Category Archives: Uncategorized

Tracee de Hahn:Writing What She Knows About Switzerland and Kentucky

Branching out from Switzerland to Kentucky….

Murder Books

RJ:        I’m happy to welcome Tracee de Hahn back to MurderBooks, today, where she shares her thoughts on the often-stated, often-debated advice to writers: “Write what you know.”


TD:       I tune in to Murder Books to hear from ‘those in the know.’ The men of Murder Books have been there, in the thick of crime and investigation, from a variety of perspectives. When they say that’s how an officer of the law, or an attorney, or a PI would react, I trust them.

This fits with the trope write what you know. That said, it is commonly acknowledged that there are limits to this advice. After all, we hope no author tests the waters of murder in order to create a compelling villain. Write what you know is often modified to write what interests you. Genuine interest brings the author into the space and place of the story.

View original post 449 more words

Time to travel….

Tomorrow I leave to start promotion for A WELL-TIMED MURDER, first to Alabama for Murder in the Magic City then on to a tour of great bookstores across Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, Virginia and Texas.

Every time I walk into a bookstore I see old friends and make new ones. If you’re in the area I hope you will stop by! If you aren’t nearby, pre-order now wherever you buy books and get ready to start reading February 6th!

Tour postcard 2018

★ Home and away with Tracee de Hahn

BOOK CITY ★ Roanoke

Tracee de Hahn is the author of Swiss Vendetta, the first of the Agnes Lüthi mysteries published by St. Martins/Minotaur. Book two, A Well-Timed Murder, is scheduled for release in Feb 2018. She took a break from edits on her second book to talk with us about her inspirations.

dehahn2BOOK CITY ★ Roanoke: Let’s start with your process. What fuels your creativity? 
Tracee de Hahn:  Travel. Without a doubt travel is my inspiration. My current mystery series is set in Switzerland where I lived for a time and where my husband and I return frequently (he’s Swiss). However, travel ANYWHERE fuels my creativity since it takes me outside daily life and helps me see everything and everyone differently. Plus, when I return I’m very happy to be home. There I sit and write!

BCR:  Back home, what about Roanoke inspires your writing?
TdH: I’ve found great inspiration in the other writers I’ve met since moving to…

View original post 262 more words

It’s still May. Short story month.

Screen Shot 2017-05-23 at 9.47.51 AMI recently spoke to a middle school class in Athens, Tennessee and was impressed by their thoughts on writing, what they were writing and how excited they were about the entire process from inspiration to words on paper to editing (which they informed me was the hardest and most important part!).

In this class, and when I meet children or young adults with their parents, one of the inevitable questions is what should I do if I want to be a writer? That’s a loaded question but one of the things I usually mention is name recognition through competitions. (After all, practice and potential resume building aren’t bad for anyone.) Inevitable we talk about short story competitions. Why? There are quite a few of them. And while writing a short story isn’t easier than writing a full length novel it is ‘shorter,’ which hopefully translates into a shorter timeline for completion.

While name recognition for a contest winner or short story publication is a great thing, there are other wonderful reasons to tackle the short story.

Perhaps most importantly, it is a tool in development of writing craft. Short stories may be short but they have a beginning, middle and end. Their length makes it all the more critical to distill all knowledge into an abbreviated word count. A good short story will always be tight and succinct (whereas a novel can legitimately be lengthy). That leads to the part that the middle schoolers felt was the hardest and most important – editing. A masterful short story is a well edited story.

This doesn’t mean that a short story edits out theme or twists or experimentation with POV or any other of the other things that writers use in full length novels. The short story provides space for everything, just judiciously. A theme is the heart of any story!

Recently I asked a short story writer what was their biggest piece of advice. The answer: start the story very near the end.

Are you a short story writer? Any advice? Any favorites?

Out with the old. Manuscripts that is.

old-manuscriptsEvery writer is on their own schedule. For me, it’s that time of year. The heaping stack of printed paper that is my manuscript will make its way to a box and then to the attic.

I retain the working notebook with the latest draft and, of course, there are a billion electronic files. Each is a backup of various stages and parts. It’s all there!

This house cleaning doesn’t mean that the manuscript is finished, but it’s turned in (hurrah!). From here on out, it has a life of its own….

What do you do with your old drafts? Keep them? Archive carefully? Or pitch?

Thoughts on a national day

cows and chocolateIn the 18th century Switzerland was one of the only republican political systems. In the American Colonies, when drafting the Constitution and Bill of Rights, the Founding Fathers, especially John Adams, James Madison and George Mason, were inspired by this social and political organization. Ironically, it was only fifty years later when, in 1848, the Swiss adopted a new Constitution. In creating it they adopted many of the American features including the two-chamber system and representative democracy.

Happy 725th birthday Switzerland….. 725 years of evolving, while staying true to yourself.