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Farmington author Debra Tracy hopes her new book will be the first of many

The book that sits on the table in front of Debra Tracy is the culmination of years - maybe a lifetime - of work. But the Farmington resident also hopes it's the beginning of a whole new adventure.

The book is called Meet the Tanners. It's the story of a family, their shelties and the adventures they go through trying to find a home for a new litter of puppies.

Tracy has written stories all of her life and has had a few published in children's magazines. She wrote Meet the Tanners 10 years, ago but as the mother of four and homeschool teacher for all of her children she never really found the time to do anything with it.

Now, with her youngest child in college, Tracy is putting a new focus on the book. She has made several revisions to the story and found an illustrator, an agent and a publisher. The book is available now at and on Tracy's website,

The book is close to Tracy's heart. She got her first sheltie when she was 6 years old, and she's had at least one of the dogs for all of her life since then.

"Shelties are amazing, intelligent, loving, loyal, obedient, just great dogs," Tracy said. "They play when you want them to play. They rest when you want to rest."

Tracy wanted to write a book that was exciting, but also one that allowed her characters to solve problems with their wits and with integrity.

"I want my readers to be edified by the time they're done reading my book," she said. "I want them to say, 'I want to be like that character.'

"I'm going to try to enrich people and their lives."

Now that the book is out, Tracy has turned her attention to marketing. She has donated copies of the book to the Minnesota Sheltie Rescue and will sell copies at an event for sheltie owners.

She isn't waiting around to figure out her next project, either. She has already written five volumes of a children's fantasy adventure series called Peridot. She started writing that story when she was 19 years old. She finished the first volume when she was 23. The first book, called The Secret Portal, will be out in the summer. The rest will follow shortly thereafter.

Tracy has high hopes for the series.

Writing has always come easily for Tracy.

"When I've got an idea for a story it just comes," she said. "I've never had a block. I've never stared at a blank page."

For the moment, though, Tracy is just happy to have one book in print. It is confirmation of all of the work she had done over the years.

"It's so fun," she said. "It's wonderful. It's great because how many times did I sit there saying, 'I'm spending hundreds of hours on this writing and who's going to care?' Actually seeing it in front of me in color is a real blessing."

And Tracy hopes that blessing is the first of many.

Nathan Hansen

Nathan Hansen has been a reporter and editor with the Farmington Independent and the Rosemount Town Pages since 1997. He is very tall.

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