About Tracy J Thomas:
Tracy J Thomas is an award-winning photographer, author, artist, and educator. She grew up in the beautiful Eastern Sierra town of Bishop, California where she spent her childhood embracing nature. She currently resides in Northern California with her sights set on a little cabin in the woods where the snow falls and the wildlife roams.
Tracy’s work has been featured in galleries and publications around the globe. She served on the faculty of the 2013 San Miguel Writer’s Conference where she taught workshops and consulted on “Dominating Social Media for Writers” and was one of the speakers on the panel “Women Write Their Lives.”
She was also a contributing author to the 2012 Seal Press anthology “Dancing at the Shame Prom: Sharing the Stories That Kept Us Small.”
She holds both her M.A. in Sports and Fitness Management from the University of San Francisco and an M.F.A. in Photography from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, and believes there is always more to learn in life. Nature is her strongest medicine and has always been her greatest teacher.
What inspires you to write?
I have turned to writing as a form of therapy since childhood. It helps me to find clarity and aids in the release of stress. I am inspired primarily by current events that move my soul, by lessons learned on this journey that I feel might be of help to others, and by the beauty of nature that surrounds me on a daily basis.
Tell us about your writing process.
When it comes to nonfiction I generally write from the soul. Whenever the spirit moves me I strike pen to paper or fingertips to the keyboard. Unless I am writing a how-to piece, I rarely follow an outline, and allowing the ideas to flow without restraint. At least for the first draft. I tend to go on a long walk or spend a day in nature before I feel clear enough to let the words come through the way they are intended.
If I am focused on writing fiction, I put on the pot of coffee, some classical music, organize my writing space and work from an outline to begin with. But once I begin to write my characters often develop themselves and take me on a journey I never expected to travel. Plot twists begin to jump out from nowhere and new characters appear when I least expect them. That is when I need to go back to my outline and make sure things have not strayed too far off the path.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I don’t talk to my characters but I am there inside the story to travel in tandem in a covert manner. Kind of like the silent best friend who understands their every whim.
What advice would you give other writers?
Write, write, write until your fingers bleed. Never give up even when you feel defeated. Embrace critique and don’t allow your ego to interfere or your feelings to be hurt. Distance yourself just enough from your work to take those critiques and make your writing better. Trust that all your hard work will eventually lead you to the audience who will adore your message.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I was fortunate to be published in an anthology with Seal Press in 2012. Since that time I have researched the possibility of self-publishing and have viewed many of my writer friends have great success by traveling this route.
My advise to new authors would be to research all the publishing options out there including self-publishing and Hybrid publishing. If you decide to go the self-publishing route know it can be very time-consuming when it comes to marketing and publicity. You can hire people to do a lot of the work for you for a reasonable price, however it is a good idea to tap other successful self-publishers for guidance and recommendations.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I believe the future is e-books and print-on-demand through self-publishing and Hybrid Publisher relationships.
What do you use?: Professional Editor
What genres do you write?: Nonfiction – how-to, self-help, memoir and Fiction – General and YA
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print