Q&A WITH TRAE STRATTON
Q: What is the name of your upcoming release?
A: The name of my new novel is THUNDER PEAK. It is Book I of a Trilogy called The Tamm
Q: How many books have your written so far?
A: This is my second novel. The first was a New Adult/Family Saga called TO HAVE AND TO
Q: Describe your journey of being a writer.
A: For me it’s been a long and winding road that started with Dungeons & Dragons. In
hindsight, it was a really great place to start because you learn a lot about world building,
storytelling and character development in a fun way. But playing D&D with my friends is
definitely what cultivated the desire to create and tell stories. In college I won a Creative
Writing Award that convinced me: “Hey I can do this!” After college comes a time when you
need money in your pocket. When you’re a wannabe peddler of fiction like I was it’s a major
crossroads in your life. You have to decide between starving artist and go all in, or choose a
career that pays the bills and become a part timer. There are so many stories about self-
destructive writers out there that you really have to be honest with yourself and choose
carefully. I’ve always been in the “happy wife-happy life” camp, so I chose the latter. On the
plus side, there are lots of careers that can help you as a writer. Mine with the NYPD certainly
did that. That brings me to the master trick I have to constantly evaluate and fine tune- Time
Management. Finding the hours for the necessary beats to hone your craft, do the research
and then actually download from the bio cloud is never easy when you’re juggling some
combination of work, parenting, and family and friends you want to spend time with, let alone
all three! So, tip of the cap to all the writers out there doing just that! To some that may sound
like writing has taken a back seat for me, but I philosophically disagree. The way I see it, me,
writing, my family, friends and hobbies, we’re all in the same RV together, and the road of life is
a lot more rewarding when all your interests get a chance to drive.
Q: Using only three words how would you describe your new release?
A: Fantasy, Western, Adventure.
Q: What genre do you mostly write within? Do you see yourself exploring new genres later or
A: That’s an interesting question for me as a writer because my wheelhouse has always been
fantasy, especially high fantasy, Dungeons and Dragons type stuff. Yet when it came time to sit
down and write my first novel, I had this new adult epic crowding my thoughts that just had to
get out first. Stories do that. Some of them you can shush and make wait their turn. In fact
you have to, or you will wind up with a bunch of half written novels and notes and never
complete anything. But some of them you just can’t. For me that was To Have and To Hold. It
just would not be denied. As a result, I kind of explored a new genre first. Now I’m back in my
sword and sorcery zone, kicking off a fast paced, fantasy-western trilogy that I’m very excited
Q: Who are your main protagonists and antagonists?
A: Thunder Peak is a father-daughter story. Casey Tamm is 14 years old. She’s confident and
capable and thirsty for adventure. She needs to learn, and she will, how perilous that can be
when she rescues a young unicorn, and it falls to her to help him get home. Her father Jonas is a
Civil War veteran. They live in the Arizona territory, which in 1885 is a world populated by
heartless outlaws and hostile Indians. He knows how dangerous the world is and he’s doing
everything he can to make sure Casey learns how to take care of herself. That includes teaching
her to shoot, and crafting silver bullets to fend off magical creatures that Casey has no idea
even exist in chapter one. One of those creatures is the sabertoothed wolf lord, Nightblade,
who has been sent to destroy Casey before the special ability lurking in her hidden bloodline
Q: Is it difficult being an Indie Writer?
A: For me it is. It’s very difficult. Writing the book is fun, but once it’s done, I have to find
editors, find and work with cover artists, figure out all the correct type settings for margins and
trim sizing, find beta readers, find willing reviewers and then market myself the best I can as
time allows. The details go on and on. None of it is simple. Some of it is hard. It would be
great to have a guiding light through some of that. Author Q&As like these are fun, but I find
the rest of those hurdles I mentioned exhausting to navigate. That’s what makes it difficult to me.
That’s what makes it frustrating, because all the time I spend actually publishing a book is
time I don’t spend writing one. It’s just so hard to get into the traditionally published arena,
that when I read advice that says don’t fight with your editors and publishers, I think damn, it
must be so awesome to have specialists trying to help you with all that, why would you fight
with them? For me, who has only known print on demand, I think the standard fees and
percentages would be worth it to see my novel on a shelf in a bookstore and be invited to do
book signings. Now I don’t want to sound like being an Indie Author is all gloom and doom. It’s
very rewarding to see your work in print and available for purchase. It’s even more exciting
when strangers read your book and leave reviews, especially when they’re good reviews! But
Alpha to Omega, the process is difficult, at least for me. When you consider all the hoops you
have to jump through to get a book out, every Indie Author should be very proud of what
they’ve accomplished. Every Indie Book is a verified labor of love and should be respected for
the hard work it took to write and publish it.
Q: When does Thunder Peak release? Where can readers buy it?
A: Thunder Peak goes live on August 7 th . You can purchase it through online retailers like
Amazon and Barnes & Noble. If you prefer, you can order it directly from your favorite
bookstore as well.
Q: What advice do you have for aspiring writers in your genre?
A: Keep the faith. The competition is fierce, and the space is so crowded that my course of
action is to write stories that I enjoy writing and want to read. Storytelling is an Art. A lonely
Art. So I think believing in yourself and the stories you write makes them easier to complete
and pitch than stories you think might sell. Because what if they don’t? Then it was a massive
waste of time and you didn’t even get to enjoy the process- which is a big thing for me. I love
the creative process. That’s what keeps me going. As I noted a bit earlier, being an Indie
Author is difficult, so if there isn’t going to be any “Great scene! Great idea!” kind of moments,
it’s hard for me to see the point in sitting at the keyboard in the first place. Just as important,
maybe more, stay open minded. Keep growing and evolving as a writer. Add new tools, learn
new tricks and twists and how to employ them. Everything I ever learned about writing has one
thing in common, it highlights how much more there is to know. So keep learning. Keep honing
your craft. Remember that numerous publishers turned down Harry Potter before it was finally