Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Interview with new adult author Trae Stratton

Hello Readers!

Today I’d like to introduce you to debut novelist Trae Stratton. He’s telling us a bit about his novel, To Have and To Hold, and his writing and personal life.

Please say ‘hi’ to Trae in the comments so he knows you stopped by!

Trae was born and raised in Queens, N.Y. After 20 years with the NYPD he retired to fill an urgent vacancy at home: Mr. Mom. He has always enjoyed writing and continues to outwit the forces of nature and temptation to make time at the keyboard. His debut novel, To Have and To Hold, is a charming reminder that life could indeed be fun before cell phones and that happy endings do exist in the real world if you’re brave enough to believe in them.

Welcome, Trae. Please tell us about your current release.
To Have and To Hold is a New Adult/Family Saga set in the suburbs of New York City during the 1980s-90s. The plot is anchored to the wedding of Colin MacLann and what happens at his house as his family and friends get ready for the ceremony. Using that point of view turns the bride’s identity into an enticing mystery. 

Readers can try to figure out which of Colin’s five loves eventually wears the veil with clues they glean from poignant coming of age flashbacks that tell his story, or just enjoy the ride. We also get hints from the bride herself during some first person vignettes that show how she winds up marrying Colin. The big reveal comes in the final chapter when the bride walks into the church. 

At the heart of the book is a deeper question: Fate has a soulmate for all of us, but what happens if we screw that up with bad decisions? Life isn’t that simple, so I try to make sure it isn’t obvious who Colin’s soulmate is actually supposed to be. Does Colin get his act together in time to meet her at the altar or does destiny send him someone else? That’s also for you, as the reader to decide.

What inspired you to write this book?
The last chapter came to me first. It’s so momentous when a bride walks into a church, and I thought how great it would be if I could magnify that with one of those spine tingling moments like you get at the end of “Officer and a Gentleman” when Richard Gere walks into the factory and sweeps up Debra Winger. As the story evolved from there I became inspired by how the people that intersect our lives for any length of time so often mirror what we think of ourselves and our mindset for the future. How fate can come full circle or shatter because of the decisions we all make on a daily basis, and because of that, happily ever after is not an end result, it’s a fluid state that requires nurturing and maintenance.

Excerpt from To Have and To Hold:
This excerpt comes from the beginning of the book and foreshadows how the flashbacks will tell their stories- the bride’s life came into focus quite suddenly during one illuminating night, while Colin needed to learn many difficult lessons over the course of his life that taught him to be his own man, and ultimately what those experiences meant as they fell in love.

Just two years ago, marrying Colin seemed so outlandishly impossible. We had known each other for so
long, but in so many ways, knew each other so little.
            Funny how quickly things can fall into place once you figure out who you are.
            For Colin that’s been a long journey. For me, most of it came together in one eye-opening, magical night.
            I pick up his picture again and look at him.
            I always say I had to find myself.
            He always says he had to create himself.
            We’ve drunk a lot of wine long into the night talking about the difference.
            Here we are now though, one of those first day of the rest of your life days—Hell, I’m going to have a
whole new name after today!
            I wonder what he’s doing right now. If he’s thinking about this stuff too. I guess he is.
            What did mom say last night?
            I’ve written my book and he’s written his. Today we start writing our story, so it’s only natural to
remember the highlights of the one you’ve just finished…

What exciting story are you working on next?
I was all set to churn out a psychological thriller, but instead I’ve decided to a write something for my little girl. She’s three, and I want her to have something dedicated to her waiting on the shelf for when she’s old enough to read it. So now my pages are filling up with magic and unicorns, secret bloodlines and dangerous creatures that live on the edge of twilight, and with border crossings between the realms of faerie and the world we know- all the things that live and breathe in YA fiction. It doesn’t have a title yet, but I’m having a lot of fun working on it!

When did you consider yourself a writer?
Probably when I joined the staff of SPRING 3100 at the NYPD and started seeing my work published on a regular basis. But as a self-published novelist it was the realization that people I would never meet were suddenly paying real money for my book or taking it out of the library and reading it. Having a book out there is still very new to me, and maybe it’s not the same for writers of mass market publications, but watching as my book crossed the border from friends and family to readers everywhere was really quite a thrill that made me feel like a writer and not just someone who likes to write.

Do you write full time?
I wish I could, but Mr. Mom is a full-time gig right now. As a result, most of my writing gets done after everyone else has gone to bed. It can be very frustrating, so a big key for me is to use the spare moments in my day preparing for my next writing block by knocking out any promoting, editing or research at hand. Then when I have available solitude I can just sit down and write without distraction.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Using unique fonts for each story. It helps me shift back into the right voice and mindset for whatever I’m working on much quicker. Right now it’s a Unicorn story and I’m using Harrington. Just seeing how much cooler and atmospheric words like Unicorn look in Harrington gets me right back into the story. When you have limited time periods to work with stuff like that is important. You do anything and everything to get the words flowing again as fast as you can and changing fonts works for me.

As a child what did you want to be when you grew up?
As an adult I can look back and say archaeologist or paleontologist, but as a kid I didn’t know what those words really meant. I just loved dinosaurs.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Yes. I love hearing from you through my contact page or Goodreads. The arguments for why Colin made a good choice or bad choice, how you figured out who was under the veil, suggestions about who should get married next or why such and such character is a jerk, and what the casting would be if To Have and To Hold became a movie and so on are so much fun to read. 

They really are. I don’t get too many of those, so along with interviews like this, hearing from a reader affords me the opportunity to write back and say thanks for reading in a meaningful way.


Thanks so much, Trae! This has been fun.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Can't wait for our daughter to read your next great work. We are so proud of you! Keep working hard everyday.