By Tracy Weber
I’m excited and honored to be joining the wonderful writers at Pens, Paws and Claws. For those of you who don’t know me yet, I have adored animals for as long as I can remember. From my first German shepherd, a lovely animal named Duchess, to my Holstein cow Beauty, to my first kitty, Smokey. Then there was my childhood horse, Becky, and the other assorted, dogs, cats, turtles, fish, parakeets, gerbils, canaries—even a pigeon named Lollipop—that followed. Each has commanded a special place in my heart.
When I was a child, cats followed me wherever I went like children chasing after the Pied Piper, not unlike the cats in this photo.
As I got older, I made plans to be a veterinarian and practiced my skills by nursing injured butterflies back to health. One day, I tearfully convinced my fourth grade teacher to let me release the winged grasshoppers she’d asked me to gather for the science class’s dissection. I’m pretty sure the grasshoppers were happier about my success than the school’s groundskeeper. 😉
Not much has changed since then. When I see a drowning earthworm, I relocate it. I move caterpillars off walking trails so they don’t get smashed. I save snails and slugs from almost-certain deaths near snail traps. (Don’t tell my neighbors!) If it weren’t for my husband, I’d surely be locked away in whatever prison they use to hold well-meaning hoarders.
It’s not surprising that animals play prominent roles in my mysteries. How could they not? After all, I write what I love, and I love nothing more than animals. My mysteries give me the perfect opportunity to weave in some unusual animal characters. Karma’s a Killer, for example, revolves around an animal rescue group, a wildlife rehabilitator, and a group of animal activists who clash with deadly results.
My writing is fiction, but it’s informed by my life. Many of the animals in my books are based on real-life creatures. Bella, the German shepherd in the series, is strongly based on one of my two heart dogs, a special-needs German shepherd named Tasha, who passed away almost two years ago. Blackie—a rehabilitated crow who plays a prominent role in my third book, Karma’s a Killer—is modeled after a wild crow (and his friends) that befriended Tasha. Their friendship lasted Tasha’s entire twelve-year life.
Raising goats is still a pipe dream, but I’m chiseling away at my husband’s resolve a little more every day. If I have my way, pigs and a few chicken-girls will soon join our menagerie. 😉
How about you? What animals are important in your life? Tell me about your favorite furred, feathered, and scaled creatures in the comments. Who knows? Maybe they’ll end up in my next mystery!