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Tracy Krauss grew up in small town Saskatchewan and has enjoyed writing numerous stories, plays and novels for over twenty years. She received her Bachelor of Education degree at the University of Saskatchewan and has lived in many interesting places in northern Canada, many of them ‘North of 60’. She is a full time teacher of Art, English and Drama at the Secondary School level, and has four grown children. She currently lives with her husband in scenic Tumbler Ridge – BC’s waterfall capital.

Welcome to Fiction With Faith Tracy! We’re excited you could join us. One of the first things, I’m sure our readers would like to know…who is Tracy Krauss and why does she like to write fiction that incorporates elements of the Christian faith?

I accepted Christ as a young adult and have been serving the Lord for many years. Since my faith is such an integral part of who I am, it just seems natural that my stories reflect that part of my life. I suppose in a way, I feel it is part of my calling. I have always been a ‘writer’, even from a young age, and I think you would agree that most writers are compelled to write what they are passionate about – what they know. Also, my husband is an ordained minister, although he went into the ministry later than most at age 40. So although I never saw myself as ‘Pastor’s wife’ material, I also had that role thrust upon me, so to speak, (not that I’m complaining!) which really has nothing to do with the fact that I write Christian fiction, but it seemed like a good place to mention it here!

You’re right, this is a great place to mention it! Readers are always interested in their favorite author’s life outside of writing. Speaking of “mentioning”, your latest release, “And The Beat Goes On”, is a sequel to your first novel, “Play it Again” Can you give us a quick summary of both and also where does “And The Beat Goes On” pick up?

Actually, both novels are totally ‘stand alone’. Interestingly, Play It Again is the first novel I ever completed. (It took me sixteen years to finally finish it while raising my kids, homeschooling them, working, and pastoring! Writing was not always on the top of my priority list in those days!) It is the story of an ex rock and roll junkie and a rather stuffy accountant who have an ‘encounter’ (a one night stand) and then have to deal with the fall out. It is a Romantic suspense set in the 80’s and is definitely a redemptive story about God’s unconditional love. It is currently under review with a major romance publisher which I am not at liberty to name at this time. So, in fact, it is not yet in print, although I am hopeful that this will soon be remedied!

And The Beat Goes On is the story of their son, Mark Graham. Mark is actually in the first book, but is only eleven years old. He was a studious child interested in arrow heads and other archeological artifacts, so when I got the idea for the next book, his character seemed like the perfect jumping off point. Because of the musical theme in book one, the title for the second book seemed like a logical choice, although I do get some references to Sonny and Cher!

In any case, Mark is now a respected archeologist in And The Beat Goes On, who discovers some controversial remains – that of dinosaurs and humans buried intentionally together. The whole book revolves around the Creation vs. Evolution debate and the controversy that this kind of find could have in the scientific community (and elsewhere). There is definitely lots of intrigue and action, and of course, a dose of romance thrown in for good measure.

An archeologist. That’s a unique profession for a main character.

Like I said, it seemed like a logical way to get to the topic that I wanted to write about – the potential cover up of scientific facts that support Intelligent Design. I’ve tried to incorporate as much evidence as possible without making the story sound pedantic or expository. It is, after all, a good story (I hope) and I want the reader to come away with that first and foremost, not just a whole bunch of facts.

The plot of your book is intriguing. It speculates a theory about the Nephilim. What inspired you to write about that subject?

I have always been fascinated by the topic as it is presented in the Bible, even though there is really not that much said about the Nephilim. Much of what you read etc. on the subject is speculative, so I have added my own speculations here. I don’t pretend to be an expert on the subject, but I have just given another angle on the possibilities, most of which is straight up out of my rather strange imagination! I am a long time fan of Sci-fi and fantasy, so I suppose I wanted to incorporate some of those elements as well, although the book is not really of the Sci-fi or Fantasy genre. I managed to tie the existence of the Nephilim to some other research that I did on Young Earth Creationism. Ultimately, though, it is a work of fiction. I’m not trying to claim that I have all the answers, and in fact, if you read the book, you will see that in the end, Mark doesn’t have all the answers either. My philosophy on most ‘mysteries’ – especially Biblical ones – is that no one can really know for sure. Only God Himself can, and anything we humans might have to say on the subject is just speculation.

