An Interview and a Giveaway with Tracy Grant

Alright, Pink Crew, we have a very special guest with us today! Allow me to introduce Teresa (Tracy) Grant, author of eleven novels, who currently writes a series of historical mysteries published by Kensington Books.

tracyvienna

I stumbled across Tracy’s books on Lauren’s website a few years ago, and I’m so glad I did! They are set in the Napoleonic era, both in Great Britain and in Europe, and they feature a husband-and-wife spy team named Suzanne and Malcolm Rannoch. Malcolm is a British aristocrat working as diplomat and spy, and Suzanne is his war bride with a shadowy past. Their first novel, Vienna Waltz, is set during the Congress of Vienna in 1814, and Malcolm and Suzanne are drawn into an investigation when Princess Tatiana is murdered.

Tracy has stopped by to chat and kindly answer a few questions about herself, her writing, and her current projects. So without further ado, I will give you Tracy in her own words.

Tracy, if I took a sneak peek into your writing space, what would I find?

A latte or a cup of tea. I do a lot of my writing in a Peet’s Coffee & Tea in an open air mall. But as the mother of a small child, I’ve learned to write wherever and whenever I get the chance. Yesterday I wrote in Peet’s, in the children’s department at Nordstrom’s, at the playground, in Pottery Barn Kids, and curled up in an armchair at home late in the evening.

What are five of your favorite things?

Hard to limit the list to five, but a sampling: The X-Files, the finale trio of Der Rosenkavalier, Alice Temperley dresses, my daughter’s rendition of “Let it Go”, Shakespeare’s history plays, pumpkin lattes.

If you stopped writing books (please don’t), what would you do for a living?

I don’t think I could stop writing books any more than I could stop breathing. But I also work part time as Director of Foundation, Corporate & Government Relations for the Merola Opera Program, and I spend a lot of time being a mommy to my two and nine-month old Mélanie.

When you walk into a book store, where do you go first?

To see if they have my books 🙂

If you were having a dinner party, and you could invite 6 characters (other than yours) to attend, who would you pick?

Harriet Vane & Lord Peter Wimsey, Elizabeth Bennet & Fitzwilliam Darcy, Lord Vaughn & Mary Alsworthy

What sparked your interest in the Napoleonic era?

Seeing the Greer Garson/Laurence Olivier film of Pride and Prejudice when I was six and then asking my mom to read the book to me. Followed by the rest of Jane Austen and then Georgette Heyer starting when I was nine or ten. I was intrigued by the Congress of Vienna from the references to Sophy’s time there in The Grand Sophy, the first Heyer book my mom read to me. Heyer’s An Infamous Army got me fascinated with Waterloo and the Napoleonic Wars. It such a fascinating time period, on the cusp of change between the Enlightenment and French Revolution and the Victorian Industrial era.

What was your inspiration for Malcolm and Suzanne?

I think the first inspiration was watching the Anthony Andrews/Jane Seymour film of The Scarlet Pimpernel and thinking during the wedding scene “what if she really was spying on him when they got married?” Not long after, my mom and I began co-writing Regency romances together as Anthea Malcolm. In our second book, which was never published, we had two secondary characters who almost ended up married. I remember thinking “if these two people did get married, it would be really interesting to see what happened to them in five years or so.” Years later, that sparked my three books about Charles & Mélanie Fraser. When I changed publishers and my new publisher wanted new names, I decide to write a sort of “parallel universe” changing their names to Malcolm and Suzanne Rannoch and beginning with their history at the Congress of Vienna, which I really wanted to dramatize.

How important are the names of the characters in your books? Do you choose names based on their sound or meaning, or something else entirely?

I love naming characters! Sometimes a name just pops into my head and feels right. Other times I think about it and make lists. I try to think about who the characters’ parents are and what sort of name they might have chosen – aristocrats concerned with the family lineage which might pick the name of an ancestor; classical scholars might pick a name from classical history or mythology; a romantic might pick a name from a contemporary novel. I have The Oxford Book of English Christian Names which has origins and historical usage info on names, which is a big help. One of the challenges is that the British upper classes tend to use a fairly small number of names over and over, and there’s a limit to how many Georges, Williams, Carolines, and Henriettas one can have in a fictional world without hopelessly confusing the reader. With Harry and Cordelia, I actually posted possible names on my blog and on Facebook to get reader input. I decided on Cordelia when my friend writer Deborah Crombie said she’d always loved the name. I also ended up giving it to my daughter as her middle name as well.

What are you working on now?

A book set about three months after The Berkeley Square Affair. It begins with Laura Dudley, the nanny/governess of Malcolm and Suzanne’s children, being found holding a knife in the study of a duke who has just been stabbed to death. Malcolm and Suzanne believe she’s innocent, but Laura refuses to talk. And they quickly learn there is a great deal they don’t know about her. It’s a challenging investigation for Malcolm and Suzanne since it’s the first time they’ve been embroiled in a mystery since Malcolm learned the truth of Suzanne’s past.

What books do you recommend to readers who enjoy your work?

Lauren Willig, of course. Tasha Alexander, Deanna Raybourn, C.S. Harris, Deborah Crombie, and Laurie King. All write wonderful stories with strong mysteries and fascinating relationships among the characters. Also a wonderful book called Freedom and Necessity by Steven Brust and Emma Bull. It takes place in the Victorian era has an amazing mix of suspense, adventure, and history, and one of the best love stories I’ve ever read. And going back in time, I was strongly influenced by British “Golden Age” mystery writers, particularly Dorothy Sayers, and also Margery Allingham and Ngaio Marsh. They write great mysteries that also have wonderfully rich ongoing love stories for the detectives.

