Interview with Tracy KraussTracy Krauss has blazed a new trail as it relates to ‘edgy inspirational fiction’ . With four novels and four screenplays available, she has earned her title; Author, Artist, Playwright. However, what separates Krauss from others that may bear the same title is her writing mission; “Fiction that inspires with an authentic edge.”
Whether writing about relationships, spirituality and occults, or archeology, readers love her work, dishing out near perfect reviews for each of her books. She writes about genuine people that aren’t perfect, broaching situations that other Christian authors don’t dare write about. Her objective is clear. While Krauss doesn’t spare the reader rough scenes, she ultimately honors the idea that redemption is possible through the power of God.
In June, Krauss released Wind Over Marshdale, a novel thick with racial tension, jealousy, and yes, sin. “WIND OVER MARSHDALE takes place in a small prairie town where, on the surface, everything seems quaint and happy. Underneath there are some serious issues, especially with racism, sexual promiscuity, and the occult.” In our interview, she elaborates on racism and prejudice but also gives insight to who Tracy Krauss-the Author, Artist, Playwright-really is.
MN- You confront several social issues in Wind Over Marshdale, and you do so very well without being preachy. You write about racial tensions, spirituality in different elements, and temptation/sin, among others. Why tackle so many issues in one book?
TK- I enjoy reading books that are multi-dimensional and complex , so I guess that translates into the way I write. So far that seems to be my ‘norm’, anyway. I love it when a book (or movie for that matter) weaves seemingly unrelated events and details together for the final climax. I also don’t shy away from topics that could be controversial, especially within the Christian marketplace, but I do try to maintain a balance between ‘realism’ and propriety. It can be a wavy line at times, depending on one’s viewpoint. One thing I don’t try to do is provide a bunch of pat answers. Complex social issues can’t be solved and then neatly wrapped up, in my view. Instead, I’m more interested in raising awareness and then letting readers ponder the questions for themselves afterwards.
MN- So me about the characters of Thomas Lone Wolf and Con McKinley. Which one do you think readers will adopt as their personal favorite?
TK- Thomas is proud of his Cree ancestry, and although he is also a born-again Christian and a man of strong faith, sometimes his frustrations over racial injustice brings out some bitterness. Con is a farmer, but he is no ‘hick’. He’s well educated and uses the latest agricultural technology. He is also a Christian, although he sewed his wild oats, so to speak, in his younger years, but is now pretty solid in his faith. Both are strong, rugged, handsome … (as all good heroes should be!) So far, readers seem to be more drawn to Con, perhaps because he is the more typical male protagonist. I am more drawn to Thomas, but I think it is totally a personal preference. I feel more empathy for the struggles that he’s had to face, (plus, in my mind’s eye, he is pretty darn good looking, too!) I’ve been tossing around a sequel with him in it, but I haven’t quite figured out where to go with it yet.
MN- As parents we have to be careful not to teach our children to carry on the prejudice that we may personally carry against others. How does someone who has been taught to hate or discriminate overcome that mindset?
TK- That’s a really tough question. I think getting to know other people as individuals is key, and in order to do that, you have to reach out and make friends with people that you might not normally hang around with. That is easier said than done, of course, but I have been fortunate in that we have lived in smaller communities – some of them remote – where our children had no choice but to mingle with everyone. Another thing is to be vocal against discrimination of any kind. It’s one thing I will not tolerate – even in jest. Often we just titter nervously when someone makes an inappropriate comment, but we should really speak up, (kindly, of course) and express our discomfort.
MN- Wind Over Marshdale is steeped in spirituality on many levels; Christian warfare, occults and other spiritual practices. Because we as individuals are ‘spirits’, don't you think we are naturally attracted to supernatural phenomenon's?
TK- Absolutely. It’s why there is such a fascination with stories about supernatural beings these days. Sometimes this interest seems innocent enough, but we should be aware that such things do exist and take precautions. Delving too deeply, even just for interest’s sake, can have consequences.
MN- To err is human, however, there may be readers that are carrying around an enormous weight of guilt because they crossed the line at one point and engaged in what they believe to be an unforgivable sin. What would you say to that reader?
TK- There is no sin that is ‘unforgiveable’ per se. When the Bible talks about that, the implication is that the individual has turned away from God, therefore NOT actually seeking forgiveness in the first place. As far as those who have dealt in witchcraft, the occult, sexual sin – anything - God can and will forgive us if and when we ask. His grace has no measure. It is boundless.
MN- Spiritual journeys and rituals should be sacred and personal although our beliefs will basically be the same. How can we effectively tell others about God when their journeys and rituals look so different from ours?
TK- I am a firm believer in focusing on what we have in common rather than the things that divide us. Even though we may go to a particular church and adhere to their doctrinal statement, the only point that really matters is this:Jesus and Him crucified. When you really boil it down, that is the essential truth that binds us together as believers and which should be our focus. Everything else is extra. I’m not trying to imply that the finer points of doctrine don’t matter, (things like the way we express our faith etc.) but as a larger body we need to focus on Jesus and just loving everyone else as individuals. Unity is not the same as uniformity. God is a God of great variety and we should be celebrating that fact instead of trying to make everyone fit onto our own particular mold.
MN- What is your favorite season?
TK- Autumn is easily my favorite season. I love the changing colors, the freshness of the air, and because I am also a teacher, that sense of excitement that comes at the beginning of a new school year.
MN- Favorite beverage?
TK- I am a coffee drinker – either black or with cream, depending on my mood, but definitely never sweetened! (My husband says I’m sweet enough already.)
MN- Current book of choice?
TK- I still love Frank Peretti’s MONSTER, even though it’s been awhile. I’m currently reading Ted Dekker’s BLINK, (also amazing), and I usually love my current release best, so I’d have to say WIND OVER MARSHDALE, although I’m still pretty sweet on my first book AND THE BEAT GOES ON.
MN- Do you have a special writing place?
TK- I have two spots for writing. Most of the time I sit at my kitchen table with my laptop, but sometimes I use the computer in my office.
MN- Sum up Tracy Krauss the author in one sentence.
TK- I thrive on fallen characters, complex story lines, edgy topics, and God’s grace – all with a twist of suspense and a dash of romance.
Author bio-Tracy Krauss is a best-selling author, playwright, artist and teacher. She is a member of 'American Christian Fiction Writers', 'Inscribe Christian Writers Fellowship', 'The Word Guild' and 'Edgy Christian Fiction Lovers', as well as several writing related social networking groups. Originally from a small prairie town, Tracy received her Bachelor's Degree from the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Sask. with majors in Art, and minors in History and English. She teaches High School English, Drama and Art. Apart from her many personal creative pursuits, she also directs an amateur theatre group and leads worship at her local church. She and her husband, an ordained minister with the PAOC, have lived in many remote and unique places in Canada's north, including Churchill Manitoba - the 'polar bear capital of the world', the Yukon, and the NWT. They raised four children and were active advocates of the homeschooling movement for many years. They currently reside in beautiful Tumbler Ridge, BC, known for its waterfalls.
You can say in touch with Krauss through her Website and blog as well as following her on FaceBook and Twitter
Other interviews featured in the October issue of The Wordsmith Journal Magazine: Gloria Gaither, Wallace Henley, and Don Furr.
About Mary Nichelson: http://www.marysworld411.com/
This interview is courtesy of The Wordsmith Journal Magazine.