Episode 229: Ratcheting Up the Suspense — Interview with P.J. Tracy

by Gabriela Pereira
published in Podcast

Hey there word nerds!

Today I have the pleasure of speaking with Traci Lambrecht, of the mother-daughter writing team P.J. Tracy, perhaps most well-known for their Monkeewrench thriller series.

Traci spent most of her childhood riding and showing horses, then graduated with a Russian Studies major from St. Olaf College in Minnesota. She then began writing in order to finance her propensity for travel and, much to her mother’s relief, found that writing was her true calling.

Traci and her mother P.J. wrote several books together and had a long, prolific career as a team. Sadly, P.J. passed away in December 2016, but Traci continues to write and carry on this amazing legacy.

So listen in as we chat about the newly released ninth volume in their Monkeewrench series, The Guilty Dead, and how to ratchet up suspense throughout a story to keep readers on the edge of their seats.

In this episode Traci and I discuss:

  • Multiple protagonists vs. a single protagonist
  • How to pull off a killer prologue.
  • Creating vivid descriptions without slowing down your plot.
  • How to use reading to inform your writing.
  • Dealing with the “muggles” in your life.

Plus, Traci’s #1 tip for writers.

About P.J. Tracy

P.J. Tracy was the pseudonym of mother-daughter writing team P. J. and Traci Lambrecht.

Traci spent most of her childhood riding and showing horses. She graduated with a Russian Studies major from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, where she also studied voice. Her aspirations of becoming a spy were dashed when the Cold War ended, so she began writing to finance her annoying habits of travel and singing in rock bands.

Much to her mother’s relief, she finally realized that the written word was her true calling. They had a long, prolific career together in multiple genres before  P. J.’s passing in December 2016. Traci continues to write and carry on this amazing legacy.

The latest thriller in P.J. Tracy’s critically acclaimed Monkeewrench series, The Guilty Dead, is now available.

To connect with Traci check out her website at pjtracy.com.

The Guilty Dead

The city of Minneapolis is rocked by the suicide of their most beloved philanthropist, Gregory Norwood, exactly one year after his son’s very public heroin overdose. After his body is discovered by a photojournalist looking for a candid shot, detectives Leo Magozzi and Gino Rolseth are called in to handle the delicate case. It should be a simple, open-and-closed case. Until they find a second body.

The evidence prompts them to believe that Norwood’s death is no suicide. However, with no suspects and a puzzling tangle of digital evidence that even the Minneapolis Police Department’s most seasoned cops can’t crack, Magozzi calls in Monkeewrench Software’s founder and chief computer genius, Grace MacBride. She and her motley crew of partners begin to unravel connections between Norwood’s death and an even larger plot. Delving into the darkest secrets of one of Minneapolis’ most powerful families, the detectives realize that Norwood wasn’t the first to die. And by the end, he may just be one of many.

The breakneck, high stakes race to find his killer and save hundreds make The Guilty Dead P. J. Tracy’s most gripping and outstanding novel yet.


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Link to Episode 229

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