Today we travel to North Carolina in the US to chat with Tracie Barton-Barrett. She and I discuss how Walter Farley, journaling, Smurfette, being a life-long animal enthusiast, a licensed Professional Counselor, and being in the woods fit into Tracie’s life.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
As a life-long animal enthusiast, I’m a speaker, Licensed Professional Counselor with a specialty in pet loss, and former psychology and sociology instructor. Buried Deep in Our Hearts is my debut novel, and I hope it will help the reader to relate, reflect, and heal after the loss of a beloved animal. I’ve facilitated pet loss support groups and presented and written articles on the subject. I’m originally from Michigan and my husband and I live in North Carolina in the US and am owned by our two cats, Rutherford B. Barrett and Oliver Monkey.
In which genre do you write?
Contemporary/Women’s fiction. The next book will be more YA.
How many published books do you have?
Just one, thus far! (BURIED DEEP IN OUR HEARTS)
What would you choose as your mascot, spirit animal, or avatar and why?
Sometimes I feel like a horse. Sometimes I feel like a tiger. And, then sometimes I feel like a pigeon and sometimes I’m the statue!
What does your ideal writing space look like?
It really depends upon my mood. Sometimes I’m in my office, sometimes I’m outside or at the library. Sometimes I’m sitting in my chair in the bedroom, and sometimes on the floor. Just depends!
What are you currently reading?
I usually read local/indie authors whose writing is comparable to best-seller’s. Just beta read for my friend who will be releasing INVISIBLE GIRL soon.
What do you do when not writing or marketing your books?
I love to be in the woods or in/near the water, spend time with friends and family. I also love to travel, pet any animal, horseback ride, Christmas, learn about history, laugh, and watch really good shows and movies, including ones I’ve watched so many times, I can quote the lines! Huge Disney fan here, too!
If you could have a fantasy tea or coffee date with an author or famous person from the past or present, who would it be and what would you ask them?
Since I geek out to anything television or movie, this is a difficult question. As of this writing, I would love to spend time with Betty White and ask her about her time when television was first making its debut and her experience on Golden Girls, one of my favorite sit-coms. She’s also a huge animal supporter, so we wouldn’t be at a loss for topics to discuss. As for a former author, I’d love to talk with either Harper Lee, since TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD is one of my all-time favorite novels. Or, I would talk with Walter Farley, who wrote THE BLACK STALLION books. And, would love to sit down with Walt Disney. So many things I’d love to discuss with him!
What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself through writing?
That I’m writing fiction! I always read non-fiction as a child, so when I told my mom I was writing fiction she asked me, with a glint in her eye, “You do know what fiction is, don’t you?”
Do you journal write or keep a personal diary? Has this helped with your published writings? If so, how?
I’ve journaled every morning for about 27 years. I think it helps get the juices flowing. But, it’s amazing, it seems as though the day isn’t complete if I don’t journal, and I almost feel “backed up” when I don’t!
What do you miss about being a kid?
I miss the times I spent with my brother. We still are connected, but now that he’s older, with a family of his own, it’s more difficult. But, when his kids are grown (my awesome niece and nephew), then he’ll have more time. Life often turns full-circle.
If you were trapped in a cartoon world from your childhood, which one would you choose and why?
I do remember wanting to be Smurfette for a while. All those guys around you–quite a ratio!
What’s the last movie you watched and why did you choose to watch it?
Christopher Robin, with Ewan McGregor. As a huge Winnie the Pooh fan, I was thrilled when it was on Netflix (or one of the streaming services we have!).
If you could ask your pet three questions, what would they be?
- To Oliver Monkey: Why don’t you like the new food we got you?
- To Oliver Monkey: Why do you lie on your back when playing with your brother? You could never make it in the wild!
- To both Oliver Monkey and Bubby: Do you really know and feel how much we love you?
Which of your personality traits has been most useful and why?
I think perseverance! One must be able to pick oneself up after all the twists and turns of being an author!
What’s your favorite place to visit in your country and why?
I have soooooo many because our country is so diverse. But, I’m a water baby at heart, so any type of water, and I’m there! I used to live in Virginia Beach and went to the Oceanfront daily.
If this question were any question in the world, what question would you want it to be and how would you answer it?
The question I asked my students: Who would you like to play you in a movie if they did a biopic of your life? Most of my students said they think Tina Fey for me. What an honor—she’s such an amazing and talented woman. Not to mention, hilarious!
The other question is: What is the best compliment you’ve ever received? Because we tend to remember negative things people say about us, also known as the negativity bias, many students needed a minute to think. Truthfully, so did I. But, when I heard my students say that something I said changed, or even saved their life, it doesn’t get much better than that.
Tell us about your most recent book.
My debut novel, BURIED DEEP IN OUR HEARTS, celebrates the connection we have to our animals and honors their memory.
I am also a water baby and loved the movie, Christopher Robin! It was a great pleasure having you on MTA. Thank you, Tracie! – Camilla
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