Today, we’re doing something a little different. If you remember, we interviewed Viv Drewa’s character on August 18th and it was so fun that I thought we may as well make an occasional habit of it. I had the pleasure of meeting Tracy Kincaid, the author of Changing Lives, on my author journey and I asked her if she’d let me borrow one of her main characters, Thomas Andrews, from the book. We’ll get a chance to talk to Tracy in a bit, but now we have on the stage…Thomas!
Marie Lavender: Hello, Thomas. Please have a seat.
Character Thomas Andrews: Hello. Thank you for having me. It’s a pleasure to be here.
Marie: It’s good to have you visit. We’re going to start out with some simple questions, all right?
Thomas: Of course.
Marie: What is your occupation? Are you any good at it? Do you like it?
Thomas: I build ocean liners for the White Star Line. I think I am pretty good at it. But I think some people may feel differently about that. I do like it very much.
So, what is your family like?
Thomas: I don’t have much family. My parents and two brothers have long since passed on. I am starting a new family with my wife Natalie; we are expecting our first children soon – twins!
Marie: Wow, that’s great!
Do you have any hobbies? What do you enjoy doing?
Thomas: I enjoy building things, so I guess you could say that is my hobby. I enjoy learning more about the world I now live in. So much has changed in the past hundred years. And I enjoy working with David in his search to find those who are lost.
Marie: All right. So, what is your greatest dream?
Thomas: To have a long and happy life with my wife and children.
Marie: Sounds like a good plan to me!
So, what kind of person do you wish you could be? What is stopping you?
Thomas: I wish to be a good man to my family and friends. Nothing is stopping me from doing this.
Marie: All right, so I’m going to throw another random question at you now.
Who was your first love?
Thomas: I have only ever loved my Natalie. Since the very first day I set eyes upon her.
(Sighs.) I love romance…
Let’s try something else, okay?
So, what’s the most terrible thing that ever happened to you?
Thomas: Being stuck on a ship for one hundred years. And losing Natalie for most of that time.
Wow! There’s certainly a story there. And I’m sorry to hear about that. 😦
Let’s move on to something a bit lighter, okay?
What was your dream growing up? Did you achieve that dream? If so, in what ways was it not what you expected? If you never achieved the dream, why not?
Thomas: My dream has always been to build ocean liners. Did I achieve that dream? Yes, I built the Titanic and I also took part in building the Olympic. I did not expect what happened to the Titanic to happen. I thought it would travel near and far for many years to come.
I did achieve my dreams; I just wish I could have done more to save her.
Marie: So, who is your role model, Thomas?
Marie: All right.
Well…you’ll probably think I’m digging for dirt on the next question.
Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?
Thomas: No, why would someone do that?
Marie: Indeed! Let’s try something else…
So, what is your deepest desire, Thomas?
Thomas: To have many children and teach them how to build things.
What is your greatest fear?
Thomas: Losing Natalie, again.
Marie: I see. I can’t blame you for feeling that way. (Pats her guest’s hand.)
Well, we’re out of time. Thank you for visiting us today, Thomas. It was so interesting getting to know you! (Waves goodbye to her guest.)
Now, let’s shift over and get the author’s perspective. We have Tracy Kincaid on the stage today. Hi, Tracy!
Author Tracy Kincaid: Hi. Thank you for having me here.
Marie: My pleasure! We just got to talk to the hero of your story, Thomas. Quite an interesting character. Can you tell us a little about him?
Tracy: Well, Thomas, as I am sure he has told you, was one of the builders of the Titanic. I have always loved stories about the Titanic. The ship of dreams, unsinkable. But of course we all know what happened. Or I should say we think we know what happened.
Marie: Ooh, nice hook! I’m definitely interested to know what happens in the book.
Let’s try a new question. So, what are your character’s greatest strengths?
Tracy: He has been through hell and back for over one hundred years. It’s not easy waiting for your loved ones to come back. But he stuck it out and in the end, it all worked out.
Marie: Now let’s take the opposition on that. What, do you feel, are his greatest weaknesses?
Tracy: Thomas has to learn everything as he goes. Everything is different from the time he was from.
Marie: All right. What are some of his favorite foods?
Tracy: He’s Irish so he eats a lot of corn beef and cabbage. But I think I actually saw him eat some haggis once.
Marie: (Laughs.) Okay. What’s a positive quality that your character is unaware that he or she has?
Tracy: He has the strength to keep up with Natalie and learn the way of the new world fast. He will need to learn fast to keep up with her.
Marie: Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?
Tracy: I think they will love him. He is kind and caring and is willing to do anything for Natalie and her friends.
Marie: Great! Well, now that we have a real taste of Thomas Andrews, we have a few questions for you as well as the author.
What first gave you the idea for Changing Lives?
Tracy: I had been laid off from work. I was at home alone a lot, looking endlessly for a new job. One night I had this crazy dream so the next day I woke up and the dream stuck with me all day. So I sat down and wrote it out. I thought that would get it out of my head. I had finally found a job, then we moved cross country a few years later. I didn’t pick it up again until we were settled in the new house. I started to write it again and it just all came to me. I never thought I would do anything with it until I let my friend read it. And the rest, I guess you can say, is history.
