Who Brought the Dog to Church? Interview and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Who Brought the Dog to Church? Author: Tracy L. Smoak Genre: Christian Contemporary Fiction Release Date: June, 2023 Betty is sure that Ida Lou does not belong in their church when the woman shows up to the Good Friday service with her small dog in tow. But before she knows what’s happening, Betty is pushed into helping the woman as she deals with the sudden hospitalization of her husband. Having lost her own husband just one year ago, Betty is chosen as the perfect person to help walk through this valley with the newcomer—along with the other women of the WUFHs (Women United For Him). Sarah McAdams knows her husband loves her. He just loses his temper sometimes. It comes with the stress of being a highly recognized police officer. But when Sarah makes the decision that this is not the life she wants for her young son, will she be able to get out alive? Where can she go? And who will help her? God works in mysterious ways—and through ordinary people. The town of Prosper is about to experience some drama—and it all starts with a dog who comes to church.  
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About the Author

A native Floridian, Tracy L. Smoak grew up riding horses and climbing citrus trees. Her passion is to encourage others in their faith journey. Smoak writes for Guideposts. Ambassador International released her debut novel, Who Brought the Dog to Church?. Bold Vision published her Bible study about encouragement titled Refuge of Grace: Finding Your Safe Place. She loves photography and authored two hardcover devotionals with her original nature art (Living Water to Refresh Your Soul – tranquil lake scenes; and Arranged with Love– floral landscapes). Smoak holds a master’s in Education and a bachelor’s in Communication. At her church home, she leads small-group Bible studies. She is an active member of Word Weavers International.  

More from Tracy

What secrets are hidden behind your neighbor’s door? What do you try to hide? The idea for this contemporary fiction began in a small country church during an Easter prayer vigil a decade ago. As I sat in the pew late at night, I heard a strange scratching noise. When I turned to locate the sound’s source, I saw a woman across the aisle with a little Yorkie. The vigil was silent, so I didn’t approach the lady, but I did wonder why that pooch accompanied her in the sanctuary. That scenario, connected with others in my weekly involvement in several volunteer roles, sparked imagination. We judge appearances and may completely miss needs of the heart. Do we know our neighbors? Experiences as an advocate for survivors of domestic violence started me wondering how do people get free from damaging situations? What are the obstacles holding them back? Serving as a Stephens Ministry leader in my home church exposed me to people suffering loss. How are we to stand with those crushed with grief? Another volunteer role helping immigrants settle in the U.S. reminded me of the difficulties they face. How can one fill out an online job application when a person relocates from a refugee camp with no electricity and never has had a computer? The story’s heart is learning to really see, and know, our neighbors. Three women and their friendships reveal how doing good unites a community. Through comic misunderstandings and risky undertakings, the characters show us how to be Christ’s hands and feet. Short videos to introduce the main characters can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5kuEoU7pFvU&list=PLf6ZzeQjavMcocMuZDOZUvLxZG48BiWm5&index=1. Audio book excerpts can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bwxqS2mNisI&list=PLf6ZzeQjavMcocMuZDOZUvLxZG48BiWm5&index=9. Video resources for survivors of domestic violence are at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f3Aq2myofjo&list=PLf6ZzeQjavMd0mkdKujmZeq7iKDzi8IoQ&index=2.

Interview with the Author

  1. If you could travel back in time, what time period would you go to?

The height of the Mayan civilization around 900 A.D. fascinates me. I would love to see how they constructed temples more than nine stories tall without electricity or heavy-duty cranes. Their picture language with glyphs shows jaguars and monkeys with an elaborate court system. How did these Mesoamerican people raise maize to feed thousands and develop sophisticated cities? I would love to traipse through the jungles for discoveries about their society and speak with their religious leaders.

  1. What is one thing readers would be surprised to learn about you?

My first response to situations is often to judge and find fault. I dislike this about myself and have set a goal to develop more compassion. The discipline of writing makes me go back and analyze circumstances for deeper reasons. The challenge is to go beyond my narrow mindset and see how and where God is at work. I treasure this insight from Henry Blackaby’s “Experiencing God”: “It’s not about what I’ll do for God, but where am I willing to join where He already is at work.”

  1. What inspired you to write this book?

I saw people who were hurting and didn’t know how to comfort them:

Immigrants achieved their dream and made it to the US, only to realize they didn’t know how to apply online for jobs.

Families faced the loss of loved ones, and no one really knew what to say or do to lessen the grief.

Victims of domestic violence suffered in silence and felt trapped without resources to find freedom.

People in crowds felt isolated and longed for friends.

The novel Who Brought the Dog to Church? explores how we can be the friend we so desperately desire.

  1. Share with me a few of your favorite things.

Warm chocolate chip cookies, apple fritt offered hand and kinder had an away one offered hand and kinder had an away one Royaers, butter pecan ice cream…

Then the stationary bike at the gym! 😊

  1. What is one question you would like readers to ask you? What would be your answer?

Reader: How can I help someone who is hurting?

Me: Be present and available. Don’t text. Sit beside the person and be quiet to allow them to grieve/process as needed. Maybe just say, “I am here for you. Is there something you’d like?” Then allow time for them to open up. Sometimes, a gentle hug is the best gift ever. Though we all want to be “strong,” isolation in times of pain is the greater wound. Be brave and do the uncomfortable, be fully present for a person in need.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, February 28

Lighthouse Academy Blog, February 29 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, March 1 (Author Interview)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 1

Texas Book-aholic, March 2

Locks, Hooks and Books, March 3

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 4

Pause for Tales, March 5

Artistic Nobody, March 6 (Author Interview)

Lots of Helpers, March 6

Cover Lover Book Review, March 7

Fiction Book Lover, March 8 (Author Interview)

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, March 9

For Him and My Family, March 10

Books I’ve Read, March 11

Girls in White Dresses, March 12


To celebrate her tour, Tracy is giving away the grand prize package of a paperback copy each of Who Brought the Dog to Church? and Refuge of Grace: Finding Your Safe Place!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.