It is my pleasure to welcome Linda Johnston, author of The Superstition Mysteries and The Barkery & Biscuits Mysteries to the blog today. Thanks, Linda
Why I Write About Pets
By Linda O. Johnston
(Booklady’s Booknotes, October 13, 2015
Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour)
I’m currently writing two cozy mystery series: the Superstition Mysteries and the Barkery & Biscuits Mysteries. My latest Superstition Mystery, the second in the series, was just released this month.
Previously, I wrote two other cozy mystery series: the Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter series and its spinoff, the Pet Rescue Mysteries.
And yes, they all revolve around pets, mostly dogs, even the Superstition Mysteries, since its protagonist owns a lucky dog and winds up running a pet boutique.
By the way, I’m also writing two romance series for Harlequin, and one is a paranormal romance miniseries about a covert military unit of shapeshifters, mostly werewolves, and they all have cover pets.
And I’ve just re-released one of my backlist time travel romances in e-form: ONCE A CAVALIER, where Cavalier King Charles Spaniels help my heroine travel in time.
Okay, you’ve got my theme. Why do I do it? Because I love animals, especially dogs! I have since I was a child. I got my first dog when I was eight years old. Years later, on my first trip to London, I saw my first Cavalier on the Underground and have had Cavaliers ever since.
So writing about dogs and their relationship with and love for people feels natural to me–especially when my protagonists may be having problems with people, like looking for a murderer or having difficulties in their love lives, but someone’s always available to snuggle with them and be sympathetic and listen, even if they’re canine and can’t talk back.
Pets are also one of the common themes of cozy mysteries, so that works well for me. Cats appear, too, of course–especially black ones in the Superstition Mysteries.
So… as long as I can, I’ll make sure pets appear in my stories whenever possible.
My two current Cavaliers Lexie and Mystie, who are lying on the floor near me as I write this, have told me, in their own ways, that they’re fine with that.
Thanks, Linda. It’s always interesting to learn why authors chose their themes/topics. I’m a big fan of pets (we own three dogs and foster a couple of service dogs. I also have a hedgehog), so I enjoy reading mysteries that include pets. Be sure to check out the tour page for a chance to win a print copy of Knock On Wood.
Knock on Wood
(A Superstition Mystery)
2nd in Series
Paperback: 312 pages
Publisher: Midnight Ink (October 8, 2015)
Rory Chasen, now the manager of the Lucky Dog Boutique in Destiny, California, is delighted when her closest friend Gemma Grayfield, a librarian, comes for a visit. But Gemma arrives early and seems upset. It turns out she has broken up with her boyfriend, Frank Shorester. Gemma is soon hired to manage the Broken Mirror Bookstore. Frank follows her to Destiny, where Gemma is also wooed by two local men. Rory may be a little jealous—until one of those men, Deputy Mayor Bevin Dermot, turns up dead. Bevin is known for knocking on wood for everything, but despite Destiny being all about superstitions that did not save his life.
Rory tries to help Gemma clear herself of being a murder suspect, even counting on her lucky black and white dog Pluckie to help. But is Gemma guilty of murder—or of just having a run of bad luck?
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, a former lawyer who is now a full-time writer, has published more short stories, novellas, and 38 romance and mystery novels, including the Pet Rescue Mystery Series, a spinoff from her Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter mysteries for Berkley Prime Crime, and Harlequin Romantic Suspense as well as the Alpha Force paranormal romance miniseries for Harlequin Nocturne. She additionally writes the Superstition Mysteries for Midnight Ink.
My thoughts: This is the first book I’ve read by Ms. Johnston, though several of her books are on my TBR pile. I have to be honest and admit that I personally found all the superstitions rather distracting. But that’s most likely because I’m not big into superstitions. And you may be asking yourself if I’m a skeptic when it comes to superstitions, why did I sign up for this tour? Well, I think it’s important for us to grow in our reading and to try new authors. And I’m glad I did. I like Ms. Johnston’s voice – her writing style. The story flows well and the mystery kept me guessing: two things I believe are essential to a good cozy mystery. I like Rory a lot. Ok, when I found out she was a dog person, I knew I was going to like her. But as I read more of the book, I found that she’s a really likable character, one I would like to meet. And that’s my third criteria for a good series. I like her open minded approach to all the superstitions. She’s willing to believe that there is some credence to superstitions, but I got the feeling she’s also waiting for all the “evidence.” Somehow that appeals to the research librarian in me. 🙂 As I mentioned earlier, this is the first book I’ve read by Ms. Johnston. After reading this one, I want to read some of her other books and I want to do some of my own research into book related superstitions. Be sure to visit the other stops on the tour:
October 8 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – Review
October 9 – StoreyBook Reviews – Review
October 10 – View from the Birdhouse – Guest Post
October 11 – Cozy Up With Kathy – Review, Guest Post
October 12 – Back Porchervations – Review
October 13 – Melina’s Book Blog – Review, Guest Post
October 14 – readalot – Review
October 15 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – Review
October 16 – LibriAmoriMiei – Review
October 17 – A Blue Million Books – Interview
October 18 – Book Babble – Review
October 19 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – Review
October 20 – Booklady’s Booknotes – Review, Guest Post
October 21 – Community Bookstop – Review