Wednesday, November 25, 2009

with Tracy Ruckman

Patterings


Welcome to Patterings, Tracy! It's a treat having you here. =)
Tell us about your epiphany moment when you decided you were going to seriously pursue writing and eventually publication.

About 20 years ago, I joined a young women’s club at a church. One of the benefits of membership included a subscription to a monthly magazine. After the first issue or two, and a couple of months participating with this special group of ladies, I fired off a letter to the editor of that magazine, sharing my enjoyment of the magazine and of the group. Then I promptly forgot about it.

The following year, I attended a community-wide Thanksgiving service where we were encouraged to give out of our hearts to help the needy.

We were pretty needy ourselves that year – we had no money to give, and truly had no idea where our next meal was coming from. The Lord nudged me and said, “Take the coins from the bottom of your purse.” I paused, and then questioned, “Lord, surely not. You’re worth more than pennies.” And of course He said, “Just give.”

I dug the coins out of the bottom of my purse as quietly as I could, and just peeked at the small handful – not much silver at all. But I obeyed, and when the offering plate was passed, I gently placed the coins on top of bills, praying everyone wouldn’t hear that I was only putting in a few cents, humiliation heating my face. I was so embarrassed.

The very next morning, I walked to the mailbox and found a letter from the editor of that magazine I mentioned earlier. He apologized for the year-long delay, explained that my letter had been lost, but recently found again, and they wished to purchase it as an article, instead of running it as a letter. A check would be sent within a few days. Then he asked if I would be interested in writing book reviews on a monthly basis for them.

I knew without a doubt that the timing was God’s, and that He blessed my obedience to Him. That very week, I began studying the writing field as a career, but pursued it only part-time until 2005, when I took the leap and went full-time.

What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
Finding the time and concentration to write is my biggest obstacle to writing novels, especially since we depend on my income. I began editing almost full-time in 2008 – when we were struggling to sell a house that stayed on the market three years. (Thank God, it finally sold!) So I’ve put novel writing on the back burner, and now I write shorter pieces. I’ve had great success with my nonfiction shorter pieces, and am always churning nonfiction book ideas. I hope to someday return to my novels (they continue to brew in my head – the characters just won’t leave me alone!) but I just take things one day at a time to see where He leads.

What is your strangest habit?
Well, I hate to admit this, but I’m a casual “sweeper.” In 2001, I won a contest/sweepstakes and received an awesome trip to Venice, Italy. Then, in 2006, I won a huge Super Bowl prize package - not a trip, but lots of goodies that included a large HDTV and a recliner. So now, usually one evening a week, I spend a couple of hours entering contests and sweepstakes. Silly, I know, but it’s something to help me wind down from work, and if I win, woo-hoo!

Oh, I love that, Tracy! That would be a good way to wind down! I hope you win something fun really soon!
Are there things you put off doing because you dread them?

I procrastinate anything to do with housework as long as I can possibly manage – I just don’t like that stuff! Most everything else, I just do it as it comes along, because if I postpone it, it may not get done. (Yeah, I know the same rule could be applied to housework, but it’s HOUSEWORK.)

What would a perfect day for you look like?
This may seem like a strange answer, but right now, many of my days are “perfect” because I love the life God has given me, right here, right now. I have a precious, loving, God-fearing husband and sweet, spoiled-rotten dog; my grown sons are succeeding in life. My home – a little cabin in the woods - fits me perfectly and my friends are the rarest and most beautiful of jewels. Daily, God sends amazing critters (lizards, birds, bugs, funny-looking squirrels, even a fox and armadillo) into my view, and I have the freedom and the inclination to praise, worship, and thank Him whenever I want. My work is an incredible, ever-changing, creative journey filled with remarkable clients and unique stories. Any day that includes all of the above is one perfect day – and it’s truly a gift from God that I appreciate deeply.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I read widely – fiction, nonfiction, CBA, ABA. It’s probably easier to tell you what I don’t like, than what I do, although I’ve found my tastes have changed a bit over the years. I don’t like books that have a hidden agenda – I usually spot it pretty quickly. I don’t like books without a plot – and unfortunately, there are some published that don’t have one. I also don’t like books filled with filthy language or sex for the shock value. Really, there’s no point. Recently, I had a conversation with another writer. I told her I refused to read books that used filthy language. She said she understood, but that she could handle those kinds of books because she grew up with brothers. I told her it wasn’t because I hadn’t been exposed to the language, but because I HAD been, and now I was CHOOSING not to fill my head with garbage. There is a difference, I think.

