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)
Vlad's classic book "Lolita" creeps me out, but after reading his quote for the first time, and changing boy or girl to man or woman in my mind, I sat back, nodding. It was exactly how I'd always felt when reading a book that resonated inside me long after the last word. It's not the genre, characters, or plot that I'd vaguely longed to be besties with, or invite to dinner and possibly a weekend sleepover, but the author who had created the world that I was sad to leave.
My main hobby is reading books. I just now counted the years I've been reading to come up with the approximate number of books I've read. Yikes! It's around 12,000 books. If I've loved them, many of those books have been read two or three times. Still, whenever I've been asked to name a favorite book or a favorite book boyfriend, I've always struggled to come up with an answer. I thought it was short-term memory loss due to excessive diet coke consumption, but ask me to name my favorite authors and I immediately perk up. I can rattle off a dozen without pause.
I don’t know why I got anxious after reading Vlad’s quote. Maybe it's because of the next thoughts that crystallized in my mind.
Could it possibly be true that I am not the super-cool woman that I've always prided myself on being? Am I nothing but a common author groupie? In fact, could I actually be one step out of the closet from calling myself an author whore and/or hoarder? Not in the delusional, "Misery" kind of way--I would never be that crazy. Sure, in my imagination I wouldn't say no to chaining up certain male authors to comfy beds in an attic dormitory, semi-naked--okay, totally naked--and totally under my power. But those are only fun and harmless daydreams of the kind we all have, right? 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 mean, I understand some authors are shy, nerdy-types in real life and live vicariously through their writings while other authors are the real deal. They've been lucky enough to experience many of the adventures described in their action scenes, lived the emotions so beautifully written that have moved me, and are as sexy hot as their main characters, but, but, but....
All said and done, I am able to breathe a big sigh of relief and let go of my 'I'm an author whore/hoarder' reader anxieties because--tall, short, thin, fat, old, young, dull or exciting--an author’s real life doesn't matter to me. What matters, and what all my favorite authors do have in common, 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 for the author, but an authentic voice never bores, it never becomes a formula, and it should never be just about making a buck.
Tracy, the Writer…
Having ruefully described myself as a Jill of all trades, mistress of none, I was overjoyed to discover my niche in life when I discovered my love of writing. While I don't pretend to be any kind of expert writer, the unexpectedness of this gift still leaves me breathless with delight and gratitude. Now working on books nine and ten, I can hardly believe my life as a self-published author has evolved into a full-time career. It’s frustrating, lonesome work, but I thrive on every wonderful 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 fondest wish as a writer is to resonate with you long after the last word of the story ends.
Mwah, adorable readers! Thanks for choosing to spend time in the pages of my books.