Tuesday, February 28, 2023

THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY - Faking It Series by Tracy Brody

Book or Series by Author


Get a behind-the-scenes all-access pass to Tracy Brody's Faking It Series!


The books in the Faking It series are stand-alone with the common trope of faking some aspect of a romantic relationship. There is some character cross-over between the books. And the heroes are all in or serve in the Army.


What is the sub-genre and trope?  Did your characters lead you to this genre or was that decided before the story began?

Faking it with the Bachelor is a sweet (with some heat) romantic comedy inspired by the Bachelor TV franchise—which I confess to being addicted to. The actual show labeled a prior lead as The Virgin Bachelor, and I came up with the idea of a character who is a virgin to the show.

Nate is a former soldier whose sisters nominated him as a contestant. Having just left the Army and wanting to find love, Nate agreed. But he had NO clue what he was getting himself into then, or when he’s offered the lead. Especially since he’s a no drama guy and tears are his kryptonite.

With all the drama on the reality show, and wanting to poke fun at it being a “reality” show, (HA, HA!), I knew this would be a rom-com. I incorporated some of the usual stunts and drama the show’s viewers expect, however, I avoided some of the more controversial aspects of the show and threw in several twists, the primary being the hero falling for the show’s date planner, Cecilia, before the show starts and the producers tricking her to masquerade as a contestant on opening night to save the show’s tarnished reputation. Only Nate goes off-script and gives Cecilia a rose trapping her in the house with all the women vying for Nate’s heart and an engagement ring.

Are you more character or plot driven?

Somewhat more plot driven with fast pace and twists, conflict and action. But my characters do grow and change as well.

I know from previous interviews that characters take on a life of their own.  Were any of the characters in this series determined to take their own direction instead of where you initially wanted them to go?

The heroine, Cecilia did take a different direction that changed her internal wound. Instead, her backstory mirrors more of my own with being repeatedly put in the Friend Zone which worked for making her sympathetic, yet a little clueless of Nate’s interest in her.

Are any of the female POVs based on anyone you know?

YES! I even admit it on my copyright page. LOL.

The heroine in The Bachelor has a lot of me in her—all the friend zone stories are true. Several of the contestants are based on family and friends which made it easier to keep them straight and make them real because there were a lot of women I had to develop. 

Are any of the male POVs based on anyone you know?

Nate, the hero in Faking it with the Bachelor was inspired by three former military “celebrities” none of which I know personally. Noah Galloway, Dan Crenshaw, and Nate Boyer. I chose the name Nate Crenshaw after them and gave him Noah’s his dimples and aw-shucks smile.

A possibly interesting fact, all the helicopter pilots in my book Deadly Aim are based on troops I supported and met, though I changed the names somewhat for their privacy.

With many main and secondary characters, how do you keep them separated in your mind? Do you have a story/vision board above your workspace?

For my Bachelor book, I had sooo many secondary characters considering the show starts with 25 (or more) contestants on opening night. I did several rounds of deciding names for each and something unique about them to make them memorable. I created a collage of the female contestants that I also share with my readers to help keep track. Kind of like viewing the contestants on the show’s webpage. I did not include the heroine, Cecilia, because I want the reader to be able to visualize themselves in her role. I also made notecards for each contestant with their picture, age, occupation, dates they went on, and which week they went home to keep me on track. And I still had one appear after she went home that my friend doing a developmental edit caught.

I also have a collage of my Bad Karma Special Ops team members—and I share it with my newsletter subscribers. The team members’ backstories helps keep them separate in my mind and stand out as different from each other to the readers.

Was there any one character/scene that was harder to write about than the other?

I don’t want to give away spoilers, so I’ll just say the final rose ceremony for Faking it with the Bachelor. 

And a scene in Deadly Aim where the heroine has been kidnapped and a drug lord is trying to get information from her that would put people she loves in danger.

What is your favorite book in the series?

I always love the book I’m writing the best. 😉 

That said, Faking it with the Green Beret is one that I feared would be my last because I wasn’t sure I could ever love another hero as much as “Big John” Bryson. 

Then I met Colonel Graham Holmstrom, and rest assured, I’m still writing and Not Faking it with the Colonel will be out later this year.

I know that we aren’t supposed to have “favorites” as far as our children, but seriously, who’s your favorite character and why?

Captain Big John Bryson is a 6’5” off-key singing Green Beret whose life is like a country song. “Friends in Low Places” to start. His personality and heart are as big as he is. 

