Paranormal crime writer, Tracee Ford talks about her book, The Fine Line.

 

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Firstly, tell us a little bit about you and how you came to be a writer.   
I write paranormal romance, romantic suspense, and crime novels. When I am not writing, reading, or completing my supervisory duties for a local child protection agency, I enjoy watching television with my son, participating in the local Zumba class, and spending time with friends and family. I live in rural Ohio with my husband and son. I love traveling with them and find that I feel most at-home near the ocean. Although I love the forests in Southern Ohio, I hope to end up in a warmer part of the United States one day sitting on a beach with a laptop continuing to write my fictional stories. I have been writing since the age of 16. My early works include poetry and nonfiction. My nonfictional work focused on my areas of study as an undergraduate in social sciences and psychology at Shawnee State University. I completed more nonfictional research while working on my master’s degree in forensic psychology through The University of North Dakota. I have also written plays and scripts for puppet shows for communities in my area.  I am a member of the Paranormal Romance Guild.

Is this your first book or have you written others?
The Fine Line is my first published book.  I have written others, but I haven’t published those yet.

Tell us about your current book and what makes it special.
The Fine Line is set in Southwestern Ohio, Dr. Matthew Gregory and Robin Hillard meet, fall passionately in love, marry, and settle into their newly restored historical dream home originally constructed in the 1800’s.  However, their dreams of a happy life together are challenged by misfortune surrounding the purchase of the home.  Soon, they realize that they have stepped into another world, filled with spirits, paranormal phenomenon, and unexplainable realities.  The stark realizations as well as other traumas challenge their personal beliefs, the stability of their marriage and, most of all, their sanity.  Matt’s logical, scientific certainties are defied when his daughter, Olivia, realizes she is a psychic medium and is able to communicate with the dead.  Robin recognizes that her dreams are actually visions of the past directly associated with the previous owners of the home. 

The Gregory family soon learns that there is a fine line between the world they live in and the world they can’t see.  They seek direction through organized religion as well as through unconventional methods in an effort to understand the strange world of the paranormal.  Ultimately, the family grows stronger and the relationship between Robin and Matt becomes unbreakable.  They finally realize that they can face anything as long as they are together and have faith.

What genre is it and who is the target audience?
Here are some things I think are important to know about my book, The Fine Line.  The book falls under several genres, which includes paranormal romance (minus the vampires and werewolves), horror, sci-fi, fantasy, and general fiction.  However, don’t let the “horror” label fool you.  This book is packed full of inspiration.  It is far from “hollywood horror.” 

The Fine Line is about being open to possibilities and learning to trust in things that seem fantastical.  It’s not a religious book either.  It’s a look at how positive can beget positive, in spite of heartbreak and challenges.  The purpose of this book is to reach out to readers and say to them, “Nothing is too dark to overcome.”

The target audience is the age group of sixteen and up.  However, I think anyone who enjoys paranormal activity mixed in with some romance will love the book

Do you write in one genre or mix it up a bit and write in a few?
As you can see, I mix it up.  I don’t believe in boxing myself in.  The more genres that can be involved, the better coverage the book gets and the more readers the work attracts.

Tell us how you settled on the title.
The title changed more than a few times, however, when I thought about the true content of the book the title I chose was most appropriate.  Every day we all walk a fine line.  Whether we realize it or not, our current self mixes with things we cannot see and often don’t realize are even there.  That little voice in your head that tells you to take a different street as you’re driving to work or that feeling that something is wrong with someone you love are prime examples of how the world beyond our understanding integrates into our every day existence.  We cannot avoid it, although for the longest time I tried.  It’s the little things that make the paranormal so magnificent and I wanted this to be reflected in the title.

