Tracy Weber blends devotion to Man’s (and Woman’s) Best Friend with dedication.
As an animal-loving author who makes most of my living walking dogs, I can relate to my companion in canine and crime fiction culture, Tracy Weber. Unlike me, she manages to combine her passions into a lucrative, award-winning literary career that benefits beasts and bookworms alike.
But Tracy is a multi-faceted talent, drawing upon a number of interests that inform her work and enrich her life.
Listen in as she makes no bones about her love for writing, dogs, her husband, and life in general.
Your professional background is eclectic, to say the least, including advanced degrees in Chemical Engineering and Business Administration, and now teaching yoga! When you write, how do these disparate experiences inform your work, if at all?
My husband jokes that I suffer from career ADD. My professional life is about to become even more eclectic, as I plan to start training to become a certified animal behaviorist this fall. I’ve also worked as a career coach, so I guess it’s not surprising that I like to try new jobs.
My current writing draws heavily from my yoga and animal training worlds, as well as my background owning and operating a yoga studio in Seattle (Whole Life Yoga). I’m strongly considering setting my next book at the University of Washington, which is where went to school for both of my degrees. So far, I haven’t used my technical background in my writing. My engineering days were so long ago, I’m not sure I can remember them well enough to write about them. ;-)
You grew up on a dairy farm and obviously love animals, as I do. Can you talk a little about what inspired you to write a mystery series featuring a dog?
My German shepherd, Tasha, inspired my first novel, Murder Strikes a Pose. Tasha passed away almost two years ago, but my books will always feature dogs. I can’t imagine writing a series without a canine companion any more than I can imagine living without one!
Tasha had many of the same issues as Bella, the German shepherd in my Downward Dog Mystery Series.. She was huge, not always perfectly well behaved, and she had a variety of expensive health conditions. In spite of her problems, I adored her to a fault. Living with Tasha changed my life, in every way for the better. She made me more patient, more loving, and more connected with my community. At the same time, she got me into some, shall we say, interesting situations. I forced my yoga students to listen to my Tasha stories for years. Writing them down seemed like a no-brainer.
I now live with a crazy German shepherd pup named Ana, and she’s giving me plenty of fodder for future books.
Though you have professional literary representation, do you wind up doing the bulk of your own promotion?
This is difficult for me to answer, since I’m honestly not sure how much my publisher does on the back end. Midnight Ink sent me a detailed document with each contract that outlined a number of things they might do, but I don’t know what was actually done. They have a publicity department and I know they send my books to reviewers. Their sales staff promotes all of their titles, including mine. I haven’t met an author yet who thinks their book gets enough promotion, and there’s always more that I wish would happen.
All that said, I do a fair amount of promotion myself, and I’ve hired outside publicists for three of my past five works. I’ve written a weekly yoga and writing blog for over seven years, I blog on a few multi-author sites, I have a relatively large newsletter subscriber base, I’m active on Facebook, and I set up virtual and in-person launch parties and events. I also attend conferences and arrange for a couple of blog tours for each release. I have a street team, but I don’t think I use them as effectively as I should. I’ve been known to send out a Tweet or two, but I’m really a Twidiot, so I don’t spend much time on Twitter.
If there’s something I’m not doing that I should be, please let me know!
What are your influences, literary or otherwise?
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention fellow mystery writer, Susan Conant. I have been a mystery fan for as long as I can remember, but I never considered writing a book of any kind. One fall evening about six years ago, I was distracting myself from a brutal workout by reading Black Ribbon, one of Susan’s Dog Lovers Mysteries, when a paragraph 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 went home, looked Susan up online, and stumbled across a site about cozy mysteries. Until then, I hadn’t realized that there was a specific genre for female amateur sleuths. I began to wonder: What would happen if a yoga teacher with a crazy dog like mine got mixed up in murder? Kate Davidson and Bella popped into my head a few days later. The rest is history.
I’m also in love with Stephen King’s writing. I’ll never be a tenth of the writer he is, but his imagination has thrilled, horrified, and inspired me since I was fifteen.
What’s next for you?
I recently sold Whole Life Yoga, but I still lead yoga teacher training programs, and I will begin two different animal behavior programs in September. I just turned in my sixth Downward Dog Mystery, Murder Likes It Hot, and I’ve sent a proposal to Midnight Ink for Book 7. I haven’t heard yet if they plan to buy it, so keep your fingers crossed for me! I also have a couple of other series rattling around in my head. Now all I need to do is find time to write them…
Tracy Weber is the author of the award-winning Downward Dog Mysteries series. The first book in the series, Murder Strikes a Pose, won the Maxwell Award for Fiction and was nominated for the Agatha award for Best First Novel.
Tracy and her husband Marc live in Seattle with their crazy German shepherd pup, Ana. When she’s not writing, Tracy spends her time teaching yoga, trying to corral Ana, and sipping Blackthorn cider at her favorite ale house.
For more information on Tracy and the Downward Dog Mysteries, visit her author website: To learn about her most recent mystery, Pre-Meditated Murder, on Amazon.