AOB: What is the title of your book? Pub date and publisher? Genre? Targeted age group? Illustrator?
- Murder Strikes a Pose, published January 8, 2014 by Midnight Ink. Appropriate for ages 12 and up, but targeted to adults and teens.
AOB: Who is your key dog character(s) and what kind of dog is he/she? Feel free to list as many different breeds or mixes as necessary. Tell us a little more about him/her.
- Bella is an 18-month old purebred German shepherd. She belonged to a homeless man named George, who “rescued” her from an abusive family. Bella is huge, unruly, loyal, and loving. She suffers from a rare digestive disorder called EPI.
AOB: In 70 words or less, provide a succinct plot description of your story.
- George—a homeless alcoholic—is murdered outside Kate Davidson’s yoga studio, leaving his intimidating German shepherd, Bella, alone. Kate digs into George’s past to catch the killer while she looks for a new home for Bella, before Animal Control sends her to the big doghouse in the sky. With the murderer nipping at her heels, Kate will have to work fast, or her next Corpse Pose may be for real.
AOB: What inspired you to write this story?
I love dogs—so much so that my husband has nicknamed me the “creepy puppy lady.” I adore my own dog to a fault, even though she’s no Rin Tin Tin. I’ve read cozies since long before I knew there was a genre by that name. And my lifework is yoga. My mystery series was like a stew that had been slow cooking inside of me for years.
The one day, while trying to distract myself from a grueling workout, a passage in Susan Conant’s Black Ribbon made me burst into laughter. I knew I’d found my author soul mate. I jumped off the exercise bike, ran home, got online, and proceeded to buy every book she had ever written. While I was at it, I stumbled across a site about cozy mysteries. http://cozy-mystery.com/
That’s all it took.
I began to wonder, what would happen if a yoga teacher with a crazy dog like mine got mixed up in murder? And if she did, could I write about it? A feisty yoga teacher named Kate Davidson popped into my head a few days later. She insisted that I tell the story of how she found the love of her life—a German shepherd named Bella—while solving the murder of her homeless friend, George. She promised me that her story was both entertaining and important. Kate is one stubborn woman. She refused to leave, no matter how much I begged her to. I had no choice but to give in.
AOB: What was the biggest challenge you had writing your story? How did you overcome it?
- Self doubt. I’d never written so much as a short story before I sat down one day to write a novel. I had no idea if I’d ever be able to finish it, much less sell it. I overcame those fears by telling people about the book. Their enthusiasm and support kept me going. Basically, my yoga students and friends believed in me more than I believed in myself!
- Murder Strikes a Pose is my first novel.
AOB: What kind of story can we expect next from you? Is it about a dog? If so, what is it about?
- My next book will be the second installment in the Downward Dog Mysteries series, tentatively titled A Killer Retreat. It stars Kate, Bella, and a new canine character, a Jack Russell Terrier named Bandit.
AOB: What else would you like us to know about you or your story?
- I would categorize Murder Strikes a Pose as a happily-ever-after, human-animal love story. Although the book is ostensibly a murder mystery, the true story is about Kate’s growing love for Bella and how Bella saves Kate from herself. The story also highlights the issues of both human and animal homelessness in a real, relatable way.
- The series is a personal tribute to my own special-needs German shepherd, Tasha. She is the love of my life.
AOB: Can you remember the first book that made an impact on you? And why?
- Books have been a huge part of my life for as long as I can remember. Honestly, there isn’t any single book that stands out more than the others, but I’ve been a voracious reader since I was six. Reading has transported me to places I’ll never be able to go in real life while teaching me about a world much larger than Billings, Montana, where I grew up.
- Don’t give up! Writing is in many ways a brutal business. You slave over your work, never knowing if it will get published, much less read. You fall in love with your characters. Then, once you are published, your work is on display to the world for strangers to both praise and criticize in public. Dealing with that is all part of the job. Writers are some of the kindest people I know. Reach out to them. They will help you.
AOB: Where can readers go to find out more information about you and/or your books?
Thank you Tracy Weber for joining us at Dog Reads!