Interview with Tracy Weber
Today I'm joined by author Tracy Weber.
What genre do you write and why?
I’m a cozy mystery girl through and through. I’ve loved cozy mysteries since long before I ever knew there was a genre by that name. I certainly read other genres, but I’ve always been drawn to crime fiction. I like writing cozy mysteries, because even though they involve violent crime, it is generally not shown on the page. Swearing is minimized. Sex, as in real life, is usually behind closed doors. When I write, I become deeply involved in my characters, their lives, and the situations in which they find themselves. Why would I want to immerse myself in gory violence? As for sex and swearing? I’ll leave that to cable TV.
What's the best thing about being a writer?
By far, it’s been getting to know my readers. I feel like I’m building a community of friends in my readers, and the writing community is very giving. More so, in some ways, than even the yoga community. Who would have thought that a bunch of people who spend their spare time figuring out how to kill people would be such sweethearts?
How do you research your books?
Most of my research happens online, though for this book I also purchased several reference books on poisons, arrest procedures, and Orcas Island wildlife. And of course, writing a book about my favorite vacation destination wouldn’t have been any fun without taking a trip there myself.
I have to give a shout out to DP Lyle, M.D., however. He is an incredible gift to the crime writing community. I reached a sticking point when I plotted A Killer Retreat. I can’t give many details without spoiling the plot, but suffice it to say I needed to figure out how to harm someone without killing them using an item that could be found at a retreat center. I had some ideas, but none of them felt right. I contacted DP Lyle, and he graciously shared his knowledge with me. The idea he gave me was simply perfect.
Tell us about your latest book.
Yoga teacher Kate Davidson has been given the opportunity to stay at Elysian Springs—a vegan resort on picturesque Orcas Island, Washington—in exchange for teaching yoga to the wedding guests of the center’s two caretakers. The trip seems like a perfect, much-needed vacation until her boyfriend Michael starts hinting that he’s ready to pop the question and her best friend shows up unannounced and hiding a secret.
Then there’s the loud, public—and somewhat embarrassing—argument Kate has with Monica, the bride-to-be’s stepmother. When Monica’s body is found floating face-down in the resort’s hot tub, Kate becomes the investigator’s number one suspect. Kate will have to solve Monica’s murder quickly, or her next teaching gig may last a lifetime—behind bars.
Who is you favorite character in your book and why?
Bella, Kate’s German shepherd, of course! But I’ve really enjoyed getting to know Dale Evans. Dale is a quirky old Southern boy who grew up in Kentucky, then moved to Seattle to become a high-powered defense attorney. He traded in his power ties for suspenders and goat-dung-encrusted work boots after winning a case he later wished he had lost. Since has abandoned law to run a goat rescue, Kate calls him the Goat Lawyer.
Dale was interesting enough that he talked me into making him a major character in book three as well. There’s more to his story that he hasn’t shared with me yet, and if I know Dale, whatever it is, it’s fascinating. I have a feeling he may play a bigger role in Kate’s life in the future. Who knows? He may even end up with his own series.
Did you learn anything from writing your book that was unexpected?
Yes. I realized that I haven’t taken nearly enough vacations lately. A Killer Retreat is set on Orcas Island, which is one of my favorite vacation spots. My husband and I used to go there multiple times a year. I had no idea how much time had passed since we visited Orcas. until I started researching for the book. Many of my favorite businesses on the island had closed. Two of them even burned to the ground.
As sad as those realizations made me, it also gave me a wake-up call. Hubby and I have been spending way too much time on our work lives recently. We’ve made a pact to visit Orcas this spring.
Who designed the cover?
Nicole Alesi (http://www.nicolealesi.com/). My husband originally hired Nicole to design the banner for my website (http://tracyweberauthor.com), and my publisher liked the banner so much they hired her to design my book covers. I couldn’t be more pleased with the results!
What is your work in progress? Tell us about it.
I recently sent my third Downward Dog Mystery, tentatively titled Karma’s a Killer, to my editor at Midnight Ink. This work has been intriguing, because in the process of writing it, Kate told me a lot more about her background.
The book opens at a fundraiser for DogMa, a fictional Seattle animal rescue. While teaching a Doga (yoga for dogs) class, Kate meets an animal rights activist named Dharma who has a surprising connection to her past. Two days later, Dharma is arrested for murder. The case seems cut and dry, especially since Dharma’s ID was found at the scene and her skin is lodged underneath the victim’s fingernails. Dharma, however, claims she’s innocent, and Kate vows to find out the truth.
In this book, readers learn the origins of Kate’s pogonophobia—her irrational fear of beards—as well as discovering why she has, at least up until now, been so terrified of commitment. Although most of the book is about Kate’s attempts at murder investigation, Bella and her best friend Rene get her into plenty of trouble along the way. But the most satisfying part of the book is rediscovering Kate.
Where can people find out more about you and your writing?
I love to connect with readers!
Check out my website http://tracyweberauthor.com/ and sign up to be on my mailing list at http://tracyweberauthor.com/newsletter.html. If you friend me on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/tracywe), you’ll find book updates, Tasha-dog stories, animal cartoons, information on my yoga classes, and a smoothie recipe now and then.
Where can a reader purchase your book?
A Killer Retreat is available wherever books are sold. Specifically, it can be found at all major brick-and-mortar booksellers as well as online. Two sources are Amazon.com, (http://www.amazon.com/Killer-Retreat-Downward-Mystery-Mysteries/dp/0738742090/) and BN.com (http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-killer-retreat-tracy-weber/1119980832). You can also purchase a personalized, autographed copy on my author website (http://tracyweberauthor.com/buy_killer.html).