Please welcome Tracy Weber, author of Murder Strikes a Pose.
What’s your idea of a perfect day?
Nothing makes me happier than a sunny, warm day with nothing to do but hang out with my dog and husband, cuddled up on the couch with a good cozy mystery and a glass of bubbly. A wall of windows overlooking a white sandy beach doesn’t hurt, either.
Do you have a signature accessory, color, fragrance, phrase, or meal?
I’m not exactly a fashionista, and although I hear myself say the word “awesome” enough that I’m sure it’s highly annoying, my signature is eccentricity has to be my twice-weekly meal at my favorite alehouse. The waitresses have my order memorized, but they really don’t need to, because the cooks start making it as soon as they see me walk in the door.
What is my order, you ask? A “black bean pita burger, no mayo, no cheese, extra three-pepper salsa, side salad with mushrooms and honey chipotle dressing on the side.” Then I go to my neighborhood grocery store and get a pink-frosted shortbread cookie for dessert.
Excluding family, name three people who either inspired you or influenced your creativity.
Susan Conant (the author who inspired me to write), my dog, Tasha, though she probably counts as family, and all of my yoga students. My yoga students encouraged me and told me I could be an author long before I believed it myself.
Do you listen to music when you write?
Never. I’m very easily distracted. The only background noises I can tolerate when I write are soft puppy dog snores.
If your latest book were chocolate, what kind would it be and why?
Dark chocolate M&Ms. They are addictive, a little unusual, and any slight hint of bitterness is brightened by sweetness and color.
What made you interested in writing this particular story?
Before I answer that question, I need to provide a quick bit of back story. My dog, Tasha, suffers from an autoimmune disease called Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency. The disease essentially destroyed her pancreas, leaving her unable to digest food. EPI is manageable, but incurable. Since she was eighteen months old, Tasha has needed to have expensive medication added to every meal. Without it, she will literally starve to death.
Now to the idea for the book.
Several years ago, I befriended a homeless woman who owned a dog-aggressive Rottweiler mix. She and her dog were always together. She loved that dog to a fault and took better care of it than she did of herself.
I began to wonder, what if her dog had Tasha’s same health condition? What would she do? What could she do, for that matter? That’s when the story of George and Bella started rattling around in my head. I want to be clear that George is not that woman. He has several issues, including alcoholism, that she did not. However, like her—and like me, for that matter—he learned the joy and heartache of caring for an imperfect being. In many ways, Murder Strikes a Pose is George’s story.
What themes do you regularly (re)visit in your writing?
I write mystery series, so most of my writing is centered around solving murder. But ultimately, my books are all about love, whether it be in the form of friendship, romance, parenthood, or the unconditional love of an animal. The primary characters in my novels are often very flawed, but they all have one thing in common: the mistakes they make, the risks they take, the regrets they mourn, even the idiosyncrasies they struggle to overcome—all have their basis in love.
Tell us about your main character’s psyche or personality. What led her (or him) to be the person s/he is today?
Kate is a study in contrasts. She’s a yoga teacher, but like many women, she’s “average” in weight, not super flexible, and not all that pleased with her body. Kate wants to live according to the yoga teachings, but she often acts impulsively, only to later regret it. She was abandoned by her mother when she was young, but she had a close, if fractious, relationship with her father. When he died, Kate struggled to learn how to survive on her own.
Kate has difficulty controlling her temper and she avoids intimacy of any kind. But she is also a caring, committed person who protects those around her, even if doing so is not in her best interests. On the surface, Kate is like those dark chocolate M&Ms I mentioned earlier—with a jalapeño center. She’s crunchy, spicy, and prone to bite when you least expect it.
She is also one of the luckiest women I know. She has incredible people in her life like Michael and Rene, who see through her faults and love her anyway.
Kate will continue to grow and develop throughout the series. The first book is the story of how she learns to bond with and commit to Bella; the second will explore her relationship with Michael; the third, which I’m writing now, introduces a third character from Kate’s past that will challenge her in unexpected ways. That character will force Kate to learn how to forgive.
Of course, my books are first and foremost mysteries. But the ultimate transformation will always be within Kate.
Describe your protagonist as a mash-up of three famous people or characters.
Kate is like the love child of the Dalai Lama and the Incredible Hulk. She’s got the Dalai Lama’s soul, wants to have Bill Bixby’s mild-mannered persona, but she’s cursed with Incredible Hulk’s unpredictable temper. She’s working on that.
If you could host an author dinner party, who are the six writers (living or otherwise) you’d include?
I’d love to gather around the dinner table with some of my favorite authors in the mystery genre:
- Mary Daheim, because she’s always a blast to be around
- Janet Evanovich, because I have so much to learn from her humor
- Susan Conant, because she’s the author that started it all for me
- J A Jance, because I’ve loved her stories forever
- Sue Grafton, because her female detective has been an inspiration for so many
- Agatha Christie, because I’d love to get her perspective on the cozy genre, especially how it has changed since she invented it all those years ago. I suspect she’d be equal parts amused, impressed, and horrified.
What’s next for you?
My second novel, A Killer Retreat, will be released this coming January. I’m currently working on the third novel in the Downward Dog Mystery series, tentatively titled Karma Can Be Killer. And of course, I’m still managing my yoga studio, teaching yoga, and walking my puppy-girl.
Yoga, dogs, and murder. What could be more fun?
Tracy Weber is a certified yoga teacher and the founder of Whole Life Yoga, an award-winning yoga studio in Seattle, where she current¬ly lives with her husband, Marc, and German shepherd, Tasha. She loves sharing her passion for yoga and animals in any form possible. When she’s not writing, she spends her time teaching yoga, walking Tasha, and sip¬ping Blackthorn cider at her favorite ale house. Tracy loves connecting with fans. Find her on her author web page or on Facebook.
Her first mystery, Murder Strikes a Pose, is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or wherever books are sold.
Whole Life Yoga: http://www.wholelifeyoga.com/
Author web page: http://tracyweberauthor.com/
Barnes and Noble buy link: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/murder-strikes-a-pose-tracy-weber/1116503716?ean=9780738739687