Today we are shining the spotlight on an author Traci Slatton who's dystopian romance book Fallen made me an instant fan! Fallen is a story filled with love, betrayal, mystery, romance, hope, and survival - which is the perfect recipe for a dynamically entertaining whirl-wind of a book that sent me spiraling on a roller-coaster ride of emotions. I could not pull myself away. We follow Emma on her mission both herself and her family after surviving the Apocalypse. Now she is left alone to care for her daughter and a few abandoned children while trying to keep safe from deadly mists that surface from the earth, killing everyone in its path. When she meets Arthur, a man with a safe camp, she offers herself in order to secure the safety of her family. Little did she know that he would soon capture her heart. When the world ends, will you be able to rebuild, to love again, to be the person you once were? Or will you lose all hope and yourself in order to survive? This book will have you laughing, crying, your heart-pumping and will leave you wanting more. Traci's other book, The Botticelli Affair, will capture the hearts of paranormal romance lovers and art enthusiasts. Here we have a mix of Interview with the Vampire meets The Da Vinci code. It has action, murder, mystery, and romance that will have you racing through the pages.
Traci is here to talk about her books, her life and her life with an "Obsessed Classical Artist!"
Let's give a warm welcome to Traci Slatton!
Tell us about yourself.
I have a yoga practice that gives me both anxiety and peace. I love to travel and to ride horses and I live with stories roiling around in my brain. When I stand in line at the supermarket, I either read tabloids, to catch up on the gossip, or I daydream in character. I have four daughters, three and a step, who range in age from 21 to 6; when people ask me if I am Mormon or traditionalist, I say, “No, I’m just an idiot who doesn’t understand birth control.” I love writing fiction but my most recent book is a non-fiction coffee table art book written with my husband classical figurative sculptor Sabin Howard, THE ART OF LIFE. It tells the story of figurative sculpture from the earliest times to now, and shows Sabin’s philosophy and process as the finest living figurative sculptor.
Did you always know that you wanted to become a writer?
Yes. When I was six years old, I read my first “big book,” a novel. It was about a child who had died and was watching his family from heaven. I was very moved. I was struck as if with lightning—the best thing in the whole world had to be telling stories that moved people! In my mind, writing and publishing novels is the home run.
Where do you get your amazing ideas from?
I wish I knew! Thank you, by the way. Ideas just show up, like apples and pecans rolling along the floor into a room. I guess I’m always people watching, and especially people listening. I respectfully eavesdrop on everyone because I am eternally on the quest for good dialogue. I get fascinated, with conversations and with images, and then a context of obstacle and conflict occurs to me, and then I’m off….
Fallen is one of my favorite books of the year. I was instantly drawn into the post-apocalyptic world and love all the characters: Arthur’s hope, Emma’s strength, the kids’ ability to still have fun. Which character is your absolute favorite and why?
Ooo, good question. I guess I really enjoy Alexei, the leader of the Russian camp and former drug/guns runner and human trafficker, because he’s a sociopath, and it’s fun to write someone like that. You just don’t know what he’s going to do next. Even I don’t. He’s capable of kindness, but there’s always a tint of pure evil in him. I am fascinated by him. He will be in all 3 books of the AFTER Trilogy.
Art seems to be a connecting factor in both The Botticelli Affair and Fallen. How did you learn so much about art and art history?
I have a PhD in “Living with An Obsessed Classical Artist.” It’s from the School of Daily Marriage. Seriously, Sabin my husband is obsessed with the Renaissance and with art. I always joke that some people pick up smoking because their mate smokes, but I picked up the Renaissance because that’s Sabin’s addiction. You can see what I mean if you look at his website, www.sabinhoward.com And he lives it, too. Michelangelo and Bernini are topics of conversation at our dinner table every day. I’m really glad we wrote the book because he has an opportunity to publicly rant about the devolution of art and how art can be so much more—how it can uplift and inspire people. I think we, as a culture, have forgotten how art is a doorway into a magical realm.
The Botticelli Affair was a paranormal romance while Fallen is a dystopian romance. Which did you have more fun writing?
Another good question. They were both fun in different ways. Laila came to me as a voice: snappy, feisty, funny, irreverent, frisky. It was so compelling for me. I had that voice in my head and I wrote and then rewrote the novel a few times to find the best way to showcase it. Originally, I wanted to do a vampire-time-travel book with her, but people told me that it was mixing mythologies and wouldn’t work. I pictured her as a tall blond, but the brilliant freelance editor Lori Handelman who edits my writing said to me, “I keep picturing LailaLaila could only be a red-head.
FALLEN was fun to write because I was consumed by Emma and Arthur’s relationship, its tenderness and fierceness, their struggle with it and with the devastated world they live in. In fact, that novel first came to me as the relationship, which is frankly sexual but also loving and despairing, in a world that requires all their strength to survive. The butterflies—you know what I mean—were an image of love and loss and hope that came out of my unconscious creativity as I wrote the story. I am very intent right now on COLD LIGHT, the sequel. There is a process of discovery, in writing a novel, that is fascinating and raptly absorbing for me.
I love the relationship between best friends Laila and Fern in The Botticelli Affair. Do you have a friend you can always count on?
I have many acquaintances, but just a few close, dear friends whom I love. My friend Gerda is very special to me. She has a free-pass for life from me. She thinks the best of me, but she will also look me in the eye and tell me something about myself that I don’t really want to hear. She’s so loving and honest and non-judgmental that I sigh and take it in and try to be a better person. My friend Debra Jaliman is someone I’ve known for twenty years and I’ve gotten close to her over the last few; she’s amazing, warm-hearted and interesting, inspirational. She has a book coming out in the spring, SKIN RULES: TRADE SECRETS FROM A TOP NEW YORK DERMATOLOGIST. Her book is fantastic, useful for a skin-care-junkie like me. I’ve been doing what she tells me to for 20 years and people often compliment me on my complexion. Then there’s Geoffrey and Paul and Stu and Rachel. Of late, I’ve become closer to Lane, who is the film producer for my historical novel IMMORTAL. Also Sarah, a young actress who is as beautiful on the inside as on the outside.
Who are some of your favorite authors?
Richard Powell, Daniel Silva, Sue Grafton whose prose is ravishing, EF Benson whose Lucia is mesmerizing, sometimes Richard North Patterson, always Elaine Pagels, Brian Weiss, Rumi.
What books are you currently reading?
I just finished Grisham’s THE LITIGATORS, which I enjoyed. Grisham can tell a rousing, juicy story! I’m reading a non-fiction book about reincarnation right now. I’m about to start UNBREAKABLE.
Was writing and publishing your book how you imagined?
Every book is a journey. In writing a novel, there’s the constant interplay between creative inspiration and structure. Every page is agony. The publishing part has a lot of details and is business-oriented, and there’s the inevitable trek into PR. People can’t buy your books if they don’t know the books exist.
Are you working on any other projects we should watch out for?
Yes, I am working on COLD LIGHT, the sequel to FALLEN. It’s the pivotal book in the After Trilogy. I am also working on the sequel to IMMORTAL, the historical novel set in Renaissance Florence. There’s also a sequel to THE BOTTICELLI AFFAIR called THE CODEX CAPER. And I’ve been taking notes on a novel set during WW2. It’s working title is RECLAMATION, and it will probably take me another few years to write. I have to know the history inside my gut almost perfectly in set a story organically within a particular epoch, and living with Dachau in my gut is almost impossible.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your books or publishing experience?
If I were to do it all over again, I would write my books better! The prose would be cleaner, the story sharper and more intense. I am on a journey of self-improvement. My friend Lynn tells me that I am an exacting and critical person, even with my generosity, but I am far more exacting than generous toward my own work.
What was the hardest part of writing your books?
Middles are hard for me. There’s a burst of creative inspiration at both beginning and end, and then the middle is much trickier for me, and I need a lot more discipline and structure. I am constantly asking myself: What are the stakes? How can I tweak the dramatic intensity? What conflicts and obstacles would organically arise now? Right now, my working definition of story is: how the protagonist does NOT get what she or he wants.
What do you do when you are not writing?
I am raising children, taking care of our home, doing research, reading, walking the dogs, going to yoga, grocery shopping.
What can readers expect when picking up a Traci Slatton book to read?
They can expect to be entertained, delighted, spellbound, and intrigued. It is my ardent desire as a novelist to give readers a story which will stay with them and uplift and enrich them long after they have put down my book.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you for reading my books! Email me with questions and observations. And much joy and many blessings to you and yours.
Traci is an amazing author and her books will stay with you long after you finish them. I actually had to reread Fallen because I missed the characters! If you love romance, mystery, danger, action, and a book that will take you on an emotional whirlwind, then Fallen and The Botticelli Affair is for you!