Hello Tracey. Can you introduce yourself?
I'm Tracey Dawson from South Cambs.
How long have you been writing?
I finished my first 'novel' at the age of five.
What first got you interested in writing?
Always have been.
Do you attend a writing group?
Letchworth writers’ group from the age of 15 to 36/7. I was the secretary for quite a few years. We moved about 15 miles away and I started my own group 4 years ago.
Why do you attend a writing group?
To get the support and encouragement of other writers, and to feel that I’m not alone in what I’m doing.
What's the most valuable thing you've taken away from your writing group?
Not to give up!
What genre(s) do you write? What drew you to this/these genre(s)?
I’ve done fantasy and romance, but mostly write black humour. I like weird + humour... it’s just how my brain works.
That's how my brain works too! Are there any genres that you don't enjoy writing?
I can only write stuff that interests me, so could never write e.g. commercial, mainstream chicklit. It would bore me rigid.
What types of things do you write?
I’ve written four novels and am currently working concurrently on five and six which are completely different. I’ve written quite a few short stories.
Have you ever had anything published?
Lots of short stories have won comps and been published in anthologies. All four novels are available on Amazon as paper copes and on Kindle. I would like to become more successful but am not sure how to go about it.
I think you just have to take your own advice, and not give up! Have you sent your writing to agents/publishers? Have you received any rejections?
Yes, loads. Yes, loads! Although for each of my first three novels, an agent wanted to see the rest.
Who/what influences your writing? Where do you get your inspiration from?
I just bang ideas together til something sparks. The old people puppets from the Winga advert inspired novel number five. I looked at them and suddenly thought, they’re retired superheroes. And started a novel about them the next day.
How do you come up with your characters' names and personalities?
Novel number six – I know Max and Chris inside out as they’ve been in lots of short stories. Novel number five – I wrote down names and characteristics i.e. basic likes and dislikes. Then I write about them, and they take on their own characteristics.
Do you have a writing routine?
I write at lunchtimes, and I have learned to switch it on and off. I can switch on when I get some spare time.
That's impressive. I wish I had that ability. Do you start out with a complete idea for your stories, or do you just start writing and hope for the best?
I’ve done both. I prefer to plan short stories. Novels – I have a vague idea where I’m going, and just get on with it.
Do you have an editing process?
I tried reading aloud to see if I wanted to do it at the pub thing next week and felt very stupid. I skim through what I wrote the day before and correct any errors, which gets me into the mindset for continuing.
Have you ever entered any writing competitions? Have you ever won?
Yes, loads. Yes, loads. Latest win was ‘first chapter’ comp in August 2012 for writers’ billboard comp. One Summer is currently on their website.
Have you ever attended an open mic event for spoken word performers?
No, but I’m going to one next week to publicise the group.
How important is it for you to share your writing?
Varies. I want to earn some money and sometimes I want approval, but sometimes I know myself if something is any good. I found that sharing with the L’worth group was actually demotivating as they were all so wet.
What do you enjoy the most/least about writing?
Most – intellectually satisfying. Least – hard work, no idea if I’m ever going to be successful, sometimes feel that everything I write is rubbish.
We are our own worst critic. What's the best piece of writing advice you've ever been given?
It’s just words on paper. If it isn’t fun, then don’t do it.
Don’t give up.
What advice could you give to a new writer?
Go to a writing group and keep writing.
Apart from writing, what are your other hobbies/interests?
Showjumping, dressage, piano, drums, martial arts.
What types of things do you read? Do you think your writing reflects your book tastes?
My writing is different from anything I’ve ever read. I usually read whatever’s on the kindle charts, although I have faves like Ladies No 1 detective agency that I always get asap.
If you could have written anything, what do you wish that could have been?
Terry Pratchett’s discworld stuff.
What are you working on at the moment?
Two novels and a plain English diploma assignment.
Do you have a website/blog/Twitter/Facebook dedicated to your writing?
www.gamlingaywriters.org.uk (I am catembi on there...i.e. the only one who ever posts anything) and www.traceydawson.Weebly.com.
Taken from the first chapter of One Summer.
One way or another, it turned out to be a pretty awesome summer. I’m not really sure, even now, if it was the best summer of my whole life or the worst one, but it wasn’t the kind of summer that you ever forget. Life- changing doesn’t even come into it. I mean, everything’s potentially life changing, if you think about it. If you rush off in the morning in too much of a hurry and leave the milk out, then come home at the end of the day to find you can’t have the cup of tea you’ve been craving because your milk smells like something you’d rather not smell, that could be life changing because you could never ever leave your milk out again for the rest of your life. Unless you’re me, of course, in which case you’re always in such a scramble to catch up with yourself that things a lot more important than a quarter bottle of milk get continually ignored.
It was more than life changing, and it had affected a lot more people than just the three of us by the time it was all over. It changed me more than I could possibly ever have imagined, in a way that went far beyond the mental and physical scars that I picked up along the way, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
It all started when the new guy arrived in the office on that bright Monday morning. It wasn’t that bright a morning from my point of view because obviously it was a Monday- another five whole days to go till the weekend- but the day was clear and already hot. Hot enough that if I hadn’t been stuck in the office, I’d have spent the day reading in the garden.
© Tracey DawsonThank you Tracey.