Meow! My guests today are Tracy Weber, author of the Downward Dog mystery series, and Mouse, the calico kitten from that series!
TW:Thanks so much for chatting with Mouse and me today, ROCCO.
R: You’re welcome, Tracy. I’ll start with Mouse! Welcome Mouse! Describe a typical day in your life.
M: Thanks ROCCO! I’m a semi-feral calico kitten who lives at CB Cuts, a hair salon owned by the person who adopted me, Crystal. I don’t really trust people yet, so I spend a lot of my day hiding under the shampoo bowl or inside the hole I discovered in the wall behind it. I don’t like people, but I love the hair salon. It’s warm, and I never go hungry anymore. I like watching Crystal cut people’s hair, so in between knocking over all of her shampoo bottles and digging up her plants, that’s how I spend my spare time.
Describe your relationship with Crystal and Kate.
Crystal seems to think she owns me, which is funny. No one ever owns a cat, after all. The cat owns them. If Crystal moves really slowly, sometimes I allow her to point her finger at my nose, and I’ll sniff it to make her feel good. I don’t know Kate very well. She came into the hair salon to get a haircut. As far as humans go, she seems pretty nice, but she tried to touch me so I had to hiss-spit at her couple of times to remind her that I’m in charge.
Has being a polydactyl affected your life in any way?
Other than having really big feet? I don’t know what it would be like to not have big feet. They do allow me to grip things more easily, so I suppose that’s pretty cool. For the most part, I’m just like any other cat: smart, lithe, athletic, and independent. What’s not to like about that?
How do you get along with Kate’s dog?
Bella is huge! The first time I met her, she scared me a little. Kate and Crystal seem to think that Bella wants to eat me, but they’re wrong. Bella has a really big crush on me. Someday, I might even let her give me kisses.
If you could have one wish, what would it be?
I wish that Bella and I would get to know each other better. I’m pretty sure I would be the boss of her. How cool would it be for a little kitten like me to have 100-pound German shepherd slave?
Do you have any opinions to share on Kate’s recent foray into detecting?
Since Kate started coming around, everybody seems a little more on edge, and that makes a cat like me nervous. I didn’t know Gabriella, the woman who was killed, very well, but she seemed nice enough. I hope Kate finds out who killed her.
If you were able to speak, what advice would you give Kate?
Unless you want to go around wearing a mullet, don’t make my owner, Crystal, mad when she’s cutting your hair. I’m sure it’ll grow back someday, but seriously?
Thanks Mouse! And now, the talented Tracy Weber!
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 new 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.
Welcome Tracy. Tell us a bit about Pre-Meditated Murder What was the inspiration behind this story?
I always wanted to set a story in Cannon Beach, Oregon. It’s one of my favorite cities in the world. I also wondered how Kate and Michael would handle a major conflict in their relationship. Kate has always hidden things from Michael, and he’s been the good guy in their relationship. Many of my readers think he should have dumped her eons ago.
I started to wonder: What if Michael wasn’t the perfect boyfriend we always thought he was? How would Kate react if Michael betrayed her, now that she finally trusts him? The scene at the Space Needle Restaurant popped into my head, and the story unveiled itself from there.
Is there an author or book that influenced you or your writing in any way growing up or as an adult?
Susan Conant’s Dog Lover’s Mystery Series inspired me to be a writer. I love how she understands us crazy dog people. I hope to meet her in person someday.
How do you construct your plots? Do you outline or do you write “by the seat of your pants”?
I take a combination approach. I have ideas that I jot down and scenes that pop into my head. I start with that as a hazy framework and begin writing. Characters and motivations appear as the pages fill. Unfortunately, they don’t always agree with each other. After I finish the first draft, I outline what I’ve created and look for plot holes, inconsistencies, and questions. I work from that outline to fix any issues I find.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a writer and what inspires you and keeps you motivated?
I find writing first drafts to be brutally hard. Something about looking at a blank page and knowing I need to fill it and approximately 280 more just like it makes my stomach churn. I still don’t know how I force myself through it, but some days it feels about as pleasant as getting a root canal.
My readers keep me motivated. I love meeting them in person, chatting with them on Facebook, and reading the reviews that they write. If it weren’t for the connection I feel with my readers, I could never keep going.
Do you have an “How I got my agent” story you want to share?
I met my agent’s boss at the Pacific Northwest Writers Association conference while I was still in the middle of writing my first book. She asked me to submit the manuscript when it was finished, and I did. A few weeks later, I signed with her agency.
What are you working on now and what are your future writing plans?
Right now I’m working on the sixth Downward Dog Mystery, tentatively titled Murder Likes It Hot. I hope that my publisher will sign on for a seventh, but if they don’t, then I’ll have to decide whether I continue the series on my own or start a new one. I have a couple of other series in mind, but I can never find time to write them.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?
I didn’t think it was crazy, but certainly everyone else thought I was nuts when I quit my upper management job at Microsoft to start a yoga studio. That was seventeen years ago, and I still don’t regret it.
What’s one thing your readers would be surprised to find out about you?
That’s an interesting question. I’m sort of an open book, so I’m not sure there are too many surprises. Perhaps that I started my work life as a chemical engineer. I’m a techie at heart.
What question do you wish interviewers would ask? (And what’s the answer?)
Well, I always like to talk about my dog, so I guess it would be, “How is Ana?” Answer: As mischievous as ever. I adore her.
Where can we learn more about you and your books?
Check out my author website http://tracyweberauthor.com/, friend me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/tracywe or subscribe to my blog at http://www.wholelifeyoga.com/blog/. So many ways to find me, so little time. ;-)
I hope to hear from some of your readers!
thanks Tracy and Mouse!!!!!
Tracy (and Mouse!) will give a way an “Authors and their Dogs” zippered pouch to one lucky commenter!
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Winner will be chosen at random using random.org. Don’t forget to mention all you’ve done in your comment. Good luck! Contest ends midnight, Jan. 21!