Behind the Frame: A Shepherd Sisters Mystery
by Tracy Gardner

About Behind the Frame

Behind the Frame: A Shepherd Sisters Mystery
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Publisher: Hallmark Publishing (August 11, 2020)
Paperback 360 Pages
ISBN-10: 1947892975
ISBN-13: 978-1947892972
Digital ASIN: B084FHKMTG

When art in the park
leads to murder in the dark,
the Shepherd sisters
have another crime to solve.


Savanna Shepherd, an art expert turned elementary art teacher, is planning the Art in the Park festival for her hometown of Carson. But apparently, someone isn’t happy that Carson got to host the event: the beloved statue in the park is destroyed. Not long after, Savanna finds the dead body of one of the people on the planning committee.


Savanna and her sisters are convinced that the arrested murder suspect didn’t do it, despite strong evidence to the contrary. With the help of Dr. Aidan Gallager, Savanna’s new romantic interest, they uncover hidden resentments and intrigue. Several people in Carson had a motive for the murder. Can they find out which one of them is behind the framing of an innocent person?


This intriguing mystery includes a free Hallmark original recipe for Mini Rhubarb Pies.

Interview with the Author

What initially got you interested in writing?

I started writing short stories when I was in elementary school. I purposely chose a sensible field to pursue when deciding on a college major and became a nurse. I never planned to write a whole book, but after my son was born, I sat down one day and began writing, and it turned into a novel length story. I think I’ve always been a writer. Life, work, marriage, moving to a first home, having babies, all of that requires time and energy and I believe I forgot for a while that I need to write. When I picked it back up again after my son was born, I realized it works as a kind of therapy for me. I must need the outlet.


What genres do you write in?

I write women’s fiction, mystery, romance, and young adult. Everything I write has a contemporary feel to it, which I also enjoy when I take time to read.


What drew you to writing these specific genres?

I write what I like to read, within reason. I’ve read every Nancy Drew book in existence, several Amanda Flower, Victoria Gilbert, and Jody Holford cozy mysteries. I’m a huge fan of Rainbow Rowell, John Green, and Becky Albertelli, who write young adult. I do also love reading sci fi, horror, and dystopian fiction. I’ve never tried to write in those genres, and I’m not sure I could. But the books, movies, and television series I enjoy all have great characters in common regardless of genre, which I think is what we really read any book for. Here’s an example: I loved the Umbrella Academy graphic novels through Dark Horse Books before there was an inkling that it’d become a Netflix series. The story is about seven children who form a dysfunctional family of superheroes with bizarre powers and are meant to save the world. What Umbrella Academy has in common with every other book I love, and with what I endeavor to write, is emotional, multi-dimensional, flawed, relatable characters. I write for the characters, and my characters seem to live in cozy mysteries and general women’s and young adult fiction worlds.


How did you break into the field?

The process has taken around 16 years, from when I began writing my first novel and querying agents, until I signed the Hallmark publishing contract for my first traditionally published book.

I think finding a great agent who really gets you and what you want to accomplish is probably key to creating a successful writing career, even far beyond getting that first publishing contract. Hallmark Publishing and I never would have met if not for my agent and her grand ideas.


What do you want readers to take away from reading your works?

If readers finish my book and feel they found some bit of themselves in a character or a struggle one of the characters is going through, if they feel invested, if the story stays with them in some way for a while after they’ve finished reading, I’ve definitely accomplished something special. That’s what I strive for.


What do you find most rewarding about writing?

I love the entire process of creating the story and going along with my characters on their journey to, hopefully, an end result that is fulfilling and uplifting.


What do you find most challenging about writing?

I always have trouble beginning a new story. I get major imposter syndrome when crafting that first line and first paragraph. Somehow, I always get past it, but it’s tough.


What advice would you give to people wanting to enter the field?

I’d say, make sure that you enjoy what you’re writing. If you’re trying to write something for someone other than yourself and it isn’t something you’re truly interested in, it is going to be an insane amount of painstaking hard work. You have to love what you’re going to spend hours and hours doing!

Also, I know I say this maybe too often, but don’t give up. If you know deep inside that you cannot rest until you’ve written that novel that is so good it’ll snag you an agent and a publishing deal, then write it. Don’t stop until you make it happen.


What type of books do you enjoy reading?

I’m sorry… I sort of got the that ahead of time when we were chatting about writing certain genres. But some of my all-time favorite books are Garth Stein’s The Art of Racing in the Rain, Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor and Park and her Simon Snow series (I can hardly wait for book 3!), Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones, Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief, John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, Steinbeck’s East of Eden, and Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series and 11/22/63.


Is there anything else besides writing you think people would find interesting about you?

I never re-read my own work after it’s published. I never watch or listen to interviews or podcast recordings of myself. I just can’t.

Other than that, something totally non-writing related is that I have literally zero artistic ability at all besides writing. I can’t draw or paint, I have no skill or talent for coordinating colors or styles, and if it weren’t for my creative daughter and husband, my curtains and couches and home decorations would all be painfully mis-matched.

I’m also kind of a terrible cook. But I can bake almost anything.


What are the best ways to connect with you, or find out more about your work?





Out of the Picture on Hallmark Publishing website:

Contact Tracy through Literary Counsel:

About Tracy Gardner

Tracy Gardner is a fiction author represented by Fran Black of Literary Counsel. Tracy writes Hallmark Publishing’s Shepherd Sisters Mystery series, intriguing, engaging stories about Art Authenticator turned elementary art teacher Savanna Shepherd and her sisters solving murder mysteries in a small Lake Michigan town. A Detroit native, Tracy is the daughter of two teachers. She grew up on Nancy Drew mysteries and rock and roll. Tracy lives with her husband and best friend of thirty years and a menagerie of spoiled rescue dogs and cats, her front door constantly revolving with her two daughters and son back and forth from college. She is a strong believer in the power of baked goods, live music, family, and friends as staples to a happy life.

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