Tracey has taught high school English. She is married to Christian singer/songwriter Jon Langford. Tracey and Jon are the parents of quadruplets (two boys and two girls) whom they home-school. Tracey and Jon have been active in youth ministry and they collaborate in song writing. Jon’s CD, Beyond That, contains the song, “Her Name Is Katie,” which was the seed inspiration for Tracey’s novel. The Langfords reside in Alabama.
Tracey is the author of KATIE’S CHOICE : A Novel
A Conversation with Tracey
How did you get the idea to write KATIE’S CHOICE, a story around the difficult and controversial subject of abortion?
Tracey: One day about ten years ago I was listening to a really sweet Bruce Carroll song about a girl who gives her baby up for adoption. As tears rolled down my face, the thought occurred to me, ‘What about all the girls who don’t make that decision and don’t have a sweet song to sing years later?’ I’d never been involved with the abortion issue, but the thought stuck in my head and heart. One day I picked up a pen and began to write what is now the song “Her Name is Katie.” The story for the song unfolded inside my head almost too fast for me to write it down. I showed the lyrics to my husband when he came home from work. Much to my surprise he picked up the guitar and in about a half hour he had written the song.
For several years it stayed just a song. In the meantime I gave birth to quadruplets and was happily thrown headlong into motherhood. In the midst of my busy days, the one leisure activity I found the time to do was reading. I could easily put the book down when one of the babies would cry and then come back and pick up right where I left off. I also read a lot while rocking them or while standing at the stove stirring a big pot of soup. Often I would discuss the book I was reading with my husband, Jon, making suggestions as to how I would have written it differently. One day, Jon said, “You’re thinking of writing a book, aren’t you?” I really wasn’t; I had more than enough to do! But his comment planted a seed, and the more I thought about it, the more excited I became. I contemplated writing a story about a woman who has quadruplets (and I still might someday!), but since I lived that out in real life everyday, I wanted something different. Then one morning at the breakfast table, it hit me like a ton of bricks. (That’s how God usually operates with me!) The idea came to turn the song “Her Name is Katie” into a full-blown story. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I went out that weekend and bought a thesaurus because in my mind that made it official.
For a long time I didn’t even tell anyone I was writing the story, except my husband. After I got pretty far into it, I began to think, “Maybe I could get this thing published.” And, thanks to Cladach taking a chance on an unpublished, stay-at-home mom, I now have an award-winning novel! Our God works in interesting ways,doesn’t He?
How did you develop Katie, the main character?
Tracey: Without meaning to, I put a great deal of myself into the character of Katie. Her thoughts and reactions are what I think I would have felt in her situation. Many of the questions she struggled with were questions I had in my own mind, about hopes, dreams, and fears and where God fits into all of it. To be honest, I wanted answers and, without even knowing I was doing it, I used the book to find them. I didn’t want to write a book where the characters had everything figured out. I wanted it to be real; I wanted to show vulnerability and frailty. I’m guessing most people can identify with that better than they can identify with perfection. I chose the name Katie because at the time, that was the most popular girl name in the country. And the chorus of the song says, Her name is Katie, maybe you know her, too. / She’s just like anybody, just like me and you. Hopefully, when people read the book, they’ll believe Katie is real because she’s so much like them.
What are the biggest blessings/challenges of raising and homeschooling quadruplets?
Tracey: By far the biggest blessing is the time I get to spend with my kids. It’s definitely hard and we certainly get on each others nerves, but it is so worth it. I would not trade the time we’ve had opening up God’s Word each day, reading a paragraph or a chapter, and just discussing it. I have learned so much about the Bible and God. And what a privilege to be able to share these truths with my kids and to see them grow and mature in their own spiritual walk. I would encourage Christian parents to spend time in the Word with their kids whether they home-school or not. The time issue is huge, I know, and it can be an awkward thing if you’re not used to it. But, trust me, it is the biggest blessing; I cannot stress that enough.
I don’t want to make it sound like homeschooling doesn’t have its challenges, because it does. Time management and planning are obviously essential (and those aren’t always my strong points). I’ve struggled a good bit with high school and feeling inadequate as a teacher. But I’ll tell you what – God has provided everything I need. For instance, I knew math was going to be a huge stumbling block for me. But God, in His mercy, brought me together with another home-school mom who is a great math teacher. She, however, needed someone to teach English to her kids. How perfect could that be!
What ministries are you involved in currently?
Tracey: For the past several years, we have been involved in a nation-wide student outreach ministry. We’ve traveled in our RV all around the country assisting Rick and Mick Ministries in taking the Gospel to unreached teens. It’s also been a great outlet for my husband’s CD and my novel. Unfortunately, due to the economy right now, my husband has had to take a job requiring him to travel so we have been unable to go with the ministry team. But, we just got involved with starting up a student ministry at our church. I pray that God will bring some teens that need to hear the Truth. I will be teaching and hoping to plant some seeds. It’s exciting and humbling at the same time.
What are you writing these days?
Tracey: I started a second novel a couple of years ago. I am excited about the prospect of it. I gravitate toward dark subjects (like abortion) and they take a lot out of you when you wrestle with the “why’s” and “hows” of it all. But I think Christian literature should address the realities of life – and let’s face it – there’s a lot of darkness out there. Light needs to be interjected into the darkness.
I am also writing skits. I’m currently working on one called “Waiting for Christmas” to be performed at our church in December. Jon and I are also writing a song for it. I’m hoping the skit and the song give people some new thoughts on Christmas this year.
Where on the Internet can your readers find you?
Tracey: You can contact me via my Facebook page.
Thank you, Tracey. Just one more thing. Your fans will enjoy this video you recorded: