This week, Tracy Ball, the author of Kayos, the Bad and the Worse, and The Right Way To Be Wrong, stopped by to talk about what writing means to her, how she finds the time to write, and how she decides what story she’s going to work on next.
Hi, Tracy. Welcome to Read A Lot.
Hi. Thank you so much for having me.
Q: Had you always planned on becoming a published author?
Always. I’ve been a bookaholic since I was three. I am my best possible self when I’ve told a good story.
Q: What inspired you to write KAYOS the Bad & The Worse and The Right Way To Be Wrong?
I am hardcore, dead set against any form of unfaithfulness. The Right Way To Be Wrong came as an answer to the question: are there circumstances in which I would forgive infidelity?
KAYOS was written years before the election and the current political climate, but it came about from pondering what would life in America look like after a Civil War. I am told, in some ways, KAYOS strikes a cord similar to 1984.
Q: What made you choose those genres?
I don’t limit myself to a particular genre. I write about love. Whenever and wherever it happens; in whatever form it appears in.
Q: What are the books about?
KAYOS is set thirty-five years from now, in a Post Civil War America. Lareina is a rebel leader, undermining the government in a big way. It’s Christian’s job to stop her. He is her enemy…and her lover. Silas is the double agent assassin who must choose between them, who will die.
The Right Way To Be Wrong is a contemporary piece. Eric and Holden are a set of bad-boy twins and Cherry is a good girl who really isn’t. They need her restraints; she needs to loosen up…and figure out who’s who.
Q: Do you find it easier to write with a schedule or with no time restrictions?
I don’t necessarily do either. My writing is more of a mindset. In the same way you know you have to walk the dog or feed the cat, get the mail or make dinner, writing is a part of my daily routine. I work best in the morning, but it doesn’t matter what time or for how long, I just know I have to write something daily.. I may skip a meal here and there, but there are consequences. It’s the same way with writing.
Q: Can you choose a favourite character from your books?
I tend to favour the smartasses. The character that understands what’s going on and could solve a lot of problems if they weren’t being such a smartass.
In The Right Way To Be Wrong, it would be Eric and their sister, Amy. Eric is usually at the centre of the trouble, and Amy can tell you exactly what’s what.
As for KAYOS, that’s a bit difficult. The character’s ages range from fourteen to twenty-six. Everybody is a smartass. I think Orion (a student) is the most underestimated. His appearance belies his abilities. And then there’s Alec (also a student). When it is all said and done, Alec will be unstoppable. Alec knows it. I love that Alec knows it.
Q: Was there ever a point while you were writing when you wanted to give up?
Every other day. Because the stories are in your head and you’re pulling from imagery that already exists (in some form or another) everything can, at times, feel over-done. I doubt my writing all the time and I am genuinely surprised when someone says they like it. But I live with the understanding, I don’t write for people to like it (that’s just a bonus). I write because I have to. So, giving up isn’t an option for me, regardless of how I feel.
Q: What is the worst part of the writing process for you?
Besides marketing? I absolutely hate marketing. After that, I would say, fighting the inadequacy demons and not having enough time to write. There’s never enough time.
Q: How much of your stories do you plan, or do you make them up as you go along?
I don’t plan much, just a few things that have to happen. I usually get a scene or two in my head and the story is ‘how they got there’ or ‘what are they going to do now’.
On a side note: I rarely get the ending I expected.
Q: Do you have a favourite piece of writing advice?
I do. My own personal lessons:
1-Success/approval isn’t about anyone but you.
2-Some of the greatest role models are born in a writer’s imagination. The world cannot afford for you to quit.
Q: Where can people learn more about your books?
Stop by my website and be sure to sign up for my newsletter.
Q: What have you learned since you started writing?
I’ve learned that the learning never ends; mistakes are great and nothing is final (even after publication). Also, I don’t know about other professions, but with writing, for every go-it-alone, my-work-is-better-than-yours author, there are twenty team players who will turn cartwheels to help you.
Q: What’s next for you?
I am in the final edits of a short story entitled: The Tiger and the Snake. The story is to be included in a Dark Romance/ Suspense Anthology to benefit the March of Dimes. The Tiger and the Snake is a tie-in to KAYOS.
I am preparing to re-release an older story, Civil Warriors – A historical about a slave owner falling in love with his educated negro ‘pet’.
Also, I am finishing a new work – The Other Shore – An almost-happy couple are involved in a boating accident that shipwrecks their marriage. Think: Castaway meets Hope Floats.
As I said, writing is a mindset. I have to do it everyday.