To help celebrate the 10 year anniversary of BOLO Books, I decided to re-launch the extremely popular Composite Sketch feature. As you may remember, these are short interviews containing five very incisive questions that are posed to members of our community – authors, fans, publicists, agents, etc.

I asked on social media who my followers wanted to hear from and the response was incredible, with folks suggesting a varied collection of wonderful folks who populate our little corner of the world. I have reached out to many of those folks and invited them to participate, so while the Composite Sketches will not be as consistent as they were in the past, they will pop up now and again and I plan to always have them be part of the BOLO Books brand–starting this week with three in a row.

Today, we welcome Tracy Clark, a beloved author whose name came up more than any other in my recent queries. She is the award-winning author of the Cass Raines series and launches a new series in January of 2023 with Hide and just also happens to be one of the nicest people you are likely to meet.

Let’s see how Tracy answers are Composite Sketch questions. And if you are new to this blog feature, remember that the 150+ previous sketches are archived above under the Composite Sketch tab.

Name: Tracy Clark
Location: Chicago, Illinois

This person from my personal life is such an inspiration:

It has to be my Mom. Everything I am I owe to her. She instilled in me a true love of reading, and I wouldn’t be a writer if I didn’t have that at my core. My favorite book at bedtime used to be Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss. She must have read it a million times. She read it so often that at some point, I guess, I memorized it, so I knew right away when she tried to skip a page to hurry things along after a particularly long day as a busy RN. I’ve since apologized to her for holding her feet to the fire. But no matter how tired she was, there was always a bedtime story, and there were trips to the library every Saturday for books that I could choose myself. My Mom always bucked me up when nothing I wrote was any good. And today, she couldn’t be prouder that I’ve written my own books. Inspiration doesn’t begin to cut it. I am a reader because of my Mom. She opened the world to me. Every one of my books couldn’t have happened without her. I can read Green Eggs and Ham myself now … and still do sometimes. It’s on my bookshelf next to all my Raymond Chandlers, Eleanor Taylor Blands and Sue Graftons. It’s not my original copy, however, I think that poor book disintegrated.

One of the people I admire most in the crime fiction community is:

This is a tough one. I can’t limit my choice to one person. I admire the crime-writing community so much so that it’s freaking embarrassing. This is a tough gig, but every writer I’ve been honored to meet since my debut novel hit the world, has made it look so effortless, so doable. I’m bowled over by the support, the advocacy, the fraternity, the generosity, the brilliance of those in our community. From my very first Bouchercon when I was literally scooped up and folded into the family by the nicest, warmest folks (special shout-out to Catriona McPherson). It has been just the most wonderful experience. Arms are flung wide open in our tight little family of fictional killers. Everyone roots for everyone, at least everyone I’ve encountered. I’ve found that tooting your horn for another writer’s success is ten times more fun than tooting it for yourself, and I have yet to meet a single writer who doesn’t seem to feel the same way. Our community is full of the most wickedly weirdest geniuses I’ve ever met, and I admire every last one of the brilliant wordsmiths who honor it with their infectious enthusiasm and grace. It’s a wonderful thing when you find your people, and they turn out to be just as fabulous as you always thought they would be.

STALKER ALERT! If this fictional character were real, they would likely need to get a restraining order against me:

Wonder Woman. I want that invisible plane, and I don’t give a flip if I have to go up against every Amazon on Paradise Island to get it.

People are always surprised that I am a fan of this individual (singer, actor, or artist):

I’m an ABBA fan, and not just some Johnny-come-lately one who jumped on the bandwagon after “Mamma Mia: The Musical” hit Broadway. I was ABBA when ABBA wasn’t cool. Back in the day, I’d hustle my new ABBA albums home in a brown paper bag like it was porn, so my too-cool-for-school friends on the block wouldn’t see it and start up with the teasing. Once inside the house, though, it was ABBA unleashed! I listened to other stuff too, stuff I didn’t have to run the gauntlet with, but I liked my ABBA songs. And I still like them today. Some of them are kind of deep. And before anyone asks who’s my favorite ABBA band member? I can’t choose. All four mesh so well together. I won’t go into the group’s personal dramas, the marriages, the messy divorces. I just thank them for the music. Ha. See what I did there? My fellow ABBA fans will get that.

My personal catch phrase is (or should be):

“Alright, let’s do this thing!” That’s my phrase. But there’s a lot of psyching up I have to do to get to that gung-ho declaration. I’m an introvert of the highest order. If I had my druthers, I’d live alone in a deserted library on a craggy cliff out in the middle of nowhere and spend my days in a ratty old sweater lounging on a big, comfy easy chair with a stack of books beside me. Oh, and a cup of tea … and ginger snaps. A lot of pacing, worry, and second-guessing by abilities comes before “Alright, let’s do this thing!” but once I get there, I’m usually up for whatever the thing is. Then when I discover that I did not actually die having done the thing, I realize nine times out of ten that I kind of enjoyed myself and feel a little foolish about all the time I wasted with the pacing. But that’s the introvert way. Where my peeps at? I still want my library, though. Maybe when I sell as many books as Stephen King.

Find about more about Tracy Clark on her website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram