An Interview With Tracy Brogan

tracy-brogan-headshotI first discovered Tracy Brogan about two and a half years ago, before I published my first romantic comedy. I stumbled upon her book Crazy Little Thing on Amazon and thought it looked like something that was right up my alley. I was right! I enjoyed the story very much—especially the fun, quirky characters. It’s such a pleasure to have Tracy here on the blog with me today! 🙂 Before I get to the interview, here’s her official Amazon bio.

Tracy Brogan is a three-time nominee of the Romance Writers of America RITA award, first for her debut novel CRAZY LITTLE THING (Best First Book, 2013) and again in 2015 for Best Contemporary Romance, THE BEST MEDICINE. Her third nomination was in 2016 for LOVE ME SWEET. She’s a Wall Street Journal Bestseller, earned the coveted Diamond Award from Amazon Publishing, and earned a spot on the Kindle Top 100 List in both 2013 and 2014. Her bestselling novels have sold more than a million copies internationally, and have been translated into several languages including German, French, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, Turkish, Hungarian, and Japanese.

Brogan lives in Michigan, the state shaped like a mitten, and is therefore prone to pointing to the palm of her hand when explaining where she lives.


Tracy and me in New York at the Romance Writers of America 2015 conference.

Rich: Welcome, Tracy! Yay! I’m so excited you’re visiting me today. I promise I’ll make this interview as painless as possible.

Tracy: I’m sure it will be entirely a pleasure! Thanks for inviting me to visit!

Rich: Okay, first let’s talk about Crazy Little Thing. The book currently has over seven thousand reviews on Amazon. Insane! What do you think it is about the book that resonates with so many readers? What were your thoughts when the praise and award nominations started pouring in?

crazy-little-thing-by-tracy-broganTracy: Crazy Little Thing was the first manuscript I completed writing (after starting and abandoning about 982 others.) Since the story is light-hearted, PG-13 fare during an era of all things Fifty Shades, and since I was a debut author, my goal was to sell at least 6000 copies, thinking that number exceeded the number of relatives I have and so if I could sell that many, I could hold my head up. When I surpassed that sales goal in the first two weeks, I thought, “Hmm…. That’s peculiar.” And honestly, that’s still how I feel! I’m thrilled this story has resonated with readers and I think it’s because there is a little bit of neurotic Sadie Turner in each of us. She’s almost a caricature of all the goofy, debilitating, and hilariously human thoughts we have. My favorite compliment from a reader continues to be, “Oh, my gosh, your book made me laugh out loud!”

Rich: That’s my favorite compliment too! Speaking of funny…how many characters in your books are based on family members, relatives or friends?

Tracy: If I answer this honestly I’ll end up in big trouble… so let’s just say I infuse my characters with personality traits that I have witnessed up close and personal. There is a little bit of me in most of them, and certainly family stories and catch-phrases have found their way into my stories. The late, great Nora Ephron used to say, “Everything is copy,” and my kids know this. If they say something funny, it’s bound to end up in a book. Now they’ll actually come to me with suggestions, which I often accept!

Rich: Your kids are practically cowriters! But seriously, how hard is it for you to write with them in the house? Do you have a special hiding place?

Tracy: Hah! See above. If my kids are around, I make them plot with me! I have a home office and they do seem to congregate there so sometimes I have to shoo everyone away. And when I’m on deadline, they voluntarily stay out of my way because things can get a little tense. We call it The Cone of Hostility and they’ve learned to give me space or accept the consequences.

Tracy Brogan with Piper

Rich: Sounds worse than a dunce cap. Switching gears, let’s talk about doggies! Rumor has it you have a new Great Dane puppy at home named Piper. I cannot reveal my sources! 🙂 Please share a picture and tell us how it came to be. What has the experience been like so far? Also, did you forget how big those dogs get?

Tracy: Hard to keep a secret on Facebook! 😉 I have always wanted a Great Dane so when I was feeling particularly emotional a few weeks before I turned in my most recent manuscript, I was looking around online trying to find something that might cheer me up. What’s more cheerful than pictures of puppies, right?? The next thing you know, it’s 3:00 a.m. and I’d found a breeder with a litter ready to find their forever homes. We went and picked one out two days later. She’s a big, clumsy moose and she’s just going to get bigger and probably clumsier. As you can see, though, I’m making great use of her crate.img_1217

Rich: LOL. Cute kids. Let’s talk about your writing process… Has it changed since your first book? Do you have daily goals for word counts or pages? Do you listen to music while you write? Any writing habits?

