I had the honor of interviewing author and speaker Tracy Wainwright, check out her books and conference-
Me: So my first question is, for those that aren’t familiar with you, tell us about you and your writing
TW: I’m first and foremost a child of God, wife, and mother of four. I have a life I never dreamed of and have the privilege of not just being mom, but teacher to one boy and three girls.
I love words! I enjoy reading, speaking, and writing.
I have self-published a novella (Her Whole Self), a YA novel (Riding the Wind), a praise journal (Living Praise), a teacher’s manual companion to a health Bible study (Treasures in Healthy Living) and two picture books (Apple vs. Asparagus and Counting from Creation).
Currently, I’m working on a handful of books. I recently received my first contract for a mystery (In an Instant) with Prism Book Group. While my editor’s combing through that manuscript, I’m working on two Bible studies (Finding Purpose & Living Stress-Free), the sequel to my first novella (Her Broken Places), a middle grade book (Broccoli for President), and a nonfiction book (A Closer Walk).
As you can tell, I’m a bit ADHD and thrive on working on several projects at once! I also don’t focus on just one genre. My goal is to have at least one nonfiction and fiction book for every age group by 2018.
Me: That’s alot of books!, which one was your most recent?, tell us about that
TW: My most recent book was Riding the Wind, which was released Spring 2014. It’s a YA novel about a seventeen-year-old girl named Dana. She has just settled pretty firmly in a small town in Texas after having grown up in the big city life of Northern Virginia when things start to go crazier than a wild stallion. Her boyfriend’s brother is injured very badly in a bull-riding accident, then shortly after his ex-girlfriend is killed in a car accident. Because Dana’s boyfriend Bo was no fan of the ex and the car’s brake line was punctured, he gets accused of and arrested for manslaughter.
Dana turns her shock into action as she seeks out the truth about the accident. She is convinced Bo had nothing to do with it.
As she seeks evidence that will clear him, she also turns to church to keep her mind busy. She hasn’t attended in years and is hesitant at first, but then finds solace in the friends there.
She eventually takes some information that might help Bo to his lawyer and convinces him to hire a P.I. to investigate further.
In the meantime, she rededicates her life to Jesus, which causes conflict between her and Bo as he’s hostile towards religion.
After struggling, she finally cuts off communication, knowing she can’t stay in the relationship since he’s not a believer.
Confused and angry, Bo has no one else to talk to except his Christian cellmate, who answers a lot of questions he has.
The evidence found by the P.I. helps clear Bo. Overjoyed at his release, Dana is brokenhearted that she had to end the relationship with him. He’s angrier than ever, but instead of giving up, seeks answers. He comes to faith and searches down Dana on a family trip to reconcile with her.
Me: Sounds like a pretty intense and original drama!, where did you find inspiration for it?
TW: This book actually has the most interesting inspiration of all my books so far. We had our air conditioning go out several springs ago and my husband was home to meet the workers. He listens to country music, which I once listened to regularly. Rodeo by Garth Brooks came on and immediately took me back mentally to my days in high school when I dated a bull rider. That is one of the two similarities I have with the main character (the other having moved to a small town in Texas my junior year of high school, although it wasn’t from NOVA). Beyond that, the story started writing itself. I wanted a strong main character who was flawed, but stepped up to the plate and grew spiritually when faced with a tragic and devastating situation. In Bo, I wanted to present a strong male figure who could be tough, loving, and also grow.
Me: So half of it was inspired by a song?, lol
TW: The setting and lifestyle of the characters, for sure!
Me: Awesome!, and what will your next book be?, tell us about that
TW: My goal is to publish both the Bible study Living Stress-Free and the women’s inspirational novella Her Broken Places this October. A very quick deadline is approaching! I’ll be self-publishing these two books and have the up and coming deadline so both of them will be available by the time the conference I direct (Abundant Life Conference for Women) happens on October 3. I’ll also be leading a session on Living Stress-Free at the conference. So, as you can see, I have a LOT of work to get done before the end of the month. When school officially starts and I need everything written to get formatted, proofed, printed and delivered.
Her Broken Places follows the story of Marla. Marla was a friend and guide to Jen in Her Whole Self when Jen’s entire life fell apart. In Her Broken Places, Marla tries to ignore the romantic interest of a friend because she’s determined never to marry. As a counselor, she’s dedicated her life to serving others and has determined that’s enough. Through a disaster that offers her an opporutnity to serve in a different way and a crisis one of her clients has, she begins to wonder is she can really have the dreams she gave up on long ago. Also, in the midst of this she has a new roommate who is proving to add chaos to her life, not be a comfort and great friend as Jen had been.
