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by Barbara Sheridan
Leslie Tramposch: Managing Editor - Sara Reyes: Marketing and Publicity
To submit articles of interest to our readers Email Barbara.

April 2000 Issue

Virtually Cover to Cover!

Tracy Fobes

When we first learn to read, itís a chore. Itís a matter of deciphering words and trying to understand their meaning given the context of the sentence. Reading is something you have to do, not want to do. Until, of course, you read that special book, the first one to really grab hold of you and make you fall in love.

It happened to me in the fourth grade. Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators series forever changed me. I solved mysteries along with Jupiter, Bob, and Pete, three boys who ran their detective agency out of a junkyard and spoke regularly to Alfred Hitchcock. Green ghosts, whispering mummies, moaning caves, screaming clocksóthey haunted my nights as I hid under the covers with a flashlight and read well past the time I was supposed to be sleeping.

From there I graduated to just about every kind of book you could think of. I read Stephen King, Judy Blume, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Richard Matheson, Arthur Clarke. . .the list was endless. At some point I decided to try a Barbara Cartland, and once again, my life changed. As I put that finished book down, I knew romance was the genre for me. Laurie McBainís Moonstruck Madness was the first long historical romance I ever read and Iíll never forget it. It spurred me on to other authors such as Kathleen Woodiwiss and Clare Darcy. Romance became the staple of my reading diet, occasionally supplemented by a Dean Koontz or Tom Clancy, and still is, to this day.

Iíve dabbled in writing from the earliest days of my childhood, always keeping a journal and making up these crazy stories to entertain my brothers and sisters. Youíd think I would have made a career of journalism, but I didnít. I decided to try my hand at computer science until family obligations required me to quit my 9-to-5 job. Although I left my career and steady income with a few tears, they were crocodile tears, because inside I was already gleefully planning that first novel. Several attempts later, I wrote Touch Not the Cat, a story thatís been in my head for a long, long time.

About Tracy Fobes. . . Tracy Fobes writes rich historical romances with a paranormal twist for Sonnet Books, published by Pocket Books. Before turning to a career in writing, she graduated from the University of Scranton with a B.S. in Computer Science and a minor in mathematics and for several years worked as a computer systems analyst for the Fortune-500 conglomerate Johnson & Johnson. Born and raised in Hillsborough, New Jersey, she has made Pennsylvania her home for the last ten years.

An Interview with Tracy Fobes

PNR: Why did you decide to write historical paranormals?

Tracy F: The historical romance genre has always been my favorite from the very start. I've also consistently read in the horror/sci-fi genre, including authors such as Dean Koontz and Arthur Clarke. My historical paranormals are a combination of the two genres I love the most.

PNR: Pocket Books/Sonnet is not widely known as a publisher of paranormal romances. Do they encourage you to continue writing romances with paranormal elements? Have they suggested that you to also write straight historical romances? Are there other paranormal romance writers at Pocket. (In other words tell us a little bit about Pocket Books.)

Tracy F: Sonnet Books does publish paranormal novels, mostly time-travel, although I understand Linda Lael Miller has a futuristic romance out this month, and she has written a vampire series. In any case, Sonnet doesn't have an imprint or line to showcase paranormals, which may be why many paranormal readers aren't familiar with Sonnet Books, and Pocket Books beforehand.

My editor at Sonnet Books, Caroline Tolley, encourages me to write whatever strikes my fancy (within reason of course!). I will continue to write romances with paranormal elements simply because they are what I love best.

PNR: Your award winning novel Touch Not the Cat was a reader's favorite with the paranormalromance list. What do you think set it apart from other paranormal offerings?

Tracy F: A great cover! And also an odd story line, set in a place that we all love--Scotland. Readers are always on the lookout for something unusual, and they tell me Touch Not the Cat was very different. Sometimes, it's just luck, too. The paranormal romances published the same year as TNTC may not have gotten the "word of mouth" that TNTC enjoyed, but I'm certain they were all equally as wonderful.

PNR: You don't seem to have any set pattern for your stories, they are all historical but take place in different times and places. Touch Not the Cat was a shape shifter story, Heart of the Dove was magical, with witches etc., Forbidden Garden was a fantasy akin to "Little Shop of Horrors" with man eating plants. Where do your ideas come from? Is there a reason that you don't stick to one area of paranormal?

Tracy F: I adhere to that old principle "variety is the spice of life." To keep my writing fresh, I like to bounce around between settings, time periods, and paranormal elements. My ideas are drawn from the age-old well of scary myths and tales designed to give us the shivers. TNTC was a take-off on Beauty and the Beast; Forbidden Garden, The Isle of Dr. Moreau.

PNR: What can you tell us about your next book(s)? Do you plan straight historicals or can we look forward to more great paranormal elements?

Tracy F: My next book, due out in September 2000, is called Daughter of Destiny. It's set in Regency England, where the heroine sparkles in London society, unaware of the perilous forces gathering around her.

Beyond DAUGHTER OF DESTINY, I expect to continue writing historical paranormals set in the British Isles in the 1800's.

Here's the scoop on the FG cover. My editor and I both worked on the first cover, the one with all the greenery and a couple in the center of the cover. The treatment for this cover was very rich (lots of embossing) and the colors all matched wonderfully. I actually received cover flats for this "green" cover. Pocket distributed this cover to on-line merchants such as amazon, barnes and noble, etc. I even had several thousand bookmarks printed up, professionally, using the green cover.

A few weeks later Pocket marketing stepped in. They pulled the "green" cover and whipped up the John DeSalvo cover, which I've dubbed the "vine boy" cover (all respect to JD, my fav). They had two reasons--they wanted to increase sales, and they wanted to create a cover concept for me, featuring JD on every book. Apparently the response to the Touch Not the Cat cover had been so overwhelming that they decided to capitalize on it. Oddly enough, from what I've heard, the cover for my Sept 2000 release does NOT feature JD. The workings of marketing are often very mysterious...




Featured in this Issue:

Interviews with:
Ann Lawrence
Tracy Fobes
Cover Model John DeSalvo
Special Feature: theCoverStory

Tracy Fobes



Cover Controversy:

The controversy rages on - People vs. non-people, modest vs. sensual, colors, embossing, font style and size - Which covers sell more romance novels, which earn the sub-genre more respect? Two covers were made for Tracy's newest book FORBIDDEN GARDEN. Find out what influenced the final choice.

Readers tell us what you think.

Send your opinion to:

Put Forbidden Garden in the subject heading.

Include your name and which cover you prefer the original or the final version.

We will forward the results to Tracy.

Buy it Now!

Original cover

Final cover

Sonnet Books
March 2000
401 pages
ISBN: 0671041738

FORBIDDEN GARDEN - Set in 19th-century Ireland, Forbidden Garden is another sexy historical romance with a paranormal twist.

Widow Anne Sherwood has an innate "gift" for feeling the emotions of plants. A botanical sketch artist, she is hired by Lord Connock, a renowned collector in Ireland.

There, she meets Michael McEvoy, a sensual man who has long lived in the wilds and owes Connock his life. But when Anne senses something evil growing in Connock's greenhouses, she must reveal her gift to the man she has come to love--and shatter his image of Connock forever.

Coming Soon!

Buy it Now!

Sonnet Books
September 2000
400 pages
ISBN: 0671041746

Other Paranormal Romance titles:

Pocket Books

October 1, 1998
ISBN #0671024671
352 pages


August 1, 1999
416 pages

All book synopsises are copyrighted to the authors/publishers.

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