Welcome back to Duck Chat!
Today we’d like you to meet Tracy Wolff!
Writing in several romance subgenres keeps Tracy busy and her books on bookstore shelves. Her latest book is an erotic suspense titled Tie Me Down, and she’ll be talking about it today. Tracy writes for NAL Heat, Harlequin Spice, and Harlequin SuperRomance, three very different publishers, covering the gamut from sweet and sensual to suspenseful and erotic, a terrific span for readers.
Tracy is married and she and her husband have three sons. She is an English professor at her local community college, and she began writing when she was quite young and become more serious about the craft after her mom introduced her to reading romance.
Today Tracy is kindly offering up one copy of Full Exposure and two copies of the Naughty Bits anthology which also features Megan Hart, Delilah Devlin, Jodi Lynn Copeland, Sarah McCarty and a whole host of other authors. So make sure you leave a meaningful comment or question for Tracy to be in the running to win. Now let’s chat!
DUCK CHAT: Tracy, since you have a new release coming out this month, let’s talk about that first. The title is Tie Me Down, and with a title like that, the storyline has got to be hot! Would you tell us about Cole and Genenieve and how their story came about?
TRACY WOLFF: I freely admit that I’m a little bit (read a lot) of a control freak, so when I sat down to write Tie Me Down, I wanted it to be about control—having it, losing it and giving it away willingly once you find someone to trust. Much of the book is a battle of wills between my hero and heroine as each jockeys for dominance over the other—in the bedroom and out. Of course, in the end they learn that love is more about trust and respect than it is control.
Excerpt from Full Exposure:
Kevin Riley was the stuff fantasies were made of.
Her fantasies, to be exact.
Six foot five, heavily muscled, with the most beautifully intense blue eyes she’d ever seen, he captured her attention like no man ever had. And with his half-naked body in front of her and nature thrashing fiercely around her, it was all she could do to keep her clothes on, her mouth shut and her camera aimed somewhere besides his absolutely fabulous ass.
Not that he should mind– it was one of his best features, after all. And she was being paid, well paid, for taking pictures that showed his every side.
Of course, she wasn’t sure that fifty shots of his ass were quite what the publishers had had in mind when they’d hired her, no matter how glorious it was. Besides, her humming libido couldn’t handle much more without going into severe overdrive anyway.
Serena snorted before she could stop herself. Who was she kidding? She’d passed overdrive a while ago, was now heading straight toward spontaneous combustion at an alarming rate. The thought disturbed her and she moved restlessly, desperate to focus on something– anything–that could bring her traitorous body under control.
She glanced towards the large windows that covered an entire side of the old, red brick studio and tried to concentrate on the storm raging through Kevin’s little slice of bayou. But the wildness of it-the utter lack of control-only made her more uncomfortable.
Rain pummeled the tin roof, flashes of lightning illuminated the darkness beyond the house and thunder shook the studio as it exploded across the sky. Mother Nature was in a frenzy and much of southern Louisiana would pay the price on this steamy summer night.
She was just one more victim.
It was three a.m. and she should have been asleep, tucked safely into bed in her Baton Rouge condo. Nature whirled around her and she should have been terrified as she witnessed the destruction caused by every gust of seventy mile an hour winds. She was working and she should have been focused, completely absorbed in taking photos for the book that could blow her career wide open. But she wasn’t.
She wasn’t at home asleep, she wasn’t terrified and she certainly wasn’t focused.
What she was, was aroused.
Powerfully, frighteningly aroused.
Wetness pooled between her thighs, her nipples peaked and she had to work-hard– to stifle the moan threatening to part lips it was becoming harder and harder to keep closed.
She’d never been this out of control before, had never been so aroused that she couldn’t focus on anything but the throbbing ache between her thighs. Serena pressed her legs together, desperate to stem the sensations bombarding her. But it was no use. Heat swept through her body. Her skin flushed a rosy pink and her heart began to race as the fine tremor of arousal shook her, making hands that were normally rock-steady tremble with reaction.
DC: If you could retire any question and never, ever have it asked again, what would it be? Feel free to answer it.
TW: This isn’t from an interview, it’s from my neighbors and strangers on the street– So, is your sex life as good as your books suggest? And if you really want the answer—yes, it is. At least until my husband reads this and divorces me for kissing and telling …
DC: I’ve heard writers often say their stories take them in surprising directions, or dialogue flows from some unknown place. Is it the same with you? Do your characters surprise you sometimes?
