It felt a little surreal to walk into Seattle Mystery Bookshop this morning and see a table stacked with my first book, Murder Strikes a Pose. I felt downright giddy sitting in their huge leather chair. I’ve attended other writers’ book signings; I’ve seen similar tables; but I never, ever thought I’d be sitting on the author’s side of the desk. In fact, three years ago I would have told you that I didn’t have the stamina, patience, or passion to write a short story, much less a book. The authors I loved had more talent in their left pinky toes than I possessed in my entire five-foot-two-inch body.
I can only blame a grueling workout, my temperamental German shepherd, Tasha, and a writer named Susan Conant for my transformation.
The key ingredients of my mysteries were already percolating inside of me, I just didn’t know it. I love dogs—especially German shepherds—so much that my husband calls me the “creepy puppy lady.” I’ve read cozy mysteries since long before I knew that there was a genre by that name. And my lifework is teaching yoga.
One day, while trying to distract myself at the gym, I read a passage in Susan Conant’s Black Ribbon that made me burst into laughter. I jumped off the exercise bike, ran home, got online, and tried to learn more about my new favorite author. I surfed my way to a site about cozy mysteries.
That’s all it took.
I began to wonder, what would happen if a yoga teacher with a huge, crazy dog got mixed up in murder?
Feisty Seattle yoga teacher 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. Kate is one stubborn woman. She refused to leave, no matter how much I begged her to.
The first draft poured out of my fingers in three weeks, though the subsequent thirty-odd drafts took significantly longer. Before I even typed “the end,” Kate had gone and found another body, so I wrote that story too. I’m now on book three. I have a feeling that Kate, Bella, and their quirky counterparts will be telling me stories for many years to come.
At least I hope so. What other excuse will I have to sit in that comfy leather chair?