Today I’d like to welcome Tracy Fenton back to the blog. Due to overwhelming popularity, I thought it only right to invite Tracy back for a second interview. If you haven’t already read the first interview, then you might like to read it here. Thank you, Tracy, for taking the time to answer my questions. Let’s begin.
Since your first interview here THE Book Club has grown to now having over 6000 members. How do you keep everyone in line?
I’d love to say with a taser gun and through threats of violence, but the truth is that the group pretty much regulates itself now, as we have such a strong group of dedicated members who are very quick to report “inappropriate” posts or even in the past calm down controversial posts just by being the kind and supportive people they are. We also have a very strong admin team who are online 24/7 watching and lurking and ready to delete when necessary. Shout out to Helen Boyce, Helen Claire, Sharon Bairden, Loo Elton, Teresa Nikolic, Carol Ellis and Sumaira Wilson and obviously Charlie Fenton.
There was a lot of excitement about (and photos of) the recent Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Festival in Harrogate. What was your personal highlight of the event?
I had a fantastic time in Harrogate this year and quite a few stand out moments. I was invited to a private lunch with Linwood Barclay which was pretty cool. Listening to Tess Gerritsen (with Tracy, left) speak for an hour on her panel was jaw-droppingly awesome and so inspirational and then getting a signed book and photo with her. Meeting up with several TBC members who I hadn’t actually met in real life before and being able to give them a hug. Sitting next to Linwood Barclay at a private lunch. Meeting up with 4 of the TBC admin team for the first time despite chatting with them 10 times a day for the past year. Taking a selfie with Linwood Barclay at a private lunch (as seen on the left.) Being invited to a special panel to discuss Mark Edward’s new book The Devil’s Work and finally did I mention I met Linwood Barclay?
How important is knowing authors on social media to your book buying choices? Are you more likely to choose a book by an author you know, rather than one you don’t?
Honestly? Not important at all. I read what I want to read when I want to read it. At the moment I have decided to only read TBC author members during the month of September and only read authors I haven’t read before #cherrypop which I am thoroughly enjoying as I am reading genres I probably would never read before… and some I will never read again. Knowing authors on social media can sometimes be a double-edged sword because I might LOVE them on Twitter and Facebook but I know that I wouldn’t read their book because it just isn’t my type of book, but because there is a social link there is a slight element of pressure to read their book.
TBC is about to celebrate it’s 2nd birthday. When you set the group up did you expect it to grow so quickly and become so popular with both authors and readers?
Absolutely 100% yes. It was always my plan to take over the world and get everyone to read!
If you had to pick the top 5 TBC authors that you enjoy being a fan of (stalking,) who are they and why?
My top 5 TBC authors to stalk are not necessarily because of their books, my top 5 would be chosen purely on their interaction with TBC and the members and in no particular order they would be John Marrs, Louise Beech, Steven Dunne, Tracie Podger (even though she spells her own name wrong) and Jack Jordan.
What are the main ingredients of a book that would make it stand out for you?
Personally I love dark, twisted humour – especially if it’s subtle – 3 of my favourite books which always stand out to me because of the clever humour is Jenny Blackhurst – How I Lost You, Graeme Cameron – Normal and Marilyn Messik – Relatively Strange. Not one of those books would be categorised as comedy/humour – 2 are crime/psychological thrillers – but the dark humour which is running beneath each storyline ticks my boxes all day long.
Credibility and believable storylines are also very important to me. There is something special about reading a book you connect with on a deep level – one that you totally understand what the character is feeling and going through whilst reading it. 3 of my stand-out books with these ingredients would be Bone to Bone by Sanjida Kay, Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes and A Suitable Lie by Michael J Malone.
Characters – I absolutely love a despicable character – one that is twisted and mean and sick and depraved – however the books that have stolen my heart have characters that I have fallen in love with for lots of different reasons. My favourite 3 books which are character led would be A Man Called Ove – Fredrik Backman (everyone needs an Ove in their life), Edward Stanton from 600 Hours of Edward, Edward Adrift and Edward Unspooled by Craig Lancaster (I actually can’t express how much I love Edward) and The Man with No Name from Colin Bateman’s Mystery Man series – you have to love a man who makes you laugh out loud.
Is there any one book that you think deserves to made into a film and why?
Can I be controversial and say no… I don’t want my favourite books to be ruined. I know it’s an incredible honour to have your book made into a film, but honestly, I can’t think of many that I have seen and the film did the book justice (with the exception of The Fault in Our Stars and Room). So can I pick a book I really didn’t enjoy so it won’t matter if Hollywood destroy it?
Which authors books would you buy and read without needing to read the blurb?
John Marrs, Alex Marwood and Tammy Cohen – as I know I am guaranteed an original and gripping book. Gillian Flynn as I’ve loved all her books to date. Fredrik Backman just because! MJ Arlidge as I love his DI Helen Grace books and I have recently managed to track him down and stalk him (as shown on the left.)
Have you ever read a book and wished there could be a sequel when there was none? Which book was it and what would you like to have seen in it’s sequel?
I’ve read several books where I have shouted out at the end .. Noooooo! – Normal by Graeme Cameron and Mohammed Maguire by Colin Bateman are the last two that spring to mind… but secretly I quite like the fact I have been left hanging and have to use my imagination and write my own ending. However I am rather excited to learn that a sequel to Normal is being written right now.
Finally do you you still have any book/TBC ambitions you’d still like to achieve? If so what are they?
Personally, not really but I do love to see TBC in the acknowledgements in books and get a secret fuzzy feeling when my name is there too!
Thank you,Tracy, for another brilliant interview. I hope THE Book Club continues to grow and help readers reach more new books and their authors.
And don’t forget – if you think THE Book Club is the group for you, then you need to find Charlie Fenton and send him a friend request over on Facebook, or get an existing member to add you. You won’t regret it!
As always, thank you for reading,
All the best,