Writer’s Desk Issue No: 2 Tracy Higley
We’re so excited to have Tracy Higley featured on this week’s writer’s desk. Tracy started her first novel at the age of eight and has been hooked on writing ever since. She chased down a graduate degree in Ancient History to help bring readers more of what they love about her books: adventure that transports readers into the heart of the stories she tells, sweeping them into the smells, sights, and sounds of the ancient world. She has authored fourteen novels and one nonfiction book, and traveled through Greece, Israel, Turkey, Jordan, Egypt, and Italy, bringing back for her readers all the history and culture her head could hold. Be sure to stick around until the end of the post for more about her most recent release plus a chance to win a copy!
Do you have a writing routine? When/Where do you write?
My best time is in the morning, and lately, I’ve been trying to focus on writing from 6 am to 10 am, before the rest of the day intrudes, including my kids at home due to coronavirus! I am fortunate to have my own office in our home, so I hide out in there to get the work done.
What do you snack on or drink while writing?
Coffee, always! Sometimes: Almonds if I’m feeling virtuous. Chocolate chips if I’m not.
How do you overcome writer’s block?
For me, outlining and researching form a core part of my preparation to write. On a macro level, I do a good bit of outlining my story before I start the first scene. And then on a micro level, I have a “scene worksheet” that I’ve tailored to my specific needs over the years, that I fill out just before beginning each scene. Besides the major plot points of the scene, my worksheet forces me to think through the sensory elements, as well as the emotional ones. After thinking that deeply about a scene, I can usually write it without feeling any “writer’s block.”
I also take walks. Lots of them. In which I have been spotted talking to myself. For some reason, getting out and moving helps dislodge whatever stuck points have been giving me trouble.
Best advice for someone who is just starting out.
Write a book that you would love to read. That’s my best advice. The joy comes through, the passion makes a difference. If you can also make it something that has a marketable hook or is a popular genre, go for it. But first and foremost, to enjoy and persevere in the writing journey, you have to love what you’re writing.
You’ve traveled so much for research for your novels. What are three ways to make the best out of on-site research for your novel?
1. Don’t get bogged down with the stuff you can easily learn in textbooks or online. Do that research ahead of time, or when you get back. Instead, spend your on-site time absorbing the sights, smells, sounds, and feel of the place. How long does it take to walk from one place to another? What can you see when you stand in this or that location?
2. Take a friend. Someone willing to help with logistics, worry about transportation, remind you of things you want to see or do, encourage you to take some risks, even carry your stuff while you’re writing or dictating notes.
3. Dictate notes! There are tons of great apps now for dictating that will transcribe your words later. Test them out before you go, especially if you’ll be dictating while outside, to make sure the transcription comes out clearly. But even if it doesn’t, you can always listen to the recording later. Dictating, rather than writing your impressions down, is much faster and likely to capture much more.
Favorite thing to binge-watch: I try to avoid this!
What is your current favorite song: You Say by Lauren Daigle
What is your favorite drink to order from Starbucks: Sugar-free Vanilla Café Misto
Enter to win a copy of The Incense Road from Tracy*
More about The Incense Road:
An epic quest across the sands of Arabia
In the exotic lands of the east, a secret sect of Persian magicians study the night sky for generations.
When the stars announce a strange royal birth, Misha, a first-level mage, is ready to prove himself by chasing down this new world leader.
But then an ancient document surfaces, whispering of an artifact of immense power. The temptation to seize power is too great to resist.
And Misha is not alone in his quest. The king’s general Reza seeks power to fulfill his mysterious destiny, and both he and Misha have their eye set on the Egyptian princess Kamillah, who will do anything to gain the artifact that could break her bondage to the sorcerer Zahir.
The soldier, the mage, and the princess each have a secret to protect.
But if they are going to survive the dark forces warring for their prize, they must learn to trust each other—in what will surely be the journey of a lifetime.
Connect with Tracy Higley