Marie: That’s great! Isn’t it strange how that works out?
So, what is your writing style like? Are you a pantster or a plotter?
Tracy: Pantster, for sure. When I sit to write, I write what the voices in my head say to write. If I sit long enough, it just goes through my hands to the keyboard. I think the plotting stuff is hard.
Marie: Yeah, I hear you. I do both, but it’s definitely easier when the ideas flow naturally.
Now, I’m throwing this one in for our aspiring writers. Did you come across any specific challenges in writing Changing Lives or publishing it? What would you do differently the next time?
Tracy: I think everything with this book, once it was done, went really fast. I had at least three different people edit it before I even sent it off to the publisher. Once that was done, I sent it in and heard back within two days that they wanted it. I have no idea if my friend (also an author with the publishing house) had anything to do with it or not. Whatever happened, I am grateful. What would I do differently the next time? I’m not sure if I would change anything, except for maybe making a longer book. I am almost done with a book called Freeing Lost Souls that I am trying to make longer than Changing Lives was. That was one of the biggest complaints I’ve heard about it, that it needed to be longer. That’s not always easy to do.
Marie: I agree; it isn’t. These days, I try not to worry so much about word count and just let the muse take me where it wants. Later, I can think about cutting something if necessary.
Well, it was a such a pleasure having you here on the I Love Romance Blog! And how apropos is that, considering what a great story Changing Lives appears to be. Readers, you will just have to pick up a copy of this awesome book by Tracy Kincaid, a very talented author! 🙂
Here is the blurb for Changing Lives:
What if love-at-first-sight was not the “first-sight” after all?
Natalie Star is a modern woman, with modern sensibilities. Practical and realistic, she finds herself falling for a man named Thomas Andrews. Thomas is a perfect gentleman, but his love for her seems to be old, solid, staid– the kind that grows after years of love and life together. He speaks in riddles when she asks why he seems to know her so well–they were together in a time she can’t remember yet.
Thomas longs to tell Natalie everything he knows about her, about them. But it’s time that is the problem yet. There is a tragedy that they must endure before she can fully accept who they are, and why they are destined to be together. A tragedy that Thomas has been through once, and will go through again to find the piece of his heart that has been missing all these many years.
That tragedy is the Titanic…
Tracy is also offering us a great excerpt from the book!
As I touch it, I feel nothing but cold everywhere—in my bones, in my blood, in the room. I close my eyes, trying to touch the iceberg as long as I can, as the instructions say. This is what it felt like that night the Titanic sank. With all of those people dying in the cold water. As I stand with my eyes shut, I start to feel very cold and wet. I open my eyes and realize that somehow I’m in a small boat on the ocean at night with a life vest on and hundreds of people floating around me. Some dead, others screaming. Where am I? And where’s Thomas?
I start to yell Thomas’ name. How did I get here?
“Thomas, Thomas, Thomas? Help, anyone help!” I cry.
At that point, Thomas grabs me and pulls me away from the iceberg and back into the exhibit. His heavy breathing matches mine. We are the only two in the room as he grabs me and holds me tight. After a few moments as our breathing slows, I ask, “What just happened?”
“Like I said, you are not like the other people who walk through here. You are special. You were there,” he whispers.
“How is that possible? None of this makes sense.” I’m still shaking, and the room is very cold. “Can we please leave this room? I can’t stop shaking.”
“Yes, of course.” As we walk out into the lobby and through the front doors into the sunlight, I run to the first bench under a tree I can find. I want to be far away from everyone, from everything, from Thomas. I do notice that Thomas has stayed away from me for a while to allow me to breathe and try to figure out what the hell was going on. Thomas is sitting not far away, just watching me. And I’m thankful for the distance.
I start to recap the events of the past two days to myself. How is all of this happening to me? And why now? Who is Thomas Andrews really, and what does he want from me?
After what feels like hours of just sitting on the bench, I look up at Thomas, who’s just staring at me. He stands and walks over to me. “May I?” he asks.
I nod and he sits.
“Look, Natalie, I know this is a lot to take in—” he begins as I interrupt him.
“A lot to take in!” I shout. “You have not explained anything to me. You come to me and tell me we know each other from a long time ago. Yet you have told me nothing. I know nothing about you. I have no idea why I passed out in that room. And I have no idea what the hell happened when I touched that iceberg. Would you please just tell me what is going on, please?”
Universal Amazon link: http://bookgoodies.com/a/B0121SF1PW
About Tracy Kincaid
Tracy Kincaid is a native Southern California girl who recently transplanted to South Western Pennsylvania. A wife and mother of three. When she is not writing you can find her reading or crafting. She enjoys the outdoors, whether it be working in the garden or hanging out with family and friends.
Changing Lives is her debut novel.
And, if you want to know how to connect with the amazing Tracy Kincaid, here are some of her author links:
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Tracy-Kincaid/e/B0121XT1W6/
Once again, I want to thank both of our guests, Thomas Andrews, the male main character of Changing Lives, and Tracy Kincaid, the brilliant author of the novel, for stopping by! It was so much fun to have you here! 🙂