Monday, October 24, 2011

Liz's Lair: Welcome cozy author Linda O Johnson

It is with great pleasure that I bring you a fellow Berkley sister and cozy author here for her second time. Since her post tells a little about herself and her stories, I'll just let her get right to it. Here she is.

Characters Who Care

Hi, Mysteries and Margaritas. Thanks for inviting me to blog here today.

I’m Linda O. Johnston, and the mysteries I’m currently writing are part of the Pet Rescue Mystery series for Berkley Prime Crime. The second one, THE MORE THE TERRIER, is an October 2011 release. The first one, BEAGLEMANIA, was published in March of this year. This series is a spinoff from my Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter Mystery series.

One of the things I particularly like about cozy mysteries is their protagonists--who they are, what they do regarding the theme of the series, and how they develop in each book and as the series progresses.

In my earlier series, Kendra was a lawyer as well as a pet-sitter, and she came to accept the fact, over nine books, that she was a murder magnet. All of her friends and acquaintances became murder suspects or victims, and she learned to live with the fact that she had to solve each case.

In the Pet Rescue Mysteries, the protagonist Lauren Vancouver is a bit more serious than Kendra. She had to solve the murder in BEAGLEMANIA, which started at a puppy mill rescue, since she was known to dislike the victim’s abuse of animals and was therefore a suspect in his murder.

In THE MORE THE TERRIER, I gave poor Lauren a dilemma that she had to resolve that made her decide that, yes, she had to solve this murder, too.

Lauren is a skilled and dedicated administrator of a private, no-kill pet shelter. She’ll do anything to save animals, and she despises those who harm them. Most of the time.

But in THE MORE THE TERRIER, Lauren learns that her former mentor, Mamie Spelling, has become an animal hoarder. Lauren is horrified, and of course does all she can to save the animals. Every one of them comes out of it just fine. This is fiction, after all. And in the Pet Rescue Mysteries, “no-kill” means pets, not people!

The murder victim is a woman who has been hounding Mamie, and Mamie becomes the major suspect. But Mamie is aging and confused, so here is Lauren’s dilemma: Should she help her former mentor clear her name? But Mamie, as a hoarder, has also harmed animals, and Lauren despises people who harm animals.

What do you think Lauren does? You undoubtedly guessed it. She cares about Mamie despite her former mentor's shortcomings. That means that Lauren once more must solve a murder.

The third book in the series, HOUNDS ABOUND, will be an April 2012 release. Once again, Lauren will be faced with a choice about whether to help solve a murder where a friend is accused. HOUNDS ABOUND involves a shelter for special needs pets who are particularly hard to find homes for: seniors, and those with disabilities that require extra veterinary care and even prosthetics.

Of course Lauren will always do what she can to help needy pets. And even if she doesn’t want to be like Kendra and keep solving murders, that’s part of how she develops over time--since I don’t give her any choice!

It’s really fun writing about Lauren and her shelter, HotRescues. As I mention often, I happen to love animals. I’d love to save them all, and I can--fictionally, of course.

What do you like about cozy mystery protagonists?

Please come visit me here and at my blog on Wednesdays here. Friend me on Facebook. I’d love to hear what you think of pet rescue--and THE MORE THE TERRIER!

Linda is giving away a free copy of her book to one lucky commenter. Make sure to include a valid email address.


Kari Lee Townsend said...

Linda, I love your series. You create such fun characters with crazy predicaments they find themselves in. Can't wait to read the latest :-)

Anita Clenney said...

Linda, it's great to have you here on M&M. At RWA in Orlando, my CP and I sat in the seat behind you on the bus from the airport, and we chatted the entire way. I had read a lot of your Intrigue in the past.

Your cozies sound like such fun, and I love the titles. I love the quirkiness of cozy mystery protagonists. They're always good for some laughs.

Linda O. Johnston said...

Thanks, Kari Lee. Crazy can be good!

Linda O. Johnston said...

Hi, Anita. Yes, I remember that conversation. I enjoyed it and it certainly helped to make the ride go faster. Glad to hear from you again!

Lindsay said...

Being a dog lover myself it looks like mt TBR pile is going to be getting bigger with your cozies Linda.

Cassy Pickard said...

Welcome, Linda! This is great. My two Goldens are wagging as I write this. We have a great group of dog lovers here. And, as I posted on Thursday, quirky characters are definitely our thing.

Linda O. Johnston said...

The pup in your photo is adorable, Lindsay! Hope you enjoy my mysteries.

Linda O. Johnston said...

Hi, Cassy, and thanks! I'm sure it's no surprise that I love to hear about dog lovers--and quirky characters. Hugs to your Goldens!

Liz Lipperman said...

I just got back from the beauty shop. It looks like you've had a good day, Linda. I absolutely love the puppies on the cover and I can't wait to read this book.

Linda O. Johnston said...

Thanks, Liz. I definitely had a good day. This has been fun! Thanks again for inviting me.

Jennifer said...

I have always enjoyed cozy mysteries and how the protagonists always find themselves in strange situations and they are always the first one to find the body. I love the idea of pet rescue. My family always took in stray animals when I was growing up and I was always amazed that people would give these great animals up.