Monday, February 5, 2018

Booker T's Farm Welcomes Linda O. Johnston

Linda O. Johnston:
Linda O. Johnston's first published fiction appeared in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine and won the Robert L. Fish Memorial Award for Best First Mystery Short Story of the Year.  Since then, Linda has had more short stories and novellas and now has over 43 works to her name.

Linda currently writes two cozy mystery series for Midnight Ink, the Superstition Mysteries and the Barkery and Biscuits Mysteries, both featuring dogs.  She has also written the Pet Rescue Mystery series for Berkley Prime Crime, and yes, they too involve dogs.

Linda additional writes paranormal romance for Harlequin Nocturnal including the Alpha Force miniseries about a covert military unit of shapeshifters where all of the werewolves also have cover dogs.  

Booker T and I were lucky enough to chat with Linda late last month and ask her some questions.

1.  I'll admit I started reading your books when I fell in love with the cover and concept for "Bite the Biscuit" - the first in your Barkery and Biscuits Mystery series.  Tell the readers about some of your other books and series.

            I love writing mysteries that feature dogs.  In fact, I love writing other kinds of stories that feature dogs--and that has included romantic suspense and paranormal romance lately. 
            My first mystery series was the Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter Mysteries.  Kendra was a lawyer who lived in the Hollywood Hills with her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Lexie.  At the time, I was a practicing lawyer, I live in the Hollywood Hills, and one of my Cavaliers was--you guessed it--Lexie!  Unfortunately, my Lexie isn't with us any longer.  I did a spinoff series from the Kendra books: the Pet Rescue Mysteries.  I also wrote the Superstition Mysteries, and they feature a lucky black and white dog named Pluckie.
            I'm just finishing my Alpha Force miniseries for Harlequin Nocturne, paranormal romances featuring shapeshifters which are mostly werewolves--yes, canines.  And I'm just starting a new miniseries for Harlequin Romantic Suspense, the K-9 Ranch Rescue stories about a ranch where dogs are trained... and romances blossom despite murders and mysteries.
            And of course there are the Barkery & Biscuits Mysteries.  The fifth in that series, Pick and Chews, will be a May release.  Those stories feature a barkery where special, healthy pet treats are sold that have been developed by the protagonist Carrie Kennersly, also a veterinary technician and owner of an adjoining people bakery... and someone who solves murders that keep cropping up around her.  Her sweet dog Biscuit tends to follow her everywhere.
            Yes, you can see my theme here... dogs!  Love 'em!

2.  When you are writing a series, do you know ahead of time how many books are planned or do you go with the flow?  Explain your writing process.

            When I start a series, I never really know how many books will be in it.  Since I'm mostly traditionally published, the number generally depends on how many the publisher wants.  With mysteries, there are generally a minimum of three books and if all goes well we agree on at least a couple more after that, and sometimes even more.  My Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter mysteries included nine books.  So did my Alpha Force miniseries for Harlequin Nocturne.
            And my writing process?  I just listen to my subconscious mind!

3.  Who are some of your favorite authors and what genres do you enjoy reading?  Also any favorite books my followers might want to check out?

            I enjoy reading in the genres I also have fun writing.  Mysteries and romantic suspense are my favorites these days, but that's subject to change.  My favorite mysteries tend to be cozies, particularly those that involve dogs.  I'd suggest that you look at Sparkle Abbey's  Pampered Pets mysteries, and Tracy Weber's Downward Dog Mysteries.    
            I'm also fond of stories by my other fellow moderators of Nose for Trouble Mysteries on Facebook:  Miranda James, Janet Cantrell and Krista Davis.
            Harder-boiled mystery stories that feature dogs include Spencer Quinn's Chet and Bernie series, and David Rosenfelt's Andy Carpenter stories.
            Then there are the D.D. Ayres K-9 Rescue novels, and the Diane Kelly Paw Enforcement books.  And with romantic suspense, I of course enjoy reading Harlequin Romantic Suspense books. 

4.  I hope to start your Superstition Mystery series soon.  Do you have any ideas for future paranormal type series?

     I don't currently have any paranormal stories in mind, but I'm always listening to my subconscious for new ideas, so I'd never say never!  And I don't necessarily consider superstitions to be paranormal.  They often come true, don't they?  

5.  Any interesting hobbies or how do you spend your spare time?

             My dogs take up a lot of my spare time, which is great with me.  Check out my answer to Booker T's question below!

6.  What question have you always wanted to be asked or answer?

            I love to be asked about my first pets but seldom am.  Who were they?  Well, the first was Pluckie, the imaginary goat who used to follow me around as a young child till my brother was born.  Next came Cuddles, a puppy, who taught me at an early age to be careful about buying pets in a store.  My grandfather bought Cuddles for me on a Sunday, and on Monday my mother took her to a veterinarian--who said she had distemper.  As it turned out, so did the other dogs at that store.  We had to wait three months before even bringing another dog into our home, which gave me an opportunity to do some research.  I chose a Boston terrier, and Frisky became my pet for the rest of my childhood.

7.  This question is from my adorable co-blogger, Booker T the Boxer.  A lot of your books seem to feature dogs/pets (which I LOVE!).  Do you have any 4-legged children?  Do they help or hinder your writing process and have they inspired any of your characters?  Also, next POTUS - cat or dog?  I'm thinking of branching off into politics.

                 I started to answer this when you asked about how I spend my spare time.  I'm owned by two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Mystie and Cari, and they tend to make sure I don't have much spare time.  The younger one, Cari, doesn't seem to mind when I can't get much writing done because she's curled in my lap while I'm at the computer.  On the other hand, my dogs inspire me.  I got an idea while taking Cari to her doggy training class that wasn't directly relating to her or, necessarily, the class.  Will it ever become a book or a series?  Who knows?

            I don't want to get into politics myself, but anyone who's loved by a dog ranks higher in my estimation than those who aren't.




  1. What a great interview and I love the selection of covers for the different series!

    1. I know. Cozy mysteries have the best covers. Sometimes a break from horror and thrillers is much needed :)

  2. Awesome interview, and I'm so happy Linda's author photo includes one of her dogs😁

    1. I know. My next one this month sent pictures of her pets as well!

  3. This was such an adorable interview, Barb. I read a few of the author's books back when she was writing romance but then lost track somewhere along the way. I'll have to try out one of her newer titles. There are so many! Where should I start?

    1. Really I've only read The Barkery and Biscuits books but want to start the Superstition series soon.

  4. Great interview, good questions. Sherry, I learn more about you every time.
    Continued good luck with all of your works...and yes, there always seems to be some basis for superstitions!

  5. The Bakery and Biscuits books sound like a lot of fun. :)

  6. I really need to try this author!!! Great interview!

  7. Wonderful interview!!!! Her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel in the photo is too cute! My director at my new job has one as well, but she's brown and white. He also has a Burmese Mountain Dog! They're SO cute! I'm so happy he brings them to the office on Fridays!

    1. I love Burnese Mountain Dogs - such big fluffy things. How cool about bring them to work!

  8. I loved this interview. And what a great resource for dog books, too. :)

  9. Looks like Linda and I have something in common...we are both owned by two Cavalier King Charles spaniels! Cavs are like the sweetest dogs, ours are named Strider and Mara!

    ~Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    1. Love the names. You should share pics some time!