After a long delay. WanderLost has just been released!
Give me a brief summary of your life till now (education, work, etc) and how it led you to write.
Well, darling, I’m extremely over-educated. I have a master’s of teaching and have been teaching for many, many moons now. I began to write as a child and then took it up again seriously once my own little ones were born.
What inspired you to take a turn away from the Anderson Family books (Miss Camp, Miss Behave, Miss Management) books to write WonderLost? Do you think Ava shares any qualities with Piper, Mags, Ann or Elise?
Ava just sort of came to me one afternoon as I was sitting in a bar at a conference. Watching the people around me made me wonder how they arrived at such a place, and what the folks that worked at the hotel thought of all of us conference attendees. Ava is very much on par with the heroines of my other books.
What inspired Ava and her hilariously bizarre story? I don’t think I’ve laughed that much while reading a novel in years.
I lived in Spain for a few years and sadly, I have to admit, that I may have been guilty of committing more than a few of Ava’s fumbles. And tragically, there was no gorgeous tour guide to distract me from my embarrassment, lol.
Did you really meet a singing goat? Details please!
Yes and no. The real story was that I was in the Picos de Europa at a travel cabin, very much like the one described in the book. I didn’t sleep terribly well the night before, so I woke up early and went to the bar to grab a cup of coffee. I sat outside with my coffee and there was a wall of fog surrounding the terrace. I couldn’t see more than a foot beyond where I was sitting. Suddenly, I felt the huff of a breath on my shoulder and I leapt out of my chair and spilled the stupid coffee all over myself. But as I looked up, I noticed that there was a wild horse just standing there, staring at me as I dripped coffee. It was amazing. We stared at each other for a while and he eventually moved on. I followed him into the fog and came across a herd of goats that were also grazing in a field nearby. The tingling of the little bells around their necks inspired the legend of the singing goat.
Tell us about your next project. I hope it progresses more smoothly than WanderLost did!
Me, too! I have a few projects in the works. Right now I’m working on polishing up a manuscript for my agent. Once I finish that, I plan to go back to Spain…
What’s your research process like? Does it involve travel or simply research?
In the case of WanderLost, I lived in Spain, so I used my own misadventures as research. I try to travel as much as possible, because I like to experience the little details that make a location come alive for the reader. For instance, I grew up in Texas, and any mention of Texas without throwing in bits about kolaches or BlueBell ice cream would seem incomplete, somehow.
Will you be returning to the Anderson Family series, or are you ready to write different stories?
I’d love to write a story about Aunt Elise. She is a take-no-prisoners kind of gal, and I love that.
What’s your writing routine? Do you have a dedicated office, or do you write at the kitchen table? Do you write longhand or type everything? Do you outline your stories or let the characters take you where they want to go? Do your characters speak to you?
I write on the computer on my porch swing or in bed at night. All of my stories are outlined. I am way too controlling to just let my characters take the wheel.
What writers do you admire, past or present?
How much time do we have? I adore Kristan Higgins and Sophie Kinsella. Gillian Flynn and Ruth Ware are two of my current favorites.
What do you like best about being a writer? What do you like least?
I hate the first draft. After that, it’s all love.
What little personal quirk would you like to reveal to your readers?
I am a die-hard fan of live theatre!
http://www.tracihighland.com … where you’ll find her fabulous, easy recipe for chocolate peanut butter fudge!