Welcome, Tracey Garvis Graves! (Interview and Amazing Giveaway…Read On)

Tracey Garvis-GravesThe Lit Ladies are so excited to welcome bestselling author Tracey Garvis Graves to discuss her latest novel, Covet, and about writing in general! Best of all, if you enter our COVET giveaway with the Rafflecopter form below, you have a chance to win a copy of COVET (U.S. mailing addresses only please). Tracey recently spoke with the Joplin Writers’ Guild and provided some great information on both self-publishing and traditional publishing. Hopefully her incredible personal journey to becoming a successful writer will inspire you to make your own writing dreams come true.

Many of you may know Tracey from her blockbuster success with her first book, On the Island, about two castaways who fall in love. The kicker? These two people, a teen boy and his older tutor, should never have become romantic under normal circumstances.

Tracey received 14 form letter rejections from agents, but she believed in her book so strongly that she decided to self-publish. After selling hundreds of thousands of copies via Amazon (and other online booksellers) and selling the movie rights to the book FIRST, traditional publishers finally took notice. A division of Penguin bought the book and she’s since published Uncharted, the companion piece to On the Island, and now Covet. Yay Tracey!

Let’s find out the details about Tracey’s fantastic success story.

Spirit Lady: Welcome to the Lit Ladies blog, Tracey. We are so honored to have you! You are a true lit lady, following your writing passion and not giving up on your dream of writing books. So, what do you love about being a writer?

Tracey: Thank you so much for having me! What I love the most about being a writer is being able to create my stories from the comfort of my favorite writing chair. I’m a homebody at heart, and nothing makes me happier (outside of my family) than my laptop, a quiet house, and my dog Chloe sitting at my feet while I type away. I wrote On the Island while working full-time, so being able to focus on writing 100% during the daytime hours is like a dream come true. I love being my own boss.

Spirit Lady: I completely understand what you mean about creating stories and personal happiness. Your latest novel, Covet, deals with some heavy subjects: marriage trouble, unemployment, toeing the line of adultery. Why this story? And how do you keep readers hooked when dealing with tough issues like these?

Tracey: Covet was a story I just wanted to tell. I love contemporary romance, but I love women’s fiction, too. Having already tackled a romance in On the Island, I felt that it was time to try my hand at women’s fiction. Plus the story is set in a suburban neighborhood, and that’s something I know quite a bit about.

My hope is that readers will find the subject matter relatable, which will keep them turning the pages. I love women’s fiction for that reason: the storylines often parallel the issues women deal with in their everyday lives. I also try to keep my characters likeable, so that readers will sympathize with them. I want my characters to feel like someone you could be friends with in real life.

Spirit Lady: More and more authors are breaking into different genres, so I love that you were able to publish the type of story you wanted to. Now, Covet is traditionally published and On the Island was self-published. Any words of advice for the fast-changing publishing industry? Do you have any resources for those wanting to try self-publishing?

Tracey: The publishing industry is changing at lightning speed, so all writers need to keep an open mind. We don’t know what the next year will hold, or even the next six months. Preconceived notions need to be thrown out the window, and writers will need to determine the publishing method that works best for them.

On my blog, I have an FAQ that provides lots of information about self-publishing (scroll down to FAQ on left sidebar). Please check it out!

Spirit Lady: Fabulous. That will be so helpful to a lot of writers. So could you walk us through a day in your writing life? How do you write a new novel and market the latest one at the same time?

Tracey: I’m an early riser so the first thing I do once I’ve poured a cup of coffee is make the rounds of social media. I check FB, Twitter, and my 3 e-mail accounts. After I get my kids and husband out the door I try to focus solely on writing from about 9-3. I’m very protective of my writing time because I need to take advantage of the quiet. In the evening I’ll usually work on Q&A’s or blog posts, which fall under the heading of marketing my current or previous books. I try to make sure that writing the new novel gets the biggest chunk of my time.

Spirit Lady: It sounds like it’s all about blocking out time for different activities so that you have time for your family, too. All of us Lit Ladies balance family, work/school, and writing. As a mom yourself (who was also working full time when you wrote On the Island), what advice would you give us?

Tracey: Well, you’re going to have to give something up. In my case it was newspapers, magazines, and television, which were all things that I loved. There simply wasn’t time to fit all of those things in because family, work, and writing took up pretty much all the hours I had (I was always a little bit tired during the year it took to write On the Island). But if you love writing, everything else can be put on the back burner. It will still be there when you’re done.

Spirit Lady: Thanks so much for sharing your words of wisdom, Tracey. You were so kind, easy-going, and informative with the Joplin Writers. I know the readers here are going to gain just as much insight from you. Anything you would like to add?

Tracey: Thank you so much for featuring me on Lit Ladies! It’s been fun.