Living Stress-Free is fairly self-explanatory. The four-week study will cover the different sources of stress, which ones are within our control and which ones are outside of our control, what the Bible offers as practical and applicable answers to and relief from stress, as well as how to grasp onto and live daily in peace – the direct opposite of stressful living.
Me: Tell us more about this conference
TW: I’ve been directing the Abundant Life Conference for Women (http://www.abundantlifeconferenceforwomen.com/) for six years, after starting it as the Women’s Ministry Leader of the church I attend and a new speaker. In the past, the conference has been two days and had up to 12 breakout sessions in addition to 2 keynote sessions and worship sessions.
This year, responding to feedback from our past attendees and other women in our church who haven’t been able to attend, we have reduced it to one day and are hosting it at our church. We are also only having 6 breakout sessions, although we’ll still have 2 worship and keynote sessions. These changes have helped us to reduce expenses dramatically and regular registration is only $39! There is also an optional meet-and-greet dinner for only $9 on Friday night with the committee members and speakers for any ladies who are interested.
So far this year we have had more registrations before our early bird deadline (which was July 15) than ever before. We’re excited that 6 out of the 7 breakout session speakers are new to our conference and we also have a new keynote speaker this year. I’m the 7th who’s not new. One of the sessions has two speakers co-leading it, so we have 7 speakers for 6 sessions.
However, returning for the 3rd year is the lovely, talented, and engaging worship leader Joi Bowling. The excitement leading up to this year’s conference is contagious and there is great excitement about the breakout session topics: Living with Abandon, Living Authentically, Living Faithfully, Living Joyfully, Living Stress-Free, and Living Uncluttered.
We also have had great response to our online registration, which is the same price this year as our paper registration for the first time.
Me: Awesome!, so alot of books get turned in to movies, do you think any of yours will ever make it to the screen?
TW: Boy, that would be a huge honor and a blessing! I don’t know how all of that process works, but it is on the edges of my dreams. I have one series in particular I’ve been working on off and on for the last couple of years that would most lend itself to movies. It’s a spiritual supernatural book about the persecution of a young girl’s faith and how she and her friends handle it. It is very much an end times book that takes a bit of a different approach than some of the previous series that have covered it, but similar in the ultimate battle between good and evil and how young people can really make a difference in the world.
However, I wouldn’t be opposed to it with any of my other books, although the shorter ones probably wouldn’t lend themselves to the big screen.
As an added note, I’ve already had to promise my oldest daughter a part in any book of mine that gets turned into a move, as her dream (and talent) is to be an actress.
Me: Good luck to her!, and when will that book be out?
TW: My best guess would be late 2016 or early 2017. It is the most challenging and in depth to write and I really want to get it right.
Me: What makes it more challenging than previous books?
TW: My fiction tends to be fairly light-hearted, even the mystery. The Dot Trumball series (the first will be The Prayer Boxes, with 6 more books to follow) touches on deeper issues of spiritually, has more complex characters, has a bigger plot and several subplots that will all intertwine, and has an added element of spiritual gifts – including visions, prophesy, and interpreting signs from God. There’s a lot more to keep track of, as well as deeper levels of becoming invested in both the characters and the plots than the average YA fiction, or traditional women’s fiction for that matter.
Me: I see, sounds like you have your hands full!, what else can we expect from you in the future?
TW: Hopefully a full career of quality writing that engages, entertains, and encourages my readers. I also hope to maintain a steady speaking schedule, as I also love to connect with people face to face. This helps keep life real and it’s so much easier to love on people and minister to them in person. As I continue to grow and become the person God created me to be, I hope to always be able to use the word – both written and spoken – to help others become transformed by His love, mercy, and grace.
Me: Awesome!, you mentioned your conference, do you speak elsewhere too?
TW: I do. I have spoken at other churches, at writers workshops, and I’m also an approved speaker with Stonecroft Ministries. Stonecroft is an international ministry that trains women as speakers and community leaders to engage women where they are, as they are and share the love of Jesus and salvation offered through faith in Him. They offer dozens of types of engaging events in more than 35 countries.
I speak anywhere from 6 – 12 times a year.
Me: I’ll have to check it out!, so anything else that would interest your fans?
TW: Maybe to know that my family loves the water and I pull myself away from the computer at least one day a week (sometimes more) to spend time with them – in the summer almost always on the water. I love my work and writing is my passion, but my family takes priority over it all. I’m all over social media at this point and would love for them to join me, hang out, ask questions, and connect.
Me: Awesome!, thank you so much for this interview!
TW: I’m so honored and blessed to have this opportunity to be interviewed by you, Bryan. I really appreciate it and pray your ministry and music will continue to be a blessing to others and yourself.