As part of our second year of fun and frolic here at Canadian Lesfic, we are posting a series of author interviews. From time to time you will have the opportunity to learn more about what the members of the Admin. Team and other authors have to say about writing, and about themselves. Enjoy!
Q: What novels in your own library inspire you?
I love character-driven novels, so I really enjoy the talents of authors like Anne Tyler, Hilma Wolitzer and Sue Miller. Canadians Helen Humphreys and Miriam Toews are wonderful writers as well, and of course there are the giants like Wally Lamb and Jonathan Franzen. I love Jonathan Tropper and Jennifer Cruisie for their witty writing. For suspense and great pace, I enjoy the work of Dean Koontz, Greg Iles and David Baldacci. I learn something about writing from almost every novel I read.
Q: What themes do you favour in your writing?
I’m not sure I favour any particular “theme”, although I do mostly write romance novels, so I guess finding love is the big theme for me. What I do like to do is change things up a lot from book to book. I’ve written about all kinds of characters and situations… from a pro golfer to a presidential candidate to a solider. I like writing different characters and love exploring unusual and exciting lives.
Q: What do you want your readers to take from your novels?
I hope readers see a certain aspect of life from an entirely different perspective after reading my novels. I like to get my readers thinking about things like war and politics (disguised as a romance novel!) and other important issues. That’s the great thing about writing romance novels: readers can come away from it entertained and feeling hopeful because of the romantic aspect, but they can also learn some important messages through the characters and their situations.
Q: What skills do you feel you need as a writer?
I think you need some life experiences. I think you need to know how to listen, how to observe, and you need a strong sense of empathy so that you can imagine other peoples’ lives. You need to have courage too, because it’s no small thing to write, and then it’s no small thing to put it out there to the world.
Q: What is your astrological sign and do you think you are that person?
I’m a Libra, and I do strongly relate to the “scales” of the sign. I like equilibrium, I like moderation, I like to feel centered and grounded. And I like to sit back and observe.
Q: What did you want to grow up to be as a child?
A dentist, lol. That was when I was six or seven. By thirteen I wanted to be a journalist, and that’s what I did.
Q: What are your other creative interests besides writing?
I’ve been working on learning guitar for the last couple of years. I have some natural ability with drawing and painting as well, but I haven’t explored that too seriously.
Q: Do you use your real name or a pen name?
I use my real name. This was a conscious decision on my part, because I felt at the time (going back almost 20 years) it was important to show that I had nothing to hide or feel embarrassed about in writing lesbian fiction. There are many reasons people use pen names, many good reasons. But in decades past, I fear a lot of gay writers used pen names because they didn’t want people knowing they wrote gay fiction. To me, that is absolutely the wrong message to send, and I sincerely hope that writers of gay fiction today are NOT using pen names because of any internalized homophobia.
Tracey Richardson is the author of eight novels with Bella Books. Her ninth will be published in 2016. She’s a two-time Lambda Literary Award finalist. www.traceyrichardson.net and Twitter@trich7117.