Tracy Richardson agreed to answer a few questions for us so we can get to know her a little better:
- Do you have a fear, phobia, or habit you’d rather no one knew about?
I’m afraid of rodents. Spiders and insects are fine, but mice and rats – eeeekkk!! I once beat a small gray mouse that had found its way into my pantry to death with a broom. I’m not proud of it, but it could have attacked me! Just saying…
2. Tell us about your book. (Title and story blurb.)
Eric Horton sees fire.
When he sleeps, he dreams of a world screaming in the midst of devastating explosions. These dreams terrify him, and as more strange happenings unfold around him, he’s unable to shake the feeling that what he’s seeing isn’t just a dream.
When a new student, Renee, appears in his science class, he could swear he’s known her forever. But how could that be? As they get to know each other, he meets her father, who explains the experiments he’s been conducting involving “the Universal Energy Field” and “Collective Consciousness”—two things Eric has never heard of before. They seem to be tied to the idea that we are all connected by the same energy and are all more powerful than we realize. Eric begins to learn more about these groundbreaking concepts—but can they be real?
As his life continues to shift and his knowledge of the Field increases, Eric will be tested beyond anything he’s experienced before. He must decide whether he believes in that part of himself which ties him to the world around him, and he must access it—or lose everything he’s been working to keep.
3. Is it part of a series? If so, include other titles. What do you enjoy most about writing a series? What part do you loathe?
The book is part of a series, but they are companion books, not sequels. The first book chronologically is Indian Summer featuring Eric’s younger sister, Marcie, and takes place three years prior to the events in The Field. The next book after The Field is Catalyst, again featuring Marcie. Catalyst takes place a year and a half after The Field. The fourth book in the series will be more of a sequel to Catalyst. It’s as yet untitled and I’ve just started writing it.
The best part of writing a series is connecting with the characters who I love and learning more about them as their stories develop. There isn’t anything that I loathe about it! As long as there is still a story to tell I’m happy to do it!
4. Of all the characters you’ve created, does one hold a special place in your heart? Why?
That’s really hard to answer. It’s like saying which one of your children is your favorite!! I love them all equally but for different reasons. In some ways, they all have aspects of myself in them. I love Eric’s athleticism and good heart. Marcie’s developing sense of self and self-confidence is something I think we can all identify with. Cole is so brash and unapologetically unique. Mrs. Horton is such a 20th-century working woman trying to balance the career she loves with taking care of her family.
5. What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself from writing?
Sometimes when I go back and read what I’ve written I’m surprised at what I’ve created. While I do use actual people, places and events as inspiration, the stories themselves come completely from my imagination. I’ll think ‘dang, I did this’. Of course, it took a lot of hard work and ‘BIC” or Butt In Chair time to do it.
6. Tell us about the defining moment when you felt as if you’d finally made it as an author.
I was giving a presentation to 200 librarians at the Indiana Public Library conference. John Green (author of A Fault in Our Stars) also gave a presentation – his was to 1000 librarians, though. But still – we were at the same conference!! Of course, I was terrified at the time!
And here is a brief excerpt from The Field:
I position myself in the goal. I touch the left side of the goal, then walk to the right side, touch it, and then move to the center and touch the crossbar to orient myself. It’s my ritual. I crouch in the center with my knees bent and arms in position to catch a ball.
I feel confident, strong—ready.
The coach starts the play. The other team immediately takes control of the ball and the play moves onto my side of the field. Good. More action for me. The opposing team’s striker sends the ball out to his right and his midfielder runs onto it. I move to that side of the goal and my left back covers the front. Our defender is all over the midfielder. I see that the opposing striker has moved into position in front of the goal to take a pass from the midfielder.
“Watch for the cross!” I yell.
I’ve got the near post of the goal covered, coiled and ready to spring and I want my center back to cover the forward. The midfielder beats my defender and sends a pass through to his forward in front of the goal. I see it coming and leap out to punch the ball clear of the goal before the forward can head it in. My fist connects with the ball with a satisfying thwack! My center back takes the ball and sends it in a long arc to the other end of the field.
Yes! Adrenaline is surging through me and I’m pumped from stopping the cross. Now the play is on the other end of the field. I watch, staying focused on the action. The other keeper makes a save and quickly punts the ball down the field before my defenders have moved back. The opposing forward runs onto the ball. He takes off, sprinting toward the goal, and beats my defender.
It’s a breakaway!
My heart is pounding. It’s just me and him. The forward is approaching fast. Should I come out to meet him and dive at his feet or stay big and block the shot? It’s a split-second decision. Make the wrong choice and it’s a goal.
Wait! A thought flashes into my consciousness. I know where the shot will be. Left side— DIVE! I’m off my feet almost before the forward’s foot connects for the shot. I feel myself flying through the air, arms reaching. The ball is rocketing toward me. The ball strikes my palms and I push it wide, deflecting it outside of the goal and then I crash to the ground.
I jump up quickly in case the ball is still in play. My team has control of the ball and is moving it down the field. Squinting into the sun, I watch the play. Adrenalin is coursing through my veins. Total rush!
When I get subbed out I scan the sidelines for Will and jog over to him so we can rehash the play.
Will smacks me on the back. “You stuffed him!”
Will’s hair is dark with sweat, his face glistening and gritty. “How do you do that? I swear you were off the ground before he took the shot.”
I wipe my face on my shirt and take a long drink from my water bottle before answering. “I don’t know. Just reflexes I guess.” I don’t want to make too big a deal about it with Will, but sometimes I just get a feeling of knowing. It just flashes into my head. Maybe it’s from years of playing, but when it happens it feels different than reacting on instinct without thinking. It’s like knowing without thinking.
If you’d like to know what happens next, pick up a copy!
Buy link for The Field: