Author Interview: Scott Tracey + Giveaway
Some of you know this already, some of you may not be aware, but I am a huge fan of this author, his writing and his books. I’m talking majorly obsessed. I absolutely love his WITCH EYES series – from the characters he created to the abilities he gave them to the twists and turns and heartbreaking outcomes. I love it all.
But his way with words is what blew me away when I got my very first “peek” at WITCH EYES as a portion of the first chapter was read aloud during a Blog TV show. I was instantly in love with his style of writing and I knew that I’d fall just as madly in love with his series.
And I did.
Right from the outset Braden was relatable. He was different. He was awkward. He was shy. He was moody. He was headstrong. And he had great taste in boys. I immediately sympathized with and envied him for his ability, his witch eyes. I feared for him. I connected with him.
Then of course there’s the story. A town with a dark past. A warring present. Witches. Demons. Feuds. Secrets. Lies. Betrayals. And a love story.
It doesn’t get better than that.
As I may have mentioned I am such a huge fan. And I’m super stoked to have had the chance to interview Scott Tracey for the blog today. Of course I went overboard… just a little. Really. Just a little…. So I will be splitting this interview up into two parts. Stay tuned next Monday for part two, which will include a short interview with Jade and another giveaway.
But just to make this post a little bit longer, here’s some info about the author and his books….
***Spoiler-y for WITCH EYES***
Phantom Eyes – expected publication 2013
Moonset – expected publication April 8, 2013
And so that you don’t have to, here is…
Q. For those readers who have yet to discover your series Witch Eyes, how would you summarize it?
Romeo and Juliet with gay witches. That’s my six word pitch. If I had a bit more breathing room, I would say it’s a story about identity, about figuring out who you are and what you’re meant to be.
Braden runs away to a town called Belle Dam, hoping to save his uncle’s life and at the same time uncover the mysteries of his past. Along the way, he discovers that he’s gotten tangled up in a longstanding feud between rival witch families, and Braden’s unique powers are something that both sides will do anything to possess.
[Fiktshun: Totally sold by the six-word pitch. Totally intrigued by the longer one.]
Q. Your main character, Braden Michaels has a rather unique ability – the witch eyes – how did you come up with it?
I used to work the night shift as a server, and when I’d leave my house, the sun was setting. So every night on my way out of my apartment complex, I’d get blinded. I started thinking about people who were photophobic – allergic to light, and from there I started thinking about what it would be like if there was a supernatural cause. The idea that there’s a veil to the world, and we only see a small fraction of it came from there.
I went into the book knowing I wanted this to be an incredible power, but if Braden was really going to be so exceptionally strong, there had to be an equal balance to it. So he has this incredibly useful power, but it’s killing him every time he uses it. He suffers headaches, nosebleeds, migraines, just incredible pain really, and it’s getting worse the older he gets.
[Fiktshun: Oh that's so cool how a blinding sun can spark an idea that leads to an amazing series. And yes, his power is as equally incredible as it is debilitating. Poor Braden!]
Q. Your series wraps up in a trilogy. Had you always planned it to be three books or had you anticipated it going longer or shorter?
I always planned for it to be three books, but certain parts came up earlier or later in the actual telling of the story. There’s a confrontation in the second book that had actually been part of the original climax of the first book. And things that happened in the first two books ended up changing the way the last book developed.
[Fiktshun: Oooh, which confrontation? Is it the one where... oops, nope, I'm not going to spoil anything. And oh wow, so curious as to what changed events in the last book and just what was originally planned....]
Q. The setting, Belle Dam, is one that seems to be divided between two families, the Lansings and the Thorpes. What inspired you to create this long-term feud between the two? And how did the townspeople choose sides?
Well, I went into it knowing I wanted to tell a kind of Romeo and Juliet story, but with witches. So the feud sprang up from that idea of warring houses, of this enmity between them that was so old that no one even remembered how it started. But there’s also a secondary layer, because the average person in Belle Dam doesn’t necessarily know about witches. So it almost becomes a political divide – people pick sides based on their beliefs. It can depend on where you work, who you’re friends with, what social class you interact with – there’s different circles that the Thorpes and Lansings move in, and people gravitate towards the ones that work for them. People that were friends with Jason in school are probably still loyal to him now, the same with Catherine. They have loyalty to those who are loyal to them.
There’s also a sort of mafia mentality to it – if Jason Thorpe does you a favor, you’re going to be in his pocket for a long, long time. So sides can change, depending on how the adults maneuver in town.
[Fiktshun: And yet the non-witches don't really have a clue. That's so awesome. Which also I'm guessing plays out on a smaller scale with the teens and their friends in school. I love the idea of a town divided. Though I really don't think I'd ever want to step foot in Belle Dam. I would not want to be in Jason's debt.]
Q. Your main character, Braden, is somewhat of an unlikely hero. He very much does not want the power he’s been given, at least early in the series, and he does not like to be in the spotlight. But he isn’t weak and when pushed he will react. Was that always who he was or did that change as the story was written?
It was always part of my intent to tell the story of this kid who has all these things about him that make him ‘different’ but who is at the same time still comfortable with who he is. Someone who tries, and yet sometimes fails, to do the right thing. There had to be a certain kind of inner strength, because from the moment Braden steps into Belle Dam, there are forces and factions who are actively manipulating him. Sometimes he sees it for what it is, and sometimes he gets manipulated without realizing it, but all of it contributes to what I think is his growth over the series. He goes from someone who rejects what he’s been given to accepting it.
[Fiktshun: I love the fact that Braden isn't perfect and doesn't just blindly accept his gift from the outset. And I love that he isn't always aware of everything. He is definitely a believable and relatable character.]
Q. In the series, what was your favorite scene to write? Your least favorite? And why.
There is a scene in the lighthouse in the second book that has probably been my favorite scene to write in the whole series. The nature of it occurred to me about halfway through drafting DEMON EYES, and it was the thing that kept me going when I thought I’d never finish the book.
My least favorite isn’t a scene itself, but just the transitions from one scene to the next. I’m awful at transitions, and they always take me ten times as long to write, even though they’re a fraction of the size.
[Fiktshun: What? You never thought you'd finish? Nooo! That would not have been good. And is it that one particular scene in the lighthouse? The one I'm thinking of? Hmmm... And while it might take you awhile to write those transitions I think they turn out perfectly. The story just flows from one scene to the next.]
Q. If you had to choose sides, whose side would you prefer to be on in the feud? And why?
I’d have to go with the side that Braden picks (so as not to spoil anything).
[Fiktshun: Well I'm glad you are siding with your main character. It just wouldn't be right of you to choose sides against him. Of course you wouldn't be that cruel to him... right? *asks hopefully*]
Q. What was the most challenging part of writing Demon Eyes, the second book in the series? What did you find most exciting about writing it?
I think the most challenging part was trying to make the book stand enough on its own so that it wasn’t the middle book (which a lot of people tend to think is generally the weakest part of most trilogies). It’s a struggle, though, because writing a trilogy is kind of like building a tripod. You put one side into the ground (the first book) and it can probably balance on its own, but once you put down that second side, both of those are leaning in the direction of the last part, and it’s not there yet. So you need that third side for balance.
The most exciting part for me was writing the climax of the book. There’s about four major events at the end of the book, and as I was drafting I felt like I was sailing through them, and it was so easy.
[Fiktshun: Well, it definitely did not have middle book syndrome IMO. It just continued to build to that climax, which was... oh... em... gee.... And I love the tripod analogy because after that climax a LOT is resting on the final book in the series.]
Q. For this series, which of the following do you believe in and which do you laugh evilly at:
[Fiktshun: Bahahaha! And oh you are just a bit evil yourself aren't you? Laughing evilly at heartbreak? Leaving things up in the air about your definition of "good"? And justice? I'm thinking justice for both. Though am a little worried about your brand of justice right about now.... Oh and I totally did see what you did there in response to the "total annihilation" question. LOL!]
Q. If you could take back one bad thing or one good thing you did to one of your characters in the series, would you? And can you hint at what it would be – bad or good … or at least to whom it was happening?
Having just finished the last book, there is a character who gets an ending I didn’t expect at the time, and I, Scott, would probably want to see them get a different outcome. But as the author, the ending makes sense for that character. And no, I won’t tell you which one. (Although now that I think about it, that actually fits about three of the characters at the end of the series).
[Fiktshun: So unfair! I must know! Which three characters got different endings? Hints please. Yes. Must have hints!]
Oh my gosh, I told you Scott Tracey was full of win with just a touch of evil! He not only loves to torment his readers and fans but also his characters. So, I guess Scott is an equal opportunity tormentor. I would not want to be a character in one of his books. No matter how awesome they may be.
While this is only part one of the interview – part two includes just a bit more about the author’s writing process, a bit about MOONSET, and that interview with Jade – I just have to thank Scott so much for answering all but one of my questions. (Yes, I tried to sneak a spoiler-y one in there.) And for being so awesome.
I have wanted to interview him forever but was way too shy to ask. And I really, really, really, really, really hope he stops by the blog again.
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