Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Wind Over Marshdale by Tracy Krauss

Today we're with Tracy Krauss who just released Wind over Marshdale in June 2012. I met Tracy through our common publisher, Astraea Press. Thanks for being here today, Tracy. 

Jessie:  How did you choose adult fiction as your preferred genre?

Tracy: I write what I feel inspired to write, so I guess it chose me. My work has been called ‘edgy’ in that it does sometimes contain content that is not always typical in Christian fiction. I like my characters to be flawed human beings, even if they are Christians, and I don’t mind tackling topics that some might shy away from. This is not to say that my work is graphic, so as not to scare anyone away. It just leans a bit more on the ‘spicy’ side. J

Jessie: Do you work with an outline, or just write?

Tracy: I start with a rough outline once I’ve got an idea for a book. I also create detailed character sketches, which I find helps me to understand their motivation for doing things and also helps drive the story line. Then I usually go one step further and write a brief summary for each chapter.  However, once I actually get to the writing, much of this changes. The characters often have minds of their own, or new inspiration comes my way.

Jessie: Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

Tracy: Oh dear. I was a total Sci/fi /fantasy nerd growing up. (Still am, if truth be told) I read all of Edgar Rice Burroughs ‘Tarzan’ books, a smattering of Isaac Asimov, and any Star Trek I could get my hands on. As an adult, Frank Peretti is still my favorite current author, hands down. To me he is a cutting edge genius. Interestingly enough, I don’t write in this genre, so go figure…

Jessie: Can you tell us about your challenges in getting Wind Over Marshdale published?

Tracy: I’m not sure if it was a challenge, exactly. This is my fourth published novel and although I did submit it to several agents and have some rejection, I am used to this by now. Before my first book, And the Beat Goes On, found a home, I learned the hard way that rejection is a fact of life for the fledgling author. I feel very blessed to have found Steve Hutson for an agent. He’s the one who found the contract for Wind Over Marshdale, and I hope to have the opportunity to pitch many more books his way.

Jessie: Is anything in WOM based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

Tracy: The setting is based on my hometown of Mossbank, Saskatchewan. There are many features that people from that area will recognize. Other than that, it is a compilation of ‘characters’ that may or may not have been inspired by interesting people I’ve been exposed to as my husband and I moved around a lot. Also, the main female character is a Kindergarten teacher, and my first teaching job was in Kindergarten – even though I am trained as a secondary school teacher. Some of the more humorous scenes at school are taken from this experience. Over all, it is a work of fiction, though.

Jessie: What project are you working on now?

Tracy: I have two finished manuscripts which I hope to polish up this summer and pitch to my agent, Steve Hutson. Both are romantic suspense, as usual. I also have three new stage plays coming out sometime this year. As a playwright and drama director, I am always working on new plays for my theater group, and once we’ve tested them on stage at least once, I submit, submit, submit! Finally, I’ve been working on an illustrated children’s book for a few years now, and I hope to find a publishing home for that very soon. It is more of a personal project, based on a song my mother sang to us as children.

Jessie: What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?

Tracy: When I first started submitting work back in the early 2000’s, I had not done my due diligence in terms of learning my craft. When I look back, it’s no wonder I received so many rejections. My work was full of POV head hopping, lots of ‘telling’, passive voice, too many adverbs … the list goes on. Among the form letter rejections was a letter from an agent that laid it all out. I was hurt, but it was the best thing that ever happened to me. Of course, I’m still learning and I wish I could go back and redo parts of my already published work, but I’m just moving forward now, hoping to make each new book better than the last. I’ve had many ‘best’ compliments – among them five star reviews from various people and a fan who wrote to me personally to say I was her new favorite author.  I especially appreciated the endorsements I received from other contemporary Christian authors like Michelle Sutton, Lisa Lickel, and Joyce Godwin Grubbs, all whom I hold in high regard.

