Friday, July 24, 2009

Interview with Tracy Madison

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Tracy Madison. It’s a pleasure having you come visit us at Much Cheaper Than Therapy, where chocolate is plentiful and advice is free. So grab some chocolate and a lounge chair. Your therapy session has begun.

I understand you have a new release out called A STROKE OF MAGIC. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

The blurb:

You know how freaky it is, to expect one taste and get another? Imagine picking up a can of tepid ginger ale and taking a swig of delicious, icy cold peppermint tea. Alice Raymond did just that. And though the tea is exactly what she wants, she bought herself a soda.

One Stroke of Magic and Everything Has Changed.

No, Alice’s life isn’t exactly paint-by-numbers. After breaking things off with her lying, stealing, bum of an ex, she discovered she’s pregnant. Motherhood was definitely on her “someday” wish list, but a baby means less time for her art and no time for recent hallucinations that include this switcharoo with the tea. She has to impress her new boss, the ridiculously long-lashed, smoky-eyed Ethan Gallagher, and she has to deal with her family, who have started rambling about gypsy curses. Only a soul-deep bond with the right man can save her and her child? As if being single wasn’t pressure enough!

A Stroke of Magic is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

It was actually fairly simple. The first book in the series, A TASTE OF MAGIC, set the stage for the second book: both in the actual story and in the title. The first book focuses on Elizabeth, and how her magic manifests in her baking in the form of wishes…hence A Taste of Magic. In A STROKE OF MAGIC, the focus is now on Elizabeth’s sister, Alice, who is an artist, and she discovers that her power exists in her artwork, i.e. drawing, painting, etc.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

I love empowering my heroines, and I love magic, so it seemed to be a perfect fit for me. I’m a long time fan-girl of shows like Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie, and Charmed, so that also
added to the appeal. Besides, magic is fun and filled with endless possibilities.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

Alice’s story evolved naturally from Elizabeth’s. I knew by the time I finished writing A Taste of Magic that I really, really wanted to write Alice’s journey. I’m thrilled to have been able to do so!

What are your favorite paranormal research books or sites, and why?

I am so boring! I don’t actually use any research books or sites. The magic in these books follows a set of rules I created, so I haven’t had a need to search out information related to the paranormal elements.

Which character did you like writing about the most, and why?

Because I “hear” the heroine’s voice in my head more than any of my other characters, I’d have to say Alice. I really became attached to her and her story. So much so, that it stuck with me for months after the book was finally finished, making it difficult to get into my new heroine’s head.

I’m still a fan of Grandma Verda, though! Every time she pulls one of her antics—and gets away with it—I love her even more. I truly hope when I’m her age, I’m a lot like her!

Tell us about how you develop your characters. Do you create character sheets, do interviews, that sort of thing? How does your research and/or world affect your character development?

Ah, the characterization question! I stay away from character sheets, interview questions, and any other type of in-depth character development strategies with a passion. I learned a long time ago that I’m just not wired to come up with interesting characters by using a chart. Doesn’t work for me. Instead, I begin with a few basic facts about my characters, and then I’ll write myself a letter from the character’s point of view. Sounds silly, maybe, and at first, it feels a little silly. But always, at some point in the writing of the letter, nuances begin to show themselves. Those little things that make a character tick. I am also surprised by what I learn.
The rest of my characterization evolves naturally as I’m writing the book.

How do you go about building your world if you use one? Do you use maps, charts or drawings?

My world is the normal, everyday world for the most part, so mostly I focus on following my “rules” for the paranormal element—which is the gypsy magic. Naturally, I try to make sure that anything I share about the locale (Chicago) is accurate.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

There are so many amazing authors who have inspired me that mentioning names feels very wrong. I couldn’t possibly name all the books and authors I’ve read who have made me want to write better.

What do you feel is the most effective promotion you have done for your book?

I’m still trying to figure that out! Promotion is such a fuzzy area. What works for one author might not work for another. I’ve focused on doing what I can within my budget (both money and time), and trying to connect with readers, booksellers, and reviewers.

What do we have to look forward next?

Book three in the Gypsy Magic series, A BREATH OF MAGIC, will hit the shelves in May, 2010. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but anyone who reads A STROKE OF MAGIC should easily be able to figure who’s next to receive the family’s gypsy magic!

Thanks, Tracy!

To celebrate her book release, Tracy is offering a signed copy of A STROKE OF MAGIC to one
lucky commenter on today's blog. She will be around all day today. I'm sure some of you have questions or comments for her, so please ask away...


