An Interview with Traci Ison Schafer

The blog is starting a new series: the Author Interview! And I’m pleased to say that my first featured author is none other than fellow Plot Sister and friend, Traci Ison Schafer.

I first met Traci back in May, 2012, when we both signed up for a creative writing workshop. At that time, she was working on her first novel, The Anuan Legacy, which she just recently published (after many rounds of revision). Traci is a fast writer with fascinating ideas and is meticulous in her work. She cares about the details of each piece she writes, whether it’s a novel, a short story, or simply a few pages. Her dedication to the craft of writing, as well as her commitment to literary citizenship, inspire me everyday. She currently lives in Oklahoma, but is closely involved with writing communities both there and in Dayton, Ohio. You can read more about Traci and her work at her website.

Christina: Knowing that your day job is as contract specialist, what drew you to writing?

Traci: I actually discovered a love of reading late in life when I read Twilight (yes, that Twilight). I wanted to read more and couldn’t quite find a book that sounded appealing to me at that moment, so I thought, maybe I’ll just write my own. (Sounds crazy, I know.) I thought up the idea for The Anuan Legacy the next day during a boring government briefing and started writing it that evening. I haven’t stopped writing, or reading, since. I’ve found writing to be a great escape from the frustration and responsibilities that come with being a Contracting Officer (a civil position) with the Air Force. With writing, I’m able to crawl inside my characters and live their (way more exciting) lives for a while. It’s a nice break from negotiating prices and terms with major defense contractors.

Christina: The Anuan Legacy is listed as science fiction & fantasy. Why do you write in that particular genre?

Traci: I love science, especially astronomy. My childhood dreams were to become an astronomer and work side-by-side with Carl Sagan, and also to become an astronaut. Lol. I did get a degree in science education with a certification in astronomy, but then being a wife and mom started to take over, and those dreams fell to the side. I guess this is my way of grabbing some of those dreams back.

Christina: What has inspired you the most over the course of your path to being published?

Traci: Well, my critique group, The Plot Sisters, have, of course, been an inspiration. They’ve all been so dedicated and together we’ve pushed each other forward. Outside of that, I guess it goes back to the passions unrealized (the astronomer, the astronaut). I look back and think, “I could have done that.” But, who really knows? Now I do know that I can grab onto my passion and take it all the way to the finish line: my debut novel, The Anuan Legacy, was just published!

JK Rowling’s story is pretty inspirational and I thought of it often as I navigated my path to being published. If any aspiring author out there hasn’t heard that story, please go look it up and tuck it away for when you’re feeling defeated. It will turn you around.

Christina: What advice do you have for would-be novelists?

Traci: It would be to never give up. YOU CAN DO IT! You are not only a writer but you are also already an author! It’s just a matter of what date you get to assign to that. So keep moving forward and don’t get discouraged. If you have a bad day, take a pause, get a good night’s sleep, and then get back at it with a fresh brain.

Christina: If you could be the character of any story you have encountered, which character would that be?

Traci: I’d be Victoria from The Anuan Legacy, of course. Lol. Before that, when all the rest of the little girls wanted to be Princess Leia, I wanted to become a Jedi Knight, so I guess my answer would be Luke Skywalker. I was a huge Star Wars fan growing up and, if you look closely when reading The Anuan Legacy, you’ll see a little of that coming through in my book.

Christina: What are you working on next?

Traci: The Anuan Legacy is a series, so I’m working on Book 2. The first draft is almost finished and it will be going into beta read soon. The series will have at least three books, but I’ve always had an idea for a fourth, so it may continue on if people are interested in reading more. Aside from that, I have another book that I’ve started. It’s set in ancient Egypt. But that one is still very rough.

Thanks to Traci for agreeing to this interview! If you know of an author who’d like to be featured in an interview (or you are an author who would like to be featured), feel free to leave a comment or email me via my contact page.

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