I love a man with a sense of humor, plus he’s handsome, tall, and with an athletic build. I could spend a lifetime with him.

Series question - Who is your favorite couple and why did you decide on their dynamics?

Being a woman over forty (by a lot) I’m really liking writing Graham and Erin who are in their late 40’s in Not Faking it with the Colonel.

Graham Holmstrom is commander of a Special Forces unit whose wife died of an aneurysm and “for the good of the unit” has been ordered to marry or be transferred. With both of his adult kids living at Fort Bragg, he wants to stay there because he missed out on so much of their lives due to deployments. Usually, a totally confident leader, he’s a fish out of water in today’s dating world.

Newly divorced USO volunteer Erin Downey is pursuing her screenwriting dream, but her efforts to spend time observing a Spec Ops team for research have been stonewalled by senior officers. She’s not looking to get married again, but she agrees to an arrangement with the colonel. He’ll give her access to one of his Green Beret teams and they’ll date. And, if Graham can’t get the general to back off the marry-or-move ultimatum, fake an engagement, with the understanding that Erin is not getting married again.

How do you get inside these characters’ heads to find their perfect HEA?

I am a plotter and have specific scenes in mind and know the beginning, some of the middle, and the end of the story before I start writing. I do most of my plotting to create backstories and motivations while taking walks where I examine things from each character’s point of view to figure out their motivation and wants. That often involves talking to myself, fortunately, my neighbors don’t think I’m (too) crazy.

This applies not only to the HEA, I also get in my villains’ heads which can be dangerous—like the week I was figuring out how two different men became assassins.

What scene in this book/series sticks out the most for you?  Why?

I wrote a scene in Faking it with Bachelor that I especially adore because it involves Cecilia having Nate crash a birthday party her younger sister is attending. 

Her sister and all the guests are special needs individuals, and I based each one on young adults I worked with at church. I had three friends who are mothers of these characters read the scene and book to make sure I portrayed them in a positive and sensitive manner. 

Their ringing endorsement of how I included their kids and they even got teary made me especially proud and grateful for the opportunity to show them in a mainstream setting.

Series - Were any of the books harder to write than others?

Faking it with the Green Beret was hard for several reasons. I wrote out of order and had to put scenes together and rewrite some in a different character’s POV.

While it’s technically a romantic comedy, it deals with characters who are domestic and sexual abuse survivors. With the heroine, Elizabeth, being a survivor and now a counselor, I relied on several friends who are actual counselors and a psychologist to make sure Elizabeth doesn’t give bad advice or overstep ethical boundaries, especially in regard to counselor/patient relationships. That meant cutting some of the fun scenes and rewriting but it was important to me to get that right.

I didn’t want to dwell on the abuse or show it on the page, but want the readers to understand the pain my characters still experience. I also wanted to paint a story of hope and healing that may inspire people who’ve suffered from abuse to continue on, get help, and not let their past define them.

The other hard thing was the I wanted to publish this story first in Vella and prefer short chapters. And I decided to name each chapter using a song title. Finding the right song for each was A LOT of work. I used a mix of classic rock, country (which was not a genre I listened to much) and contemporary. You can get links to the playlist on my website. https://www.tracybrody.com/

This question is if you write in MULTIPLE POVs not just the hero and heroine - I love the multiple POVs in a book.  It’s not just the hero and heroine, but we get inside the heads of multiple characters throughout this series.  I feel that it gives the story further depth.  Do you think you will write another book or series following this multiple POV outline?

I stick with just the main male and female and try to write deep third person allowing the reader to become that character which is harder to do with more POVs.

How long did it take you to write this book/series?

It’s taken me about a year to write and edit each book which are full-length roughly 90K word novels. I’m hoping the third will take less time to put out.

How did you come up with the title for your book and series?

Faking it with the Bachelor was my easiest title to come up with due to the play on the show. I like writing series and decided not to continue in the reality show vein, but stick with the fake relationship trope for the Series – thus the Faking It series.

For my Bad Karma Special Ops series, I named my team Bad Karma after the MP unit a former Green Beret friend served with. Basically, the idea of my team delivering the karma bad guys deserve. 😉

If you met these characters in real life would you get along?

OMG, yes!! I write characters I’d want to be or at least be friends with and hang out with. 

Though my Juan Dominguez character needs to grow up some and he’d get on my nerves more than the rest.

Series question – Did you know in advance that you were going to write this as a series or did one of the characters in book one demand their own story?

