Today we welcome Tracey Scott-Townsend, traveling to Kingston-Upon-Hull, East Yorkshire as we learn how a writer’s shed, a camper van, making her own clothes, determination, and the Outer Hebrides unite to form the roots and day to day of Tracey’s life. Collect your thimble, needle and thread as we’re sewing our way through this one …
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I live in Kingston-Upon-Hull, East Yorkshire – the “Gateway to Europe”, if you like, and I do. (That feels rather sad now.)
In which genre do you write?
I write Literary Fiction.
How many published books do you have?
I have five novels published with two different small presses (Inspired Quill Publishing and Wild Pressed Books). The books are: Sea Babies, The Last Time We Saw Marion, Of His Bones, The Eliza Doll and Another Rebecca, as well as poetry pamphlets So Fast and Postcards from the Van. My novels have been described as both poetic and painterly – apt, as I did practise for more than twenty years as a visual artist.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer and what ignited your author’s flame?
Reading and being read to as a child must have ignited my writer’s flame. My earliest memories are of my mum reading to us, and I remember being six or seven, and understanding that I could actually read by myself, and lose myself in the world inside the pages of a book. Sometime after that I began my first attempts at writing my own books. By the time I was ten, I knew I wanted to be a writer.
What is an interesting quirk you have, that we wouldn’t know by reading your biography?
I make a lot of my own clothes and I cut my own hair.
What would you choose as your mascot, spirit animal, or avatar and why?
I think I would choose a white Collie-shaped dog, like my own beautiful rescue-girl, Luna. She just seems to look directly into my eyes and connect, it feels as if with my very soul.
What does your ideal writing space look like?
My ideal writing space looks like a shed, and for much of my writing life it has been a writer’s shed, in which I would hang rugs on the walls and make it feel like my own special cave. However, the only shed I have at the moment is on my allotment, and I barely have the time when there to do any writing other than some musing in a notebook. Between my job as an editor for the small press I run with my husband, and various marketing activities, and posting books out, I tend to leave my desk in our shared office and take sanctuary in the spare bedroom to do my own writing.
What are you currently reading?
I’m reading Transcription by Kate Atkinson. I’m not far enough in yet to be able to say whether I love it as much as her previous books. (Edit: I’m further in now and I do!)
What do you do when not writing or marketing your books?
I love making my own clothes, reading, and working on my allotment or in my small garden. I also love going on trips in our camper van – getting away from it all.
What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself through writing?
I’ve learned that I can and will commit to a task and see it through. I think I gave up on so many things when I was younger, and I’m proud of the way I’ve developed my self-discipline over the course of my writing career.
Do you journal write or keep a personal diary?
I’ve kept a personal diary, on and off, since about the age of thirteen, but the only ones I still have in my possession date from the age of eighteen. I don’t specifically write a diary now, but there are aspects of personal journalism scattered in my notebooks, of which I have many. I regret that the advent of my computer use, in the 1990s, began to impinge on my dedicated diary-writing. So many of my noted-down thoughts, whether in emails or personal notes, have been lost now as the technology developed and became discarded at such a fast pace.
What do you miss about being a kid?
I miss how long the summer seemed to be, and that there was no feeling of urgency about getting things achieved. There seemed to be all the time in the world!
Which of your personality traits has been most useful and why?
My resourcefulness and determination have seen me through a lot of difficult times. A health professional recently remarked “I get the feeling you’ll do things the way you want to, anyway,” as though it was an insult. I’m happy that I’m self-reliant and able to think ‘off the hook’, but I sometimes do feel like a bit of an alien in a world of boxes that I don’t seem to fit into.
What’s your favourite place to visit in your country and why?
The Outer Hebrides, without a doubt! I love Scotland in general but I’m particularly fond of the Western Isles. We’ve travelled there often in our camper van and went there again in June, to promote my latest novel, Sea Babies.
Describe the perfect solo date you’d take yourself on … where, time of day, weather, place, etc.
I’d go and find myself a comfy rock to sit on, on an isolated beach, at the foot of a forest on the slope of a mountain. There would be an ultramarine-blue sky and it would be warm but not boiling hot. It would be a long late afternoon rolling into evening. I’d gaze out to sea and allow random thoughts and feelings to wash over me…
Tell us about your most recent book.
My latest book is Sea Babies, a Women’s Lit Fic novel set between Edinburgh and the Outer Hebrides. In the novel the main character, Lauren Wilson, has a chance encounter with someone from her past while on the ferry to Stornoway. Both of them are about to begin new jobs on the Isle of Lewis: Lauren as a social worker and Neil as a GP. Lauren has been involved in a recent, terrible accident, but meeting Neil again has also awoken memories of the tragic event in their past which finished their relationship.
Lauren settles in a cottage in Uig, overlooking the white sands of the bay. The scenery, nature and people of the area begin to heal Lauren’s emotional wounds, along with the reawakening of her relationship with Neil and the burgeoning affection she feels for a young client whose family own the cottage in which Lauren is living.
The history of the island and the former inhabitants of Lauren’s home play a part in the resolution of her story. But it could be either the past or the future that determines what happens next.
Thank you very much for interviewing me, Camilla, I’ve really enjoyed answering your questions.
You’re welcome Tracey! And, thank you for being a part of MTA! It was incredibly interesting to learn more about your life. –Camilla
Where to find the book:
UK Amazon: https://amzn.to/2AvIY5r
US Amazon: https://amzn.to/2M3jyl2
Connect with Tracey:
If it feels right and you have the time (and you enjoy the interview) please like or comment or share it. The nature of the online world … the more eyes that see it the more it will spread and benefit the author and the website! Thank you!
And if it feels the thing to do and you are inspired to do so, I would be deeply grateful if you’d like to “Buy Me a Coffee” … Camilla – Host of Meeting the Authors …