Friday, October 23, 2009

Traci Abramson Interview


Are there people you would like to meet? One person I'd love to meet is Traci Abramson, the bestselling, romantic-suspsense author. I've tried to write several such books and it isn't easy juggling a suspenseful storyline along with a growing romance. Traci has the secret code for doing such a balancing act. I'm so glad I have been able to make her aquintance over the internet. I hope you enjoy my interview with this intriquing arthor.
I know that you’ve worked for the CIA. If you’re allowed to, please tell us a little about that experience.
Well, I could tell you, but then…. Well, I guess I can tell you a little bit. I actually worked in three different positions during my time with the Agency and each of them gave me very different perspectives. I was hired as a finance officer, but my duties ranged from simple financial duties to facilities, logistics, and security. The assignment that probably helped my writing the most was working in the liaison division. During that assignment, I worked with several other government agencies and was able to better understand their different roles, particularly within the intelligence community.

What made you leave the CIA to become a writer?
The main reason I left the government was to stay home with my children. I loved my job and the feeling that I was making a difference. Had it not been for my desire to put my family first, I would probably still be working for the Agency. Of course, the bonus of that decision is that I have been able to indulge in my love of writing.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?
When I was little, being an author was on my list of dream careers, right along with being a veterinarian, an Olympic swimmer, a jockey, a spy and…well, you get the idea. I became more practical in my teenage years and discounted all of these as being unrealistic.

I was right about most of them. After all, anyone who doesn’t like the sight of blood shouldn’t be a vet, and I’m not tiny enough to ride in horse races. Despite my efforts, I was never fast enough to make the Olympics, and I never became a spy when I joined the CIA. I just worked with them.

Becoming a published author is still a bit of a dream, one I sometimes have to remind myself that I have been lucky enough to see become a reality. It is something I am extremely grateful for.

Tell us about your books.
Okay, you asked for it! My first novel, Undercurrents, is about a young woman who witnesses a murder and goes into the witness protection program. Life gets complicated for her when she starts dating Matt Whitmore, a U.S. Senator’s son, and her swimming talent brings her too much attention.

My next two novels, Ripple Effect and The Deep End, continue the story. They are all created as stand alone novels, but most people find that they’re more enjoyable when read in order.

Following the Undercurrents trilogy, I wrote Freefall which is a Navy SEALs, hostage rescue novel. After being freed from a terrifying hostage situation, Amy Whitmore finds herself trapped in hostile territory with Lt. Brent Miller. Together they uncover intelligence about an impending terrorist threat and find themselves racing against time.

Royal Target, with its very bright pink cover, is about a CIA operative who has to pretend to be engaged to a prince in a small country in order to help protect him and his family. It’s a really fun, romantic/suspense story.

My most recent novel, Lockdown, is the second of my Navy SEALs novels. It was written in the aftermath of the Virginia Tech tragedy and is about a woman who survived a similar tragedy. Together with a squad of highly trained Navy SEALs, they develop a course for law enforcement officers to help prevent future tragedies. Ultimately, they become involved in a real life scenario that is hauntingly familiar and puts more than one life on the line.

Additionally, I have two more books that are slated to come out next year. Crossfire (Jan. 2010) follows the story of Seth Johnson, another Navy SEAL, as he pairs up with a former flame, CIA undercover operative, Vanessa Lauton. Together they are in a race against time to unearth a terrorist plot that is expected to take place on U.S. soil. Backlash (working title) is expected to come out in the fall of 2010 and follows the story of the commanding officer of the Navy SEALs “Saint Squad.”

What inspires you and motivates you to write the very most?
My inspiration usually comes from everyday things. I live in the shadows of the nation’s capital and many of my friends and neighbors work for the government or serve in the military. Seeing how these people live their lives, and remembering the dedication of my friends and former coworkers at the CIA have given me an endless supply of ideas. Originally, my motivation to write came from when the young women I was working with at church expressed their frustration that there were so few good books for them to read. They wanted to stretch beyond young adult novels, but the mainstream fiction contained scenes they weren’t comfortable with. Ultimately, I set out to write stories that I would enjoy but that also wouldn’t contain anything I wouldn’t want my own teenagers to read.

Is there an established writer you admire and emulate in your writing? Do you have a writing mentor?
Surprisingly, I don’t really follow any particular author consistently. Instead I tend to sample a lot of books by different people. As for a mentor, when my first novel was accepted by Covenant, Lynn Gardner was kind enough to share her expertise as I began navigating the exciting path into the publishing world. Throughout my career, Lynn has been extremely supportive of my writing and has truly helped my confidence in the world of LDS fiction.

Location and life experience can sprinkle their influence in your writing. Tell us about where you grew up and a little about where you live now - city? Suburb? Country? Farm? If you could live anywhere you want to live, where would that be? I grew up in Phoenix and then spent my teenage years on a small farm in Arizona’s Verde Valley. So basically I’ve experienced city and country life. I also had the opportunity to live in Caracas, Venezuela for a summer during high school which gave me a wonderful insight into that culture and a different kind of city living.

Since college, I’ve lived in Northern Virginia, first in Alexandria and then in Stafford.

If I could live anywhere I wanted, I would love to live along the Blue Ridge Parkway in southern Virginia.

Bring us into your home and set the scene for us when you are writing. What does it look like? On the couch, laptop, desk? Music? Lighting, handwriting?
Right inside my front door is the formal living room that we converted into an office. My desk is one of those big L-shaped desks and I have a desktop in the center and a laptop next to it. (Unless one of my kids snagged it when I wasn’t looking.) Across the room is a second desk with a computer that my family typically shares.

I prefer to write on my desktop which doesn’t have any internet access on it. I find getting on the internet when I’m trying to write tends to be a huge distraction so I try to avoid using my laptop unless I need to research something.

Generally, I write the happiest when the house is quiet, with the shutters open and natural light spilling onto my desk. The quiet doesn’t happen often and my typically background music is a combination of my kids coming and going along with the Disney channel or PBS sounding from the next room.

Do you watch television or movies? If so, what are your favorites? Do they inspire your writing?
I find that when I’m writing, I hardly watch any TV or movies, but when I’m not actively creating something I do enjoy that kind of entertainment. Generally, I like the happily-ever-after types of shows, but there aren’t any particular programs that I would adjust my schedule for. I don’t know if the movies and television shows I watch really inspire my writing except that I tend to create novels as though I’m watching a movie in my mind.

How has being published changed your life?
Personally, I don’t think being published has changed my life that much except that I have a lot more confidence in my writing now than when I first started. Of course, if you asked my sixteen-year-old daughter the same question, she would tell you that it makes me a lot busier.

When I first started writing, I was a bit of a closet writer. I rarely could relax enough to create unless I was alone, and I didn’t show my writing to anyone except for a select few family members. Over the past few years, I have found that I can now write anytime and anywhere.

Do you have any book signings, tours or special events planned to promote your books that readers might be interested in attending? If so, when and where? Also tell about your blog and website.
I wish! I love traveling, doing book signings, and meeting new people. Unfortunately, I won’t have the chance to do any new events until my next novel comes out early next year. I am generally pretty good about keeping my upcoming events on website (www.tracihunterabramson.com/events.html.) I also try to keep up with a personal blog (http://www.traciabramson.blogspot.com/.)

Thanks, Traci!

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