If readers would like to learn more about you and your work, how would they do that?

My website is at http://www.tracygrant.org. You can follow me on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/tracygrant and on twitter at https://twitter.com/tracygrant.

In addition to answering all of my questions, Tracy has also agreed to autograph a copy of Vienna Waltz for a commenter on today’s blog post! Isn’t she wonderful? To enter yourself for this giveaway, just leave a comment below. You have until midnight EST on September 25 to enter. I will announce the winner on Friday.

Want to earn extra entries for this giveaway? You can enter up to three times. Here’s how:

  1. Leave a comment below.
  2. Follow the blog! If you are already a follower, just mention that in your comment. There are links in the top right corner of this page to become a follower.
  3. Post a link to this giveaway on Facebook or Twitter. Again, you can just let me know in your comment that you’ve done this. I trust you.

On Friday, I will use the Random Number Generator to pick a winner. Good luck! And thank you again, Tracy, for sharing your time with us today.

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29 thoughts on “An Interview and a Giveaway with Tracy Grant

  1. Great interview Ashley.
    I love historical mysteries and will add these books to my TRB pile.
    Commented, shared via Twitter and google plus and I follow your blog.
    Thanks!

  2. Pingback: Monday Give-Away: VIENNA WALTZ « Lauren Willig – News and Events

  3. I love historical mysteries and have added these to my TBR list. I’ve shared on facebook and will follow the blog, too. Thanks for the opportunity to win!

  4. Great interview! I’ve only read one of Tracy Grant’s books – Daughter of the Game – since it’s the only one the library here has, but I’ve been wanting to read more. And I love her list of influences; Ngaio Marsh is a particular favorite of mine!

  5. Thanks for the interview.
    An Infamous Army is an amazing account of Waterloo. Heyer’s A Civil Contract also takes place during the same time period. I love both books and the audios are amazing!

    Vienna Waltz was my first Grant and man oh man do I love that book!

  6. Some great questions and answers! I love all the characters in the dinner party answer, but would personally be frightened to invite them over. Peter and Harriet would be having a deep, witty conversation sprinkled with latin and classical references that would go completely over my head. Elizabeth and Darcy would be wrapped up in each other, when Darcy wasn’t joining the Vaughns in sneering at my food, home, and hopeless hosting skills. Tracy is braver than I am!

  7. Wonderful interview, Ashley – so informative. It’s nice to hear about how an author chooses the time period for their novel settings. I enjoy getting information from various authors who write in the same time period.

    I follow the blog and will post on Facebook next! Thanks again for this read along experience.

  8. That would be a heck of a dinner party! Let me be a fly on the wall. Tracy and I read the same authors. I love historical mysteries and will continure to read Tracy’s.

  9. Thanks for all the wonderful comments! Mel, I like the take on Waterloo in A Civil Contract too. I love all the comments about the dinner party. They would indeed be an intimidating group. Of course, the good thing is they’d be so busy trading quotations (I’d like to hear Peter and Harriet question some of Vaughn’s versions of Shakespeare 🙂 and witty repartée that I could fade into the background and my cooking wouldn’t get too much scrutiny :-).

  10. I was going to ask what was the best order to read the books – had been very confused by the comments on Amazon – but found the answer on Tracy’s web page!

  11. I recently discovered these amazing books as well. Sometimes those recommendations from Amazon are actually useful! I just finished listening to “Vienna Waltz” which made my new city commute much more enjoyable. Looking forward to reading or listening to more.

  12. I’d love to read it! Sounds fabulous. Loved the interview–I also adore the X-Files and the final trio from Der Rosekavalier, and I too have a 2year9month old child. Cool!

  13. This was a great interview! There was so much to love. I think that it was super exciting to find out that Tracy also likes some of my favorites, including pumpkin lattes!

    I follow the blog and posted the giveaway on Facebook.

  14. Pingback: Falling in Love with Historical Fiction | The Bubblebath Reader

  15. This series sounds amazing and I can’t wait to start reading them, especially now that I know that Suzanne and Malcolm’s dynamic is based off of Anthony Andrew’s Percy and Jane Seymore’s Marguerite!

    • Isn’t Scarlet Pimpernel wonderful, Liz? I particularly love that version. When it first aired, before had a VCR, I was at a rehearsal, so my mom tape recorded it. I think I knew the soundtrack by heart before I ever saw it.

  16. I love getting to hear of recommendations for historical fiction. I’ve been reading it for so many years, sometimes I feel like I’ve exhausted the genre, but Tracy gave some great new recommendations I plan to try!

    (I already follow the blog!)

  17. This sounds great! I’ve mentioned before that I’m new to the romance genre, so I’m looking for more stuff I’ll like, and this looks like a great choice. 😀

    Also, I’m a follower.

  18. I can’t count all the wonderful new authors and titles I have discovered since I first picked up Pink 1 and started following Lauren’s blog. It seems the books that are discussed in connection with her (and here) are all ones I love. Thanks to all the readers whose reading tastes are the same as my own. You give me such good advice!

  19. Pingback: Links & Outtakes | Tracy Grant - Novelist

  20. Pingback: The Mayfair Affair: An Interview and Giveaway with Tracy Grant | The Bubble Bath Reader

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