Posted On April 25, 2012 by Print This Post

Jack Russell Returns to Interview Tracey Devlyn

Hello, Tracey. It’s nice to talk with you again. Some of your readers may remember that you interviewed me in June of 2009 for a Romance University blog titled “A Male’s Perspective on Romance Novels.”  I was invited back a few times over the next six months or so and had a good time sharing my thoughts with your readers and the RU staff.

I’m stunned that nearly 3 years have passed since that interview and the subsequent blogs. Not so much time, however, to forget being bruised and staggered by the tough questions you and your RU cohorts, Adrienne and Kelsey, asked me. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to turn the table and interview you. I should warn you that I intend to ask questions that uncover the guarded and aloof Tracey Devlyn.

Before I begin, however, congratulations! Since we last spoke, you published a book, A Lady’s Revenge, which became available April 3rd.  And news just as exciting for you—book two, Checkmate, My Lord, is in the hands of your editor. As you can see, I did a little homework in preparation of this interview. Yes, my homework included reading A Lady’s Revenge, which brought the total of romance books that I’ve read to four. In case you’re wondering, I liked it in a manly way. Seriously, I enjoyed reading your story and look forward to book two. Will Dinks make an appearance in Checkmate, My Lord?

Hey, Jack! So nice to have you back with us. Be gentle—I know where you live now and I have a contingent of spies/assassins at my disposal.

Yep, Cora’s maid, Dinks, shows up in the second book. Wreaking as much havoc as ever. Not sure if readers know this about her yet or not, but Dinks has a bit of a matchmaker in her. ;)

While I was gathering the most recent information about you, I was astounded at the amount of time you dedicate, not only to your writing, but also to self-promotion activities. How much time do you dedicate to your writing career?

Wow, that’s a tough question to answer, because it varies from day-to-day. Like many writers, I have a full-time job, so I lose about 50 hours a week of writing time. If I were to add up the time I spend in the morning, at lunch, and after dinner writing and working on the business side, I’d guesstimate about twenty hours during the workweek and then another twenty on the weekend.

Have you received any advice along the way, related to writing, publishing, or marketing that has helped you more than any other guidance?

I’ve received a ton of advice over the last six years, much of which I’ve applied in some way. The best advice I can pass on to aspiring authors is—if writing is in your heart, never give up. The journey will be hard, the sacrifices many. But, the very second you see your first cover, all the tough times fade into the background and you’ll immediately begin dreaming about the next one. Never. Give. Up.

In living life, you often hear the saying that it’s not the end result that’s the most important but the journey itself. What has been the most memorable moment of your journey thus far Tracey?

I’ve had so many memorable moments in the last couple years. The handful that standout is partnering with Kelsey and Adrienne to create Romance University, getting The Calls (editor and agent), seeing my debut’s cover, holding A Lady’s Revenge in my hands, seeing ALR in Barnes & Noble, attending my first book signing and reading, and seeing tears in my proud husband’s eyes. Every single moment is seared into my heart.

During my research, I learned that as you were writing A Lady’s Revenge you envisioned your hero, Guy Trevelyan, as Adrian Paul from the TV series The Highlander. What’s up with that? Are you married to an Adrian Paul look-alike? Are you in love with the Highlander?

Jack, did my husband put you up to this? I swear he’s jealous of a fictional character, which makes no sense because he’s my one and only hero. He might not have the Highlander’s long locks or six-foot-something frame, but he has Duncan MacLeod’s noble heart and steadfast nature. I would never have made it through the last six years with my sanity intact without my husband’s love and support. He’s the Highlander of my dreams.

Have you envisioned the image or personality of anyone you know personally, Tracey, like friends and family members while building the characters for your stories?

Uh, no.

You have shared that you are married and we now know your husband is not Adrian Paul. How does your husband feel about you creating a world of romance, sex and handsome heroes? Does he have moments of insecurity? If so, how do you respond to those moments?

I pretty much tell him to buck up. LOL My husband’s probably a better person to answer these questions. Tim, are you there?

My research also uncovered a comment of yours that I found interesting. You mentioned that the concept of A Lady’s Revenge came from a visualization you had of a woman shackled to a table in a dreary dungeon. I have to ask—did this visualization cross from fiction to personal fantasy?  Perhaps, it came from an interest in being restrained in a dark dungeon by the Highlander?

Jack, don’t make me hurt you. I learned a few tactics from my heroine spy, Cora deBeau, that would not go good for you.

If you could be anything or anyone you desired, other than a famous writer, what or who would it be?

Famous writer? LOL Well, at one point, I really wanted to follow in the footsteps of Jane Goodall and Dian Fossey.  Living in Africa and studying either Chimpanzees or Mountain Gorillas always seemed like a great adventure and wonderful cause. Too bad I couldn’t pass my Chemistry class. :)

I came across a blog you did for Elise Rome. You said, “Romance nourished my soul for many years before I ever set pencil to paper. I’ve always loved the anticipation of a first kiss…” Tell us about your best first kiss?

I’m pretty proud of this one…

Guy’s temples pounded with a sudden burst of anger. Who was she to deny his help? By God, if it weren’t for him, she would be quite dead by now. The awful thought socked him in the gut. He’d be damned if he would allow her to take foolish chances with her life again.

He rose, allowing his serviette to fall heedlessly to the floor. With dispassion, he watched her eyes widen at his approach. Bracing one hand on the back of her chair and the other on the table, he bent forward until he could feel the heat from her skin and smell the fresh scent of her recent bath.

“If you were so good at taking care of yourself, I would not have had to traipse across the Channel to rescue you. Or shall I say the Raven? After all, it was the Raven I was sent to fetch.”

Her eyes widened even more. “Did Somerton tell you?”

“You’ve been at this too long, old girl, if you think Somerton capable of revealing your alias. Even to me.”

“But how—?”

“I’m good at putting the pieces together, remember?” he asked.

All the joy he had felt upon entering her chamber had disintegrated into a pile of half-truths, missed opportunities, and bitter regrets. Tomorrow, during the long ride to his country estate, he would try to reach her again. This morning, he’d had enough.

He leaned closer until the soft curls above her ears grazed his cheek. He lowered his voice. “Depending on others will not weaken you, Cora.” He pulled back until their gazes met. “You’ll still be the strong and courageous person you’ve always been.” Before he thought better of it, he placed a tender kiss on her lips. He lingered there to make sure she understood the difference between this kiss and the pecks of greeting he used to give her. He wanted her to remember how a man’s touch could bring comfort rather than pain and humiliation.

When he straightened, he was relieved to see the dazed look in her eyes. So much better than the terror he witnessed yesterday. Progress.

Tracey again: Nice try, Jack.

Your full response to the Elise Rome blog was, “Romance nourished my soul for many years before I ever set pencil to paper. I’ve always loved the anticipation of a first kiss, the journey to forgiveness, the inevitable capture of a damaged heart, and the guarantee of a satisfying and happy ending. I want this for my readers. In a world where nothing is certain any longer, I want readers to know they always have a safe place between the pages of my books. Though the journey might be a tad bit grievous.” I believe your statement reveals a great deal about the aloof Tracey Devlyn.  But, my final question is this, what question would you dread being asked in an interview? 

What is the world’s population? It’s always right on the tip of my tongue, but under pressure I buckle. Sigh.

* * *

RU Readers, do you have any tough questions for Tracey? Don’t let Jack off the hook! Ask him about romance and any other guy-type question. Who know when he’ll be back?!!

Be sure to stop  back on Friday for author Sherry Thomas’s discussion on beauty is in the details.

* * *

Tracey Devlyn writes historical romantic thrillers (translation: a slightly more grievous journey toward the heroine’s happy ending). An Illinois native, Tracey spends her evenings harassing her once-in-a-lifetime husband and her weekends torturing her characters. For more information on Tracey, including her Internet haunts, contest updates, and details on her upcoming novels, please visit her website at:

TraceyDevlyn.com  |  Twitter.com/TraceyDevlynFacebook.com/AuthorTraceyDevlyn

LadyJanesSalonNaperville.com

 

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33 Responses to “Jack Russell Returns to Interview Tracey Devlyn”

  1. Hi Tracey and Jack,

    I read A Lady’s Revenge and loved it!! How many people read your books before it goes out to an agent or publisher? If you received negative feedback, do you change it?

