Tracy Bilen is a high school French and Spanish teacher in Michigan where she lives with her husband and two children. Before moving to Michigan, Tracy taught at a ski school for high school students in Vermont (Spanish, not skiing!). She studied at the Sorbonne in Paris and taught English in Strasbourg, France. She enjoys cross-country skiing and walks in the woods. Her debut young adult novel, What She Left Behind, will be released by Simon Pulse on May 1, 2012.
Now on to the FIVE QUESTIONS
1. What was the spark of inspiration for What She Left Behind?
It was an image in my mind of a girl, a field, a suitcase, and a gun.
2. How has your life as a teacher affected your life as a writer?
It’s helped me still think like a teen…and to know what high school is like these days. But if I ever have to tell a student to put a book
away during class and it’s mine – well, that would be funny.
3. What’s next on the horizon?
Another YA thriller – think action and explosions!
4. What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Once you’ve polished your manuscript and had it critiqued in as many ways as you can imagine, and you begin to query agents with it, START YOUR NEXT BOOK. That’s how I came to write What She Left Behind!
5. Finally, Beatles or Rolling Stone?
Beatles! When I was younger I loved to imagine that someday I would be a “paperback writer” like the song.