Describe your favorite scene in the book.
Wow!  This is hard to narrow down.  I think my favorite scene in the book is when Matt realizes that there is much more going on in the house than he is willing to admit.  He wakes up at three in the morning to hear his six year old daughter, Olivia, talking in her room.  He gets up to check on her and realizes there is no one in the room with her.  He asks Olivia who she’s talking to and she begins describing a ghost child that occupies the house.  She tells Matt that the ghost child loves watching Matt and Robin dancing in the kitchen.  Matt is really freaked out because he knows Olivia would have no way of knowing about the fact that he dances with Robin in the kitchen. After this disturbing conversation, he goes downstairs to sort of catch his breath and as he is standing at the sink looking out the window, he thinks Robin has come up behind him and is embracing him, but when he turns around no one is there.  It’s then that he has to start putting some validity to what his wife has been saying all along; that they are not alone in the house.

If you had to choose one favorite character, who would it be and why?
My favorite character would definitely be Robin.  She is so strong and doesn’t even realize how strong she is.  She has endured so much in her life and still she has this unwavering, tremendous faith that nothing seems to be able to shake.  In the book she faces more tragedy, but manages to overcome that, too.  She believes in good and how it can overcome evil despite everything she’s lived through.  I admire her for that.  She doesn’t give herself nearly enough credit, but throughout the book she learns her strengths and that she has been given a great gift.  I can’t say enough great things about her.

If your book was made into a movie, who would you want to play the main characters?
I have actually given this quite a bit of thought.  I would want Robert Downey Jr. to play the part of Matt.  For Robin I would want a new actress.  I would want someone that needs a boost into the world of Hollywood and my hope would be that this movie would give her the stepping stone she needed.  For Richard (Robin’s stepfather), I would want Tommy Lee Jones to play his part.  For the part of Olivia, I am not sure, but it would need to be a child that is vivacious, but can also portray a great tragedy with feeling and heart

Where do you draw your inspiration? Is there anything in your book based on real life experiences, or is it all fiction?
For the book I drew my inspiration from my true-to-life experiences with the paranormal.  In fact, I had to re-write the book when I came to understand some spiritual things that had lacked for me before.  A lot of Robin’s character is based on my life.  I am a child welfare worker, now a supervisor in the field.  I have experienced a lot of the paranormal things she experiences in the book.  However, the tragedies she has had to endure and continues to face are not my own.

Is there a message in your novel that you hope readers will grasp?
I believe the biggest message from the book is what I touched on earlier.  One has to be open to possibilities and learning to trust in things that seem fantastical.  Religion isn’t the answer, but faith is, no matter where you have your faith.  I want people to understand just how truly powerful positivity is.  Just the simple ability to look at something and believe that life will change for the better can make things happen.  As I stated before, the purpose of this book is to reach out to readers and say to them, “Nothing is too dark to overcome.”

 

Where can people purchase your book?
The Fine Line can be purchased at http://booklocker.com.  There is also a link on my website (http://traceeford.com) where the book can be purchased.  It is in e-book and paperback.  Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and the Apple iBook store also carry it.

What has been your most successful marketing tactic to date?
I am so new to this and so early into the marketing, that I can’t say exactly what I would dub my most successful strategy.  I have done interviews with local media sources, including radio and newspapers, I’ve been involved in a blog hop, I’ve linked up with social networking sites.  I have made phone calls.  I’ve sent emails.  Honestly, at this point, things are really slow moving, but I’m not giving up.  I think when people start reading the book and passing it around, that’s when things will liven up.  Your readers are truly the key to opening the doors for you.  Word of mouth has been and always will be the greatest form of advertising.

What are your thoughts on book trailers, and do you have one for your books?
I love book trailers!  I look at them as mini-movies.  I do have a trailer for the book.  In fact, that is what is driving my February Contest.  Anyone wishing to receive a signed copy of the book along with other goodies has to visit my Facebook author page (http://www.facebook.com/AuthorTraceeFord) or the book’s official Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/tracee.ford.thefineline.2013).  They have to find the post with the trailer in it, share it, and comment on it.  They are entered to win at that point.  Everyone who has seen the trailer has said wonderful things about it.  http://youtu.be/dTWrMOJPDAQ is the direct link to the trailer.