    Mary Jo

    Posted by Mary Jo Burke | April 25, 2012, 6:04 am
    • Thank you, Mary Jo! So glad you loved ALR.

      A Lady’s Revenge went through the contest circuit, a historical critique group and my critique partners helped mold the story. If I heard the same criticism by two or more people, I took a really hard look at the issue and changed it if necessary. The thing to understand about ALR is that it went through several revisions and many people had input on it. A community raises a child and all that. :)

      Now, with Checkmate, My Lord, my husband was the only one who read the full manuscript before I sent it to my editor. Mostly because I ran out of time. LOL

      Posted by Tracey Devlyn | April 25, 2012, 11:04 am
  2. Morning Tracey and Jack!

    ALR is next up in my TBR pile! Can’t wait! Tracey, tell us about your agent….what has he done to make a difference in your story telling?

    Thanks for visiting us again Jack! =)

    carrie

    Posted by Carrie Spencer | April 25, 2012, 7:05 am
    • Hey Carrie,

      Because I love you, I should warn you about the scene (midpoint-ish) where Valere finds Cora sitting in the woods. Close your eyes. :)

      Donald Maass is my agent and he helped me tremendously on characterization and tapping into the psyche of the villain–and even my hero and heroine. ALR is a much richer read because of him.

      Now, with Checkmate, he hasn’t contacted me to offer any feedback, so I’m taking that as a good sign. :)

      Posted by Tracey Devlyn | April 25, 2012, 11:08 am
  3. Jack –

    Why don’t you share the details of your first kiss with our readers? Never know, you may have the makings for a romance hero ;).

    Tracey –

    You debut has been such a busy and exciting (and most likely stressful) time for you. Cn you share with us some of your coping strategies?

    Hugs to you both!
    Kelsey

    Posted by Kelsey Browning | April 25, 2012, 7:50 am
    • Good Morning Kelsey.
      I think readers want to know more about Tracey Devlyn on a personal level. She cleverly ducked my probing questions. Cop-out! I should have gone with the virginity question.
      Interestingly, I actually don’t remember my “first kiss”. Is that strange or a guy thing?

      Jack

      Posted by Jack Russell | April 25, 2012, 10:10 am
    • Hey Kels,

      Two coping mechanisms come to mind. One, I have a terrific husband who is supportive and takes care of the homestead when I’m locked in the writing dungeon. Two, I’m like a dog sniffing for her bone. I don’t look left or right. I simply follow the smell. In other words, I don’t think about the stress and everything I have to do. I just do it and try to look 1-2 steps ahead of my current position. LOL Oh, and I yawn a lot.

      Posted by Tracey Devlyn | April 25, 2012, 11:12 am
  4. Great interview! I loved the questions, even if I would not have wanted to answer them either ;)

    I also liked hearing Tracey say she has a full-time job and that she can still find time to write. I’m sure many authors do. My question is: did you mention your job when you contacted agents? The feeling I get (maybe erroneously) is that agents want to work with full-time writers. I would love to hear that is not true.

    Posted by Patchi | April 25, 2012, 8:22 am
    • Hi Patchi, thanks for stopping by!

      Great question! No, the topic of my full-time job did not come into the conversation until my agent/editor wanted deadline dates for books two and three. Then I told them this–A,B,C–is what I can do with a FT job. Didn’t seem to phase them.

      Posted by Tracey Devlyn | April 25, 2012, 11:16 am
  5. I love the interview! Tracey, do you have any book signings scheduled?

    Posted by Becke Martin/Davis | April 25, 2012, 8:34 am
  6. Come on Tracey. Give us the good stuff. Things like; you modeled the character of the villain after your 8th grade math teacher; and, the kiss that curled your toes.

    Jack

    Posted by Jack Russell | April 25, 2012, 10:24 am
  7. Thee hee. I’m still grinning from this.

    Tracey, I’m LOVING ALR. I love how you just go to every dark, no no place a romance writer is never ever supposed to go to. LOVE it!

