Welcome back to Booksting with CoHo! Today I’m featuring Tracey Garvis-Graves, author of Heart-Shaped Hack, which released TODAY! You might know her from some of her previous wonderful works, such as On The Island and Covet. I’m really excited to feature Tracey, not only because it’s her release day, but because she’s been a huge inspiration for me during my career. Read below for the interview and make sure you share this blog post to enter the giveaway for a signed copy of Heart-Shaped Hack!
But first, let’s talk about this cover. I noticed in the acknowledgments that Tracey gave a shout-out to Sarah Hansen of Okay Creations. She does awesome covers, and this is one of my faves! Absolutely love it!
And…$2.99? Hello! That’s a steal for an ebook from this author, people. Go, go and download it now. I read it and LOVED it! Get it here!
Okay, now that my cover gushing is out of the way, dump out your purse and show us what’s inside, Tracey!
Haha. The first thing I need to mention is your phone. I can’t believe you still have that! The Kate Spade phone case was a gift from me…almost THREE YEARS AGO! What the heck, Tracey? You still have the same old phone? The one with the size 20 texting font? lol I love you. And based on the contents of your purse, I can see why I like you. I hate carrying purses, so I’m always asking people around me for things like mints, chapstick or pens. Yes, I’m that person. We could be best friends! But seriously. I think you’re due for an iPhone upgrade. Okay, I’ll leave your purse alone, but now I want to pick your brain.
Colleen: How did you get your start in writing?
Tracey: I’ve always loved reading and wondered if someday I might be able to write a book. I have a business degree, but when I was in college, I took a couple of elective fiction writing classes and loved them. In 2008, I started a humor blog called Funny in the ‘Hood. I wrote a lot of posts about my suburban neighborhood, almost all of which involved wine drinking or snarky commentary on the latest episode of The Real Housewives. Writing a book had turned into a bucket list item by then, and since I wasn’t getting any younger, I thought I should probably tackle it sooner rather than later. I switched from blogging to fiction writing and On the Island was the result.
Colleen: Speaking of On The Island, I know the movie rights were snatched up not long after it released. Can you share any news about the movie option?
Tracey: MGM optioned the book in May of 2012, and Temple Hill Entertainment—the production company responsible for the Twilight films, The Fault in Our Stars, The Longest Ride, and The Maze Runner—signed on to produce. Last summer I received the exciting news that a script was nearing completion by the screenwriting team of Marc Silverstein and Abby Kohn. They wrote the script for He’s Just Not That Into You, which is one of my favorite romantic comedies. Marc, Abby, and Wyck Godfrey (of Temple Hill) turned in a producer’s pass last August, and MGM accepted it. The next step in the process is to assign a director, and I’ve been waiting a year for that to happen. I really hope to see some forward movement soon, but if I’ve learned anything in the last three years, it’s that movie making requires a lot of faith and patience. I feel like the project is in great hands, and if anyone can get Anna and T.J. onto the big screen, it’s MGM and Temple Hill.
Colleen: I think I can cover the role of Anna, and Zach Efron can be T.J. Instant hit! 😉 But seriously, congrats on the movie deal! Now I want to know about your writing schedule, because I’m the most disorganized person in the world and I’m hoping to steal ideas. What’s a typical workday for you like?
Tracey: Once I get my kids and husband out the door to school and work, I check social media and respond to e-mails. Then I start writing. Unfortunately, I never know how long it’s going to take before the words start flowing, which means my productivity is somewhat hard to predict. I usually write until 3:30 because after my kids get home from school, the decibel level in the house rises considerably, and I’m a writer who works best in absolute silence.
Colleen: Hmmm, so being productive is important? I’m screwed.You seem to have it down pretty well though, because Heart-Shaped Hack flowed effortlessly. I loved it, and it was a little bit higher on the heat index compared to what I’ve read of you from the past, which was an awesome surprise. What inspired you to write Heart-Shaped Hack?
Tracey: Last fall, I was all set to begin writing a full-length novel titled The Girl He Used to Know. It’s a second-chance romance inspired by the Dan Fogelberg song, “Same Old Lang Syne,” the one about running into your lover in the grocery store on Christmas Eve. I was really excited to write that book. I’m still excited to write that book (and I will). But sometime in the early morning hours of October third, a book idea came to me in a dream. It didn’t make much sense, and I can’t actually remember what the dream itself was about, but the message was crystal clear and the sentence that played over and over in my head as I lay there at 4:45 a.m., wide awake, was: You should write a book about a modern-day Robin Hood. By the end of the day, the story had begun to develop rapidly in my head, and I just knew I had to write the book. I’m so glad I did because I haven’t written a contemporary romance since On the Island, and Heart-Shaped Hack was exactly the kind of swoony, romantic project I needed.
Colleen: It was definitely swoony. I loved Ian! Can you share with us (without spoilers) one line or passage in the book that’s your absolute favorite?
Tracey: He looked directly into her eyes, and when she held his gaze they shared a moment that was more intense than anything she’d ever felt with him. It made her want to give him things he hadn’t asked for yet.
Colleen: Yes, loved that scene! Now for our recycled reader questions! How old were you when you finished your first novel and how long did it take you?
Tracey: I was forty-four when I finished On the Island and it took me 18 months from start to finish. I wrote for an hour and a half every morning before I went to my day job.
Colleen: What is one word that makes you cringe just to say/write?
Tracey: Fester. Everyone, please stop saying this word immediately.
Colleen: Weirdest thing you have googled for book research?
Tracey: How long will it take before a Vitamin C deficiency results in scurvy? (On the Island research. Thankfully, breadfruit is full of Vitamin C!)
Colleen: If you could co-author with anyone, who would you pick?
Tracey: Jonathan Tropper. The man is a literary genius.
Colleen: If you were a spice what would you be?
Tracey: Red hot pepper flakes. I’m not sure if that’s technically a spice, but I always have a jar in my spice cabinet.
Colleen: If you could live the life of one of your characters for a year who would it be and why?
Tracey: Definitely Kate from Heart-Shaped Hack. Her life is about to become one big adventure, and her love interest is a gorgeous six foot four inch hacker who loves to break the rules. I’m in.
Colleen: What is your favorite food?
Tracey: Orange chicken with lo mein.
Colleen: Asian food FTW! What about your favorite drink?
Tracey: Diet Coke, iced tea (unsweetened), wine, or a martini (depending on the time of day, of course).
Colleen: You have no idea how hard it was for me not to edit that out to say Diet Pepsi. What was your favorite book as a child?
Tracey: The Little House on the Prairie books. I read and loved them all.
Colleen: Which author would you like to see featured on “Booksting with CoHo?”
Tracey: Tammara Webber and Christina Lauren. Oops, that’s two.
Colleen: Technically, that’s three, but I’ll let it slide. Last question. How do you hope to die?
Tracey: At age 112, in my sleep, and with no advance warning.
Colleen: You should have a buttload of books out by the age of 112. I’m cool with that. Thank you so much for joining me and best of luck on your new release! Now get back to work!
If you guys want a chance to win a signed copy of Heart Shaped Hack from Tracey, just share this interview. Come back here and leave a comment that you shared. I’ll pick winners this Sunday!