Tracey Morait is the first author to be interviewed me since I moved my online presence to healthy, happy woman and she joins me today to share new about her latest book, Episode. She’s the author of 6 books, comes from Liverpool and is a fanatical football fan – who wouldn’t be coming from Liverpool! She now lives in Bristol with her husband.
A 5 star review for my book on Amazon.co.uk. “I have read all of Tracey Morait’s books and have greatly enjoyed every single one of them. And of course, this one is no exception. Tracey has a direct no-frills style of writing which she uses to good effect, allying it to quality narrative and very natural, very real dialogue from equally natural and believable characters. Here though, the lady has really excelled herself. The aforesaid qualities bring to the reader a fast-paced, highly engaging tale, taking in both modern family tensions, scenes from history and literature, deep friendship amid stress and strain, and all laced with a lightness and humour which delights the reader, well, it delighted me, I can only assume it will delight you. Now, the story. This book is so hot off the press I cannot reveal much, so spoilers to be avoided at all costs, but let’s just cover the basics to give an idea of what’s what. A family from Liverpool are on holiday in Cyprus – mum, dad – and two daughters, who, as can often be the case, do not get on with each other. One of the girls – Alisha, called Ali by those closest to her, has epilepsy. While her parents are sympathetic, as indeed they should be, her sister Sal resents Ali for not only getting more attention than her due to her illness, often sees family time whether holidays or at home, severely disrupted through Ali’s seizures. However, while in Cyprus, Ali discovers her seizures can open time portals; sometimes she is drawn into a portal involuntarily, but as the tale develops Ali finds she has an element of control and on occasions is highly relieved to be once again shooting through time and space. Although there are brief sojourns through time and space to the Shetland’s main town of Lerwick as well as her home town of Liverpool, with of course short spells back to the ‘here and now’ of the family holiday in Cyprus, the main setting for the tale is ancient Sparta and the court, if that’s the right word, of Princess Helen, or, Helen of Troy as we know her better. Through Ali we become witnesses to many scenes we know and love through such revered tomes as the Iliad, and many other incidents which (and only reading this book can explain why, including an amazing turn of events involving future technology) never made the history books at all. All the famed characters: Helen, Paris, Hector, Menelaus, Agamemnon and more are there, some are prominent in the tale, others not so much. The gods and goddesses are there too, as they should be; Zeus and his boys and girls, each with their own special powers, each using these for good, or for bad, and sometimes both from the same deity. And that is all I can tell you. Although the target age seems to be broadly older kids / YA, that don’t matter a jot, all, no matter if 10 or a 110, who enjoy fast-paced, light and humorous tales, will love this. All in all, another cracking read from Tracy Morait.”
What did your worst review say about your work?
My books have averaged 3 stars and above and I’ve not yet had a bad review for Episode, but did only get 2 stars for my book Big Brother on Amazon.com in 2013. I think they’d bought the wrong book! I was pleased that they found it too violent as that was the intention as it is a hard-hitting YA book, but on reflection maybe I went a bit overboard!
How important are the names of any characters in your book?
In Episode, Alisha’s full name means ‘protected by God’ in many cultures and it is also of Greek origin; the character Travis reflects his status as a time traveller: his name means ‘to cross over’; the Greek gods are well-known and play a big part in my book, especially Selene, the Goddess of the Moon, because it was believed in ancient Greece that it was she who bestowed the ‘falling sickness’ on people.
How did you choose a title for your book?
I have complex partial epilepsy. I used the idea of tonic-clonic (grand mal) seizures to transport Travis to other worlds in my book Epiworld in 2010. When someone has a seizure they lose time and I liked the idea of someone being sent to another world or time. A seizure is known as an episode and Alisha has the same condition as Travis, so when she has her episodes her adventures begin. Episode is not a sequel to Epiworld, but I reintroduced Travis as a sort of mentor to help Ali through her journey.
Are there any occupational hazards to being a writer?
Time! I work as a medical secretary which very much gets in my way! Also when the laptop fails that can be a nightmare! Without a word processor or the internet an indie author can’t function.
Have you ever wished you could do, or be, something else? I always wanted to be an airline pilot. That wouldn’t have been a good idea as it took me six attempts to pass my driving test! I would have liked to have been a football referee, too, to referee the men. I love football; my team is Liverpool FC. I’ve written two books about football and want to write more.
Do you think there is any elitism attached to different book genres?
