ABOUT AUTHOR: Tracie Peterson is an award-winning, best-selling author of over 85 books. Having given her heart to Jesus at the young age of six, Tracie has always felt called to some form of ministry, and writing fulfills that mission field.
Tracie received her first book contract in November, 1992 and saw A Place To Belong published in February 1993 with Barbour Publishings' Heartsong Presents. She wrote exclusively with Heartsong for the next two years, receiving their readership's vote for Favorite Author of the Year for three years in a row.
In December, 1995 she signed a contract with Bethany House Publishers to co-write a series with author Judith Pella. Tracie now writes exclusively for Bethany House Publishers.
Throughout her writing career Tracie has found time to speak at writer's conferences where she has a special heart for new authors. She is often joined by her husband Jim, whose background in history offers new authors insight into research. Besides teaching at conferences, Tracie also at one time managed Barbour Publishing's Heartsong Presents book line - overseeing the production of 52 books a year.
Tracie was awarded the Romantic Times Career Achievement Award for 2007 Inspirational Fiction and her books have won numerous awards for favorite books in a variety of contests.
Making her home in Montana, this Kansas native enjoys spending time with family--especially her three grandchildren--Rainy, Fox and Max. She's active in her church as the Director of Women's Ministries, coordinates a yearly writer's retreat for published authors, and travels, as time permits.
How did you get the idea for The House of Secrets?
Tracie: I've watched families with mentally and emotionally ill members be shunned or misunderstood in the church. I've also dealt with family and friends who were overwhelmingly marred by secrets they buried as children. I wanted to combine a story that would deal with some of those issues and hopefully encourage better understanding and healing.
What made you depart from writing a historical and write about a topic not many want to think about – mental illness?
Tracie: As I mentioned above, I felt compelled to encourage compassion and understanding. I have a friend who grew up feeling shunned by the church because her mother was schizophrenic. It really made me think about how mental and emotional illness is perceived by people, but especially by Christians who are supposed to be offering love, support and compassion.
What do you hope readers take away from The House of Secrets?
Tracie: I hope the book makes them think. I want the reader to dig a little deeper into why we become so uncomfortable when people are different. I want the reader to consider how Jesus wants us to deal with situations where the mentally and emotionally ill make us uncomfortable. Mostly, I want the reader to see the power of forgiveness and the huge role it plays in healing.
I LOVE the title of this book, and the cover of this book. Did you have any say so in deciding the cover and title for this book?
Tracie: I did have influence for both the cover and title. I don't always get a whole lot of say, but in this case they were very good to listen to the things I wanted. I think the cover is very appealing and truly represents the bond these three sisters share.
I enjoyed the fact that you wrote this book in First person and that person was a non-believer. I wondering what made you choose to write the book in this style? (I enjoyed the fact that your book wasn’t preachy. I felt it was natural! I liked that too!)
Tracie: The type of story demanded that it be told in 1st person. That was difficult for me - almost like trying on someone else's well-worn shoes. It felt awkward at first, but the deeper I got into the character, the more natural the writing became. The character also surprised me with a secret twist that I had not expected.
You could write in any market you choose. Why do you choose to write Christian Fiction? What’s the draw for you?
|Judith Miller, Cathy Hake and I at a book signing in |
Could you please share some of your Testimony with us?
Tracie: As the song says, "
I love to tell the story of unseen things above,
Of Jesus and His glory, of Jesus and His love.
I love to tell the story, because I know ’tis true;
It satisfies my longings as nothing else can do."
I was born into a Christian family who deeply revered God. As a little girl my mother would give me a piece of paper and a pencil to keep me quiet in church. She would tell me to write a story. Then after church she would ask me about my story. I think that really helped to grow my storytelling ability, because I knew I would have my mother's undivided attention. Throughout my Christian journey, I have learned so much about grace and mercy and the power that comes in trusting God. Most all of my stories involve the element of forgiving, because throughout my life I've been forgiven much, and called upon to forgive. I'm been amazed by the way forgiveness is misunderstood - how people often think forgiveness equals acceptance or approval of the other person or deed done. But instead, forgiveness for me is a conscious act of giving my right to retribution over to God and freeing myself from the bondage that comes in hate, bitterness, anger and regret. It's my hope that the books would encourage that for the reader as well.
Can you give us a peek into what you are working on now and when it will be out on book shelves?
Tracie: I have a 3 book series set in Civil War Texas coming out. Book one Chasing the Sun will debut in March 2012. I wanted to show the flavor of Texas during the Civil War and how you had some folks who were strong supporters of the Union and some were strong supporters of the Confederacy. But mostly you had people who just strong supporters of Texas. It will have romance and adventure, mystery and biblical application.
What have been the benefits to you in having relationships with reading groups?
Tracie: I have found it great to connect to the reading groups over the years for a variety of reasons, but first and foremost is that it's a very useful tool to get insight on the books from the reader. As an author, I find that the reading groups give the reader a little more freedom to share their insight and feelings about the story. Not only this, but book clubs are great "word of mouth" organizations to pass along this insight to other readers who might not have ever read the author.
Nora :You know that I'm all about BOOK CLUBS and my husband and I help authors, readers and book groups get together at The Book Club Network www.bookfun.org I know that you have been on Tour this summer and have visited book clubs and did book signings. Can you share some pictures with us?
Tracie: Love to Nora - Some book clubs I met came together at libraries, some in churches and some in other places, but always we have a great group of readers and a fun time discussing books.
QUESTIONS I JUST HAD TO ASK
What were your three favorite books as a kid?
Tracie: I was an advanced reader and even at the age of 10 was reading classics. My favorites that were read and re-read over and over were Pride and Prejudice, Little Women, and Christy.
If you had the opportunity to hang out with any two people alive or dead for 48 hours, who would you pick and what would you do? (besides Jesus)
Tracie: Probably my Great Grandmother Mattie Mitchell and my Great Uncle John Williams. I would love to just sit and listen to them talk about the family and to ask questions about their childhoods and dreams.
What are three every day things you’d rather not live without?
Tracie: Hot water, Air conditioning and Chocolate
If you had an opportunity to go anywhere in the world, where would you got and what would you do?
Tracie: I've traveled a lot, but I never tire of it. I haven't made it to Ireland however, and would love to visit. My ancestry is Irish and so it would be nice to connect to that country. I'd love to just spend weeks walking and riding around the countryside and talking to the people.
What three movies could you watch over and over again?
Tracie: Gone With the Wind, The Godfather trilogies, and The Searchers. All of these movies are incredible studies in character development.
ANY FINAL COMMENTS – THOUGHTS FOR MY READERS, TRACIE?
I hope you continue to enjoy the books and find encouragement in the stories. I want the books to do three things for you - entertain - educate and encourage. I hope to hear from you, as well. Visit my website and leave me a letter. I love to hear your thoughts on the books and what God is doing in your life.
Where can readers and book clubs find out more about you, your novels, and more?
You can learn more about my books at www.traciepeterson.com and at bethanyhouse.com
If you have a bookclub that would like to contact me or interview me - please contact Debra Larsen or Noelle Buss at Bethany House Publishers in Minneapolis, MN
THANKS Tracie for stopping by! I really enjoyed your book. I'm EXCITED about this giveaway and the HUGE GIVEAWAY OPPORTUNITY on OCTOBER 17th At The Book Club Network at 9p.m Eastern Standard time! www.bookfun.org
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