Author Q&A: Traci Hunter Abramson

Earlier this week, I got the opportunity to have a Q&A with the lovely Traci Hunter Abramson, author of Chances Are. Check out my review here!
Traci Hunter Abramson
Traci Hunter Abramson
Tell us a little about yourself.
I am originally from Arizona, but I’ve been living in Virginia since graduating from BYU. I’m married with four kids and I enjoy working at home where I can pretend that someday I’m going to manage to organize my many activities. During the winters, I coach the local high school swim team, and the rest of the year I’m typically in one phase or another of writing my next novel.
You used to work in the CIA. What made you want to be an author?
I have been an avid reader for as long as I can remember. Becoming an author was a dream I aspired to as early as elementary school, but as I got older, I thought it wasn’t possible. Thankfully, I tried anyway and proved myself wrong.
You are a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. How, if at all, does it influence your writing and your characters?
For one thing, I recognize my ability to craft a story as one with which the Lord has blessed me. With that understanding comes a commitment to try to use those gifts in a positive manner, one that is consistent with my beliefs. Because of that, my main characters tend to have strong values and at least some sense that we have a Heavenly Father who can hear our prayers and help us through our struggles.
What was your favorite book to read as a child?
The first book(s) that come to mind is The Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder and the other books in that series. I reread those books many times throughout my childhood.
Image from ScreenSlam.
Image from ScreenSlam.
What author has influenced your writing style the most?
Probably the author that I read the most when I was first starting out was Nora Roberts. She has the gift of really bringing characters to life. One of the main reasons I pursued publication was because as much I enjoy Nora Roberts’ writing, I didn’t care for some of the content that was inconsistent with my personal beliefs. I hoped to create something that would be enjoyable for readers, something that they could trust wouldn’t leave them blushing or wanting to skip pages.
Who do you consider your main role model?
Two come to mind. Lynn Gardner was kind enough to act as my mentor when I first began the journey into publication, and she helped me understand much about how to work and communicate with my publisher and editors. The other is Rebecca Cummings who is truly the secret to my success. Rebecca was the first person I ever trusted to read my creations. They were bad. Really bad. Through her patience and knowledge of writing, she helped me transform from someone with fun story ideas and not a lot of experience into a published author.
Maya is from India. How much (if any) research did you have to do to develop her backstory?
I did a little research about some of the cultural beliefs to make sure my understandings were still current with how India is today, but most of the details came from being around people who are from India and just listening to them talk about their native country.
Where did the idea for Chances Are come from?

Cover image and  from Image links to goodreads book page.
Cover image and from Image links to goodreads book page.
I think it was the culmination of a lot of experiences. I love baseball and the Nationals are my team of choice, so it was easy enough to set the book with one character coming from that background. My sister-in-law, Rebecca Cummings, has been struggling with cancer for the past decade so I was well versed in the challenges she has gone through. I also lost my father a couple years ago to cancer and have had several friends battle the disease, some successfully and others not so successfully. When I started writing this book, I found myself enjoying the depth of emotions Maya was experiencing, knowing how often I had seen those same emotions in other people I care about. As the person often standing on the sidelines, I could relate to Ben and Kari as they tried to help her.
What does your workspace look like? Also, #Shelfie ‘s are always welcome! Hahaha. :)
I have a desk. Really, I do. And somewhere under the stacks of paper, it’s a lovely desk. Of course, I’ve also been known to write wherever I’m sitting still for more than a few minutes: waiting rooms, parking lots, restaurants, or anywhere else I happen to be with a writing instrument.
" The photo of the desk is the clean version. I didn't want to scare anyone with what it looks like mid-edit!"
” The photo of the desk is the clean version. I didn’t want to scare anyone with what it looks like mid-edit!”
If you could live in one book (yours or someone else’s) for a day, what book would you choose and why?
That’s a tough one. I love the city. I love the country. I love the mountains. I love the beach. That’s one of the reasons I so enjoy writing is that I can pick somewhere I want to go and stay there a little longer than I normally would be able to. Since I finished it so recently, right now I would probably pick Failsafe. Much of it is set in rural Virginia near the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway on an estate that has plenty of horses to ride. I wouldn’t mind spending a day or longer there. Tomorrow, my answer might be different.
What’s next? 
My next book, Failsafe, will come out in April 2015. It’s the beginning of a new series that spins off a bit from the Saint Squad series. Here is the back cover blurb:

In the wide-open landscape of Pennsylvania, Charlotte Martin and her father live a peaceful life on their farm . . . or so it seems. In truth, the rural locale provides the perfect front for the father/daughter

NSA operatives as they expertly carry out their mission: using a high-tech computer system, they protect a team of undercover agents. Some would kill to have access to this system, and it makes Charlotte and her father prime targets. It was only a matter of time before this nightmare unexpectedly crashed down on them, and only Charlotte escaped with her life. Before Dwight Martin died, though, he initiated the failsafe lockdown, and now Charlotte’s the only one who can access the system.

Writer Jake Bradford left the serene Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia for the hustle and bustle of New York to pursue his dreams and never looked back. Until now. Entrusted with his ailing grandmother’s care, Jake knows he needs help—and he can’t believe his luck when a lovely young woman providentially appears on his doorstep. Charlotte creates a new persona for herself and quickly develops a bond with Jake’s grandmother. But it’s the connection she feels with Jake that makes it almost too easy to lose sight of her reality: she is being hunted by men who will stop at nothing to access the intelligence she protects. With time running out, can the couple find a future together, or will Charlotte’s secrets tear them apart?

Do you think there’s ever any chance (pun intended) of Chances Are being made into a film? Many readers I know, and I agree with them, think it would make a wonderful movie!
I hope so! I would love to see that happen. I’m just in the beginning stages of looking at the possibility of my novels going that route, but it’s a door I’m hoping to push open a little wider in the coming year.
Thanks so much for the interview! 
*Fangirl squee of excitement* I certainly hope it makes it to the screens!
Thank you, Traci! It was lovely getting to know you. Best of luck in all your future endeavors! I’m looking forward to reading Failsafe.
Make sure to check out Traci Hunter Abramson’s books at her website HERE. You won’t regret it — they’re definitely worth the read!
~Lynette ❤

Review: Chances Are — By Traci Hunter Abramson

Cover image and summary from Image links to goodreads book page.
Cover image and summary from Image links to goodreads book page.

Title: Chances Are

Author: Traci Hunter Abramson

Summary: Maya Gupta is a survivor. After escaping an impending arranged marriage in India as a teenager, she has thrived in America. But now she faces her greatest challenge yet—cancer has invaded her life, and unless she finds a way to participate in a clinical trial in Washington, DC, this may be one battle she loses. When Maya’s best friend Kari offers Maya the lifeline of a place to stay—her brother’s currently vacant DC apartment—the young woman eagerly accepts and goes to meet her fate . . .
Ben Evans’s plans have changed, and he’s heading home for some much-needed rest and relaxation during his off-season in the major leagues. Upon arriving at his DC apartment, however, Ben is shocked to find Maya—his sister’s friend, who he hardly knows—in residence. He soon finds himself trapped between protecting his above-reproach reputation and searching for a way to help a woman he is coming to admire. When Maya’s fight to survive her disease becomes more complicated than ever, she and Ben scheme an extreme solution to her predicament that tests to what lengths they’re willing to go together to save Maya’s life.

Genre/Pages: Sweet Romance/245

Rating: ★★★★ (5 of 5)

My Review:  It’s been a VERY long time since I’ve read a standalone book that I found nearly impossible to put down. Chances Are was that book. With a touching story, realistic and relatable characters, and a battle for life and love, this is a book that you’ll treasure forever. Just, be warned, you’ll need a box of tissues to read it! I planned on reading this over the course of a couple weeks — on again, off again, amidst other books — I sat down and opened the book. 4 or 5 hours later, I read the final page, and gently closed the book and put it down.Book

Plot: Okay, I’ll be honest, 5 chapters in, and I was sure I knew exactly what was going to happen for the entire book. And sure, a few small guesses of mine may have been correct, but, overall… Not just the final destination of the story, but especially the journey of the characters and plot, HOW they got to the destination, was not only largely unpredictable, but enjoyable and exhilarating. It had me on the edge of my seat, it made me cry, grin, squeal, “awwww”, *facepalm*, talk to characters, and basically it just reaffirmed to my family that I am completely crazy. But it was worth it. Sure, it may have had some minor predictable aspects, but overall, it was completely fresh and original. I loved every single second of it. It reminded me of Jack Weyland’s Charly. But, to be completely honest, I think I liked Chances Are even more.

Hero/Heroine: Maya and Ben. I ship it. Hardcore. Within a few pages of meeting her, you grow to love Maya, and feel incredible empathy for her. You find yourself cheering her on. This is no whiny teenage girl. Maya is a fighter.  Ben. He’s not your average fictional romantic counterpart. He’s different, and special. He’s a Major League Baseball player, star on the rise, and not only was he super sweet, lovable, and swoon-worthy, but he was a real person. With real thoughts, problems, and conflicts. I loved it. For me, the most important thing in any book is the character development and relations. I adored all of the characters, and couldn’t get enough of their interactions. Nothing was rushed, surprisingly enough, and nothing ever lagged. Perfectly paced, with plenty of laughs, smiles, and tears. This is probably one of my favorite romance novels ever now. I hope it gets made into a movie.

Content Advisory: It deals very directly with the struggles of cancer and the reality of death. Some kissing.

To Sum it Up: Traci tackled some major issues in this novel, and she came out on top. If you want a nice, heartwarming, novel you’ll treasure for ever, buy your copy of Chances Are today! There’s not a lot I can say without giving anything away, but I promise you, you WILL love this book. Books

Stayed Tuned! Coming Soon: Q&A with the amazing Traci Hunter Abramson!

Something new I’m starting: Using Reenin from Deviantart’s sketch Reading Zone, as a guide, I will determine which Reading Posture I was using during this book. :)

Chances Are Reading Posture: Enthralled Reading — Lost to Reality Reading, depending on the scene, with Tears Streaming Down Face.

Click here to see Reenin's sketch on Deviantart!
Click here to see Reenin’s sketch on Deviantart!

Have you heard of this book before? Have you read it? Did you like it?