Tracy Weber doesn’t lack for subject matter when she plots a
novel. Her background as a chemical engineer, an MBA recipient, a Microsoft
manager, and a yoga instructor will ensure plenty of fodder for murder mayhem.
In her first published novel, a Downward Dog Mystery, Murder Strikes A Pose, the main character, Kate’s career parallels
Tracy’s career path to yoga instructor. Please welcome Tracy to WWK. E. B. Davis
Give our readers a
short summary of the plot, if you would.
Murder Strikes a Pose is a happily-ever-after, murder
mystery, human-animal love story! At least that’s how I think of it. ;-)
main story is about Kate Davidson, a yoga teacher with chunky thighs, tight
hamstrings, and a fiery temper, who befriends a homeless man named George and
his horse-sized German shepherd, Bella. When George is killed in the parking
lot of Kate’s yoga studio, Kate struggles to come to terms with (and solve) his
murder while trying to find a permanent home for Bella.
though, it’s the story of how Kate learns to love—and make sacrifices for—a
creature that is far from perfect, even though not doing so would make her life
significantly easier. Throw in a new boyfriend, a trouble-causing, matchmaking
best friend and lots of yoga, and it’s a story that I hope will entice you,
make you laugh, and stay with you long after you finish.
One theme of your
novel is relationships. What is the tie that binds?
Love. Sounds simplistic, but in Kate’s world—and in mine—the
relationships that endure in spite of hardship are glued together by love. Love
compels Kate and George to make sacrifices for Bella. Love connects Kate and
Rene, even when they drive each other crazy. Even George’s fractured family was
reunited—however briefly—because of love. Money, lust, fear, power… all of
those binds dissolve in the end. Love endures.
Bella is a special
needs dog, a category I never encountered before. Would you define special
needs in Bella’s case? Are there other types of special needs dogs?
A special needs dog requires extra care beyond the ordinary.
The most obvious needs are physical, but they can be emotional as well. Dogs
with diabetes, paraplegia, and separation anxiety might all be considered
special needs dogs.
Bella has two issues that fall into the special needs
category. The first is an autoimmune disease called Exocrine Pancreatic
Insufficiency (EPI). This disease has destroyed her pancreas, and Bella will
need expensive medication and special meal preparation for the rest of her
life. Bella also has a challenging temperament. Some people would call Bella
aggressive, but trainers often prefer the term reactive. Bella doesn’t want to hurt
anyone; she is fearful and reacts (by barking and lunging) at things she finds
frightening. The goal of an aggressive animal is to cause harm. The goal of a
reactive one is to make the scary thing go away. Still, reactive dogs require
significant training and management, especially if they’re 100-pound German
Bella isn’t the only one with issues. Main character Kate oscillates
between analysis and impulse. Is that normal?
What is normal? I’d say all of us occasionally react
impulsively, only to later regret it. Kate is more impulsive than most. However,
she is aware of that flaw and is actively working to become more stable. The yoga
teachings give Kate a framework for better self-control, but like many of us,
she’s still a work in progress.
It never occurred to me until you asked this question, but
Kate—like Bella—is reactive. At her core, Kate has a good heart. She would never
consciously hurt anyone. Even though she often loses her temper, Kate is a kind,
compassionate woman. Ultimately, the only person she’s ever harmed is herself.
Kate trusts Bella’s
loyalties. Are animals trustworthy?
Animals, like humans, vary in personality, character, and
impulse control. Most dogs have the intellect of a three-year-old child. Is a
child trustworthy? Yes—within limits and with boundaries.
Bella is trustworthy in some ways, not in others. Kate can
trust that Bella will never harm her. She can believe that Bella will protect
her. In fact, Bella would probably die for Kate. But could Bella be trusted
alone with another dog? Probably not.
One of your
characters uses yoga to help her get through chemo. Have you instructed chemo
patients using yoga?
Yes. As a yoga therapist, I’ve been trained to use yoga
tools to help people with a variety of conditions, from back pain, to asthma,
to chronic anxiety. Several clients have taken yoga classes with me while they
were undergoing cancer treatment. I do ask that they have doctor approval,
especially for group classes, as their immunity is often compromised.
Early on in my yoga career, I taught for a wonderful
organization called Team Survivor Northwest
They offer classes to women and their supporters in all stages of cancer
treatment and recovery. In general, yoga during cancer treatment focuses on
promoting mental balance, building energy, and helping minimize treatment side
Do you think that the
universe is ordered or random?
A little of both, maybe? There are so many aspects of life
that we can’t control, yet I do believe each of us has a purpose on this earth.
The yoga teachings say that we can’t control what happens in the world around
us. That would imply that the world is random. Yet the teachings also say that
we can decide how we will react to the events of our lives. Therefore we can
impose order, at least in ourselves.
Let’s take George, for instance. George couldn’t control the
economic events that destroyed his business, but he chose how to react when it
failed. If he had gone into rehab, his life might have ended up very
differently. Likewise, Kate couldn’t prevent the death of her father, but she
could (and did) eventually decide to move on after his passing.
What authors do you
I LOVE cozy mysteries, especially those that involve dogs. Susan
Conant, Laurien Berenson, Linda O. Johnston, Waverly Curtis, and Sheila Boneham
are some of my favorites!
Your German Shepard,
Tasha, has very long ears! Is there something about German Shepard dogs that
that attracts you? When she stands on two legs, is she taller than you?
You should see her feet! Actually, everything about Tasha is
big. The average female German shepherd weighs 65 – 75 pounds. Tasha’s ideal
weight is 100 pounds.
I’ve loved German shepherds since I was about three years
old. They are intelligent, affectionate, loyal, loving, and protective. Tasha
has hip dysplasia, so she hasn’t stood on her back legs since she was a puppy. But
she can easily take up my whole side of the bed and she weighs almost as much
as I do, so I suspect the answer is yes.
What’s next for Kate?
Kate will be back in my next mystery, A MURDEROUS RETREAT. She
and her crew of friends are off for a working vacation at an upscale vegan
retreat center on Orcas Island, a small island in Washington State. She’s
planning to relax, kick back, and teach a few yoga classes. She might even
splurge for a massage. She’s certainly not going to stumble across any more
bodies, is she? ;-)
Are you a beach or a
Beach, all the way. Warmth, sun, and sand. It doesn’t get
any better than that!