Tracy Weber is a certified yoga teacher and the founder of Whole Life Yoga, an award-winning yoga studio in Seattle, where she currently lives with her husband, Marc, and German shepherd, Tasha. She loves sharing her passion for yoga and animals in any form possible. When she’s not writing, she spends her time teaching yoga, walking Tasha, and sipping Blackthorn cider at her favorite ale house. Tracy loves connecting with readers. Find her on her author web page or on Facebook.
PJ: How long have you been writing?
Tracy: Not very long, to be completely honest. I started my yoga blog about three years ago, and I began writing my first novel about a year after that. In terms of the publishing industry, I’m a neophyte. But I’m loving it.
PJ: At what point did you reach a place where you felt successful as a writer?
Tracy: I let you know when I get there. ;-) Writing is an interesting career, as there’s no one definition of success. On the one hand, I never imagined I’d find a publisher, so finding someone who even wanted to print my book seemed like a huge success at the time. On the other hand, I won’t be supporting myself with my writing any time soon. I’m learning to define a successful day as any day a reader connects with my work. After all, that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?
PJ: Is the writing life what you expected when you started out? If not, how is it different?
Tracy: Honestly, I didn’t have many expectations. I’m still shocked I had the patience, stamina, and will to write something as long as a single book, much less a series. If anything surprised me, it was how challenging and fun the process of getting to know my characters has been. Kate, Rene, Michael, and Bella seem as much a part of my life as the “real” characters I deal with everyday.
I didn’t realize how hard it would be for a new writer to get established once she had a publisher, though. I have to do a lot more marketing and audience-building than I had ever anticipated. I should have known better, since I’ve been a small business owner for fourteen years.
PJ: The general public seems to think authors are relatively wealthy. Without prying too much, has your writing income lived up to expectations?
Tracy: Income? Writers make income?
In all seriousness, writing seems to be the most rewarding way to go broke on the planet. Writing is like acting: for every superstar sauntering down the red carpet, there are thousands of actor wannabes waiting tables at your local restaurant. Authors often joke that they would make significantly more money asking, “Would you like ketchup with those fries?” I’m certainly no exception, but I’m enjoying the ride, nonetheless.
PJ: Early on, so much focus is given to getting published. Now that you’re published, how has your focus changed?
Tracy: Now that I’m published, my main focus is trying to find readers who might enjoy my work. With literally millions of published works on Amazon and in bookstores, it’s hard for readers to even learn that my work exists, much less decide to invest the time and money to read it. Every reader is truly a gift that I cherish. Whether they like my writing or not—and fortunately, the vast majority of readers do like my writing—I cherish the time they spend reading my books.
PJ: How long did it take you to get published the first time?
Tracy: I was so, so, so, so lucky. There are thousands of writers more talented than me who are still trying to find a publisher. I found an agent within a month of finishing the book, and she sold the series a few weeks later. It felt like it took forever at the time, but it was light speed in publisher time (which is like reverse dog years).
PJ: Would you do anything differently if you had it to do over again?
Tracy: I wouldn’t have waited so long to sit down and actually write the book. The story rattled around in my head for a good two years before I started typing. Once I found the wherewithal to actually work on it, I finished the first draft in three weeks. Two years of procrastination; three weeks of writing. How could I have waited so long?
PJ: Writing new material, rewriting, submitting new work, waiting, promoting published work…the list is large. How do you manage to divvy up your time to give adequate attention to all needed areas?
Tracy: Honestly, I’m still trying to figure all of this out. I work for myself, so I have the luxury of working any eighteen hours each day I would like. ;-) Some days I work at my yoga studio pretty much nonstop; other days I write like my keyboard’s on fire. There’s a cost to ignoring one part of my life at the expense of another, of course, and sometimes those costs are large. But it’s a luxury I would not have if my employer expected me to be at the office eight hours a day, five days a week. The crazy schedule I’m keeping right now isn’t sustainable over the long term, so I’m trying to find more balance.
PJ: What is the single most exciting thing that’s happened to you as a writer?
Tracy: Having Susan Conant agree to read my second book for potential blurb. She was the author who inspired me to write in the first place, and having her look at my book is nothing short of thrilling.
PJ: What is the single most disappointing thing that happened to you as a writer?
Tracy: I haven’t had any major disappointments yet. There certainly have been a trickle of minor setbacks along the way, but nothing I can point out as being a single big disappointment. I know you can’t see me right now, but rest assured, I am knocking on wood.
PJ: With more books being released each month now than ever before, what do you believe sets your work apart from the others?
Tracy: I have an unusual hook. There aren’t many writers who create yoga murder mysteries. Even better, mine also involves a crazy dog.
Yoga, dogs, and murder, what could be more fun?
PJ: What would you like to share with writers who haven’t reached the point of publication yet?
Tracy: Don’t give up, and don’t procrastinate. Write every day. Write what you love. If you spend every day working on what you love most, even if you never get published, you’ll have had a good time. That’s what matters most.
PJ: What do you feel is your most effective tool for promoting your published work?
Tracy: I’m kind of a funny, quirky person, so for better or worse, once people get to know me, they can’t wait to see what neurotic thoughts might pour out of my fingers next. I’ve had great luck promoting my books at book signings and on blog tours.
PJ: What area of book promotion is the most challenging to you?
Tracy: Anything having to do with a camera. I hate being photographed or videoed. Whenever I see a photo of myself, all I can think is, “Who is that old hag, and why doesn’t she put on some makeup?” ;-)
PJ: Do you have a local independent bookseller you’d like to mention?
Tracy:Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park and Seattle Mystery Bookshop in Seattle have both been extremely supportive to me. I cannot thank them enough.
PJ: Give us a list of your published titles in chronological or series order:
Tracy: Thus far, I’ve only published one book: Murder Strikes a Pose, the first installment of the Downward Dog Mystery Series. The second book in the series, A Murderous Retreat, will be out in January, 2015.
PJ: Share with us an elevator pitch (no more than 30 seconds) of your latest title:
Tracy:When George and Bella—a homeless alcoholic and his intimidating German shepherd—disturb the peace outside her studio, yoga instructor Kate Davidson’s Zen-like calm is stretched to the breaking point. Kate tries to get rid of them before Bella scares the yoga pants off her students. Instead, the three form an unlikely friendship.
One night Kate finds George’s body behind her studio. The police dismiss his murder as a drug-related street crime, but she knows George wasn’t a dealer. So Kate starts digging into George’s past while also looking for someone—anyone—to adopt Bella before she’s sent to the big dog park in the sky. But with the murderer nipping at her heels, Kate has to work fast. Or her next Corpse Pose may be for real.
PJ: Where can we buy it?
Tracy: Murder Strikes a Pose is available wherever books are sold. You can find it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or at any major bookseller. If it’s not on the shelf, they can order it for you.
PJ: What last thing would you like to share with us that nobody knows about you and your work?
Tracy:I’m pretty open, so there’s very little that people don’t know about me. I guess I’ll share this: I’m considering a spinoff series from my second book that will take place at a vegan retreat center on Orcas Island, an island off the Washington Coast. Only my agent knows about that idea so far, so although she doesn’t qualify as “nobody,” you’re among the first.
Her first mystery, Murder Strikes a Pose is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or wherever books are sold.