Tracy: I listen to white noise while I write. I can’t have anything with lyrics or I just start singing and don’t get any work done. Plus, my caterwauling bothers the neighbors. As for a change in process, I do have daily word count goals, but mostly I’ve learned to respect my natural circadian rhythm. I can struggle all day trying to get 500 words in, or I can wait until 8pm and then get 2000 words out in a couple of hours. If I hit a groove, I keep going. Last week my daughter got up at 6:00 a.m. for school and I was at my desk. She said, “Wow, you’re up early.” And I said, “I never went to bed.” It’s not a system I recommend! But it’s what works for me.

Rich: That wouldn’t work for me at all! I could never stay up all night writing. My brain starts slowing down around eleven, so I’m usually in bed by then. Besides, I need my beauty rest. 😉 Okay, describe your perfect day.

Tracy: Honestly I would depend on my mood. I love a cold, rainy day when I have no plans and I can justify spending hours under a warm blanket, reading a great book. Exciting, right? But I suppose even better than that is a sunny day when I can open all the windows, hear the wind in the trees… and spend hours reading a great book. I sense a theme here. Perfect days also include coffee, my kids, a good word count, and time with friends.


What a pleasant surprise seeing Tracy last week in San Jose!

Rich: Just one more question before I let you go… What can we look forward to reading from you in the near future?

Tracy: My Trillium Bay series starts with MY KIND OF YOU, a story about the three Callaghan sisters who grew up on a small island in Northern Michigan. Brook is the smart, dependable sister, Lilly is the pretty one, and our heroine, Emily, is the rabble-rousing troublemaker. Or at least she was. Now she’s back on the island after a seven-year absence. She’s divorced, in financial trouble, and has a twelve-year-old daughter full of opinions. With plans to “flip” her grandmother’s cottage into a lucrative rental property, Emily runs into opposition from a sexy, ambitious hotel developer but some surprising circumstances force them to become unlikely allies. Ultimately, it’s a story about love, forgiveness, romance, and coming home again. I’m so excited to share this series with readers! I hope they like it.

Rich: I’m sure they will. Thanks so much for taking time out of your busy day to visit!

Tracy: Thanks for inviting me!

Connect with Tracy 
Tracy loves to hear from readers. Visit her on Facebook or Twitter.

For a complete list of Tracy’s books, click here.

Jumping For Joy in Santa Cruz, California

img_1273I did this jump at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, a very important setting in my romantic comedy Coffee, Tea or Me. This is where Jack takes Susie on their first date. It was one of her favorite places to visit when she was a little girl. 🙂

My first public reading. Lit Crawl 2016

d00a8360It was one of the most anticipated literary nights of the year in the San Francisco Bay Area and I’m honored I was asked to be a part of it, along with five other authors from the Silicon Valley Chapter of Romance Writers of America. 🙂

Lit Crawl attracts close to 10,000 people, and is the world’s largest such event. I had a chance to read an excerpt from my fourth romantic comedy Mr. Crotchety. People braved the stormy weather and the almost-impossible-to-find parking spots to come out and enjoy this amazing event. It was such a great experience and my first time reading in public!

I have two more readings this year and I’m looking forward to those as well. More details coming soon. 🙂

Inspecting paperbacks with the help of a very cute dog.

The paperbacks of my eight romantic comedy Coffee, Tea or Me have arrived. I always like to document the occasion, but this time I have the help of Artie, since we are dog-sitting.

Interview with Marina Adair

I’m so excited to have author Marina Adair join me here today for a little Q & A. Before I throw out the first question, here’s her official Bio.

marina-adairMarina Adair is a #1 National best-selling author of romance novels and holds a Master of Fine arts in creative writing. Along with the St. Helena Vineyard series, she is also the author of the Sugar, Georgia series, the Heroes of St Helena series and the upcoming Destiny Bay series. She currently lives with her husband, daughter, and two neurotic cats in Northern California.

As a writer, Marina is devoted to giving her readers contemporary romance where the towns are small, the personalities large, and the romance explosive. She also loves to interact with readers and you can catch her on Twitter or visit her on Facebook.