Tracy Madison lives in Northwestern Ohio with her husband, four children, a bear-sized dog, a snobby cat, and a loud-mouthed bird. Her house is often hectic, noisy, and filled to the brim with laugh-out-loud moments. Many of these incidents fire up her imagination to create the interesting, realistic, and intrinsically funny characters that live in her stories.

As a successful freelance writer, Tracy writes all day, every day. She has the most fun when she’s knee-deep into a new story, figuring out who her characters are and breathing life into them. She’s active in her local RWA chapter, reads several books a week, and is addicted to
reality television.

Check out author’s website at and her group blog at

Buy A Stroke of Magic at Amazon:

Buy A Taste of Magic at Amazon:


Anonymous said...

Good morning Tracy. Thanks again for blogging with us. I love the premise of your book. Magic has always fascinated me. If magic really existed, what type of magician would you be? I'd transport myself somewhere instantly to avoid flying! Have a great day.

CrystalGB said...

Great interview. A Stroke of Magic sounds good. Pretty cover.

Tracy Madison said...

Hi, Kim: Thanks for having me! As always, it's a pleasure to be here.

Hey, Crystal! Thanks, I've been very lucky in my covers. :)

Tameka said...

Loved your blogg today and I wouldn't mind winning A Little Stroke of Magic because if I had a little magic theirs so much things I would do with it . Lol

Angela Lam Turpin said...

I am so thrilled with the interview with Tracy Madison. Her take on empowering women through magic reminds me why a lot of readers love chick lit books--the problems women face are always resolved by themselves. I think no matter how much we've evolved as a world-community, women still feel at odds with the conflict of living their own life and trying to integrate into the lives of those they love. A touch of magic makes everything better.

Tracy Madison said...

Hi, Tameka: I'm with you there! If I had magic...well, that's an entirely new blog post!

Hey, Angela: I'm so happy you enjoyed the interview. And I'm right there with you--I love empowering my heroines. Magic allows me to give my heroines something different, special, to begin the process...and then, of course, they learn that they don't necessarily need the magic to come into their own.

Carolyn Matkowsky said...

Your book sounds like such fun. I was also a fan of Bewitched, Jeanne and Charmed. I like the idea of your character writing you a letter. You've got a very creative mind. Good luck with your books.

Estella said...

Is there going to be more than 3 books in the Gypsy Magic series?

Tracy Madison said...

Hi, Carolyn: Thank you :) But I can't take credit for the letter. That comes from my very good friend, Steeple Hill author Lisa Mondello. Thank goodness she shared it with me, because it's the one tool that I always use.

Estella: I'm contracted through book 4 (as of yet untitled), but I certainly have other least for one more. But right now, my focus is on finishing book 3 and then getting book 4 off the ground. :) Thanks for asking!

Tina LaVon said...

Who doesn't wish they had a touch of magic to control their lives. But then, love is really the best magic of all. That's why romances are still selling well in this economy.

Thanks for stopping by MCTT, Tracy.

Cynde L. Hammond said...

Great interview, Kim!

Tracy's book sounds like it's right up my alley--I love to read stories like that! Even though I write mysteries myself, 'magic' has always been one of my favorite types of stories as a kid.

By the way...please visit my blog and let me know what you think about the interview that I did with fantasy/fiction author "Aylerion". He's quite an interesting man.

Also, don't miss your chance to win one of three FREE autographed copies of "Aylerion's" novel entitled: "Daughter of New York".

Congratulations, again, on the fabulous interview. You both did an impressive job and I'm so glad that I didn't miss it.

Until we meet again,
Cynde's Got The Write Stuff

Donna Del Grosso said...

Hi Tracy!
Your book sounds great. Makes me want to go get the first one too! How in the heck do you have time to write with 4 kids running around?? Yikes! Good Luck with it all!

Tracy Madison said...

Hi, Cynde: I love magic in stories, too...obviously! Thanks for stopping by.

Hi, Donna: LOL! I definitely have to work to find *quiet* time to work. Luckily, I have some pretty great kids!

Tracy Madison said...

WINNER! I used to choose the winner of a signed copy of A STROKE OF MAGIC...and the winner is...


I've sent you an email, Tameka...just need your address and I'll get the book sent off to you.

Thanks again to Kim and everyone else here at Much Cheaper Than Therapy...I loved visiting!