Tracy Weber is the author of the award-winning Downward Dog Mysteries series featuring yoga teacher Kate Davidson and her feisty German shepherd, Bella. Her first book, Murder Strikes a Pose, won the Maxwell Award for Fiction and was a 2015 Agatha award nominee for Best First Novel.
Tracy writes about the things she loves best: yoga, dogs, and mysteries. She and her husband live in Seattle with the love of Tracy’s life, a special-needs German shepherd named Tasha.
Congratulations on the release of your latest book, Karma’s a Killer . When did you start writing and what got you into cozy mysteries?
Thank you. Honestly, I still can’t believe I’m launching my 3rd book.
I never, ever thought I would be a writer. I’ve been a voracious reader for as long as I can remember, but I didn’t think I had the talent or persistence to write a single page, much less multiple novels.
The idea for my first book, Murder Strikes a Pose, came to me on a rainy evening about three years ago, while I was in the middle of a brutal workout. I was pedaling away, reading a Susan Conant novel to distract myself from the evil exercise bike, when a quote from Black Ribbon about crazy dog people made me burst out loud laughing. I knew I’d found my author soul mate. Someone who truly got me.
I hurried home, looked her up on the web, and came across a site about cozy mysteries. Although I’d read cozies in the past, I had no idea there was an actual genre in which amateur sleuths stumbled into murder investigations. I began to wonder: What would happen if a yoga teacher with a crazy German shepherd like mine got mixed up in murder? Kate Davidson and Bella popped into my head a few days later. The rest is history.
What is your book about?
Karma’s a Killer is the third book in the Downward Dog Mystery series. This story is special to me, because my yoga teacher/sleuth Kate solves not only the murder of an animal rights activist, but the mystery of her own childhood.
At the start of the novel, Kate overhears an argument between two animal rights protesters (Dharma and Raven) at a fundraiser for DogMa—a local animal rescue. Later that day, Kate learns that Dharma is the mother who abandoned her thirty years ago. When Dharma is arrested for Raven’s murder, Kate, her best friend Rene, and her German shepherd Bella can’t help but try to prove Dharma’s innocence. In doing so, Kate unveils clues to her own past. But will she solve either mystery before the killer strikes again?
Did your book require a lot of research?
I generally write what I know and love, so my books don’t require a ton of research. Inevitably there is some, however. Karma’s a Killer partially revolves around animal rescue and wildlife rehabilitation. I researched the legal aspects of wildlife rehabilitation in Washington State and spent an afternoon with a local wildlife rehabilitator.
An important character in the book, Blackie, is a crow that was raised as a fledgling and released back to the wild. I have been fascinated by crows since my own German shepherd, Tasha, befriended a crow in our neighborhood. Learning more about these intelligent, highly social, and quirky animals was one of the biggest joys of writing the book. I now have an even greater appreciation for them.
Finally, I had to learn more about Doga (yoga for dogs). Yes, Doga actually exists, though I don’t think I’ll teach it any time in the near future.
Do you have a writing schedule? Are you disciplined?
I’m highly self disciplined, but easily distracted. I have so many writing distractions, it’s a miracle I ever type anything past the words “Chapter 1.” Here are a few of the worst offenders:
- My dog, Tasha. She’s even been known to push my hand off of the keyboard.
- The demands of my “real job,” which include teaching yoga, designing and teaching a yoga teacher training program, and managing my yoga studio, Whole Life Yoga.
Most days, I intend to start writing at about nine in the morning. In reality, I often finish Facebook, email, and phone calls no earlier than eleven. Then it’s time to make food for the dog and me. Lo and behold I look at the clock, and it’s time to walk the dog. Eventually, it’s four thirty and I start to get real work done. Hubby comes home and distracts me at six. The chaos continues until ten, when I panic and stay up all night writing.
Needless to say, I don’t sleep much.
What do you love most about the writer’s life?
Getting to know my readers. I try to be proactive in getting the word out about my series, so I do lots of signings, I attend conferences, and I’m very active on Facebook. It’s been a real kick to get to know the different people who read and enjoy my work. I’m not sure I would continue writing if it weren’t for those lovely individuals who act as my cheerleaders. My fans rock!
Do you have a website or blog where readers can find out more about your work?
I have both. My author website is all about the Downward Dog Mystery series, author events, and other book-related news. You can find it at http://tracyweberauthor.com/. My weekly blog, http://www.wholelifeyoga.com/blog/ combines my three life passions: dogs, yoga, and writing.
Yoga, dogs, and mystery. What could be more fun!
What is your advice for aspiring authors?
Write what you love. You may not become famous. You may never even get published. But you’ll spend your days immersed in your passions. What could be better than that?
Author photo and cover art published with permission from the author and her publicist.[amazon template=iframe image&asin=0738742104]