    I’m dying to know what kind of reactions you got from contest judges and the like about the unconventionality. (I mean a dead $&!%*!! The horror of it!)

    Do you have a release date for the next one yet? I can’t wait!

    Sonali

    Posted by Sonali | April 25, 2012, 10:50 am
    • Hey Sonali! So glad you loved the “she won’t go there places” in ALR. Contests never really embraced my heroine because they couldn’t empathize with her. This goes back to Mary Jo’s question about making changes based on feedback. After a couple years of “I don’t like your heroine” feedback, I finally figured out what I needed to do with her after hearing a lecture by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. A major light bulb moment.

      I really thought the unconventional nature of ALR would be a big turn off for folks, but all the feedback I’m getting is really positive. It’s almost as if readers were waiting for a historical author to break free of the norm and surprise the hell out of them. LOL

      Checkmate, My Lord is set to release Feb 2013. Thanks for asking!

      PS–I “edited” one word in your response so it wouldn’t be a spoiler for those who haven’t read ALR yet. Just so you know, my agent suggested I GO THERE and I did. :)

      Posted by Tracey Devlyn | April 25, 2012, 11:26 am
  8. Hello Tracey.
    This must be your lunch hour at your non-writing full time job. I noticed that you say good things about your husband. It sounds as though the two of you have a very loving relationship. I will not tease you or him but I am very jealous. I had hoped my interview would have revealed more of your personal life, but thank-you for sharing some of your secrets. Gorillas in the Mist, the movie of Dian Fossey’s efforts in Rwanda, great movie. Hope to talk with you again, soon. Good luck with your books and your writing Tracey. By the way, I think you are going to be a very successful (famous) writer.

    Posted by Jack Russell | April 25, 2012, 11:48 am
  9. Welcome back Jack Russell. How we’ve missed you.

    Just a friendly warning here, you might want to back off on the personal questions. Tracey’s husband might think you’re hitting on her. I love you, Jack, but I’m not getting into the middle of that mess! LOL.

    Tracey, congratulations on your release. So exciting! We’ve talked about your “damaged” heroine today. Do you think your view of her has changed since your first drafted ALR?

    Posted by Adrienne Giordano | April 25, 2012, 12:35 pm
  10. Hey Jack – Do you wish Tracey had more dogs in her books?

    Tracey – Do you envision writing more canine heroes into your future novels?

    Posted by Robin Covington | April 25, 2012, 1:53 pm
    • Hi Robin.
      I admit to liking dogs over any other family pet as long as they are real dogs. Sorry no fluffies,foo-foos or fi fi’s. The Jack Russell Terrier might be the only exception to my no toy dog rule. Go figure! LOL

      Jack

      Posted by Jack Russell | April 25, 2012, 3:02 pm
    • Hey Robin, Sorry for the delayed response. Just spent a wonderful two hours with Sara Megibow at our local RWA chapter. She’s awesome (as you well know!) and provided so much info.

      As to you question, I do have a dog run through a scene in the second book. He’s being chased by a big brown cat. LOL

      Posted by Tracey Devlyn | April 25, 2012, 9:14 pm
  11. Hi Tracey!

    I was lucky enough to attend a lecture given by Jane Goodall a few years ago. She was amazing.

    Can’t wait to dig into ALR! Love the name of your second novel, too.

    (Any pics of Jack in nankeen breeches?)

    Posted by Jennifer Tanner | April 25, 2012, 4:21 pm
    • Oh, what a treat to have seen Jane Goodall. MANY years ago, she gave a lecture at a local university. She opened her discussion by howling like a chimpanzee. I know, sounds crazy, but it was so effective.

      Thanks, Checkmate has a bit of sass to it, doesn’t it? LOL

      Jack in nankeen? Oh, now that would be a treat!!

      Posted by Tracey Devlyn | April 25, 2012, 9:17 pm
  12. HUGE thanks to everyone who stopped by to join in on the fun today. I’ve missed having Jack Russell join us. Perhaps he’ll consent to doing more RU faculty interviews????

    Posted by Tracey Devlyn | April 25, 2012, 9:18 pm

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