Traci Harding is a prolific and imaginative author whose most recent release is ‘The Universe Parallel’ which was released in a new format last week. I read and reviewed this book for it’s first release so thought this would be the perfect opportunity to try and get inside Traci’s head a little. And here is what I found out.
What made you decide to be a writer?
I was never a reader when I was young – I was a daydreamer. I’d start reading a book and find it too slow; or when the story didn’t go where I thought it should, I’d give up on the reading and imagine my own ending. My daydreaming turned into storytelling – I’d make up stories and tell them to my friends.
I never bothered writing them down, as I was not very good at English and dyslexic as well, so the thought never entered my mind. Then my best friend, who I used to tell my tales to, went overseas for six months, and asked me to write her a story because she was having withdrawals. I never finished that tale, but soon after I began writing a story about a rock and roll band, that another friend read and suggested we turn into a film script.
I began working at a film studio and I wrote another three scripts before I wrote one called ‘CHAIRS’ which was truly worthy of producing as a feature film; but as the story involved about five different time periods and loads of special effects, trying to raise the budget in this country at that time proved too frustrating.
When I ended up back in record retail to support myself, I got fed up with trying to get a film off the ground and began writing ‘the Ancient Future’. My best friend, then became my editor, and she has edited all my books to date. I am still hoping to make my films in this country one day, but with writing fantasy big budgets just can’t be avoided, so fingers crossed one day we’ll get there.
How did you get your start with HarperCollins Voyager Australia, I understand you have quite a long relationship with them?
I actually wanted HarperCollins as my publishers long before my manuscript was ever sent to them. When I was writing ‘the Ancient Future’ a friend asked what I planned to do with my story when I was done? I shrugged and told them that the right person would come along to take it where it needed to go.
‘But haven’t you thought about who you would like to publish it?” she asked.
I had a quick glance at my bookshelf that housed all my research books, and as most of them where published by HarperCollins, I replied, ‘Well, HarperCollins would be good.’ It was one of those ‘off the cuff’ wishes, but in my experience they always prove to be the most effective.
The right person did indeed come along in the form of my agent, Selwa Anthony. Selwa sent my MS to several publishers and it was rejected for reasons of having just put on other new fantasy authors. But when Selwa wrote to say the MS had gone to HarperCollins, I knew in my gut they were going to take me on. I got a meeting with them to discuss the MS.
I thought I was going to have to do massive rewrites or something, but instead I got told – my lead character was too perfect, and I had to cut 60,000 words. ‘No problem, I can fix that.’ I replied, and that was it, I was in. I have always been very happy with my publishers, and they with me, as I have not been out of contract in over fifteen years, and I have trilogy ahead me still. I consider myself very fortunate indeed, and very sensible not to have listened to those people who said that you cannot make a living out of being an author in this country, as you most certainly can.
Your current release, The Universe Parallel, has just been released in a new format, what can you tell us about the novel?
In this second book of the trilogy, the story takes a strange u-turn and merges itself with my first two trilogies – the Ancient Future Trilogy and the Celestial Triad.
I was wondering why I kept recognising the characters in ‘Being of the Field’ as reincarnations of the characters from my earlier tales, when this story was unfolding in an entirely different universe? I had to wonder if this was just a lack of imagination on my behalf, or whether there was a deeper meaning, story-wise, for why they were doing this? Then, late in the pages of the first book of the trilogy – ‘Being of the Field’ – a connection to those previous trilogies was revealed! In ‘the Universe Parallel’ it becomes very apparent why my characters reinvented themselves and that their doing so was no accident.
The presence of their old souls brings about a very meaningful development in the Triad of Being, and awarded me a chance to further play with time, space, reality and a few old friends – with some hilarious, heart-stopping and soul-warming results.
However, there is no need to have read the earlier books to enjoy the Triad of Being, the twist is just a little added excitement for those who have read the first two trilogies.
One reader said of ‘the Universe Parallel – ‘it’s the Ancient Future meets X-men on Groundhog Day in space!’
The Universe Parallel is the second book in the Triad of Being trilogy, when can we expect to see the final book in stores?
A very good question…the third book in the trilogy ‘the Light-field’ was due out in December 2011, however, after I’d finished writing the book, it decided that the small epilogue of a few thousand words, was going to transform into a part 4, and the book ended up being 26,000 action packed words longer than expected – which I am sure will delight the readers. So subsequently ‘the Light-field’ will now be released in February 2012.
Where do you get your inspiration?
Anything weird, wonderful and unexplained will capture my interest and spark a story. For example, a reader posted on my board a statement ‘has Tory been time traveling again?’
This question had a link to a news story about archeologists that had found a cave in China, which had been sealed closed for a thousand years, and yet inside amongst the treasures they found a one hundred year old Swiss ring-watch? How did it get there? In my mind I was already creating a story to explain it.
I read on your site that the latest trilogy is connected to at least 2 others. Do all of your novels share a connection?
All my novels share my life philosophies – like, you create your own reality, heal your own body, bring about your own fortune or misfortune – everything depends on your own thought patterns and intention.
Still, the connection between my first two trilogies and the Triad of Being, is the characters. My characters reincarnate not just in different times, but different universes now it seems, which demonstrates the enormity and interconnectedness of consciousness beautifully. I love the expansive life experience they have come to portray in my tales, whilst still letting me feel that I’m moving through the unknown with characters I know, love and can trust.
How would you describe your writing, subject matter and style?
My style of writing is easy reading, fast paced and rather cinematic. My readers often tell me my tales are like reading a movie and are usually so fast paced that my editor has asked, several times, if my characters could just stop and have a cup coffee every once and awhile? ‘Hell no,’ I insist, ‘if readers want a break in the action, then they have to put the book down.’ It is my job to make sure they cannot stop turning those pages! If I don’t have something fantastic happening all the time then I get bored – and if I am bored, the readers are bored, and I do my best to avoid that at all costs.
My favorite subjects are history, quantum physics, esoteric doctrine, the ancient mysteries, metaphysical law, space, alternative dimensions and states of consciousness – but my real foray is time travel, and time is far and away my favorite subject to toy with.
What is one interesting thing we wouldn’t know about you?
I have, over the past few years, become quite the whiz with iMovie. I have recently edited together a book trailer/teaser for my forthcoming release, ‘the Light-field’ which I plan to release towards the end of the year in preparation for the books release in February 2012. I will be launching the book trailer on my brand new website to be found at traciharding.com.
You have quite an impressive catalogue of titles to your name, have you got any advice for aspiring writers?
Make time to work on your writing everyday, I never got anywhere until I decided writing was my first job, and everything else was a sideline. You may think that is unrealistic because of your job, or your kids etc, but you’ll be surprised how you can work around everything, if you are passionate and determined enough. I’ve had two children and still managed to put out a book a year.
Write about whatever pleases or interests you, and don’t be influenced too much by others. Expect to have to hone your craft – take critic with heart, not to heart and just keep going. Any pursuit is only worth doing for the pure joy you feel doing it, if you are lusting after outcomes – like the money your going to make out of it, or the fame you are going to have – you’re not really in it for the art and that will reflect in the quality of your work. Once you start treating your art seriously, so will everyone else.
What are you reading right now?
I rarely read fiction, I’m always reading for research, and at present I’m reading several different books.
‘The Chinese Roswell – UFO Encounteres in the Far East from Ancient Times to the Present’ – by Hartwig Hausdorf.
‘Anecdotes about Spirits and Immortals’ – Gan Buo – Jin Dynesty (317-420 AD) English Translation
‘Measuring the Immeasurable – the scientific case for Spirituality’ – various authors – including one of my faves – Lynne McTaggart.
Can you tell us what’s next for Traci Harding?
I am currently deeply immersed in the first book of my new trilogy ‘the Timekeepers’, and I’m having way too much fun already! So, I’ll be working on this trilogy for the next few years.
Also, one of my stand alone novels, ‘the Alchemist’s Key’, is currently being developed as a feature film – so hopefully in near future we’ll also see my vision for a big budget Australian fantasy feature film realized.
And in the very near future – August 4th– 6th I’ll be at the Byron Bay Writer’s Festival.
Finally, what does being a woman mean to you?
That’s an odd question really – I never wanted to be a man, so I guess it means an awful lot! I suppose being a woman allows me to form closer bonds with others than if I’d been a man, and that I really cherish. I certainly couldn’t do without my intuition, my girlfriends, tea parties, or long hot baths.
Still, I am not a very feminine kind of girl, I like being a strong, no frills kind of female, so I think more than just being a woman, it’s being a woman in the 21st century that I find so appealing. As from my own research, I probably would have been burned at the stake in any other age.
Thanks Traci for stopping by to chat with us, I can’t wait to see how the feature film goes and I am looking forward to the Light Field in February.
I devour books, vampires and supernatural creatures are my genre of choice but over the past couple of years, I have broadened my horizons considerably. In a nutshell – I love to write! I love interacting with a diverse range of artists to bring you interviews. Perhaps we were perfect before – I LOVE WORDS!