Name Tracie McBride
Where are you from Born and raised in New Zealand, now living in Melbourne, Australia.
A little about yourself `ie your education Family life etc I live in Melbourne with my husband and three children. My work has appeared or is forthcoming in over 80 print and electronic publications, including a collection Ghosts Can Bleed, which contains much of the work that earned me a Sir Julius Vogel Award. I help to wrangle slush for Dark Moon Digest and was the vice president of Dark Continents Publishing (2010 – 2014).
When not writing, I work as a primary school teacher aide. The whole family pitches in to help foster and rehome dogs for a dog rescue group.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I have a few stories forthcoming this year in various anthologies, but the news I’m most excited about is largely celebrating other authors’ work. A fellow Kiwi author and I co-edited an anthology of New Zealand and Australian fiction called Disquiet, and three stories from that anthology are on the final ballot for a Sir Julius Vogel Award (New Zealand’s national speculative fiction award).
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
In my head, I was a writer even before I could form letters correctly. But my writing career didn’t begin in earnest until 2003, when I found myself with one child about to start primary school and a second on the way. It felt like a case of “now or never”, so when the opportunity arose, I enrolled in a Diploma of Creative Writing.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
A love of books came first, and soon after came a desire to create them. So…four years old, maybe?
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I have one book-length collection of short stories and poetry in publication, called Ghosts Can Bleed. The impetus to put those pieces together came when I was invited to join Dark Continents Publishing, a small press that started life as an authors’ co-operative. Dark Continents closed its doors last year, but the collection lives on, thanks to Finnish publisher Creativia.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
Despite over a decade of writing experience, I’m still learning my craft, so I try not to limit myself to one style or form. However, I do have a deep fondness for short stories; I prefer a tale concisely told over lengthy descriptive passages, and hold Strunk and White’s rule “Omit Needless Words” as my principal commandment.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
The title came from one of the stories in the collection. I thought it suggestive of the dark speculative fiction content of the collection as a whole.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I prefer to put story craft first, message second, and to leave said message up to readers’ personal interpretations.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Certain pieces were inspired by real life events, and where that happens, I mention it in a short preface to the story. For example, the title story “Ghosts Can Bleed” was inspired by a television show called “Stars In Their Eyes”. And “Last Chance To See” came from a family reunion of sorts which was organized shortly after an aunt’s diagnosis with terminal cancer.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
So many books, so little room to mention them all! Just off the top of my head…Anne Rice, Stephen King, China Miéville, JR Tolkien, Julian May, Clive Barker, Robert Heinlein, Kurt Vonnegut…
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
“Vampirates: Demons of the Ocean” by Justin Somper. I’m considering branching into YA writing, and this is a little research.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Again…far too many to list! A lot of my social media friends are indie or emerging writers, and the as-yet undiscovered talent out there is staggering.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
A solicited story for a Lovecraft-themed magazine, I’m considering putting together a second collection, and making tentative plans towards a first novel.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
I belong to a couple of writers’ critiquing groups a couple of writers’ organizations and several informal groups on social media. The one I consider pivotal in encouraging me and helping me to develop as a writer is the first writers’ group I joined in New Zealand – Phoenix Writers.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Hmm. Sometimes I use that word. Other times, depending on my mood, it’s a hobby, a calling, a pastime, a way of life. I’m certainly not in in for the money, if that’s what you’re asking! (Although money is always appreciated…).
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Every book is a learning experience, and every learning experience is best used applying the knowledge to the next book. So while my next complete project will no doubt be different, I wouldn’t change the past.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
As mentioned previously, a childhood love of reading sparked it off. But praise from teachers for my writing efforts in primary school fanned the flames. And this is a common thread amongst many writers – early encouragement and recognition.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Current projects are all still in the planning stage, so…no. 😉
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Finding the time and emotional energy to commit to writing, and making the words on the page measure up to the image in my head.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I’m loathe to name one, all-time favourite. My current literary crush is China Miéville, mainly for the dizzying scope of his imagination and the deep intelligence with which he approaches his writing.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
I don’t have to travel…but if someone wants to foot the bill, I’m there!
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
The artwork for “Ghosts Can Bleed” is by US artist Molly Rodman, and the overall cover design by John Prescott.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Sleep deprivation – most of the content was written when my children were little, and fitted in around breastfeeding and nappy changing.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
In the words of Dory – “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…”
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Be discerning about what advice you heed – everyone has an opinion about the craft and business of writing, but not everyone ought to express it. Sometimes the advice you get will be solid, and sometimes you just need to go with what feels right for you.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
It was probably Dr. Suess. I still love Dr. Suess.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
I laugh easily, and often see the absurd in everyday life. Crying I try to reserve for truly necessary catharsis.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
Stephen King – by all accounts, he protects his privacy closely (and quite rightly so), so meeting him would be a great privilege. Why? He’s the King. That’s why.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
Graveyards and headstones are for the benefit of the living, not the dead, so I’ll leave that up to the discretion of whoever survives me. Although, if I’m the last person left alive on Earth and I have to write my own, it will probably be something like, “What…is it that time already?”
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
I’m a slave to my children’s hobbies, but while I’m waiting to pick them up from whatever extra-extracurricular activity is on at the time, I will of course be reading. We volunteer for a dog rescue organization by fostering dogs, which is immensely rewarding but may not count as a hobby.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Current or recent favourite TV shows – Game of Thrones, The Americans, Breaking Bad, Sons of Anarchy, The Walking Dead, Vikings. A love of speculative fiction extends to my movie choices, and I’ll watch just about anything if it has zombies or vampires in it. Or Johnny Depp.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Spicy food, seafood, chocolate. Blue and purple to look at, black and red to wear. My Spotify playlist is all over the place – everything from Hosier to Ultravox to The Buzzcocks to John Legend to Tori Amoz to Major Lazer.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Singer. (I’m not saying I’m any good at it – you just asked what I would have liked to do.)
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
My blog is called “Exquisite Corpse”. You can find it here:
Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B005FD2VTA
Amazon link to Ghosts Can Bleed: