Monday, December 26, 2016

Inspirations in Fiction

By Tracy Weber

I tend not to write about my real-life friends in my Downward Dog Mystery Series. It just seems mean somehow. Most of the characters I portray are either murder victims or suspects. Where’s the fun in that?

There are two notable exceptions though, and both are key characters in the entire series, including my newest mystery, A Fatal Twist. Both were important influences on my life, and I loved them more than anything. As the universe would have it, I lost both of them last July, and on the same day. July 22, 2016 to be exact.
Most of my friends know that Bella, the German shepherd in my series, was modeled after my own German shepherd, Tasha. Tasha and I spent twelve years together. She was simultaneously one of the biggest challenges of my life and my greatest teacher. Like Bella, she lived with Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI) an autoimmune disease that left her unable to digest food unless prescription enzymes were added to every meal. Also like Bella, she was reactive, meaning that she barked, lunged, and made herself scary-looking to strangers, other dogs, and every feline that crossed her path. As a German shepherd, she was pretty good at it.
 
Tasha loved me to a fault, and she protected me fiercely. She was intelligent, loyal, gorgeous, and empathetic. She changed my life, in every way for the better.
My best teenage friend, Michelle, was the model for Rene in my series. We met at age fifteen and quickly became inseparable. Michelle was smart as a whip, funny, gorgeous, and had some magical hold over every man who ever laid eyes on her. She worked as a fashion model for a number of years. As teenagers, we wore matching t-shirts with our school mascot (the Billings West High Golden Bears) on them and the word “Huggable” written below. We spent so much time together that many people didn’t know which one of us was which, so they simply called us “The Huggables.”
Rene is Kate’s touchstone, like Michelle was for me. She knows all of Kate’s inner bullshit and loves her anyway. We all need a friend like that. I had Michelle, and I miss her dearly.
I’m still not sure why my two best friends passed on the same day, but I like to think that it’s because they needed each other. I like to think that they are keeping each other company in the afterlife, having a great time until I can join them. In the meantime, I’m honored to keep them alive in my mysteries.
May I do their memories justice.

Tracy Weber
All four books in the Downward Dog Mystery Series are available at booksellers everywhere!

17 comments:

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Oh,Tracy--what a wonderful post. YOU are an inspiration. And your two friends were lucky to have you in their lives.

theswain said...

Happy Christmas Tracy! Hope you guys are feeling better. What a lovely post and lovely testament to Tasha and Michelle. You are wrong about one thing though. Michelle didn't have a hold on every man she met. I loved her dearly, but there were others who had a hold on me. And I know more than a few from then who were enthralled with you. But it's Michelle we're talking about....I remember you two giggling on bus trips. And socializing with everyone, spreading good cheer. Thanks for all that.
'

Billie Jackson said...

This is a lovely memorial as your books will always be. Thank you for sharing. I hope you find healing in every day. Thank you for sharing Ana with us now. And thank you for having the strength to continue Bella's story.

Frankie said...

Beautiful post Tracy.. Missing Tasha as I enjoy the antics of Ana. Loving Michelle through Rene.

Tracy Weber said...

Hank--Thank you so much for taking time to read this. You and your great kindness inspire me every day.

Tracy Weber said...

Thanks, Larry. I miss her. Those were very good times, weren't they?

Tracy Weber said...

Thank you, Frankie. I was so lucky to have both of them in my life. And Ana gets to love hanging out with you and Joli!

Tracy Weber said...

Billie--I can't imagine NOT continuing it. Kate and Bella's story isn't finished yet!

Edith Maxwell said...

Thank you for sharing this, Tracy. You have brought tears at seven in morning. What a blessing you had these two in your life, and that they had you.

Tracy Weber said...

Thank you so much, Edith. They were a blessing indeed!

mligon said...

I loved the blog today Tracy. Tears are flowing as I read it. Like you, I lost my fur baby this summer and like you I brought another fur baby home quickly. Why? Because I simply cannot live without a sweet furry companion in my life. I think that the Rainbow Bridge will be a very happy place when we get there one day!!

Tracy Weber said...

Thank you! And agreed. Sweet furry companions make life so much better!

Doward Wilson said...

A very beautiful & inspiring post. Thanks for sharing it with us.

Tracy Weber said...

Thanks for reading it!

Marilyn Levinson said...

Tracy, How sad that you lost them both, and on the same day.
My red tabby Sammy has been diagnosed with an immune disease that will never get better. He eats and eats because his body doesn't take in the nutrients it needs. He looks well but I know he's ill.
I'm glad that Tasha and Michelle live on in your books. A great tribute to them both.

Wishing you a happy, healthy 2017.

Tracy Weber said...

I'm sorry, Marilyn. Does your kitty and Pancreatic insufficiency? EPI? IT's rare in cats, but if that's what it is, I can point you to resources that can help. <My dog Tasha had that disease for 10 years and lived a wonderful life.

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