Your writing could be described as having more of an edgier style than would normally be considered for the Christian market. Why do you feel stories like that need to be told and what are some of the typical responses from your readers?

So far I have had extremely positive responses to the book. I must admit, I wondered how mainstream ‘Christian-dom’ would take it at first, but I’m not one to worry much about what people think. I’ve learned that as a Pastor’s wife. People have expectations, but you have to be true to what you believe God is calling you to do, and ultimately be the person He created you to be, not a cookie cutter image of someone else.

I also think the face of the church is changing. (Some might say this is not such a good thing, but it depends on how you view it.) People are less likely to be ‘shocked’ these days since we have all been desensitized to some degree by the media etc. Also, the younger generation of believers are tired of playing church. They want real encounters with a living God and a life of discipleship that has true meaning. I rather like to look at my writing style as a way to talk about what’s ‘real’, not a sugar coated story that doesn’t read as believable. This does not mean I purposely include gratuitous violence, sex etc. but it does mean that my characters are flawed, and I will include certain scenes if they are necessary in getting the message or mood across. In the end, I am trying to tell a redemptive tale about God’s grace.

Sounds similar to what the book of Hosea is about, and well…so many other parts of the Scriptures as well. Besides the Bible, what other author’s have influenced your writing?

Without question, my favorite Christian author is Frank Peretti. I could read his books over and over. Monster is probably my favorite. I also enjoy Francine Rivers because of her honest and frank treatments of topics that could be controversial. (Plus she writes a great story!) I also enjoy lots of the classics – Jane Austin, Margaret Atwood, C.S. Lewis, Tolkien …there are so many other great authors I can’t begin to name them all. Mostly I like a good twist. I’m not really into what I affectionately call ‘sappy’ romance. J So even though my novels so far have all been romantic to some degree, I wouldn’t say they are category romances by any stretch.

Are you currently reading any books?

Let’s see. For pleasure I just finished a Ted Dekker book called Chosen which I thoroughly enjoyed. I also read A Skeleton In God’s Closet which was good but a little too scholarly in places. I’m in the middle of The Bishop’s Man by Linden MacIntyre which is about the scandals within the Catholic priesthood, and I’m about to start Powers and Principalities by a new author named Dan Calabrese. I’m looking forward to that one since it deals with spiritual forces etc. I also read a lot because of my job (High School English) so I just finished The Hobbit for the third time, The Tempest for the umpteenth time.

Are there any other projects you are working on?

I am excited about the fact that my next novel is in production and will hopefully release before Christmas if all goes well. It is called My Mother the Man Eater and is about a forty something ‘cougar’ who is trying to find satisfaction through multiple boyfriends. Unfortunately for her, her prospects keep falling for one of her grown daughters instead. It also has lots of intrigue and action as her ex, a former drug dealer and con artist, is out of jail and out for revenge.

I also have another book ready to go called Wind Over Marshdale which deals with spiritual forces in a peaceful small town. I’m waiting on that one since I have so many irons in the fire already. Naturally, I have three other manuscripts on the go as well, and a plethora of ideas. Finally, I am also an artist, so I am working on a Children’s Illustrated book. Life is definitely never boring!

An author, pastor’s wife, teacher and artist, wow! God definitely likes to keep us creative types busy doesn’t He? Ok, now it’s time for my “stay curious” question of the day: There is a theory out there (okay, okay. Yes, it’s my theory) that you can tell a lot about a person by what they like to snack on. What do you like to snack on when writing?

That is such an interesting question! The truth is, I never snack when I’m writing (or painting or doing anything creative) I get so caught up in what I am doing, I forget to eat, drink or go to the bathroom! I have to force myself to take breaks and at least get a glass of water so I don’t get dehydrated. I have literally gone for an entire day without eating, and then I’ll gulp down whatever just so I can get back to my computer/easel. I think it is definitely a compulsive thing, and certainly not very healthy. That isn’t to say that I don’t snack at other times, like watching TV …!

Thank you again Tracy for taking the time to be with us today. How may our readers contact you?

I currently have two blogs:

http://www.tracykraussexpressionexpress.blogspot.com

http://www.krauss.aegauthorblogs.com

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