Who designs the covers of your books?
Unfortunately, I had to choose a cover that was in my budget.  It is very plain.  However, I have designed a poster for the book and am marketing that.  Trust me the next book I publish will not have such a hum-drum cover.  This is the poster for the book:

Are you Indie published or Trade published?
I think I’m an Indie.  Isn’t that sad that I don’t even know the true answer?  I didn’t have to front the cost of the book.  I did have to front the cost of the conversion and if I wanted a fancy cover, I had to come up with the cost of that.  So, I guess Indie is where I’m at.

Describe the publishing process you went through? Did you engage an editor, beta reader, formatter, designer, publicist or any other professional to help in the process?
Once I got a contract from BookLocker to publish my book, it was still all up to me.  I had to edit the book.  However, and luckily, I didn’t have to format it.  I have done all of my own marketing.  I’ve done all of my own facebooking, tweeting, linking, and anything else technological you can imagine.  I’ve created my own website and blog.  Needless to say, I would like to publish my next book with a traditional publisher so that I can focus solely on the marketing.

Do you have an agent or are you looking to get one in the future?
I don’t have an agent.  I don’t know that I will go that route in the future either.  I tried to obtain one at the beginning of this journey and got rejection after rejection.

If you had fifteen seconds of an agents and/or publishers time, what would you tell them about your book?
I have actually had fifteen seconds of a publisher’s time more than I can count via email query.  I’ve told them all the same thing.  The book is worth your time.  Just because I’m new doesn’t mean I’m not worth the chance.  Now, I didn’t say that exactly, but I urged each publisher I queried to invest in the project because I could do the marketing it would take to bring the book to the public’s attention.

What do you do when you’re not writing? Do you have a day job, and if so, what is it?
I do have a day job.  I have worked in the field of child welfare since 2005.  I was always an investigator until July of 2012 when I landed a supervisor’s position.  I specialized in interviewing victims of sexual abuse in 2008.  When I’m not writing, I’m working, dealing with household responsibilities, and spending time with my family and friends.

Where do you get your ideas?
It doesn’t take much to inspire me, but dreams and music are where most of my ideas come from.  I can be listening to a song and think about how I could make a book from it.  My first book (one that is still not published but will be) came from a dream I had when I was sixteen.  I got up in the middle of the night and wrote everything down.  That’s how all of this really started.

How important is planning to you? Do you plan the whole book or just start writing?
I have used both of these approaches and I typically incorporate them.  However, sometimes I just start writing and everything just sort of happens.

Which do you consider more important? Character or plot, and why?
I think both are equally important.  I don’t think I can separate one from the other. Great characters make a great story and a great plot creates interest in the characters.  It’s my opinion that the two go hand in hand.

What project are you working on now?
I am working on another book.  Below is a brief synopsis of Undone:

A hedonistic serial killer is on the loose targeting and abducting strong, independent college women.  Once he snatches his prey, he sets them loose in the woods, hunting them as if they are wild game. They are caught again and their hope of escape quickly disappears when they awaken in a plastic sarcophagus, buried alive.

Brilliant and nationally respected forensic psychologist, Lauren Hillard, is called upon by the FBI to help track down and stop this murderer known to the public as The Phantom.   It’s then that she meets Nicholas Bennette, the newly promoted director of the Dayton, Ohio FBI field office. A southern gentleman originally from North Carolina, he finds it difficult to work with Hillard because of her social awkwardness. It doesn’t take long, however, for their trust in one another to grow, realizing that it’s going to take teamwork to track down and stop The Phantom.  

To solve the crime, Lauren must not only rely on her training and education, but also her supernatural empathic abilities.  Through visions she sees, smells, and hears the crimes through the eyes of the victims and hopes that these fragmented visions will help her bring peace to the dead and stop the killings.  The deeper she gets into the investigation, the more detailed the visions become, but she knows she can’t possibly solve the case through paranormal means.  Lauren confides in Nick about her gifts hoping he can use more accepted methods to bring justice to the victims.  Yet, this isn’t Lauren’s greatest challenge.  Making sense of the visions and trying to understand what the victims are telling her is the most difficult part.  The victims’ feel that so much has been left undone in their lives and this overwhelms Lauren to her very core.

