ABOUT TRACIE: Tracie Peterson is an award-winning, best-selling author of over 85 books. Having given her heart to Jesus at the young age of six, Tracie has always felt called to some form of ministry and writing fulfills that mission field.
Tracie received her first book contract in November, 1992 and saw A Place to Belong published in February 1993 with Barbour Publishings’ Heartsong Presents. She wrote exclusively with Heartsong for the next two years, receiving their readership’s vote for Favorite Author of the Year for three years in a row.
In December, 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 Publishers.
Tracie was awarded the romantic Times Career Achievement Award for 2007 inspirational Fiction and her books have won numerous awards for favorite books in a variety of contests.
What have been the benefits to you in having relationships with reading groups?
Tracie: I have found it great to connect to the reading groups over the years for a variety of reasons, but first and foremost is that it’s a very useful tool to get insight on the books from the reader. As an author, I find that the reading groups give the reader a little more freedom to share their insight and feelings about the story. Not only this, but book clubs are great “word of mouth” organizations to pass along this insight to other readers who might not have ever read the author.
Where would you like to see your relationship with reading groups grow? How do you think your goals can be met?
Tracie: I want to be available to the reading group for conference calls. I have had several authors do this for my church’s book club and we always find it to be a lot of fun. It’s something special for the reader, and I want to give back. I think having the publishing houses connect with the book clubs across the nation will allow for more and more of this.
Do you have a set size a reading group has to be before you’ll talk to them on the phone or in person? What do you feel most comfortable doing?
Tracie: No special size is necessary. I think any size group can work. The larger sizes might feel a conference call more difficult to coordinate unless they arrange for questions ahead of time, but I think even this can be arranged. I think the most comfortable size is probably that 8-12 people group.
Which type of book club meeting do you prefer? Why?
Tracie: I like the casual format. I want the readers to feel able to ask questions – and to make comments about their likes and dislikes. I’ve had conversations with readers where they didn’t like a particular way I resolved a matter, but once I explained the complications due to say the time period or location then it was something they could understand. However, if they hadn’t shared their thoughts, they might not have had the chance to know.
What have you learned about your book and yourself from book club meetings? If so, what?
Tracie: One thing I’ve learned is that readers appreciate my attention to detail when it comes to accuracy. I try to give my stories a lot of research whether they are historical or contemporary. I’ve also had a lot of readers comment on appreciating the combination of action, adventure, mystery and romance.
Did you learn more about your characters than what you had originally intended? If so what?
Tracie: I always find that my characters surprise me during the writing. Sometimes they take a different direction than I’d planned. Readers often have made comments about the changes in the characters and how they like the fact that my characters, whether Christian or not, are fallible. My desire is to show characters who can make mistakes and learn from them.
Have you been surprised by readers’ reactions to one of your books? Characters? If so, which ones?
Tracie: Each of the books have brought a variety of reactions and comments regarding characters or content. I have been really blessed to know that God has the ability to take something I love so much and use it for His glory.
It’s amazing to me the way sometimes the simplest thing has touch the reader and somehow changed their life. I’ve had comments recently related to my Striking A Match series. The character of Deborah had thought herself called to one thing and had trained for that thing. She thought she clearly understood what God wanted for her, only to find that God took her in an entirely different direction for her life. I had several readers say that this was helpful to them as it had happened that way in their life and it was like confirmation that change was okay. I’ve had others who have commented on the books that spoke about child molestation or infertility and how much the stories correlated to their own lives. It always amazes me how God brings that about and uses it to help someone in their walk.
Has your book club experience – getting feed back from reading groups – helped you in writing future books? If so, how has it helped you?
Tracie: It reminds me to keep the focus on encouragement and hope in the Lord. I pray over the stories and have others who support me in prayer while I’m writing and they also pray for the readers.
What would you liked to see in reading groups that you haven’t experienced yet?
Tracie: Not sure. My experiences have been very good.
What was your most memorable reading group experience? What made it so fun?
Tracie: I love groups who aren’t afraid to share their hearts. I also love the laughter and encouragement they offer. I can’t say there has been just one situation that was the best – they’ve all been good for a variety of reasons and I have loved them all.
Thanks Tracie for stopping by and sharing your book club experiences with us. I’m excited that The Book Club Network will be having a big give away (thanks to Bethany House) of your new book House of Secrets on October 17th at 9p.m. Eastern Standard time www.bookfun.org.
I really enjoyed this book and oh, there is so much to talk about at book club with this one! Grin! Wow! I also liked that you wrote this book in first person and from a non-believers point of view and it wasn’t preachy! I Loved that! Hope you all can join us on the 17th as Bethany House is giving away several copies of this book!
Until Next Time
The Book Club Network