Rich: Welcome, Marina! I must say I practically screamed when I heard your book Autumn in the Vineyard was being made into a Hallmark movie. I think that’s a dream for just about every author (including me), so please share how you felt when you got the news and your experience watching it all come together.hallmark-autumn-in-the-vineyard

autumn-in-the-vineyardMarina: Thanks for having me here today, Rich. I was so excited when I heard the news I screamed too, then I cried. But I think the best part was going to the set in Canada and watching a day of filming. I was able to meet the cast, and Larry the Llama (who plays Mittens the alpaca in the movie).

I started my career as a screen writer, earning a Master of Fine Arts in screenwriting. When I switched to novels, I thought I was saying goodbye to seeing my work on the screen, so this has been a wonderful surprise. The most exciting part is that my characters and story will find a new audience, reach readers that I never would have been able to reach.

Rich: That’s funny, because I wanted to write screenplays too. Fortunately, my hot Spanish wife convinced me to publish novels instead. So glad I listened to her! 🙂 And I’m so glad you made the switch too and were able to find readers who are now gobbling up your books. Speaking of your romance novels…I love that the animals in your stories are fun secondary characters with lots of personality. Which animal is the most popular with your fans?

Marina: I would have to say, Mittens from AUTUMN IN THE VINEYARD, for sure. Mittens is an alpaca who was kicked out of his flock and attaches himself to the lady of his house, Frankie Baudouin.

Marina Adair, Rich Amooi, and Silvi Martin

Meeting up with Marina at a local bookstore.

Rich: Note to self: add alpaca to next romantic comedy. Let’s talk about your life when you’re not writing. What would be a perfect day for you?

Marina: A hike along the creek in my small town, or maybe a stroll in downtown Franklin, TN, tasting all of the hand crafted cocktails and exploring the shops.

last-kiss-of-summerRich: That sounds wonderful. What do you like most about the stories you write? Is there always a message?

Marina: I love exploring the inner workings of large families and the different types of healthy love. I also write about strong women who go on a journey to discover their identity and inner strength. My favorite part of my stories are the older generation, the nosy old biddies.

Rich: I love them too! Tell me about your latest release.

Marina: LAST KISS OF SUMMER is a tender and witty romance between two unlikely lovers, who are both trying to overcome grief and personal loss, and find a place to call home. Luckily they arrive in Destiny Bay, where second chances and love blooms year round.

I love enemies to lovers stories almost as I love pie. So when my publisher and I talked about setting this new series in the Pacific Northwest on an orchard, all I could think of was hard cider and hot apple pie. So I came up with a hard cider brewer and a pie shop owner, who can’t stand each other, but also can’t keep their hands of each other.

Rich: Great. Now I’m craving hot apple pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and it’s all your fault. What can we expect from you in the future?chasing-i-do

Marina: This is the year of new series for me, with three new ones starting.

This summer I released the first book in my new Eastons series, CHASING I DO, where it takes the best man to catch a runaway bride! I am really excited about this band of brothers where, family comes first, business moves fast, and life is nothing more than a game of risk. They don’t mind breaking the rules or testing the limits, but when it comes to matters of the heart … they play for keeps.

I just typed THE END on book 2 in the Destiny Bay series, FEELS LIKE THE FIRST TIME, which is a friends to loves story between a former NHL god and the town’s tough girl. It releases April of 2017.

I also have a new series, Sequoia Lake, which follows a team of bad ass search and rescue men as they each find love in the rugged Sierra Nevada. Book 1, IT STARTED WITH A KISS, releases January 30, 2017.

Rich:  So much romance coming our way! Looking forward to it. Before you go, I also wanted to mention your St. Helena Vineyard’s Kindle World released today! Nineteen other authors from around the globe have written their own stories of love and happily ever after, set in the same quaint town of St. Helena.

You are one busy gal! Wishing you tons of success and happiness. Thanks so much for stopping by. 🙂

Marina: Thanks for having me, Rich!!!

Jumping For Joy in Salt Lake City, Utah

I almost lost my sunglasses on this one. 🙂Jumping Salt Lake

Ask Rich Anything: How do you come up with your book titles?

Today’s question comes from Ruby in Sydney, Australia: How do you come up with your book titles?

Jumping for Joy in Bryce Canyon, Utah.

Jumping Bryce