I had the Faking it with the Bachelor conceived then debated what direction to go to make it first in a series. I already had the idea for a story based on Garth Brooks’ song “Friends in Low Places” where the hero shows up in combat boots at his girlfriend’s black tie affair to find her there with her not-so-ex-anymore ex. After writing the Big John Bryson character as Nate’s buddy in the bachelor book, I knew John needed his own story and he was the perfect fit for a hero whose life is like a country song.

My Bad Karma series started as a stand-alone. I was a fan of the TV show The Unit and Mack’s story came from there. A friend asked if I was going to make it a series like Suzanne Brockmann’s Troubleshooters. At first I said no. I was wrong. I fell in love with the team and hope to give each their HEA.

I had two books nearly written when I got an idea for the series that in my mind didn’t work for any of the men I had on the team. Thus, AJ Rozanski got added to the team and I worked him into the other stories.

If your book/series were made into a movie, which actors do you see as playing your characters?

Since I started as a screenwriter, I would love to see any or all of my books make into a TV series or movie. 

I rarely pick out a female for the lead and while my muses for the males are often actors, most are too old now to play the characters on an Army Special Ops team. 

I would insist that they don’t cast some 5’8” actor as my 6’5” Green Beret John Bryson (aka Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher) because the aspect of a 6’5” guy and his 105-pound rescue dog living in a tiny home is part of the humor. Jeff Bosley is an actor and he’s 6’5” and served as a Green Beret so he could work for Big John. And while John thinks his dog, Bruce “The Boss” Springweiler is half Rottweiler, part Springer Spaniel, and something like part Mastiff, getting the breed right is important to the story. 😁

Can you give us a hint as to what we can expect next?  Whether a new book and series or a sequel to an existing series?  Can you share a small tease?

I’m working on Not Faking it with the Colonel—yes, the NOT Faking is a twist—and once I finish it, I plan to look at putting my books on audio and possibly doing the narration myself because I know how my characters would say things.

Then I have an idea for three books in a series about recalibrated versus injured warriors. I still have members of the Bad Karma team that need their own stories too. Will see what story is making me lose sleep to decide. 


Check out all my interviews/reviews for Tracy Brody!


Tracy Brody has a background in banking, retired to become a domestic engineer, and aims to supplement her husband's retirement using her overactive imagination. She began writing spec movie and TV scripts, however, when two friends gave her the same feedback on a script, saying that they'd love to see it as a book she switched to writing books.

She’s published a series of single-title romances featuring the Bad Karma Special Ops team whose love lives are as dangerous as their missions. She’s a two-time Golden Heart® winner in romantic suspense and six-time finalist.

Tracy and her husband live in North Carolina. She's the proud mother of a daughter and son and now a mother-in-law. She invokes her sense of humor while volunteering at the USO. You may spot her dancing in the grocery store aisles or talking to herself as she plots books and scenes while walking in her neighborhood, the park, or at the beach on retreats with friends.

Connect with Tracy:









Tracy Brody newsletter:


Faking It Series - Book One

Available in Kindle Unlimited!



When an Army vet who’s looking for love begins falling for the date planner of the reality dating program he's set to star on, the show’s producers trick the jaded staffer into posing as a contestant for one night to save the show’s tarnished reputation. To keep her job, she needs this season’s star to find love. He needs her to give him her heart to get his happy ending. What can go wrong when she gets a rose? Then another?

A Sweet Romantic Comedy with some heat.

Faking It Series - Book Two

Available in Kindle Unlimited!


His Life is like a Country Song.

Green Beret Captain “Big John” Bryson returns from deployment to learn his girlfriend cheated and his dog died. Turns out, his ex lied and dumped his beloved mutt, Boss, at the shelter. Forget the ex, John just wants his dog back.

An abuse survivor, Elizabeth Carroll is singing a happier tune without a man in her life. She has her work as a counselor and The Oasis, a trio of tiny homes on her property where abused women can get a fresh start. She also has her rescue dog—or did—until his former owner wants him back. After John intervenes to protect one of her residents, Elizabeth offers him and Boss housing at The Oasis. But who will protect Elizabeth’s heart from the charms of the off-key singing, 6’5” teddy bear of a soldier?

Fighting for the love John desperately wanted all his life has given him more battle scars than his dangerous missions. He and Elizabeth could be an opposites-attract love story, if only John can break through the guarded beauty’s defenses. If he can’t earn her trust and heal her invisible wounds, their unlikely duet will end on a bad note. With Boss’s help, can they create the perfect harmony to give them the future they’ve both dreamed of?

No comments:

Post a Comment