Tracy Buchanan talks about writing, travelling and “The Atlas Of Us”

Young Adult and Contemporary writer Tracy Buchanan, has been giving us engaging and passionate books that are full of heart-wrenching and heart-warming moments that leave us already anticipating the next novel. Filled with beautiful underlining messages and wanderlust, Buchanan’s novels teach us the most important lessons in life, and inspires us to follow our hearts and see the world.

Tracy Buchanan is a web journalist and producer living in Milton Keynes, England, with her husband, their little girl and companion Jack Russell. Whilst working as a travel magazine editor, she travelled extensively, sating the wanderlust she developed as a young girl listening to her grandparents stories – the very wanderlust that’s now found in her books.

In a recent interview, Buchanan opens up about her writing, travelling, her books, and offers advice for young aspiring writers.


It’s always been said that those who write, or want to write, are born writers with stories in their hearts just waiting to come out. Most writers always know it’s what they want to be. When asked if she always knew that’s what she wanted to, Buchanan confirmed this theory. She told us:

“Yes, I always wanted to be a writer, keeping scrapbooks of inspiration from cut-outs from my mum’s catalogues as a child!”

Most of Buchanan’s novels have an element of wanderlust, which she’s previously said she developed herself through her own travelling and stories she heard. When asked if her own experience of travelling inspired her for her stories, she said:

“Yes, I do get a lot of ideas from my travelling, both in the UK and abroad.”

One of her most well-known books, The Atlas of Us, is famous for its element of wanderlust. It takes you on a moving and gripping journey across the globe, and into the most intimate spaces in a relationship. As well as finding its way into your heart.

atlas of us

After the Boxing Day tsunami, Louise Fenton flies to Thailand in search of her mother, Nora, but fears the worst when the only thing she can find is her mother’s distinctive bag. However inside of the bag is a beautifully crafted atlas owned by travel journalist Claire Shreve, which is filled with her notes and mementos slipped in-between it’s pages. The journal tells the story of Claire’s struggle to find her place in the world after a life-altering revelation, and a tumultuous love affair.

Louise travels across the scarred landscape of Thailand, exploring Claire’s atlas along the way to try and make sense of the connection between this woman, and the mother she is so desperate to find.

As devastated people are beginning to put the pieces of their lives back together, Louise uncovers secrets that nearly destroyed both Claire and the man she loved – the same secrets that her mother has been guarding all these years.

Buchanan manages to include so much content in The Atlas of Us with it being a fast-paced book. But reading it, you never get the feeling as though anything is rushed – or dragged out. Everything follows at a perfect flow as the characters are taken across the globe from Finland to Thailand.

Each country was so beautifully and warmly described that it almost felt as though I was there myself, even though I have never been to majority of the countries mentioned. Collectively, it made the world sound like a beautiful place, but individually, the countries are shown to be filled with their own character, making them beautiful in an entirely different way.

When asked about what inspired her to write such captivating story, she told us that when  in Exmoor on her travels, she noticed a farmer and one of the main characters was created. She said:

“My inspiration for The Atlas of Us was a walk in Exmoor in the UK when I saw a farmer and his skulking dog, and the character of Milo instantly came to me. I was also inspired by the travelling I enjoyed while a magazine editor.”

Buchanan also launched a manuscript critique service at Book Perfect where she offers help to aspiring authors who are trying to get their writing noticed, or just looking for general help (click here if you want to know more). When asked what general advice she would give to aspiring writers, she said:

“My advice for aspiring writers is read some poetry, it really helps with rhythm and imagery. And don’t give up! I know too many talented writers who give up at the first hurdle.”

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