If you read epic fantasy and enjoy stories about werewolves in historical settings, Tracy’s stories may be your cup of tea. Read the interview below AND find links to read the first 4 chapters of her newest book.
What genres do you write? I’ve been writing epic fantasy for years, but with Werelord Thal I’ve moved into a historical setting with paranormal characters and magic. So it’s best styled as a historical fantasy or paranormal fantasy.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? I’ve always had geeky tastes. My entertainment growing up was stuff like Doctor Who, Star Wars, and Star Trek. I read books in these genres too. Anything fantasy and sci fi will get my attention. I don’t have time to read as much fiction or watch as many movies as I used to, but those genres remain my primary entertainment.
Spiritually I feel very connected to Nature and take great inspiration from the world. I especially love water and boating. I’m an avid gardening and grow a lot of food for my family. I follow permaculture principles as much as I can, and I’m slowly making my yard an edible landscape.
As for education, I graduated from California State University, Chico in 2000 with a journalism degree. It’s a great degree for becoming a writer and publisher.
How long have you been writing and what inspired you to begin writing? In 1997 I began writing seriously and started Union of Renegades that became my first published novel. A few months before I started that novel, I got a letter from myself that I had written in high school. My English teacher Mrs. Seiter had all her students write letters to their adult selves, and she held them and mailed them out 5 or 6 years later.
In my letter, my 17-year-old self told me to start writing. I had always been a writer. In grade school I loved writing stories and illustrating them and stapling them together into books. I wrote a couple novels as a teenager, but I figured they weren’t very good because I had not experienced much of life yet. That’s why in my letter to my adult self I told myself to write. I figured by then I would have more meaningful things to say. I’ve been writing ever since. As for what inspires me, writing is my way for processing all the things I experience and learn and see in the world, especially the difficult injustices and cruelties that bedevil humanity. Without writing I’d be overwhelmed by all the horror I see in the world. Plus writing my novels is my entertainment. I make the books that I want to read.
What is the last book you read? I’m always in the middle of about three or four books at any given time. As for my last good read that I really got into I recommend The Atomic Times: My H-Bomb Year in the Pacific Proving Ground by Michael Harris. This was a gripping memoir that I could not put down.
Which writers inspire you? As a fantasy writer I’m inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien and Robert E. Howard of Conan fame.
Another literary titan I greatly admire is John Steinbeck. His sensitivity to the human condition amazes me. He makes you feel characters, hear their voices, and really think about their lives.
And lastly I’ve always been astounded by Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. That novel was amazing. I’m still trying to figure out how Mitchell made readers care about Scarlett O’Hara who is not a likable person.
Where did you get the idea for your novel Werelord Thal: A Renaissance Werewolf Tale? The concepts I explore in Werelord Thal have been incubating in my mind for years. It began years ago when I was in college at Central Michigan University and took a class about witchcraft and the occult. I learned about the witch hunting in Renaissance Europe and was horrified by it. The atrocities committed during that time still have an impact on our culture. To explore my feelings about this I made Thal’s mother a witch who is tortured and killed.
The Renaissance also makes an excellent backdrop for a werewolf character. European civilization is entering an era of great transformation and it complements the transformation between man and wolf.
Can you tell us something about the story? Set 1561 Bohemia, the plot is driven by Thal’s quest to avenge his mother who was tortured and executed in Prague for witchcraft. As her last act of magic she cast the werewolf spell that summoned him from the forest. He had been living for decades as a wolf after being transformed by the sorcery of his father. Now he is a man with werewolf powers that he controls by speaking the spell written on an enchanted wolf fur.
For the first third of the story he is crossing Bohemia toward Prague having adventure and making friends and enemies. Gypsies, musicians, a surly guard captain, monks, and a flamboyant lord of the castle are among the players. Then when he reaches Prague he begins the hunt for his mother’s killers. He encounters Altea the stepdaughter of the Magistrate. They enjoy an immediate attraction but the relationship places her in great peril.
Who do you think will like reading your book and what other novels do you think are similar to it? My novels are enjoyed by both men and women. Thal is a clever and cocky hero. Altea is a heroine who I tried to present in a historically realistic way with beliefs and attitudes appropriate to her time. Readers who appreciate history and like action with diverse characters will like it. Lovers of the Renaissance can find many nuances in the novel to enjoy about the themes from that era like Protestantism, printing, craftsmanship, superstitions, the Counter Reformation, and witch hunting.
To be honest, I can’t think of a book that it is like. Many historical novels are framed around famous historical figures, but Werelord Thal does not take that route. Historical figures are in the background and not part of the plot.
Are you working on a new book or story at the moment? I’m 19 chapters into writing the next Thal adventure titled Journey of the Hunted. I’ve also written a children’s story because my kids begged me to do it. I’m editing it right now. It’s called Bear Dog Dog Bear.
Where can people go to read your work and when will it be available? Werelord Thal: A Renaissance Werewolf Tale is available most everywhere as an ebook and a paperback. Visit my website to read Chapter 1. Water and Blood and buy the ebook or paperback. Links to various retailers are also there. People can also read a 4 chapter preview at SlideShare. [interviewer’s note: see below]
Do you have any tips for aspiring authors? Essentially I would say work hard at your writing. Go back constantly and read it over and over. Always ask yourself “Does this sound like something another person would like to read?” Let yourself be open to inspiration. Trust yourself. You have a creative impulse. Don’t let doubt cloud your writing. Doubts and questions are for when you go back and revise and edit.
Good reviews, mixed reviews, bad reviews – what are your thoughts on each of those? Of course I love good reviews. They are so validating. It’s an incredible feeling to know that someone out there in the world totally got my novel. Mixed reviews are to be expected. Sometimes a reader can recognize that a book was competently created but just not get into it. Bad reviews are kicks in the gut. Some of my worst ones are quite angry. I can at least take some solace from triggering a strong emotional reaction. My writing must have made them think or feel something that was not welcome or expected.
Werelord Thal: A Renaissance Werewolf Tale by Tracy Falbe
Thal is wanted for Devil worship and shape shifting but still boldly walks the streets of 16th century Prague. Jesuits hunt him. Mercenaries fear him. Musicians sing his praise, and women are captivated by his alpha swagger.
Born of a witch and a sorcerer, he is summoned when his desperate mother casts the werewolf spell before facing torture and execution. Burdened with her magical call for vengeance Thal seeks the men who killed her. His hunt is complicated when the Magistrate’s stepdaughter, Altea Kardas, crosses his path. Horrified that her community is burning women to death, she can confide her doubt and fear only to Thal.
He desires her greatly but knows he will bring ruin upon her. Across Bohemia and beyond people who are different are labeled heretics in a restless world hobbled by tyrannical ignorance. The Renaissance has thrown the Holy Roman Empire into turmoil. Printed books are spreading radical ideas. Firearms are triggering a new age of warfare. And the human spirit is shaking off obedience.
Thal embodies the ancient magic of the pagan past. He challenges a world conquered by a spiritual system that denies the flesh and forgets the Earth. And he awakens within Altea recognition of these truths. She believes any risk is worth loving him until she becomes the bait in a trap set by Thal’s enemies.
- Ebook: $3.99 (kindle, epub, or pdf) Available worldwide from Brave Luck Books
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- Paperback: $12.99 (6×9 trade paperback 356 pages)
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Read the first 4 chapters below: