Tracey West grew up in a small town in New Jersey. Every day, her brother Michael, sister Katie and she would play in the street with their friends on Walnut Avenue. They rode their bikes, played kickball and Ultimate Frisbee, or rode down the hill on sleds in winter time. On Saturday mornings, they were glued to the television set eating cereal and watching cartoons. In the summer, Tracey loved to walk across town to the library, take out as many books as she could carry, and read them all under a shady tree somewhere.
After high school, Tracey attended Rutgers University and studied English and Journalism there. She knew she wanted to be a writer, and journalism seemed to be a way to write and get paid for it. She worked on the college newspaper and even worked as a newspaper reporter for a little while, but when she graduated she got a job as an editorial assistant at a small publishing company. She learned a lot there about how books are edited, published, and sold.
From there she moved to a company that “packaged” children’s books and sold them to other publishers. She started out submitting ideas for books that other writers would then turn into stories. Then she began writing outlines for those writers. Finally, she wrote her first book, a Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys Supermystery called Spies and Lies.
At the same time, she and her friends Bonnie and Lisa came up with an idea for a children’s book called Great Uncle Dracula. They wrote the book under the pseudonym Jayne Harvey. That was the first time an original idea she had got turned into a book, and she loved the feeling.
Tracey went to work for Scholastic after that, and when she left in 1996 she decided to try writing books full time. In 1997 she started Pure West Productions and began writing, editing, and packaging books and magazines. Her sister Kate came to work for the company, too.
A few years later she got the job writing Pokémon books, and that’s when the fun really started. Although writing Pokémon kept her busy, Scholastic picked up her original series, Pixie Tricks. She went on to write eight books in the Pixie Tricks series, aimed at children ages 6-8. A few years later, Tracey debuted Scream Shop, a Pick Your Path published by Grosset & Dunlap. Readers of the spooky stories get to choose what happens in the story and how it ends.
Tracey continues to write books based on cartoons and licensed properties such as Scooby Doo, Teen Titans, Survivor, Hi-Hi Puffy Ami Yumi, and Totally Spies!. She hopes to have a new original series out soon.
In 2005, Tracey married Bill Hancock, who was her friend in high school. Today she lives with Bill, three dogs, and one cat, and she is stepmom to Bill’s three great kids, Will, Shannon, and Zane. When she is not busy writing, working on the website, or answering mail, she is usually playing board games with her family, reading, walking the dogs, or watching cartoons. She has not played Ultimate Frisbee in years, but if anyone is up for a game please drop her a line.