Friday, June 21, 2013
Yoga Can Be Murder
A yoga student approached me after class recently, looked at my bookmarks, and frowned. He phrased his next comment politely, but the gist was this: “What kind of demented yoga teacher writes books about murder?”
I stammered and stuttered a lame, joking reply, assuring him that no yoga students had been harmed in the making of my books. Looking back, I should have reframed the conversation. Instead of assuring him that I wasn’t psychotic, I should have told him why I write yoga mysteries. If I could re-do the conversation, here’s what I’d say.
My light-hearted mysteries allow me to share my love of yoga with people I may never meet.
Good fiction immerses the reader in a world they might otherwise never experience. I hope to show my readers that yoga is for everyone—especially those of us who are far from perfect. Even better, I hope my book is entertaining enough to entice a reader or two to try yoga.
Kate Davidson, my novel’s protagonist, is a yoga teacher. Unlike the models in Yoga Journal, Kate has laughably tight hamstrings, chubby, cellulite-ridden thighs, and she drinks a bit more wine than she probably should. Kate tries to live up to yoga’s principles of satya (truth), ahimsa (non-violence), and karuna (active compassion).
She often fails.
Kate has temper more like a fighting rooster than the Dalai Lama, and she sometimes acts impulsively, only to regret it later. Yet she believes in yoga and dedicates her life to sharing it with others. If Kate loves yoga, anyone can love yoga—even mystery fans who have never considered trying it.
People are murdered in my work, but death isn’t the only theme.
Solving crime definitely takes center stage in my books, but murder isn’t the only focus. My agent says that my first book—Murder Strikes a Pose—is ultimately about love. I didn’t realize it until I heard the words, but she’s right.
The book illustrates how love can damage us, if we let it. Throughout its pages, normally good people do extreme—some might say evil—acts to protect those they love. But beyond that, the story shows how love transforms us, when we are ready. Overall, it promises that love saves us.
If my books were movies, they’d be rated PG-13—at most.
The Downward Dog Mysteries are written in the cozy mystery genre. Cozies are typically light-hearted, often funny (I think mine are!) and written to appeal to the faint of heart. Gore is minimized; killing takes place off screen; sex happens behind closed doors. My mother read Murder Strikes a Pose, and she still thinks I'm a nice girl.
Last but not least, I love it!
But if I’m honest, the real reason I write yoga mysteries is simple. I’m a huge mystery fan, my life-work is yoga, and I’m absolutely, embarrassingly, head-over-heels crazy about my German shepherd, Tasha. I write about a yoga teacher who solves murders with a wacky German shepherd sidekick.
Writing about yoga, dogs, and murder….What could be more fun?
Come visit Whole Life Yoga in Seattle, and join my author mailing list for updates on MURDER STRIKES A POSE, available January 8, 2014 from Midnight Ink!