Jessie: Do your characters try to create convoluted plots for you? Or do you have to coax them out of your characters?
Tracy: My plots are definitely convoluted, partly as a result of characters who have minds of their own, but also by my own design. I love a twist and I love complex, multi-faceted plot lines, so I try to do both when I write.
 Jessie: Anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself or your book?
Tracy: I feel overwhelmingly blessed to be where I’m at today. Five years ago I was still dreaming about the day I would be a published author. I’d set a goal for myself to have a book published in five years time without having to self publish. (Not necessarily saying that is a bad option – I just wanted to try other avenues first.) This was after more than twenty years of ‘closet’ writing with intermittent and unsuccessful submissions. In 2008 I made the decision to do a submission blitz - 120 submissions of the four novels I had completed at that time. Out of that came many form letter rejections, a few others that actually gave feedback, and lots that just didn’t respond. Fortunately, there were three – yes, I said THREE – requests for more. That should tell you something. If you are an unknown writer just starting out, you have to be tenacious and you have to keep submitting, taking into account any feedback, of course. Out of those, I signed my first contract in October of that year. Now, five years later, I have four novels, and five stage plays published or contracted. 
Wind Over Marshdale Book Blurb:
Marshdale. Just a small farming community where nothing special happens.  A perfect place to start over… or get lost. There is definitely more to this prairie town than meets the eye. Once the meeting place of aboriginal tribes for miles around, some say the land itself was cursed because of the people’s sin. But its history goes farther back than even indigenous oral history can trace and there is still a direct descendant who has been handed the truth, like it or not. Exactly what ties does the land have to the medicine of the ancients? Is it cursed, or is it all superstition?
Wind Over Marshdale is the story of the struggles within a small prairie town when hidden evil and ancient medicine resurface. Caught in the crossfire, new teacher Rachel Bosworth finds herself in love with two men at once. First, there is Thomas Lone Wolf, a Cree man whose blood lines run back to the days of ancient medicine but who has chosen to live as a Christian and faces prejudice from every side as he tries to expose the truth. Then there is Con McKinley, local farmer who has to face some demons of his own. Add to the mix a wayward minister seeking anonymity in the obscurity of the town; eccentric twin sisters – one heavily involved in the occult and the other a fundamentalist zealot; and a host of other ‘characters’ whose lives weave together unexpectedly for the final climax. This suspenseful story is one of human frailty - prejudice, cowardice, jealousy, and greed – magnified by powerful spiritual forces that have remained hidden for centuries, only to be broken in triumph by grace.

Tracy Krauss is an author, artist, playwright, director, worship leader, and teacher. Originally from a small prairie town, she received her Bachelor’s Degree at the University of Saskatchewan.  She has lived in many places in northern Canada with her husband, a pastor, and their children. They currently live in Tumbler Ridge, BC.

Published works include four romantic suspense novels: AND THE BEAT GOES ON, where archeological evidence for creation comes at a heavy cost; MY MOTHER THE MAN-EATER, the story of a ‘cougar’ who takes on more than she bargained for; PLAY IT AGAIN, about an unlikely match during the 1980s rock n’ roll scene; and WIND OVER MARSHDALE, where strong spiritual forces rock a seemingly peaceful prairie town. She also has several stage plays in print. Visit her website for more details. http://www.tracykrauss.com

Tracy Krauss has a deep talent. Her novel PLAY IT AGAIN was an extremely well written edgy story. The characters were well described and quickly took up residence in my mind and heart. I am looking forward to more from her.
-          Tom Blubaugh, Author of Night of the Cossack

Tracy Krauss typifies all that is good in modern Christian authorship. She is consistently there for her readers and elevates her every effort.

-          Joyce Godwin Grubbs, Author From the Grassroots

Tracy’s characters are raw and real; her plots edgy and electric.

-          Lisa Lickel, award winning author of Meander Scar,  A Summer in Oakville, The Map Quilt and other inspirational novels.

An engaging storyteller, Tracy Krauss isn't afraid to tell it like it is. I've been inspired by her realistic take on a number of scenarios she has written about.
-          Michelle Sutton, author of more than a dozen inspirational novels

Tracy Krauss paints vivid pictures of real-life scenery and situations while upholding a very real, redemptive theme.
-          Teric Darken, author of several suspense thrillers

Wind Over Marshdale purchase links:


  1. Great post Tracy. I enjoy flawed, realistic characters myself. Your book is going on my TBR list.

  2. Thanks for having me here at Read Between the Lines. It was a fun interview with thought provoking questions.

  3. Stopped for the night while traveling and thought I'd stop in one more time. :)

  4. Happy July 4th to you all. Your setting sounds wonderful Tracy, I've been to the States, but not to Saskatchewan. Love the cover too, very romantic!

  5. Saskatchewan is actually in Canada :)

  6. I hope WOM is in Gemstones in Moose Jaw. I will look for it there!

  7. Excellent interview. I'm looking forward to reading your latest.


    Tom Blubaugh, Author
    Night of the Cossack