Teresa (Tracy) Grant studied British history at Stanford University and received the Firestone Award for Excellence in Research for her honors thesis on shifting conceptions of honor in late fifteenth century England. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her young daughter and three cats. In addition to writing, Tracy works for the Merola Opera Program, a professional training program for opera singers, pianists, and stage directors. Her real life heroine is her daughter Mélanie, who is very cooperative about Mummy’s writing. Tracy is currently at work on her next book chronicling the adventures of Malcolm and Suzanne Rannoch.
That’s the short version of my bio. The longer version is that I’ve been making up stories as long as I can remember and writing them down since third grade when we were assigned writing a story in class and I realized I had a wealth of characters and plots inside my head.
My mother, a social psychologist (as was my father), loved books and read out loud to me a great deal. We also went to the movies a lot as a family, particularly old movies. When I was six, we saw the Laurence Olivier-Greer Garson “Pride and Prejudice”. I loved it and immediately wanted to read the book (or rather have it read to me). My mom said “I’m not sure you’ll like it, but we can try”. I thought it was wonderful—to me, at that age, it was a story about girls (older than me but young enough that I could identify with them) dealing with their sisters and parents, growing up, falling in love. (Every time I reread “Pride and Prejudice” I get different things from it, but I was totally hooked at the age of six).
A family trip to England and Scotland the next year helped cement my love of British history. My mom and I went on to read all of Jane Austen and then my mom discovered Georgette Heyer’s Regency-set novels and introduced me to them. Even when I was reading on my own, we still tended to read the same books and talk about them. On a family vacation when I was thirteen (and we were both engrossed in Anthony Trollope’s Palliser series) we began to plot a Regency romance together. We worked on it off on and on for several years, while my mom was running a project to study school violence and I was going to high school, studying theater, writing a play and a (never published) alternative history historical fantasy series, and being a teenager.
I went on to college at Stanford where I majored in history (specializing in the late fifteenth century for the never-published historical fantasy series, though I learned a huge amount about historical research that’s been invaluable in researching the Regency era). The summer between my sophomore and junior years in college, my mom and I went back to our Regency romance in a very focused way. We sold it (to our own amazement) the next winter. That book, “The Widow’s Gamibt”, was published in May 1988, just before I graduated from Stanford.
My mom and I went on to write seven Regency romances and four novellas under the name Anthea Malcolm and one Regency/Peninsular War-set historical romance, “Dark Angel”, under the name Anna Grant. Co-writing with my mom was a wonderful experience. We spent hours doing research, pouring over plot outlines, comparing drafts; we laughed a lot (we also argued more than we ever did about mother-daughter stuff :-)) and we built on each other’s ideas.
My mom died in 1995. I went on to write three historical romances as Tracy Grant. But I found that elements of historical fiction and historical mystery were creeping more and more into my romances. My mom had introduced to the British “golden age” mysteries by writers such as Dorothy Sayers, Marjorie Allingham, and Ngaio Marsh. Those are still some of my favorite books—particularly the ones where there’s a love story threaded through the mystery series and a romantic partnership involved in the mystery solving. The summer between high school and college I discovered Dorothy Dunnett’s Lymond Chronicles and introduced my mom to them (leading to endless discussions–I was so excited to meet my fellow writer Penelope Williamson and find she also loved the Dunnett books and then to discover the online community so I could talk about them more).
By the time I finished my last historical romance, “Rightfully His”, I realized that what I really wanted to write was an historical suspense novel with a love story in it but with room for the sort of intricate suspense plot I’ve always loved in mysteries and the in intricately-detailed social and political historical background I’ve always loved in historical fiction. That was the beginning of the Charles & Mélanie Fraser/Malcolm & Suzanne Rannoch books.