceedings to a charitable cause. Could you tell us a bit more about it?
Yes. When I was releasing this book last year, because it is such a compelling and emotional story, I wanted to connect it to something in real-life that aligned with those sentiments. I was on Facebook one day and Kim’s story came across my timeline, and I was so impressed with her strength, determination, and sense of family importance. Her ‘character’ resonated so strongly with that of Amber’s, I knew I had to find a way to shine a light on this incredible real-life heroine. So I decided to donate 50% of my December proceeds to her family. But because my book was still new, and my first foray into adult fiction, it didn’t raise very much money. So, I’ve decided to donate 50% of the proceeds until June 1st to her family, instead. My goal is to raise at least $500, but I would be ecstatic to reach $1000. I am also having a party for the book in June, and ALL donations received at the event will go to her family. I’ve actually never even met Kim in person, but her best friend is one of the moms whose daughter I coached in soccer last fall, so I know the story is legitimate. God gave me this talent of writing, and I love using it to help others.
7. What is the most difficult and the most fun part of writing for you?
I would have to say the most difficult part of writing, for me, has been eliminating adverbs and adjectives. In my world, I’m thinking, “what’s left?” I am very quick to insert these in order to paint a clear picture for my readers. Also, I am working on avoiding ‘head-hopping’ in my stories, which is a hard skill to hone, by the way. The most fun part about writing, to me, is simply sharing the stories in my head. I can write about almost anything, and it’s my ultimate escape. It’s a bigger high than shopping, chocolate, or even … spa days, believe it or not:)
8. Is it difficult to promote your book? Why? Who helps you?
Other than editing, I have found promotion of my book to be the most difficult aspect of writing and publishing. I am the type of person who worries what others will think of me too often, and I worry that I am driving my friends away, and seemingly bragging, by always promoting my book. The ironic thing about that is, I am always their biggest fans in their endeavors. I buy their Mary Kay products, homemade jewelry, health products–not because I need them, but just to support their cause. I would have expected them to be the first ones to buy and review my books, for the same reasons, but as I’m sure you have discovered, that’s not always the case.
I do have a sister, Jeni, who is an amazing self-taught web designer. She has designed all of my websites and blogs, and they are simply beautiful! She is uber-talented and I would recommend her work to anyone. She has been instrumental in designing my book covers, building and maintaining my social sites, and even helping me think of ways to promote my books. She’s also my best friend and her heart is even bigger than her talent 🙂 I also have two other sisters who are my beta readers, Alicia and Rebecca. They have been invaluable beta readers and supporters. I can honestly say, When Darkness Breaks would not be the story it is today without their input. And they ‘talk-up’ my book to everyone they know!
9. What is the one genre you think you would never write?
I know for a fact that I will never write horror stories. I don’t read them or watch them on television. I am a big scaredy-cat. So I won’t even read one to help a friend out–sorry my fellow vampire and zombie story-tellers.
10. Who is Traci Sanders when she is not signing book covers?
First and foremost, I am a mom and wife. I have three children, two boys–ages 15 and 17, and one girl, age 9. I knew I wanted to be a good mom from the moment my first child was born, and it’s my ultimate joy. I run a child care program out of my home to be home with them, and even home-school them. They are growing up so quickly.
I also married my high-school sweetheart, and love of my life. He is my #1 fan in everything I do and I adore him.
11. Would you like to add anything about your current work or send a message to the readers?
My ultimate goal in writing is to tell a good story and make the reader feel something. If I accomplish that, it doesn’t matter how many books I sell, I consider it to be a success. I hope you enjoy my first foray into adult fiction, and I have gotten the ‘novel bug’, so there will be many more to come. I promise to learn everything I can about constructing and publishing a quality story that you will enjoy reading. I will always strive to ensure that whatever price you pay for my book, it will be worth it!
Traci’s book on Amazon
(More to come!)