Tracie Peterson is the award-winning, best-selling author of more than eighty-five books. She is also a popular speaker, who will present the Keynote at the 2011 ACFW Conference in St. Louis, Missouri, September 22-25.
Tracie received her first book contract—from Barbour’s Heartsong Presents—in 1992. She subsequently managed the line, overseeing the production of fifty-two books a year. In 1995, she signed a contract with Bethany House Publishers to co-write a series with author Judith Pella. Tracie now writes exclusively for Bethany House.
She is the mother of three grown children and a grandmother to three—Rainy, Fox and Max. Tracie and her husband Jim live in Montana, where she is active in her church as the Director of Women’s Ministries. She also coordinates an annual writer’s retreat for published authors, and travels, as time permits, to research her books. Her latest, Hope Rekindled, was released on June 1.
What sparked your writing journey? How does your faith play into your writing?
I credit my mother with sparking my writing journey. As a very young child I was rather active and to keep me quiet and calm in church, Mom gave me a pencil and a piece of paper and told me to write a story. Then after church she would give me some undivided attention and ask me to tell her the story. I credit her with stirring the storyteller in me. My faith plays a big part in my writing, not only because it was born in church, so to speak, but because it is my mission field. I write to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ and bring hope to a dying world.
Has God ever provided an unexpected “detour” in your life that turned out to be positive?
God puts unexpected detours in my life all the time. Now I’m to the point when this happens that I usually roll with it, knowing that life often doesn’t look like I thought it would. These events have included everything from a publisher not wanting what I had to offer, causing me to work harder on my craft – to problems in my marriage. No matter what happened, the lesson was to keep my focus on God and wait for His direction.
Let’s talk about your new book, Hope Rekindled (Bethany House, June 1, 2011), which is the third in your Striking a Match series. Please tell us about it.
Hope Rekindled is the third in the Vandermark Family saga. Deborah Vandermark is the focal heroine and in this book she finally gets her man. However, it doesn’t come without its obstacles and problems. Set in East Texas during the heyday of the logging industry in East Texas, the Vandermarks are up against some nasty villains who want to see the demise of their business and family. Their faith in God will see this family through, but not without some losses. This is a story about trusting God in spite of the obstacles and trials, and learning to let go of preconceived notions and expectations.
Besides entertainment, what do you hope readers will take away from this book?
I write for what I call my Three Es. I want to entertain always. But I also want to educate and give a flavor of the past and maybe show a particular event. And I want to encourage folks in the Lord.
You often teach at writer’s conferences. How important are these to unpublished writers?
Writer’s conferences are an unpublished writer’s best friend. I received so much help, and so many networking connections through writer’s conferences. For the newbie, a good conference will not only provide classes where you can learn the basics of submission and writing, but you can also network with other authors, meet editors and agents, and learn the latest industry news. It’s absolutely vital to all writers to attend conferences for this reason. I can’t stress enough that we always have something to learn. Anyone who thinks they’ve “arrived” and have no need to learn anything more is only fooling themselves.
What advice do you give writers who are attending their first conference?
My best advice is to be real, but at the same time – be professional and considerate. Don’t hesitate to ask questions – no matter how silly you think the question might be. Don’t use the writer conference as a platform to cut others down because of their denomination or church affiliation, writing genre, or anything else that rubs you the wrong way. Pray constantly. God has a plan in each person’s life. That plan may not be publication, but I can guarantee you it will have something to do with knowing Him better. Remember to keep God the main focus and you will never be disappointed.
A few fun questions…
When the words aren’t flowing—or when you want to celebrate if they are—what is your favorite comfort food and why?
I love sweets. I’d like to deny that, but it would be a lie. So just about anything rich and creamy and sweet would be my favorite.
This website features musicians as well as writers. Do you have musical, as well as literary, talent?
I played piano for a long, long time. I thought for a while I wanted to be a concert pianist, but the need to story tell overwhelmed me and I traded one keyboard for another. I also played flute in school, and love to sing with others.
If you were a song, what kind of song would you be?
An upbeat, fast-paced praise song that told of God’s love and faithfulness.
Are you a major or a minor chord?
Definitely a major chord – always more positive than negative.
In the story that is your life, are you the strong, female lead; the girl next door; the mysterious woman behind dark glasses; the super heroine; or the little girl trying to walk in high heels?
Definitely the strong, female lead, but I love my new sunglasses too!
I’m a dog lover. Please tell us about your pets, if any, and/or your favorite pet as a child.
We’ve always had pets – everything from hermit crabs to dogs and cats, hamsters and fish. Our beloved collie died last summer and we haven’t yet moved forward to get another dog, but we will. We currently have two cats – Safari and Cal, and they are very loved and spoiled.
Thank you, Tracie! It’s a special treat to have you at DivineDetour!
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For more information about Tracie, visit her website at http://www.traciepeterson.com/.
To purchase Hope Rekindled, logon to:
For information about the upcoming ACFW Conference, logon to http://www.acfw.com/conference.
I can attest to the benefits of conferences. My first one offered manuscript evaluations by various agents, which is how I first learned about Chip MacGregor. Then I started following his blog and found out about his marketing fiction seminar. Went and met some new contacts and friends! Two even helped me re-write my query letter.
So thanks for stressing the importance of conferences and how we all need to keep learning. We’re never finished with that!
I agree, Laura. I’ve attended two full conferences, and two mini-conferences. They are incredible learning and networking opportunities. Not to mention a lot of fun 🙂 I always enjoy the spiritual aspect of the ACFW conference too.