Why Dogs Have Taken Over My Mysteries
by Linda O. Johnston
I'm delighted to be here--and particularly delighted that Bite the Biscuit has been chosen as book of the month by Community Bookstop!
I was asked to tell you how I came to write books containing both animals and mysteries.
Well, it'll come as no surprise to anyone who knows me that I love both.
I must have been born an animal lover--especially dogs. I became the proud owner of a Boston terrier named Frisky when I was eight years old. For years, I was sure I wanted to be a veterinarian, until I took an advanced biology course in high school where we were supposed to cut open a female frog to remove her eggs. Cut open an animal? I couldn't do it--and realized that I wouldn't be able to do it even to help heal an animal, so there went my goal of becoming a vet. I most certainly hope those kinds of classes are handled differently now.
I was an avid reader back then, too, as I am today. Some of my favorite books were Nancy Drew mysteries. And despite being unhappy in my biology class, I loved English and writing. Things eventually came together, and now I've found a way to combine those interests: writing cozy mysteries featuring animals, especially dogs.
My first two mystery series were the Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter Mysteries and its spinoff, the Pet Rescue Mysteries. The Pet Rescue Mysteries primarily featured dogs and cats saved and adopted from a special no-kill shelter. The Kendra books featured dogs, too, but also other kinds of animals. Some of the titles included Nothing to Fear but Ferrets, Fine-Feathered Death, The Fright of the Iguana and Never Say Sty. You can guess some of the other animals they featured! By the way, Kendra's a lawyer, and I used to be, too. But currently I'm a full-time writer.
Right now, I'm writing two cozy mystery series for Midnight Ink where dogs are key. My newest, the Barkery & Biscuits Mysteries, is about Carrie Kennersly, a veterinary technician and dog lover who also realizes her dream of becoming an entrepreneur. A friend who has to move because her mother is ill sells her bakery Icing on the Cake to Carrie. Carrie converts half of it into Barkery and Biscuits, a store selling handmade dog treats made from healthy recipes Carrie developed for patients as a vet tech. The first book in that series is Bite the Biscuit.
Then there are my Superstition Mysteries, in which Rory Chasen winds up managing a pet boutique in Destiny, California, which is all about superstitions, after her lucky black and white dog Pluckie helps to save the life of the boutique's owner. Do you think there are black cats in these stories? Yes! The first, Lost Under a Ladder, was published last October and the second, Knock on Wood, will come out next October.
By the way, I also write romances for two Harlequin series. One is Harlequin Romantic Suspense, and no dogs have appeared in my stories there... yet. The other is the paranormal romance series Harlequin Nocturne, and my own mini-series there is about Alpha Force, a covert military unit of shapeshifters, largely werewolves who happen to have cover dogs!
Are you wondering if there are dogs currently in my life? Of course! I am currently owned by two adorable Cavaliers King Charles Spaniels, Lexie--whose counterpart was featured in the Kendra mysteries--and Mystie.
I've got more mysteries to come, and they, too, will feature animals, mostly dogs. What a surprise.