I truly believe there has never been a better time to be a writer. There are so many options available and if you think you’ve got a story to tell, please start writing it and don’t stop until you reach ‘The End.’ Writing a book was easily the most rewarding and joyous thing I’ve ever done. I want you to experience it!Available 9/17/13

Spirit Lady: Thanks so much, Tracey! And everybody remember to fill out the Rafflecopter form below and get points to enter the contest for checking out Tracey’s website!

Go to Tracey’s site to buy any of her books or click here to get your copy of Covet.

Use the box below to enter to win a free copy of COVET.
a Rafflecopter giveaway




  • I love reading about new (at least to me) authors, their books and their journeys to success. We have so much to learn from each other and I’m always grateful when those ahead on the path are willing to share their learning curve.

    I’m impressed by your journey and belief in your work. I think that’s important when what you write may not necessarily fit into the mold. I’m going to head over to your FAQ site and read through that as well. I’m just beginning this journey and know I have much to learn.

    Women’s Lit is one of my favorite fiction genres, so I can see I need to add your book to my to-read list. Thank you for sharing your book and it’s complex and intriguing story with us.

    Congratulations on your success– may it continue.

    • Thanks for checking in, Julie. I love reading your comments and checking your posts, too.

  • Tracey: Thank you so much for agreeing to come on our blog and for sharing your wisdom with us. I am amazed by people who self-publish and sell so many copies AND MOVIE RIGHTS (holy cow) and then get offered a traditional contract. It TRULY shows that sometimes the publishing companies just aren’t able to publish good writers with a good story until they prove they can makes some money. Your story is very inspirational. Thank you also for sharing your link to your website about self-publishing. I know a few of us LIt Ladies have been throwing this idea around, too for certain projects, so I’ll be sure to check out your information. Thanks again! (Margo)

  • I loved ON THE ISLAND! And I loved the story behind how you decided to self publish. Very inspirational. So happy to learn more about you and your new book.

    • Julia: Thanks for checking out our blog and Tracey’s interview. :)

    • Just finished reading ON THE ISLAND, and I’m with you. Loved it. I absolutely fell in love with TJ and Anna’s story.

  • Great interview! Thank you so much for sharing all your trade secrets with us. I always love hearing about successful self-pub stories that end up translating into traditional book/movie deals. Very inspiring. I look forward to checking out all your books and learning more from your blog.

    • Thanks for reading, Renee. Do check out Tracey’s website because it is full of great info :)

  • I love books, especially when they’re in my hand..the touch, the smell, being able to flip back and forth, love it. I loved On The Island…so much so that Tracey Garvis Graves is the reason I had to go out and buy an e-reader which I always swore I wouldn’t…all because of the beautiful love story between Anna and T.J. I wanted and needed to read more about them and when I heard that Uncharted was only being an e-release, I ran out and bought an e-reader (thanks Tracey!), which I have, in the meantime, taken a liking too. And she is also responsible to opening up my world to a whole slew of other romance novelists because of it. Reading is my favorite past time and her stories have enriched my life and have made me happy when I am feeling sad. She’s also very attentive to her fans, something you have to really admire in an author. I’m looking forward to reading many more of her stories in the future…and the artwork on the covers of her novels are just amazing. Just love the cover of Covet, so beautiful. Thanks Tracey!

    • I’ve had an eReader for the past couple of years. My six-year-old and husband use it WAY more than me to play games. But I have been reading more books on there. It’s nice not to have to pack a few books when I go on the road. Nothing beats an actual book, though. I hear you :)

  • I loved On The Island. I can’t wait to read this book!

    • Thanks for reading, Julie :)

  • Wow! I had no idea Tracey had self published her book first! What a fantastic success story. I have read a number of self published women’s lit books and really enjoyed them and I’m shocked when I hear they were passed by. I believe publishers are missing out on a number of talented writers.

    • The publishing landscape is shifting right now. Makes it tough for emerging writers to get a handle on how best to get their books “out there.” Feels empowering to know that self-publishing is actually a viable option for getting your book out to the masses, though 😉

  • I really enjoyed On The Island, but didn’t realize it was self-published. I’m glad this has become more of an option because some fantastic books are made available this way.

    • Agreed 😉 Thank you for reading our blog !!!

  • Yes, I read On the Island and is one of my favorite books of all times. I just love her writing and the story she created, it was fantastic.

  • This is a wonderful interview. I have read One The Island and Uncharted and loved both books. I can’t wait to read Covet.

  • I love Tracey, shes such a good writer, I’m reading Covet right now and loving it as I knew I would.

  • I bought On The Island because the cover looked pretty and it is one of my best impulse buys! I loved the book and Tracey is now on my auto-buy list!

    • All of Tracey’s covers are very well done. Thanks for reading!!

  • Ana Lucía, Janine, and agueda: Thank you for reading our blog!!!

  • who won???

  • Winner to be announced tomorrow. Thanks for checking back in, agueda :)

So, what do you think?