Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Kristen: My Comfort Zone Update (it’s actually getting bigger)

Last we left it, I was a freakishly private person who adored my cat and avoided the Internet and wrote books for teens, tweens, and people who are younger than that. I am still all of those things. Mostly. But I also Twitter. I did not create a wit-busting handle.

You can find me at http://twitter.com/kristen_tracy

I mostly discuss my bus adventures in San Francisco and also offer quirky (sometimes startling) animal facts.

Sample tweet: Researching tween book and found out polar bears are so toxic (PBDEs attack sex and thyroid glands) that 3 out of 100 are hermaphrodites.

In addition to my Twitter birth, since I last reported on my comfort zone, I’ve repeatedly left my house. I even went on tour.

It’s true. This summer I bought some new shirts and went on my first national book tour to promote my teen novel A FIELD GUIDE FOR HEARTBREAKERS. Hyperion-Disney sent me out into the world with Stacey Kade and Brent Crawford and we flipcammed various parts of this experience and posted the footage to Hyperion-Disney’s unRequired Reading Facebook page.


During the San Francisco leg of our travels, I gave them a crazy behind-the-scenes tour of Alcatraz. Seriously. I even took them inside a secret tunnel. (I guess that tunnel is a lot less secret now.)

In addition to the tour, a couple of weeks ago, for San Francisco’s Annual Literary Festival, I performed at the Porchlight Storytelling Series in front of several hundred people. I told a story about my book tour (My story focused on a pigeon that I saw that got run over and killed by two Segways in Washington, D.C. Apparently, pigeons don’t understand what Segways are yet). I was SO SCARED. Somebody told me I made the piano player laugh. I don’t remember any of it.

I also hit the airwaves. Yep. I read a bunch of my poems for KQED Writer’s Block, which meant I got to hear my own voice coming out of the radio and it freaked me out beyond belief. Because I don’t really sound like that, do I?

And I did more radio. I was interviewed by Michael Krasny on his show Forum with a group of women poets. Holy crap! I was scared out of my mind. And before we went live the show’s producer read us a huge list of naughty words we weren’t allowed to say on the air, and after she finished saying the naughty words, I said, “I am very afraid of the direction you think this interview is going to take.” And everybody laughed. But I was serious.

And then, as if I hadn’t done enough, I believe I may have joined a literary movement. I know. I know. It’s been quite a year. I’m part of The Contemps, a group of 21 contemporary authors with books coming out next year. It’s a fantastic group.


I was really nervous about joining them. Because I am afraid to blog. Because I am a carbon-based life form mostly made out of water and fear.

Okay. That’s my comfort zone update. Do I miss my reclusive life? TREMENDOUSLY! Then why am I doing this to myself? Because I am a writer. And I’ve come to realize that this means playing on the Internet (a little bit). I try to play for less than an hour a day. I have no plans to join Facebook or anything else. And I will only blog if I’m part of a large pack of people. Because at the end of the day, I still believe that the Internet is a time suck. Slup. Slup. Slup. (That’s the sound of my writing time getting sucked away while I write this blog post.)

Thanks for reading! And for your viewing pleasure, I have attached my teen shark novel cover. SHARKS & BOYS comes out summer 2011. Chomp!


  1. Kristen - Kudos for pushing your comfort zone! I am a reclusive writer like yourself, but since I am not yet published, I have the luxury of staying home (plus, my one-year-old prefers not to make her own meals or change her own diapers).

    I am pretty comfortable online, but those real-world things like interviews and readings and signings scare me. I mean, there are PEOPLE there! And they're LOOKING at me!

    But I know that when the time comes, I will get out there and pound the pavement, no matter how hard I find it, because that's what writers do. After all, if we won't go out on a limb for our books, who will?

    Good luck with your comfort zone!


  2. Kristen - First time I've seen your cover!! Very cute!

    I'm SO glad you are part of the Contemps. TREMENDOUSLY glad!

  3. Glad to hear your comfort zone is expanding - I'm working my way through the Contemps books and am looking forward to reading Sharks & Boys next summer. I read a comment you made months ago about the book, comparing it to Breakfast Club meets Jaws, and it's stuck with me ever since :)

  4. It's important to reach outside your comfort zone. Love the cover!

  5. kerrygans, nice points. And your one-year-old sounds like a total diva. Good luck with that. Oh, Lisa, you are so sweet. You flatter me. I think I won you over by admiring your fluffy hair three years in a row. Jennifer, thanks for remembering the Breakfast Club meets Jaws comparison. Here's another comparison. Book-to-film people are calling it Life Boat meets Open Water. Ooh. Those are scary movies. Nicole, thanks for loving the cover. I am thrilled to have written a book that merits a dorsal fin on the cover. Yay for dorsal fins.

  6. "Because I am a carbon-based life form mostly made out of water and fear." I love it!

    Kristen, you make me laugh! :) I miss you! Come see me so we can have more awesome adventures--minus the pigeon murder.

    And I think you're very brave. Especially after hearing your bus stories.

  7. Kristen,

    How to start? Wow, you have an exciting life. You went on a radio show, spoke in front of hundreds of people and write books for a living. Talk about living the dream.

    Recently, I read a blog that talked about how writers never surpass their goals. There is never enough time for us to read and write everything we want to. Your personality really shines through in the blog, which is a plus.

    Standing in front of so many people must have been exciting. I noticed you do poetry as well. I like to call up open mic radio shows each week. Thank you for sharing this with us.

    Draven Ames

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