I can’t specifically answer that, but I do get annoyed when celebrities get book deals at the drop of a hat, becoming children authors overnight. If they have experience of writing scripts for TV, fair enough, they have that skill, but I believe most of them use ghost writers and are already marketable, so the publishers have to do very little work to get books sold or on the shelves. New authors have few chances to get noticed. That’s why I’m happy to stay an indie.
Have you ever written naked?
No; unless you count tweeting topless (at home) while willing Liverpool to win a match. I did that two seasons’ ago and it worked until my husband said it frightened the cat!
What is the biggest challenge you faced when writing your book?
The death of my mum. I began Episode in 2015, then she died a month later. I then had a struggle sorting her estate in Liverpool and selling her property. I also had depression and anxiety. I usually write and publish my books in eighteen months or so, but Episode wasn’t finished until 2019.
Do you have any hints or tips for aspiring writers?
Use a notebook to jot down any ideas and map out your story before you start Make sure your spellings are correct and consistent. Make sure you have your spelling/grammar checking on your wordprocessor Use Twitter, Facebook, Instagram to market your work, but don’t go mad; people get bored. Limit your news to 1-2 tweets/posts a week You need a website/blog. I use WordPress, it’s very low cost and easy to maintain. Be prepared for marketing being a major headache! It can take time away from your writing, but if people don’t know about your book, they won’t buy it.
How do you remain sane whilst writing? If I were sane I wouldn’t keep writing, so…
What is the best excuse you’ve had for missing a deadline?
My mum died. Episode was supposed to have been published in 2017 not 2019.
What has been the best experience of your life so far?
Marrying my lovely husband! Seeing my books in print and holding them in my hands, telling myself, ‘I wrote this!’ and leaving a legacy of the stories I have told. I’m also chuffed when I get a great review.
Are you jealous of other writers?
Sometimes. I think, ‘What have you got that I haven’t and where did you get all those reviews?’ I’m even jealous of their 1 or 2 star reviews. A review is something, a reaction, even a negative one, and is better than nothing.
Where do you find your inspiration?
From life experiences, interests and things I know, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have to do some research, too. I think I’ll always have a book in me somewhere.
What was the most important thing you learned at school? That I was more suited to the arts than the sciences.
Have you ever had to learn a new skill or trick, or attempted an impossible feat to finish your work?
I didn’t realise until I started writing seriously how hard the English language actually is. I have English language and literature qualifications, but the various grammatical and spelling variations have thrown me completely in the past and my eyes were opened when I took a proof-reading course.
What is the strangest thing you have ever had to do to promote your book?
I have business cards and have slotted them into books on the shelves in shops like Waterstones and into magazines in WH Smith; and I’ve taken copies on holiday and left them in hotel libraries!
Which book would you like to have written?
The Iliad or The Odyssey, but of course I’m not as old as Homer and he was a poet, whereas I’m not.
What is your favourite film or TV moment of all time?
The 2019 Champions League Final on BBC 1 when Jordan Henderson raised the Champions League trophy for Liverpool. We’d been waiting fourteen years since that amazing night in Instanbul in 2005!
Do you have a favourite writing resource to share with my readers and other writers?
I used to like Self Publishing Magazine, a UK-based mag, which was availabe in print and online and with whom I got some of my books reviewed. Sadly, they stopped printing and went online only, and they don’t offer reviews any more, but they do have some interesting and informative articles. They’ve changed their name to Independent Publishing Magazine.
Are there any habits you wish you didn’t have?
I wish I wasn’t so addicted to Twitter and football, I find them both too distracting!
If you could commit the perfect murder where would you ‘bury’ the body?
I’d chop it up and bury the head under the pitch at Old Trafford, the legs at the Etihad, the arms at Goodison Park, the bottom torso at Stamford Bridge, the top torso at the Emirates, the hands at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and the feet at the King Power Stadium (Leicester City)!
You can find Episode in paperback and Kindle format.
You can meet Tracey on her website here: https://traceymorait.co.uk/
WHY ‘THE THURSDAY THRONG’?
These posts are called The Thursday Throng in honour of the throng that waits eagerly outside the book store when a new author is doing a book signing event or appearance. On this website it takes the form of a ‘Meet the Author‘ online event with some information about our author’s latest book and an interview. If you would like to take part in the Thursday Throng then why not visit Thursday Throng Author Interview Guidelines to find out more.