Are there certain foods or snacks keeps the words flowing for you?
My husband Tim’s answer to this question would be ice cream – for him, ice cream keeps the world going ‘round. But no, for me, there’s no certain food to keep the words flowing. However, I do like to cook and I like to eat, so if I get stuck, or need to ponder a scene, I’ll go to the kitchen and cook something. I cook just about anything – gourmet, country, Italian, Mexican, Chinese, French, American, bbq, Southern – although I don’t do much baking.

My favorite cake these days is the 5-Minute Chocolate Mug Cake, so it meets all our baked good needs.

You like to cook?! You are welcome to visit and cook here ANY time you'd like! I wish we were neighbors--I'd clean for you if you'd cook some for us! LoL
Are there spiritual themes you like to write about?

Looking back over published articles, it seems like the one theme that seems to run throughout is God’s provision. God has and does provide for us – in many creative ways. We just need to learn to recognize it as His provision, instead of taking credit for it ourselves. It all belongs to Him anyway.

What lesson is the Lord teaching you right now or recently taught you?
This summer, I completed Jennifer Rothschild’s Me, Myself, & Lies Bible study. Learning that our past and our circumstances and our lifestyles can fill our “thought closets” full of awful lies from the enemy, and crowd out God’s Truths – that was a powerful lesson to learn. Even simple things like calling myself an “idiot” or a “doofus” when I make a mistake – those are things I shouldn’t do. Instead, we learned a list of truths straight from the Bible about who we are, and Whose we are.

When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?
As I answer these questions, I don’t have an answer for this one. But by the time this interview is published, that may have changed, so check my Pix-N-Pens blog, or my web site for the latest information.


Patty – thanks so much for a GREAT interview, and for inviting me to visit. Merry Christmas, y’all!

And thank YOU for being with us, Tracy! =)

You can purchase Christmas Miracles from Amazon:

Tracy is giving away a copy of Christmas Miracles. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment and check back on Sunday, November 29th to see if you've won. You can enter twice--once on each post in this spotlight. If you want to guarantee that you're notified if you win, then leave your email address in the comment, otherwise, you can just check back and email me through the button in my sidebar.
**Annoying little disclaimer: This giveaway is void where prohibited; open only to U.S. addresses, odds of winning depend on number of entrants. No purchase necessary. By clicking on the Amazon link above or in the sidebar and purchasing I will receive a small percentage of the sale.

11 comments:

  1. Tracy is not just a wonderful author. She is generous writer who tries to help others with tips and challenges.

    Lovely interview!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Enjoyed the interview and would love to be entered in the drawing. Thank you!

    cherierj(at)yahoo(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  3. Anonymous10:32 AM

    great interview...hope I win the drawing...phdclark@swbell.net

    ReplyDelete
  4. Tracy is just full of life! Good interview. I'm enamoured with the book's cover. It draws me right in. I'd love to win it.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Ok, when she said she was a "sweeper", I thought she was going to say she loved housework. ;) Glad to see she's just like me. Great interview, Peej!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Patty - thanks so very much for hosting me this week! I loved your questions - very unique!

    And thanks everyone for your kind words and encouragement. God is so awesome!!

    May you all have an extra special Thanksgiving, filled with the love, laughter, joy, and peace that can only come from God!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I haven't read any of Tracy's books yet, but would love to. Please sign me up for the contest.
    Deborah M.
    debbiejeanm[at]gmail[dot]com

    ReplyDelete
  8. Anonymous8:23 AM

    Another great interview. Please enter me in the drawing. Thanks!

    joann4us(at)yahoo(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  9. Anonymous2:15 PM

    enjoyed this interview...would love to read this fabulous book.

    karenk
    kmkuka(at)yahoo(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  10. Please enter me in your giveaway. Thanks!!
    esterried[at]yahoo[dot]com

    ReplyDelete
  11. Haven't read Tracy's books to date. Please enter me. Thank you.
    desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete

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