A chat with Catalyst author Tracy Richardson on her latest book, writing inspiration and favourite authors


Today, I am participating in the Write Reads blog tour. I got the opportunity to interview Tracy Richardson about her latest novel, Catalyst. It is the second installment in a young adult trilogy.


Marcie Horton has a sixth sense. Not in the “I see dead people” way, but . . . well, maybe a little. She feels a sort of knowing about certain things that can’t be explained—an intuition that goes beyond the normal. Then there was that one summer four years ago, when she connected with a long-departed spirit . . . But nothing that incredible has happened to Marcie since.

This summer, Marcie is spending time working at Angel Mounds, the archeological dig her mother heads, along with her brother, Eric, and his girlfriend, Renee. The dig is the site of an ancient indigenous civilization, and things immediately shift into the paranormal when Marcie and her dig teammates meet Lorraine and Zeke. The two mysterious dig assistants reveal their abilities to access the Universal Energy Field with their minds—something Marcie knows only vaguely that her brother has also had experience with. Marcie learns how our planet will disintegrate if action is not taken, and she and her team must decide if they are brave enough to help Lorraine and Zeke in their plan to save Mother Earth, her resources, and her history.

It looks like the summer just got a lot more interesting.

Hello, I just wanted to ask how are you?

I am great, thank you! Physical Distancing with my boyfriend hasn’t been too hard – we’ve been cooking lots of delicious, healthy food and going on hikes – and my family is all doing well.

Your plots are very intricate, do you make them up as you go along or do you structure your novel before you even begin writing it?

I have a general idea of the beginning, middle and end of the novels and what I want to happen, including the story ARC and hero’s journey, but a lot of the ‘scenes’ develop as I write. The story really unfolds as I write it and once I write certain scenes, more scene pop into my head! I also do a lot of research and get plot and scene ideas from the people I interview.

Did anything or anyone inspire this book?

I got a lot of inspiration for The Field from my children who were in high school at the time I wrote it. Both my son and former husband were soccer goal keepers. The science and metaphysical ideas in both books came from scientists like Russel Targ David Bohm and Gregg Braden.

Are any of the characters in the Catalyst based on people you know?

None of the characters are based entirely on real people, although I do take characteristics of actual people and morph them into my characters.

Which book did you find easier to write – The Field or Catalyst? And why?

The Field was much easier to write than Catalyst. I think it was because I had so much material for the high school experience in The Field. Catalyst is a little more ‘out-there’ than The Field so I had to be much more creative in making things up!

Do you have any writing tips for aspiring writers?

When people tell me they have a book they want to write and ask me what they should do, I always tell them BIC – Butt In Chair. In order to write a book, you have to be disciplined and make time to write. Also, the first draft is usually crappy. You will need to revise, revise, revise. Join a writers group and have your manuscript professionally edited for both content – story flow, etc – and copy edited.

When writing a book, do you come up with other ideas for future novels, or do you just focus on what you’re working on at that present time?

Sometimes I come up with ideas for future books and sometimes that comes later. My novels are companion books, not sequels. Although the book I’m currently writing, Book III of The Catalysts Series, is a true sequel to Catalyst and I’ve know for quite a while what it would be about in a general sense. Now that I’m about 80 pages into it, the plot is filling in, but I still don’t know all the details. I know how I want it to end, but that could change!!


Did you always want to be an author?

I didn’t always want to be an author. I have a degree in biology and thought I would be a doctor, but didn’t follow that path. Science does play a big role in my writing, though. I’ve always been a voracious reader and when my children were young I started getting story ideas while re-visiting some of my childhood favorite books with them. I’m passionate about the environment and include an environmental theme in all my books.

This is a young adult series but I think anyone would enjoy them. When writing, did you have a specific audience in mind?

Thanks! I know lots of adults who read YA. I certainly do! My audience is anyone from age 12 and up, including adults.

Who is your favourite character from your books and why?

Picking your favorite character is like picking a favorite child! I love them all for different reasons and each of them has a little piece of me woven into their personalities. I love Cole from The Field as he is totally his own person in his quirky way. Marcie reminds me of myself in some ways, but so does Mrs. Horton. I’ve been told by a number of people that they thought I was a man when reading The Field because I got Eric as a high school jock spot on. I’m particularly fond of Zeke from Catalyst, too. I love them all in their own ways.

Finally, if you could invite three other authors (living or dead) to dinner, who would you choose?

I would have loved to meet Madeline L’Engle who wrote A Wrinkle in Time and many other books that have similar themes to my books. Megan Whalen Turner who wrote The Thief Series. The King of Attollia, the third book in the series is one of my all-time favorites. And Diana Gabaldon, who wrote the Outlander series. She has a degree in biology as well and I love her books.

Thank you for answering my questions. Best of luck with the book tour. I can’t wait to read what comes next!

Thanks! I’m working on Book III which will be from both Marcie and Eric’s POV.

Have you read this book yet? Let me know by commenting below. You can also follow me on Twitter and Instagram – @bookwormgirl_24

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