20 Jan 2014

Interview with chick lit author Tracy Sweeney

Hi Tracy! On your website, you describe yourself as being 'slightly crazy, but in the best possible way' (that's just awesome!). Can you expand on that?
Haha! I’m so glad you approve! I try not to take myself too seriously—ever. I’m sarcastic and quirky and I sometimes think I’m funnier than I am. But I’m at a point in my life where I embrace that about myself. So, do I sometimes say things that are off the wall? Definitely. But I think the wall is cluttered anyway.

When did you first start writing? And when were you first published?
I’ve always journaled and written short stories. The short stories at one point may have starred The New Kids on the Block. But hey, it’s still writing! I never saw myself becoming a published writer, though. Later on, I got involved in the fan fiction world. It was the feedback from those readers that gave me the confidence to come out of the writing closet.

What is it about this genre that appeals to you the most? Do you read other genres?
I’ve never been a big fan of the typical bodice-rippers. Fabio is just not my type. But I love reading about sassy girls and the boys who make them swoon. The chick lit genre is so diverse. Some of my recent favorites have come from the YA genre but the themes are so universal that all of my friends read them and relate.

Living Backwards sounds A.M.A.Z.I.N.G? Can you tell us more about it?

Thank you! You’re pretty. Well, I wanted to take the idea of time travel and spin it a bit. In most time travel stories, the protagonist is attempting to fix or improve their current situation. But it’s not easy. One small change can cause a chain reaction sending you down an entirely different path. Jillian gets this. So when she’s back in 1999, she knows that she needs to do everything the same way or she could wreak havoc. Again, it’s not so easy. Can you make the same choices in your late twenties that you made when you were seventeen? Would I opt to get my teeth cleaned the night of my junior prom? Probably not. I’d spike the punch and photobomb starry-eyed couples all night.

What inspired you to write it?

Me, really. I was very shy and quiet in high school. Most of us were awkward and buying Clearasil in mass quantities. It wasn’t an awesome time for everyone. So I’ve spent a fair amount of time thinking about how different it would be if the me I am now was part of the Class of 1992.

Have you ever spotted anyone reading your books anywhere?
Other than in my house when I force them to? No. I think I’d make such a spectacle of myself, though.

Who designs your covers?
My friend Liz Jaeger designed the cover. I gave her a general idea of what I was looking to do and she came back with I swear thirty different versions.

If your latest book was made into a film, who would you cast?

There are so many instances where I wish I could cast an actor in movie after they’ve already passed the appropriate age. When I was reading Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins, I saw Jude Law circa The Talented Mr. Ripley for Finnick Odair. He’ll always be Finnick in my head. It’s the same situation with LIVING BACKWARDS. I always saw Ilsa Fisher for Jillian and Robert Pattinson for Luke. And I would totally pull a Stephenie Meyer and cameo as a chaperone at the prom. It looks like a good time.

What's your favourite Chick Lit book that made it to the big screen?
It’s always so nerve-wracking when a book you love is optioned for the big screen. I immediately start worrying about the casting. I’ll watch Bridget Jones every time it’s on TV and never get bored of it. Bridget is so flawed but you can’t help but love her—even when you want to knock some sense into her. And how can you resist Colin Firth?

Name one of your favourite Chick Lit books?
I adore Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. It’s one of those books you just want to curl up and crawl inside – especially since you’d be crawling into France! And Etienne makes me swoon.

Where do you write? Do you ever wish you could write elsewhere? If so, where?

I’m like a cat with a laser pointer. If I write somewhere pretty, I’m going to stare off into space and enjoy the view. So I’m very boring. No TV, no music, no view. In fact, stick me in an empty room with a case of water, a laptop and a lamp and we’re in business.

Do you have any hobbies?
When I’m not writing or being mom, I run and participate in sprint triathlons. It’s nothing I ever envisioned doing but something I’m really proud of. And my face turns an amazing shade of purple.

In the movie of your life, who would play you?
Image courtesy: Gage Skidmore
I’d bankroll the movie myself if we can cast Tina Fey.

Speed Round...
Top drink to make you tipsy?
Arnold Palmer. Yum.
Shopaholic or shopadon't? Shopaholic. I love the smell of commerce in the morning.
Sky high heels or closer to the ground? Closer to the ground. No Loubous for this gal.
E.L. James or Jilly Cooper? I’ve read E.L. James but not Jilly Cooper (although I’m more Veronica Roth)
Cry baby or tough cookie? Tough cookie. Until I’m not.

Tracy Sweeney graduated with a degree in Management and Finance but prefers writing ridiculous things to crunching ridiculous numbers. She lives north of Boston, Massachusetts with her two young boys. Her short stories have appeared in Literary Juice, Solecisms and Slice of Life Magazines. Her debut novel, LIVING BACKWARDS, was published in January 2013. She is currently working on her second novel which will be equally as ridiculous.
Follow her just about everywhere:

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