The Ocala Card Club
Independently Published (2020)
Tracy Leigh has lived most of her life in Central Florida. People watching and sharing stories are two of her favorite activities. With her eyes and ears in many places, she has had many opportunities to observe leisure in Florida. Considering most gossip to be mere half-truths leaves her wondering about the real back story.
Distilling many of those semi-true stories into one narrative, she created some characters and added a sprinkle of imagination. Pouring it out onto the keyboard, that story became her first novel, The Ocala Card Club.
Tracy lives and works in a socially sensitive position. Think hairdresser, teacher, or council member, but none of those. No photo is available as no one wants their Sunday School teacher to be the one writing those scandalous stories. Her husband enjoys them but won’t tell his friends.
You might encounter Tracy out hiking through a park, reading on a beach, or volunteering at the Humane Society. Both cats and dogs share her home, all being rescues and needy. The number varies as these unadoptable senior pets sadly sometimes do not live long. For now, she is collecting stories that might become another novel. Have you ever wondered what happens after Cinderella retires and the glamour goes away?
Hi Tracy, Welcome to Reader Views! Tell us, what is your debut novel “The Ocala Card Club” about?
It is simply about people. Everyone has to deal with change in their lives. Some glide right through change while others flounder. There is always a high road and a low road, but sometimes the way is not clear.
What inspired you to write this story?
Watching friends struggle with change and having to take another step upwards on that generational ladder.
Tracy Leigh is a pseudonym – why did you choose to write under a nom de plume?
There is no way that I could risk having someone I know think that they might have been part of this story. I cannot create out of wholly imaginary material without reality creeping in. It would simply not be believable if every scrap of real life were washed away. And who would trust me with their secrets if they thought I would share their story?
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your book?
It left me with suspicions about certain friends.
Tell us about a couple of your main characters. Which character did you have the most fun with?
Most good stories have a villain and a hero. The villains need motivations that make them feel justified and every real hero should have a fault or weakness. All of these women have been shaped by their past and some have not dealt with that past as well as others. Laura was fun. She was strong, empathetic, and ready to reach out where she was needed, like many a good nurse.
What was the most challenging aspect of your book to write?
The sex, of course. For me it was trying to keep it realistic and interesting without getting bogged down into pornographic detail. Here and there I might have skewed a little too far this way or that, but I was striving for the middle road.
What’s next? Do you have another story in the works?
There are two outlines but both need a lot more work. I do not know which will catch fire.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received, about writing, or about life in general?
The life lesson that has stuck with me is to care about people. Almost everyone has unmet needs. I don’t have to solve every need, but acknowledging those needs helps others feel better.
Based on your debut journey, do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Yes, I have one piece. Find a reader, editor, someone you trust, and let them tear everything apart. When you resign yourself to putting it back together, thank them and ask them to do it again. Birthing anything can be painful.
Tracy, thank you so much for joining us today and sharing a bit about yourself and your work!