Tracey Richardson

Tracey RichardsonThe middle of three children, I was born in 1964 in Windsor, Ontario. From a very early age I appreciated books and being read to and cherished weekly visits to the library. Once I learned to read, I collected books and read voraciously.

 The seeds of becoming a fiction writer were planted early, well before my teenaged years. I collected scrapbooks, meticulously clipping pictures from mail order catalogues and detailing the fictionalized lives of these make-believe characters. They weren’t exactly imaginary friends, but I definitely enjoyed creating imaginary worlds. By the time I entered high school I was writing poetry and short stories … and always, reading!

I followed my dreams of becoming a newspaper journalist, graduating from the University of Windsor and later moving to the Georgian Bay area of Ontario to work as a daily newspaper reporter and editor. It was also here that I met my partner, Sandra, and where we still live.

I didn’t write my first full-length novel until the age of 29, when I was recovering from a tonsillectomy. A friend sent me a couple of lesbian romance novels (which I hadn’t known existed before then). I read them in a day or two and decided they couldn’t be all that difficult to write. It was a eureka moment. “I can do that!” I decided. And I did. I began writing a novel the very next day, which became “Northern Blue” and was published by the now-defunct lesbian literary giant Naiad Press. Three more books, all mysteries, followed for Naiad in the late 1990s.

In the new millennium, Naiad Press rode off into the sunset and so did I. I was at a crossroads and am not exactly sure why I stopped writing fiction at that point, except that suddenly I didn’t have anything to say. No story ideas, no characters running around in my head, no message to get across. I guess it was a massive writer’s block or something, but I decided to do other things in my life. I began to spend massive amounts of time playing sports (golf and ice hockey), making new friends and taking up stained glass art. I decided to get out there and live my life, and if I took up writing again one day, fine. If not, there was no pressure. I’d been there, done that, and had some fun.

By 2006, I suddenly knew I had to write what became my novel “The Candidate”, about a lesbian running to become president of the United States. I’ve always loved history and politics, and for me, it was the perfect inspiration for a novel. I don’t know if or when a lesbian will ever actually run for president, but when I started writing “The Candidate”, it seemed to me that it wasn’t really such a far-fetched idea. I spent a year writing the book and then pitched it to Bella Books, which had taken up the reins from Naiad. Bella accepted the manuscript and it was published in January, 2008, just as the real election for president was kicking into gear. I lucked out with the timing, because Hillary Clinton was running in 2008 and voters were ready for an inspirational, well-spoken, liberal candidate to be their leader. The book sold like hotcakes, but best of all, I’d rediscovered my love for fiction writing.

Next came “Side Order of Love” (first place winner contemporary romance, Rainbow Writers of America, 2009; finalist in contemporary romance for Golden Crown Literary Society), then “No Rules of Engagement”, a novel featuring a military doctor and a journalist in the war in Afghanistan. “No Rules” went on to become a Lambda Literary finalist as well as a double Golden Crown finalist. “Blind Bet” was my followup novel while my most recent release (September 2011)  is “The Wedding Party”.

My newspaper job of more than 20 years came to an end in late 2010 and I am now a freelance writer and editor, working from home. I now have the time I’ve always desired to devote to my fiction writing.

Being a novelist has been one of the most fulfilling, joyous things that’s ever happened to me. It’s not sunshine and lollipops every day, but it’s pretty darned close!