Tracie Provost is a joy to interview. Warm, charming and full of interesting stories about horror and history, I could have talked with her all day. This is a woman who has managed to bring her love of horror into her work as an historian; teaching classes on dark folklore and publishing papers about witches, werewolves and vampires.
Growing up, Tracie’s family were constantly moving and she got tired of trying to make new friends at each new school, turning to books for companionship instead. Writing for as long as she can remember, she first hoped to turn it into a career when she was in high school, until she was advised her at a young authors conference to find a different day job.
Turning to another love, history, Tracie now works at a university and is glad yo have a steady job. However, she never gave up being a storyteller or turned her back on taking the old and making it new again.
Always attracted to the gothic, Tracie likens her younger self to the appearance of a sorority chick with the soul of a secret goth.
It was while playing table top role playing games that Tracie first came up with Juliette – the main character in her novel, Under the Blood Moon. She started as a character, but soon took on a life of her own, commanding Tracie to write her story with an imperious, no nonsense attitude. Tracie was fascinated with the idea of what an eighteenth century noble woman would be like transported to our modern age. NaNoWriMo became the starting point for Under the Blood Moon, which now has at least three sequels planned to follow.
When asked what she likes best about writing, Tracie says it is the way it feels. She calls it a wonderful way to get feelings out on paper, and enjoys the sense of accomplishment she feels after a day of writing. One of her favorite parts of writing is being able to exorcise her frustrations by killing people and not going to jail for it. She can also live vicariously, making up beautiful homes for her characters to live in that she could never afford in real life.
One of the elements that stands out from Tracie’s work is her wonderful descriptions. In Under the Blood Moon, Juliette’s house in New Orleans is full of imaginative finery that leaves you aching for it to be real.
Tracie credits her background in writing romance for honing her ability for writing descriptive scenes. She says that description is one of the things that the romance genre does well, and doesn’t get enough kudos for, and she’s glad to see that this is seeping into other genres. Though she does admit that there is a fine line with description, and that too much can kill a scene.
When it comes to what Tracie likes least about writing, it’s editing. She hand writes her first drafts on legal pads with her favorite type of gel pen. She writes and writes, getting everything down on paper before she goes back and types it up. She begins her edits as she types up her rough draft; noticing parts that aren’t quite right, and picking up on mistakes.
Her advice for other writers is simple. Write. Just get it done. The rest you can learn along the way. As writers you have to go out and experience things. Read a lot, watch tv and movies; you can learn a lot about story craft from a well written movie. Never stop learning. Look to history. If you find it boring, you aren’t doing history right.
What’s next for Tracie? As of this time last year, Tracie was working on editing her second novel, a sequel to Under the Blood Moon.
Under the Blood Moon is available for $4.95 ebook and $14.95 print book on Amazon.
Read my review of Tracie’s vampire novel, Under the Blood Moon.
I spoke to Tracie Provost for Women in Horror Month last year. Apologies for the delay in posting this interview.