As the body count continues to rise year after year, Lauren miraculously puts the puzzle together and discovers the identity of the killer. She doesn’t know, however, she’s been targeted by The Phantom until she comes face to face with him.  Lauren Hillard finds she is helpless at the mercy of the psychopathic serial killer and realizes she’s left so much undone in her own life. 

What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author and what did you learn from that criticism?
The toughest criticism I’ve gotten is that there were four typos in the book out of over 76,000 words.  I am a perfectionist and when I found this out, I thought I’d throw up.  To have the manuscript changed, it would cost me a ghastly amount of money and I am not willing to pay it.  This is another reason why I am leaning toward a traditional publisher.  I would have an editor and proofreader that I wouldn’t have to pay for. 

Another criticism I encountered was that someone thought that the ex-wife’s car should have been a fancier brand. 

From publishers, I was told the book was “too Hollywood Horror” and then another told me that the “inspirational stuff won’t sell.”  So I suppose you can take that however you want. Honestly, in the scheme of things, there were mild errors, but nothing that takes away from the content of the book.  So, after consulting with those who have read the book, I decided the book will stay exactly how it is.

What has been the best compliment?
The best compliments have been that when someone starts reading the book, he/she can’t put it down.  I had one person tell me that they read it in seven hours.  Another read it in three to four hours and simply couldn’t close the book to go to bed.  That is exactly what I wanted.  I wanted my readers to be so engaged that they just couldn’t put the book down and had to find out what happens next. Someone else told me they put down the book of a very famous, well respected author to read mine, which made me feel very good!

Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
Don’t give up!  Listen to your heart.  If you have a passion to get your work published, do it.  I have a quote I’m using for everything from my business cards to my website:  Dream big because really, what’s stopping you?  I live by that.  I have always loved entertaining people, whether it’s been by singing publically, presenting skits, being involved in puppet shows; you name it.  Still, writing is where I’ve found my passion.  Don’t forget, however, that writing is the fun part.  It’s only half the battle.  The hard part starts in the marketing.  Promoting your work is what is really going to count and it’s the most difficult part.  Prepare to have some thick skin, too. 

Is there anything you would like to say to your readers and fans?
I want to thank everyone who has read and is reading the book.  My hope is that the book brings joy to you and you enjoy each page.  Thank you so much for investing in my dream.

Favorite place in the world to be?

Home… but I’d also be pretty happy on a cruise ship in the middle of the ocean.

If a genie granted you three wishes, what would you ask for?

For enough money to pay off all of my debt and then some.  For my son to always feel like he can accomplish anything and that his dreams are reachable.  For my health to continue to be good so that I can keep writing and bringing beautiful stories to my readers.

What is your favorite thing about being a writer?

My favorite things about being a writer are that I can make up just about anything and go there in my head.  I can create wonderful characters.  I can create challenging situations.  I can introduce the world to engaging plots and I can touch the lives of others one word at a time.

What is your least favorite thing about being a writer?

I think the hardest thing about being a writer is realizing that you have a masterpiece in your book and then trying to sell that idea to someone else is very hard.  In your heart of hearts you know that your book is worth the chance, but trying to get others on board with that is an entirely different monster.  Marketing isn’t a piece of cake either.  So once your book is actually out there, trying to bring retailers on board, especially if you’re an indie, is a nightmare sometimes, too.


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2 responses to “Paranormal crime writer, Tracee Ford talks about her book, The Fine Line.

  1. Very interesting Tracee, Love this write up, I too like travelling and I feel your children and even adults, men and women would like to travel with mini book ‘Janet and Sophie on Public Right of Ways’, I wull bookmark your page and seek out your book The Fine Line.
    You my like to seek out my blog too http://howtocareforinfo.blogspot.co.uk/
    Not so spooky – but interesting and inter-active!
    Love from Lorraine A. Jones
    Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/rightofwaysithappens

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