TW: Of course they do! At least a few times in each book my main characters will do something completely different than I expect them to. I’ve learned, in most cases, to go with it instead of fighting it. Which is why I have yet to write a book that actually follows the synopsis—I’m beginning to think that I am simply incapable of following any sort of detailed plan.
DC: You have three different subgenres on the Books page at your website: Sensual, Contemporary, and Paranormal. Where did your first release fall? Do you like writing one more than another? There’s nothing on the paranormal page yet – any hints you can give us as to what’s coming up there?
My first story was No Apologies which is obviously erotic. My first novel is A Christmas Wedding, which is Contemporary. The first book I ever wrote is Full Exposure, which is erotic suspense. I’m all over the place.
As for the paranormal, that page will soon be connecting with another website—I’m writing edgy dragon shapeshifter paranormals for NAL under the name Tessa Adams. I’m finishing up my first one right now—Dark Embers, Book 1 in the Dragon’s Heat Series—which will be out in July 2010. I’m currently billing it as a modern day fairy tale: The Dark Prince and the Biochemist in Distress …
DC: Do you ever argue with your characters while you’re writing? Who usually wins?
TW: I wouldn’t call it so much of an argument as a dictatorship. I win, of course—reference the first answer about my inner control freak.
DC: What is sure to distract you from sitting down and working/writing?
TW: My children. Project Runway on the TV. Aerosmith on the radio. A kiss from my husband. Chocolate. Need I go on? Obviously I have the attention span of a three-year old.
TW: Oh geez, that’s a hard question because NAL has done such a beautiful job with my covers. Seriously, I think I have some of the best covers in the genre. If you’d asked me a few months ago what my favorite cover was I would have told you, no doubt, the Full Exposure cover (I loooooove the spine of that book). But now that I see how Tie Me Down turned out, I think it might be my favorite. I think the book looks fabulous!!!!
DC: Your contemporary books are for Harlequin SuperRomance. Ever find yourself going a little bit too far when writing, getting a little too hot for a SuperRomance hero and heroine?
TW: I think my writing might definitely have been too hot for the SuperRomances of a few years ago, but I think recent SuperRomances definitely span the spectrum from sweet to hot. When I first started writing for Supers, I actually spoke to my editor about my writing style and whether she thought my love scenes were too hot for Supers. She told me they were appropriate to the stories I wrote and that as long as that was the case, she would be behind them. So while I tone them down some from my erotic novels, I still feel like I stay true to my style.
Or to put it more succinctly, yes, every once in a while I have to stop and go, oh yeah, the whips and chains might be a bit much, LOL!
TW: Honestly, the No Apologies cover—which was beautiful and visually inviting but did not reflect the story very well. My very suave, African-American hero was turned into a white cowboy on that cover. But other than that, I can’t complain. I’ve had very, very good luck with covers.
DC: How do you feel your male or female characters have evolved over your career? Do you think you write them differently now than you did when you started?
TW: That’s an interesting question and one I have trouble answering. But to give it a shot– one of my favorite reviews actually came from Wendy the SuperLibrarian on this site—she basically said the character in my first book, A Christmas Wedding, kept her husband’s balls in a jar by the door during their 27-year marriage. Can I say ouch? Yet, to a certain extent, Wendy was right. So while I still write really strong, kick-ass alpha females, I work to make sure I don’t cross the line into bitchy.
DC: Your Harlequin Spice, No Apologies, is in stores now. What are the differences in writing for Spice compared to NAL Heat, if any?
TW: Spice is, as a line, not as dark as Heat tends to be. So writing for Spice lets me be a little less dark and edgy than usual, although to be honest almost everything I write has some edges to it.
DC: Would you tell our readers about Gabe and Annalise from No Apologies?
TW: This story was great fun to write—just because Annalise was different than any of my other female characters. I have a tendency to write really, really angst-filled alpha characters (nothing makes me happier than to torture the hell out of my H/h and pit them against each other as I do it) and Annalise and Gabe are no exception. But Annalise is the only character I’ve ever written who really equates sex with power and trades in it ruthlessly. Writing about her falling for the one man who won’t let her wield sex as a weapon was really interesting—and intense.
DC: Is there a genre you haven’t tackled but would like to try?
TW: I’m actually tackling it right now—YA. I have always wanted to write a YA and I finally got off my butt and wrote the first 100 pages in a YA paranormal called Rip Tide. My agent is actually shopping it around this week, so fingers crossed.
DC: What advice would you give to your younger self?
