© 2013 Clive Eaton
Best selling author Tracy Heath is a country humorist writer, having grown up in the Eastern Oregon desert among dogs, cows, and tumbleweeds. She has now published the first two books of her Country Misadventures series, and she's known for her comical tales of country incidents and family mishaps. Tracy currently resides in the medium-sized city of Kennewick, Washington, with her husband. Living with them are their rambunctious son and scruffy hunting dog.
Book title: A Redneck Romance (Country Misadventures Book II)
When black-eyed Cynthia Clark and her family move to Eastern Oregon, she doesn’t expect to find love in the desert. But it is more than just a rickety, old fence that divides her world from her lover’s. Growing tension between the handsome neighbor Tom Dunn and Cynthia’s volatile pa lays the cards on the table in this country love story.
Will the conflicting lifestyles of their families forever confine Cynthia to her side of the fence?
In this second book of her Country Misadventures series, Tracy recounts memories of a redneck romance and other country stories full of humor and poignancy. Experience the face-palm moments of becoming a dog owner and the fright of being in the crosshairs of “The Pitbull Pup.” Discover that a cat is a cat except when it’s not. Relive the days of T-ball where the hardest part of the game is keeping the helmet out of your eyes. And get ready for hard-core fishing, folks, because fishing’s not for wimps.
What do you do to relax when you are not writing?
I’ve always been a gamer, like the card and board game sort. So any time I can round up some people willing enough to shuffle them up, I’m happy! I also love playing the piano, getting in on a match of volleyball, and just spending time with family.
What, or who, inspired you to become a writer?
My family did and does on so many different levels. My parents exposed me to quality literature as a child, and I’ve always wanted to write. Now as I have a family of my own, I want to share my childhood stories with my husband and son. My biggest fans are my family, and their encouragement is what keeps me going back to the keyboard.
What or who inspired you to write your current novel?
As I grew up in the country, I met a lot of quirky, charming characters. I pulled from many different personalities to create the people in the chapter A Redneck Romance. Thinking about all those individuals with their unique dispositions really inspired me to shape a story that melded them together.
The other chapters are all about my childhood or my relatives, so the inspiration came from my family.
Tell us three interesting facts about your book which are not covered in the synopsis.
1) The chapter Dusk on the Homestead is my first sad story. If you have ever tended to and cared for an ill animal, your heart will connect with John’s situation.
2) A Redneck Romance, the chapter, is the only story in either of the books to be purely fiction. Yes, some of the characters have attributes of people I knew, but they formed their own personalities as the story progressed.
3) As I was writing the last chapter, A Proper Fish Story, I ran it past my dad who is a main character in the tale. I wanted his approval of the facts. He asked me to change the name of the river so that the family’s favorite fishing hole will remain unknown to the world forever.
What research did you need to do for this book?
One of the characters, Tom Dunn, ropes a young steer in preparation for an upcoming rodeo. I realized I didn’t know the proper procedure for calf roping. So I watched a few videos on YouTube and discovered that the rope goes around the neck first, rather than a leg like I thought.
Are any elements/characters of your book based on real life experiences or people you’ve met/known?
Yes, almost all of them. One character in particular, Scotty Roy, is very accurate to the little boy I remember on our T-ball team, even down to the dried macaroni and cheese on his face.
Tell us a little about your current work-in-progress.
Since I just got A Redneck Romance published, I am taking a few weeks break for Christmas and the New Year. But afterwards I’ll be back in the saddle to work on Book III in the Country Misadventures series.
What process did you adopt from inception through to the finished book?
I kept a running dialogue with certain family members who were willing to lend an ear throughout. That way I kept the facts straight and didn’t too often write myself into a corner.
What do you need (or not need) around you whilst writing?
I need quietness and a thesaurus. I get up early before anyone else is awake or wait until my son’s nap time. And I get very demonstrative with my hands as I try to grasp the right word out of the air. A thesaurus makes me less grabby (and crabby) as it shortens the word-searching process.
What prompted you to self-publish your current book?
I already have one book self-published, so it made sense to continue down the same path. I do not believe I would be a published author if it weren’t for self-publishing because I would not have had the patience or resources to go the traditional publishing route.
What were the three biggest challenges you faced when writing your book?
1) Time. With a toddler in the house, it’s hard to find undivided time to devote to writing.
2) Energy. By the time I’d find some spare moments, my mind would be so fried, I’d usually just stare at the blank page before drifting off to sleep.
3) Working with others. I have always been an “I can do this myself” kind of person. But this book really took some teamwork to pull all the editing and artwork together. I’m so thankful for those special people that worked with me to get the book out.
Every author seems to suffer with writer’s block at some point. How do you overcome it?
I move on to other sections or aspects of the book when stuck in a certain place. Then I revisit the problem area a few days later. Usually that does the trick.
What single piece of advice would you give to any aspiring writer?
Just start writing. That’s what I did—just for the fun of it. And now, in less than a year, I have two books published. With the opportunity of self-publishing available these days, there is no reason to not write if you so desire!
What genre does your book fall into?
A Redneck Romance is definitely a work of humor.
How did you get interested in this specific genre?
I have enjoyed reading Patrick McManus’s books through the years, and his style encouraged me to give it a try. Also, it’s just what feels natural to me.
You as a reader
Which three authors have inspired you the most, and why?
1) Patrick McManus purely for his clever humor.
2) James Herriot for his touching and humorous animal stories.
3) Ralph Moody for his biographical, yet highly entertaining, account of his years as a cowpoke and the character-building weight of becoming the man of the family at ten years of age.
What was your favourite book as a child?
The Anne of Green Gables series.
What is the best book you’ve read in the last 12 months?
Kilmeny of the Orchard by L. M. Montegomery.
What was the last book you recommended to a friend, and why did you think it was worthy of recommendation?
Leopardy Jeopardy by Katie Penryn. She has a series of books set on an island off the coast of East Africa. I find her books very intriguing setting-wise and quite well written. They’re short and entertaining.
Kindle (or other e-reader) or paperback, and why?
I still prefer to read a physical book, though I have no problems reading on a Kindle. I just like the feel of a book in my hands.
Hollywood is calling
You’ve had the call from Hollywood and they want your opinion on who should play the leading roles in the film based upon your book. Who would you choose, and why?
Since my book is a conglomerate of short stories, there are quite a few main characters, so I honestly don’t have an answer for this question. I’d obviously like the roles well cast, but I’m not big on having the “big shots” because, to me, it sometimes pulls away from the uniqueness of a story if I’ve seen the main actors in countless other shows.
The film of your book is now going to need a soundtrack. Which musician(s) would you want to write and play it?
If I could get The Piano Guys to make a soundtrack, I would be unbelievably happy.
Drink – Root beer
Meal – Pepper Steak
Holiday destination – Oregon beach
TV programme – Survivor
Film – Anne of Green Gables
Method of travel – My old and faithful Honda
Sport – Volleyball
How can people connect with you?
Where can readers find your book?
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