Author Interview: Tracy Crump

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

A writer? Me? I never wanted to be a writer. From the age of ten, I wanted to be a nurse, so I went to nursing school and worked in ICU for five years. But as much as I loved nursing, my real heart’s desire was to be a stay-at-home mom. We later homeschooled—something else never on my radar—but a writer? Not for me.

What prompted you to start writing?

After my sons graduated, I felt God leading me to write a book about parenting issues that might help other families. Later, I received a mailout about a writers conference and figured I would go and hand off my manuscript to a willing editor who would run with it. Then I could forget this writing business. But I met magazine editors who were interested in my topic. My first three articles were published in national magazines—they even paid me—and a writer was born.

What kind of writing do you prefer?

For fifteen years, I wrote only short pieces—articles, short stories, devotions—that I could finish and move on to something else. I contributed twenty-two stories to Chicken Soup for the Soul books and became an expert of sorts in anthology writing.

What made you finally decide to write a book?

I played around with a couple of novel ideas and pitched them to an agent at a conference. He said, “That’s fine, but nonfiction sells better than fiction. You’ve published so many devotions, why don’t you write a devotional book?” Hmm, one devotion at a time. I could do that.

What inspired the topic for your book?

I saw God’s hand at work so many times in my work as an ICU nurse, and it just seemed natural to go back to my nursing roots. I also wanted to bring hope to people undergoing a health crisis, battling chronic illness, or struggling to recover from a serious injury. So, I wrote Health, Healing, and Wholeness: Devotions of Hope in the Midst of Illness.

How important was it to have a team to launch your book?

It was essential for me! Shortly before the book was due to release in June 2021, my 100-year-old mother-in law had a massive heart attack and went on hospice. I was in the middle of intense caregiving and could do nothing to help promote the book. My launch director told me to “stand down, we’ve got this!” The team took it to #1 Amazon new release.

What risks have you taken with your book that have paid off?

Well, I don’t know if you would call it a risk as much as a walk of faith, but I’ve looked for innovative ways to market my book. My dream has been to get Health, Healing, and Wholeness into the hands of people who feel they’re facing hopeless situations and show them there’s always hope with God. At first, I thought hospital gift shops might be the best avenue, but it’s almost impossible to get a book accepted by their suppliers. So I started contacting ministries and then Christian business owners and asking if they would sponsor a case to go to cancer treatment centers or other health institutions. My publisher offers a discount and free shipping for boxed sets of twenty-five or more books, and so far, several cases have been made available to patients facing chemo or other devastating health situations.

What do you think is the best way to improve writing skills?

Two things: attend a conference and join a critique group. I tell new writers I don’t think I would be published today if I had not attended a conference. I also learned the value of critique at that first conference and have headed up several different critique groups. Those two things will improve your skills and propel your career faster than anything else.

What books are you currently reading?

Right now, I’m reading Laura Story’s When God Doesn’t Fix It about her husband’s brain tumor and how it impacted their lives. I had just finished Katherine and Jay Wolf’s Hope Heals that deals with Katherine’s catastrophic cerebral hemorrhage and her fight to recover as much of her abilities as possible. They may sound depressing, but both books are so full of hope and like my book, point to Jesus as our ultimate Healer.

If you’re planning another book, can you share a tiny bit about your plans for it?

As you might guess from my reading list, I’m planning a book for caregivers. I’m working with a cowriter whose husband also had a brain tumor. She has been caring for him since 2004. Though we proposed the book as a devotional, one publisher said she would like to see it as a Christian living book. We revised and resubmitted the proposal and are waiting to hear back now. So it’s possible we may be writing two books. In the meantime, I started a blog for caregivers called Caregiver’s Corner and have had such wonderful guest posts. I can’t wait to see what God has planned next!


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