Interview with new adult author Trae Stratton

Hello
Readers!
Today I’d
like to introduce you to debut novelist Trae Stratton. He’s telling us a bit about
his novel, To Have and To Hold, and
his writing and personal life.
Please
say ‘hi’ to Trae in the comments so he knows you stopped by!
Bio:
Trae
was born and raised in Queens, N.Y. After 20 years with the NYPD he retired to
fill an urgent vacancy at home: Mr. Mom. He has always enjoyed writing and
continues to outwit the forces of nature and temptation to make time at the
keyboard. His debut novel, To Have and To
Hold
, is a charming reminder that life could indeed be fun before cell
phones and that happy endings do exist in the real world if you’re brave enough
to believe in them.
Welcome, Trae. Please tell us about your
current release.
To Have and To Hold is a New
Adult/Family Saga set in the suburbs of New York City during the 1980s-90s. The
plot is anchored to the wedding of Colin MacLann and what happens at his house
as his family and friends get ready for the ceremony. Using that point of view
turns the bride’s identity into an enticing mystery. 



Readers can try to figure
out which of Colin’s five loves eventually wears the veil with clues they glean
from poignant coming of age flashbacks that tell his story, or just enjoy the
ride. We also get hints from the bride herself during some first person
vignettes that show how she winds up marrying Colin. The big reveal comes in
the final chapter when the bride walks into the church. 



At the heart of the
book is a deeper question: Fate has a soulmate for all of us, but what happens
if we screw that up with bad decisions? Life isn’t that simple, so I try to make
sure it isn’t obvious who Colin’s soulmate is actually supposed to be. Does Colin
get his act together in time to meet her at the altar or does destiny send him someone
else? That’s also for you, as the reader to decide.
What inspired you to write this book?
The
last chapter came to me first. It’s so momentous when a bride walks into a
church, and I thought how great it would be if I could magnify that with one of
those spine tingling moments like you get at the end of “Officer and a Gentleman”
when Richard Gere walks into the factory and sweeps up Debra Winger. As the
story evolved from there I became inspired by how the people that intersect our
lives for any length of time so often mirror what we think of ourselves and our
mindset for the future. How fate can come full circle or shatter because of the
decisions we all make on a daily basis, and because of that, happily ever after is not an end result,
it’s a fluid state that requires nurturing and maintenance.
Excerpt
from To Have and To Hold:
This excerpt comes from the beginning of the
book and foreshadows how the flashbacks will tell their stories- the bride’s
life came into focus quite suddenly during one illuminating night, while Colin
needed to learn many difficult lessons over the course of his life that taught
him to be his own man, and ultimately what those experiences meant as they fell
in love.
Just
two years ago, marrying Colin seemed so outlandishly impossible. We had known
each other for so
long,
but in so many ways, knew each other so little.
            Funny how quickly things can fall
into place once you figure out who you are.
            For Colin that’s been a long
journey. For me, most of it came together in one eye-opening, magical night.
            I pick up his picture again and look
at him.
            I always say I had to find myself.
            He always says he had to create
himself.
            We’ve drunk a lot of wine long into
the night talking about the difference.
            Here we are now though, one of those
first day of the rest of your life days—Hell, I’m going to have a
whole
new name after today!
            I wonder what he’s doing right now.
If he’s thinking about this stuff too. I guess he is.
            What did mom say last night?
            I’ve written my book and he’s
written his. Today we start writing our story, so it’s only natural to
remember
the highlights of the one you’ve just finished…
What exciting story are you working on next?
I was
all set to churn out a psychological thriller, but instead I’ve decided to a
write something for my little girl. She’s three, and I want her to have
something dedicated to her waiting on the shelf for when she’s old enough to
read it. So now my pages are filling up with magic and unicorns, secret
bloodlines and dangerous creatures that live on the edge of twilight, and with border
crossings between the realms of faerie and the world we know- all the things that
live and breathe in YA fiction. It doesn’t have a title yet, but I’m having a
lot of fun working on it!
When did you consider yourself a writer?
Probably
when I joined the staff of SPRING 3100
at the NYPD and started seeing my work published on a regular basis. But as a
self-published novelist it was the realization that people I would never meet
were suddenly paying real money for my book or taking it out of the library and
reading it. Having a book out there is still very new to me, and maybe it’s not
the same for writers of mass market publications, but watching as my book crossed
the border from friends and family to readers everywhere was really quite a
thrill that made me feel like a writer and not just someone who likes to write.
Do you write full time?
I wish
I could, but Mr. Mom is a full-time gig right now. As a result, most of my
writing gets done after everyone else has gone to bed. It can be very
frustrating, so a big key for me is to use the spare moments in my day
preparing for my next writing block by knocking out any promoting, editing or
research at hand. Then when I have available solitude I can just sit down and
write without distraction.
What would you say is your interesting
writing quirk?
Using
unique fonts for each story. It helps me shift back into the right voice and mindset
for whatever I’m working on much quicker. Right now it’s a Unicorn story and
I’m using Harrington. Just seeing how much cooler and atmospheric words like
Unicorn look in Harrington gets me right back into the story. When you have
limited time periods to work with stuff like that is important. You do anything
and everything to get the words flowing again as fast as you can and changing
fonts works for me.
As a child what did you want to be when you
grew up?
As an
adult I can look back and say 
archaeologist or paleontologist, but as a kid I
didn’t know what those words really meant. I just loved dinosaurs.
Anything additional you want to share with
the readers?
Yes. I
love hearing from you through my contact page or Goodreads. The arguments for
why Colin made a good choice or bad choice, how you figured out who was under
the veil, suggestions about who should get married next or why such and such
character is a jerk, and what the casting would be if To Have and To Hold became a movie and so on are so much fun to
read. 

They really are. I don’t get too many of those, so along with interviews
like this, hearing from a reader affords me the opportunity to write back and say
thanks for reading in a meaningful way.
Links:
Thanks so much, Trae! This has been fun.

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