Tracey O’Hara grew up reading Stephen King, Raymond E. Feist, and J.R.R. Tolkien, where she developed her taste for adventure and the paranormal thriller. When she’s not writing, reading, or listening to heavy metal, she spends time with her husband, two sons, and three cats and a ridiculously cute pug puppy called Colin. The author of the Dark Brethren series, she lives in Australia. Night’s Cold Kiss was shortlisted in the Best Horror Novel category at the 2009 Aurealis Awards and won the Novel with Romantic Elements category at the Romance Writer’s of Australia 2009 awards.
1. The third book of your Dark Brethren series is about to come out next month – Sin’s Dark Caress – how do you feel about having the first three books out?
It is a great achievement to have 3 books published. It also is the culmination of my first contract which now leaves me able to explore different things. Sometimes I still have to pinch myself that I have actually done this. I still keep expecting them to turn up and tell me it was all a big mistake and they didn’t really mean to pick up the books. I know that sounds dumb, but it just seems so unreal at times.
2. The first book in the series, Night’s Cold Kiss was shortlisted for the Aurealis for best Horror and also won the Ruby award from the Romance Writers Association – what was it like getting such recognition for your first book?
In a word – surreal. I never in my wildest dreams would have thought it would final in horror and romance awards in the same year. It was fantastic. Unfortunately I couldn’t attend the Aurealis awards as my son was turning 21 the same weekend, but thanks to twitter, I was able to virtually attend. It was all very exciting. The Ruby award completely took me by surprise. I was not expecting to win at all, I never even prepared a speech. But it was great for the book to get that kind of recognition.
3. Tell us about your current project – is it related to the Dark Brethren universe?
Currently I am working on a couple of different projects when I’m not totally absorbed by my day job. While I have started developing another Dark Brethren story I am also working on a project to mentor new writers and produce an anthology of short erotic stories. This has been one of the biggest challenges I have done, but also one of the most rewarding. A couple of the writers taking part in the anthology project have just blossomed. I also have a non spec fic novel, a colonial Australian saga, that I am working on. It is good to explore different avenues.
4. What Australian works have you loved recently?
Because I am so time poor, splitting every minute between day job, family and writing, I’ve been listening to audio books more than reading. The closest thing to an aussie author I guess would have been listening to Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan. That was an awesome book and the first steampunk style book I have ‘read’ (though I know it isn’t really steampunk as such). But the top of my aussie spec fic TBR pile is Kaaron Warren’sDead Sea Fruit. I love Kaaron’s writing, I’ve been to a couple of her readings at cons and she always has me enraptured. I also have Alan Baxter’s RealmShift and Nicole Murphy’s Dream of Asarlai series as close runners up.
5. Two years on from Aussiecon 4, what do you think are some of the biggest changes to the Australian Spec Fic scene?
Wow – that is a hard one to answer. Two years ago I was just starting to get into the Australian Spec Fiction scene. Since Aussiecon I have met heaps of people in the spec fic community and have had an absolute ball. I think the wider writing industry has undergone huge changes. Spec Fic authors, like all other genres, have been affected by the changing face of publishing. Bricks and mortar bookstores are closing, print publishers are buying less, ebook publishers are emerging and self publishing is becoming another avenue to explore. In a way, times are uncertain and exciting at the same time. It not only allows some authors different avenues for publishing, it also opens up them up to small press as well. And two years ago self publishing was a dirty word. I still don’t know how I feel about it, though the mentoring project that I am working on is looking at self-publishing the resulting anthology to help raise some money for a retreat we are going to hold later this year. So I would have to say the biggest change is in the publishing industry itself.