The Writing Life with Mystery Author Tracy Weber

A certified yoga therapist, Weber is the owner of the award-winning yoga studio, Whole Life Yoga in Seattle, and the creator and director of Whole Life Yoga’s teacher training program which, to date, has certified over 250 yoga teachers. She and her husband live in Seattle with their challenging yet amazing German shepherd Tasha.  

What’s inside the mind of a cozy mystery author?

Murder, of course. One of my favorite coffee mugs is decorated with the phrase Careful, or you’ll wind up in my novel. It’s my new go-to gift for the people I want to keep guessing. I’ve hidden books on poisons all over my kitchen, where my husband can “accidentally” find them. There seems to be no end to the ways I can dream up to kill people, which is rather frightening, now that I think about it.

What is so great about being an author?

Getting to know other authors and my readers. I’m building a network of friends in my readers, and the writing community is very giving—more so, in some ways, than the yoga community. Who would have thought that a bunch of people who spend their spare time plotting murder would be such sweethearts?

When do you hate it?

I don’t enjoy writing first drafts. They seem to come out of me slowly, word by tortuous word. And when those words don’t flow well, I have a tendency to obsess. When I type “The End” on the last page of a manuscript, I feel like I’ve given birth to a child. Which is appropriate, since the pain that precedes it is like unmedicated labor.

What is a regular writing day like for you?

My typical writing day involves lots of chaos. My German shepherd Tasha—who is also the inspiration for my series—can’t walk up and down the stairs of my three-story house anymore, so my hubby and I live, watch television, work, and sleep in my first-floor office. The setup makes things a little crowded and a lot cluttered.

I’m also very easily distracted. Here are a few of the worst offenders:

·       Facebook
·       Email
·       Tasha-dog. 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.

Honestly, I’m my own worst enemy. When I’m focused, you can’t tear me away from the keyboard. The rest of the time? Not so much. Unfortunately, I focus best after ten at night, which makes for some crazy late writing nights.

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. 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.

Do you think authors have big egos? Do you?

Does anyone who actually has a big ego realize it? I guess you’d have to ask those around me for an honest answer. However, very few of the authors I’ve met are egocentric. Mystery writers are some of the kindest, most genuine people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. Unless you’re a superstar, a big ego won’t last long, anyway. There’s always a negative review waiting just around the corner to knock you back to size. If anything, I think I suffer from a lack of confidence. I’m working on it.

How do you handle negative reviews?

I’d like to say that I’m well-balanced enough to not read reviews. Some of my favorite authors don’t even look at them. Truthfully, I search out reviews. Fortunately, most of the time they’re pretty darned good, but occasionally a reviewer will say something scathing. My response is usually to feel a little hurt. After all, they’ve just insulted my fragile newborn child. Given a day or two to think about it, I typically either brush it off or try to find the kernels of truth. On my best days I use those truths to improve my writing in the future.

How do you handle positive reviews?

I read them, relish them, share them, and move on. A review is only one person’s opinion, and there will be another one right around the corner. Hopefully, just as positive. Now if only I could have that same reaction to negative reviews!

What is the usual response when you tell a new acquaintance that you’re an author?

People are generally either amused or subtly offended about the idea of a yoga teacher who writes murder mysteries. Yoga is, after all, a practice that advocates nonviolence. Those who get the irony of the idea, love it. Those who don’t, think I’m a little weird. They may be right.

What do you do on those days you don’t feel like writing? Do you force it or take a break?

I generally write when my muse speaks. I don’t see much sense in sitting at my computer, staring at a blank screen. But when my muse arrives, I stick with her as long as she’s willing to hang out, which is often until three or four in the morning.

Any writing quirks?

No quirks, really, but I do have an odd process. I’m a terrible typist, and I get headaches if I stare at the screen too long. So most of my first drafts are written out longhand and then read into Microsoft Word using Dragon speech recognition software. It makes for some pretty funny typos sometimes.

What would you do if people around you didn’t take your writing seriously or see it as a hobby?

I’m pretty sure that’s the way people have seen my work for a while. After all, how many people do you know that actually make their living teaching yoga? My husband says writing is the next logical step on my path of downward mobility. I’ve had plenty of status jobs in my life, from being a chemical engineer, to an organizational development consultant, to a senior manager at Microsoft. Now I work for fun! Soon I’ll be in line at the local food bank, which has the side benefit of being a great weight-loss plan.

Some authors seem to have a love-hate relationship to writing. Can you relate?

Not really. My relationship with writing is more love-love. Writing brings out a creative side that I’ve needed to nurture for a very long time.

Do you think success as an author must be linked to money?

If success in writing is all about money, very few people will ever considers themselves successful. Being a writer is a lot like being a Hollywood movie star. There are a few that make it big. The rest wait tables at your local Applebee’s. If making money is your goal, try something easier. Like brain surgery.

What has writing taught you?

Perseverance. From start to end, writing a novel takes about a year. A year in which you receive very little positive reinforcement or feedback. Writing has taught me to believe in myself and keep plodding forward, even when the end goal is unclear.

Leave us with some words of wisdom.

If you aspire to be a published author, never give up. Some authors are lucky enough to find an agent and get published with their first book. Others write many books before they get a nibble. Some find an agent and publisher shortly after they began the submission process. Others send out hundreds of query letters before they find the right match. Write what you love. The rest of the process may be frustrating, but if you write what you love, it will be worth it.


Title: Karma’s a Killer
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Author: Tracy Weber
Publisher: Midnight Ink

About the Book:

Yoga instructor Kate Davidson is about to discover that when it comes to murder, there’s no place like om. When she agrees to teach doga—yoga for dogs—at a fundraiser for Dogma, a local animal rescue, Kate believes the only real damage will be to her reputation. But when an animal rights protest at the event leads to a suspicious fire and a drowning, a few downward-facing dogs will be the least of Kate’s problems…

The police arrest Dharma, a woman claiming to be Kate’s estranged mother, and charge her with murder. To prove Dharma’s innocence, Kate, her boyfriend Michael, and her German shepherd sidekick Bella dive deeply into the worlds of animal activism, organizational politics, and the dangerous obsessions that drive them.

And if solving a murder weren't complicated enough, Kate will also have to decide whether or not to reconcile with the estranged mother who abandoned her over thirty years ago. Not to mention having to contend with an almost-bankrupt animal rescue, a cantankerous crow, an unwanted pigeon houseguest, and a rabbit in a doga class. What could possibly go wrong?
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