TW: Get serious about your writing sooner. Don’t be distracted by school and marriage and jobs and kids. Just sit down and write the book, damn it.
DC: If you were a book, what would your blurb be?
TW: Tracy Wolff collects books, English degrees and lipsticks and has been known to forget where—and sometimes who—she is when immersed in a great novel. At six she wrote her first short story—something with a rainbow and a prince– and at seven she forayed into the wonderful world of girls lit with her first Judy Blume novel. By ten she’d read everything in the young adult and classics sections of her local bookstore, so in desperation her mom started her on romance novels. And from the first page of the first book, Tracy knew she’d found her life-long love. Now an English professor at her local community college, she writes romances that run the gamut from sweet and sexy to hotter than hell.
DC: What would be your “voice’s” tagline?
TW: Dark and edgy with a hint of kink …
DC: In December your next SuperRomance, To Save a Boy, will be published. This story sounds intense and quite emotional. Would you tell us about it?
TW: I love this story, though the book went through some fairly extensive revisions. It’s the story of Rafael and Vivian, two emotionally wounded people who both think trust is a four letter word. Rafael was wrongly accused of rape by a rich woman when he was eighteen and ended up serving time in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. Out of prison for a number of years now, he runs a teen center in the worst neighborhood of San Francisco—and when Diego, one of the kids at the center, is wrongly accused of murder, Rafa is determined to do whatever he can to keep the kid from suffering as he did. Enter Vivian, a very rich lawyer who takes on Diego’s case pro bono. The story revolves around Vivian and Rafa working towards each other as they search for a way to save Diego from a system that could destroy his life. There’s a lot of emotion as these two work through their own baggage while helping Diego with his and, of course, evading the real killer who wants nothing more than to see Diego hang.
DC: Since I love to cook and you have a Recipes page on your website, let’s talk about that! You encourage readers to send in their favorite recipes and then you list recipes that are associated with some of your books. Do you incorporate the recipes in the books or do you talk about them at all in the stories?
TW: I haven’t incorporated any yet, but I keep playing with an idea of doing a chef book of some sort. But everyone is doing those right now, so I’ll probably hold off. I do, however, print up recipe cards for each of my books. Each one has a recipe unique to the story/region/characters and I give them out to readers and anyone else who asks for them.
DC: What’s your all-time favorite recipe you like preparing over and over again? Would you share it with us?
TW: Oh, that’s easy. Death by Chocolate.
This is what you need:
One tray of brownies—sometimes I make them from scratch, but usually I just use the boxed kind.
1/4 cup Kahlua, Grand Marnier or Espresso
2 packages of chocolate mousse, made
1 pint of whipping cream, whipped with a little sugar and vanilla
3 Heath bars or one bag of Heath bar bits, crushed
1 cup crushed pecans
And then you just layer it all together. Crumble the brownies in the bottom of a trifle bowl, then pour half of liqueur or coffee on them. Spread with chocolate mousse and then a layer of whipped cream. Sprinkle with heath bits and pecans then repeat all the layers again.
It’s delicious and a huge crowd pleaser.
Man, now you’ve got me thinking about dessert- I might just have to go make this.
DC: If you had never become an author, what do you think you would be doing right now?
TW: I’d do full-time what I currently do part-time because I just can’t give it up—I’d be a college writing professor. There is nothing in the world like helping people learn to write—and write well. And teaching college is an absolute joy (most days).
– dark or milk chocolate? – Milk, definitely. Preferably in the form of Godiva hearts or a Twix bar
– smooth or chunky peanut butter? – Smooth
– heels or flats? – I’m all about the wedge, baby
– coffee or tea? – Both—preferably poured straight into my veins
– summer or winter? – Winter—better book reading weather
– mountains or beach? – Beach
– mustard or mayonnaise? – Mayo
– flowers or candy? – Flowers
– pockets or purse? – Both
– Pepsi or Coke? – Coke
– ebook or print? – Still print, though the ebook is growing on me
And because we’re not tired of them yet:
1. What is your favorite word? – wicked
2. What is your least favorite word? – no
3. What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally? – Reading a really, really good book.
4. What turns you off creatively, spiritually or emotionally? – Exhaustion
5. What sound or noise do you love? – My husband’s heartbeat
6. What sound or noise do you hate? – My five year old whining.
7. What is your favorite curse word? – Fuck—I’m a purist.
8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? – Archeologist
9. What profession would you not like to do? – Soldier
10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? – “The Library’s that way—help yourself.”
DC: Thank you, Tracy, for spending the day with us! It’s been fun!