Tracy Bilen is the author of YA suspense novel What She Left Behind.
I’ve read What She Left Behind and absolutely LOVED it!
You can read my review HERE
Born Bookish: What She Left Behind is your first book. How does it feel to see it on store shelves?
Amazing! Getting the cover art in my e-mail inbox and seeing my book on the shelf were the two most exciting days for me!
Born Bookish: You did such a great job creating the character of Sara’s dad. Every time he came into a scene I swear my heart stopped beating. Was it hard to create a character that was so terrifying?
Thanks! Writing some of the other characters was actually more difficult for me, but for all of my characters it took many drafts for them to start to become real people to me. With each draft I tried to add more unique details.
Born Bookish: Sara spends a lot of her time worried about what her father might do next, jumping when she hears the front door close, or his footsteps down the hall. Did you ever scare yourself when writing those scenes?
I usually write late at night, so yeah, sometimes if my husband was out of town and I had to check to see if the garage door was shut, my heart was pounding a bit (especially if I had forgotten to close it!)
Born Bookish: Can you tell us a little bit about your writing process? Do you make yourself write a certain amount of words a day, etc?
When I’m writing my first draft, the first 30 pages come very easily because I’m caught up in a new idea. After that it’s more like work and I always set a word count goal for myself and chart my progress in a notebook. I’m a teacher, so if I don’t have a looming deadline, during the school year my goal might be as low as 100 words. But on school breaks or when there’s a deadline, I aim for 1,000 words a day.
Born Bookish: Which character was easiest for you to write? Why?
Sara was the easiest because I was telling the story from her viewpoint and it was easy to live the story through her in my mind.
Born Bookish: Do you find it hard to throw obstacles in your characters way or make life difficult for them?
I think it’s definitely a learning process to figure out how to do that right! But I don’t mind giving them obstacles because it spurs the story forward.
Born Bookish: If you had to choose a song to portray your book, what song would it be?
Wildfire – the seventies song by Michael Martin Murphy…it plays an almost haunting role in the book
Born Bookish: If you could travel anywhere in the world instantaneously where would you go?
I’d probably go back to France since I’m a French teacher.
Born Bookish: What was your favorite children’s book growing up?
Anne of Green Gables and Emily of New Moon by L.M. Montgomery. I loved to re-read these series, and Anne felt like a kindred spirit because she loved to write. I also keep a quote from her on my classroom wall: “Today is a new day with no mistakes in it yet.”
Born Bookish: What is the best book you’ve read this year?
I’ve read tons of great books this year, but my most recent favorite is The Waiting Sky by Lara Zielin
Born Bookish: Do you have any new books in the works that you can tell us a little bit about?
I’m currently writing another YA thriller…think explosions!
Born Bookish: Here at Born Bookish I have a segment called Breathtaking Book Covers where I post the cover image of a book that I think is stunning. Is there a book cover that has ever taken your breath away? If so, what book?
I’m a sucker for tornadoes (what they look like, not the devastation they cause), so I loved the cover for The Waiting Sky (Lara Zielin)Thanks so much for the interview Tracy!! =D