Author Interview with Tracy Auerbach
I really love the world you created for the Fragments series, how did you come up with this idea?
I love thinking about human nature, and the crazy psychological things that go on with our weird species every day. I started to think about using these qualities (addiction, passion, rage) as weapons. What would happen if super soldiers were created – if a war was fought by players who pressed buttons on people to push vice and virtue to their limits?
I liked the idea of a post-apocalyptic world where humanity has had to start over, and the fact that these crystals end up controlling so much of government, economy, the social system, etc.
How many books are in the Fragments series, and do you have a favorite?
There are three books in the Fragments series –The Sin Soldiers, which released last July, The Crystal War, coming next month, and The Hollow World, which is scheduled for release in January 2021. I think that my favorite is The Crystal War, because the second book in a trilogy is where you really get to torture your characters, but you’ve grown to love them, so it’s heart-wrenching. I also love The Hollow World, because there’s always something satisfying about endings.
Sons of Fire was so uniquely cool, what was your favorite part about it?
Thanks! My favorite part was writing about Aidan’s struggles with trying to make sense of what it means to be human. That’s a common theme in my books – just being human and coping with the condition. I think Aidan personifies that really well, in a poignant and amusing way.
Do you have a favorite character you’ve written and why?
I have a definite soft spot for Charlie from the Fragments series. He was built to be this monstrous soldier, and he just continues to surprise people. I like that he takes advantage of the fact that people are constantly underestimating him, based on what he’s supposed to be. He’s also just insanely loyal to his friends, and his struggles against what he’s been programmed to be just make him a really sympathetic character.
What made you decide to become a writer?
I’ve always wanted to write, and I wrote a lot when I was a kid, but I sort of put it on hold for a while and picked it back up about ten years ago. I used to make up stories and play pretend with my brother and all my friends. I love thinking up stories and watching them play out in my head. It’s how I go to sleep every night. Ten or so years ago, I had been thinking about this paranormal romance story, and I just couldn’t shake the characters, so I decided to actually write it down. That eventually became my first published book, The Human Cure.
What are your top three favorite books that you’ve ever read?
Wow! Good question! I read A LOT. So, this is tough. Three of my all-time favorites are:
- Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
- The Demon’s Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan
- The Curse Workers by Holly Black
Do you use any writing inspiration when you write?
My biggest inspiration is actually reading great books. I am so inspired by other authors who can suck me into their worlds.
Are you an outliner or a pantser?
I’m a total ‘pantser.’ I only start to become a bit of a planner in the editing rounds. I dream up what’s going to happen next while I’m driving, trying to fall asleep, etc., and then I write it all down the next night. I get an hour or so on weekends and late nights after the kids are in bed during the week. I love writing, so it’s easy to get the words down. Then I have to go back and plan things better; fix things that don’t make sense, flesh out plots and characters, and all of the things that turn the piece from my daydreaming into a book people will want to read. The Sin Soldiers was entirely rewritten twice before I even sent it out to beta readers.
What’s your favorite color?
If you could take a character from any book and have them be your best friend, who would it be and why?
Definitely Charlie, for all the reasons I mentioned that he’s my favorite. He’s loyal to a fault, and it would be pretty cool having a best friend who could break me out of jail if I ever needed it!
What upcoming books or projects are you working on in the future?
I’ve been dreaming up an adult fantasy that I’m super excited about. Also, I’ve been very busy making content edits to The Hollow World before I submit it next week.
Do you have any advice for other writers out there?
Keep writing! I usually already have another novel floating around in my head while one is out with beta readers. If I didn’t love writing for the sake of writing, I don’t think I could have dealt with so many rejections and still stayed afloat. Rejection is part of the publishing process, so just enjoy the whole process, and write the book that speaks to you. Even the early versions of my books that need a ton of work are fun to write, so I never feel like I’m wasting my time.
Tracy Auerbach studied English and film in college, and education in graduate school. Some of her college poetry was published in the “Penn Review” (The University of Pennsylvania’s premier literary magazine). She went on to teach and write S.T.E.M. (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) curriculum for the New York Department of Education. This helped to polish her writing skills and ignite her passion for fantasy and science fiction. Her first scholarly article, published in “Language Magazine,” was about the value of kinesthetic learning for children.
On the fiction side, Tracy’s work is featured in the online literary journal “Micro-horror,” and “The Writing Disorder” fiction anthology. Her first novel, “The Human Cure,” was published in paperback in 2014. “The Sin Soldiers,” the first book in her YA Sci-fi “Fragments” trilogy, was released this summer from Parliament House Press. Her YA urban fantasy, “Sons of Fire,” came out early this year. When she is not teaching or writing, Tracy is usually reading or playing with her own children. She lives in New York with her family.
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