Behind the Mask, Tracy Ellen is your average, normal, middle-aged woman living dangerously through the characters she writes...and the three voices in her head.
Tracy, the Woman…
I’m a happy wife, mother--and still totally blown away by the magical concept--grandmother. When I am not living dangerously through the lives of my characters, I like planning the next exciting vacation. Sometimes, I even go on them. I love water and I do love long walks, but not on a sandy beach at the ocean, unless it is a flat beach. It’s not my idea of fun to walk cockeyed at a steep slant or trudge long distances in deep sand. At the ocean, I prefer to amble along under the hot sun, collect awesome shells, and purely for research purposes, check out the size of men’s brains while freezing mine sucking down a frothy, ice-cold piña colada.
Tracy, the Reader…
“The good, the admirable reader identifies himself not with the boy or the girl in the book, but with the mind that conceived and composed that book.”
--Vladimir Nabokov (1899 – 1977)
My main hobby has always been reading books. Counting the years reading and the notches on my bedposts, I’ve read approximately 12,000 books once, and many of those books two or three times. After reading Vlad’s quote for the first time, I sat back, stunned. It's exactly how I felt when reading a book that resonates inside me long after the last word. It isn't the genre, characters, or plot that I vaguely long to be besties with, or invite to dinner and possibly a weekend sleepover, but the author who creates the world I am sad to finish and leave.
Whenever I’ve been asked to name a favorite book or a favorite book boyfriend, I struggle to come up with an answer. Ask me to name my favorite authors and I immediately perk up. I can rattle off a dozen without thought.
I don’t know why I was so stunned after reading Vlad’s quote. Maybe it's because of the next thoughts that crystallized in my mind. Could it possibly be true I'm not the super-cool woman that I’ve always prided myself on being, but your common, garden-variety author groupie? In fact, am I not actually one step out of the closet from being an author whore and/or hoarder? Not in the delusional, Misery kind of way--I could never be that crazy. Sure, in my imagination I wouldn’t mind chaining up certain male authors to comfy beds in an attic dormitory, semi-naked and totally under my power, but those are only fun, harmless daydreams. I know the authors I admire don't exist simply to please me with their stories, or at least not entirely, but are real people.
I understand some authors can be shy nerds in real life, living vicariously through their writings. They use editors to help them write and tweak their stories endlessly to create the end results that thrill me as their biggest fan girl. But equally, some authors are the real deal. They've experienced many of the adventures described in their action scenes, felt the emotions so beautifully written that moved me to tears or laughter, and are as sexy hot as their characters. However, all said and done-- tall, short, thin, fat, old, young, dull or exciting--an author’s real life doesn't matter to me. What all my favorite authors do have in common, though, is an authentic voice. The writers I adore, male and female, have a zest for writing that shines through the words of their books. Authenticity cannot be easily faked. It may be a love / hate relationship, but it never bores, it never becomes a formula, and it should never be only about making a buck.
Tracy, the Writer…
Having always ruefully described myself as a Jill of all trades, Mistress of none, I was overjoyed to realize that I may have found my niche in life when I first discovered my love of writing. The unexpectedness of this gift still leaves me breathless with delight and gratitude. Now working on books eight and nine, I can hardly believe my life as a self-published author has evolved into a full-time career. It’s hard, lonesome work, but I enjoy every minute I spend in the worlds of my characters. My mission as an author is to keep that passion the primary motivator in the choice of every writing project I take on. So, you may see some strange stuff written by me in the future--I have a tendency to be a genre-masher, but I will do my damnedest to take my readers on a fun, thrilling ride because…my dearest wish is to resonate with you long after the last word of the story.