As part of the Teen Book Scene tour, I have Kristen Tracy here with us today! Kristen has a handful of books already out. She writes for teens and tweens! Her teen novels include: Lost It, Crimes of Sarah, A Field of Guide for Heartbreakers, and her upcoming novel, which we're discussing today, Sharks and Boys! And of course, a few music questions thrown into the mix!
Sharks and Boys makes your sixth published book, does the writing process get any easier?
I wouldn’t say it gets easier. Yesterday, I took my mom to the California Academy of Sciences and there was a hole in the wall next to one of the aquariums and a sign near the hole said, “Reach inside and touch.” And so I flung my hand in this dark hole but I couldn’t feel anything. Then I got scared, because what if something with teeth was inside the hole? So I yanked my hand back out. That sort of reminds me of the writing process. Lots of risky stuff happens when you write a book. Anything could happen. Anything. Also, this stuff often involves your hands. Because you use those to type.
I love hearing about that first idea that sparked a story. What was yours?
I used to float down irrigation canals in a raft when I was a kid in Idaho. I think that’s where the story started for me. The water wasn’t that deep, but sometimes it was murky and you couldn’t see all the way to the bottom. My imagination ran wild! And I always enjoy listening to shark attack stories. Recently, I met a swimsuit model at a party that had been bitten by a shark on her foot. She was wearing a silver sequin dress underwater and she figured that the shark mistook her for a school of fish. I find those types of stories ferociously interesting.
Is there any genre you see yourself not writing?
I probably won’t ever write manuals for IKEA on how to assemble their furniture. Though they could really use my skills.
HA! Was it hard finding 'the voice' for Enid?
I like Enid. She’s fragile. I didn’t have a problem finding her voice. But I wanted to make sure that I created a girl who was still forming her belief system and yet knew enough about herself to persevere through such terrifying circumstances.
A lot of songs tell a story. Name a song that would make a good novel?
“River Deep, Mountain High” by Tina Turner. Nothing screams narrative like a love song that appropriates a childhood rag doll, a mountain, a river, and the man of your dreams. Sort of. “And do I love you, my oh my. Yeh. River deep mountain high.”
I did not have a play list for SHARKS and BOYS. I actually can’t listen to music when I write. I need silence. Tragically, this means that I can’t write in cafes either. I guess I could have lied about this answer and just created a really cool playlist. Maybe I’ll do that in the future.
How much of the novel changed from the first draft to what's about to be published?
It always ended the way it ended. At one point I was stuck and I called a friend for help and she said, “Add more sharks!” And I said, “I’m worried that I’ve got too many sharks already.” And she said, “When you’re writing a teen shark novel, there is no such thing as too many sharks.” I think that’s a great motto for writing. And life.
Do you have a song that can pick you up from any crappy day?
People pick me up more than songs. I call my friend Ulla. Or Cory. Or Benz.
Have you experienced any 'rock star' writing moments?
It’s still weird when I’m out somewhere and people recognize me. Usually this happens at a literary event. Or at a bus stop near a literary event.
Thanks so much for stopping by, Kristen! If you want to learn more about her and her books, check out the following sites:
Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Buy Sharks and Boys