Thursday, October 08, 2015

A Conversation with Mystery Author Linda O. Johnston

Omnimystery News: Author Interview with Linda O. Johnston

We are delighted to welcome back Linda O. Johnston to Omnimystery News.

The always busy author has a new mystery out this month, Knock on Wood (Midnight Ink; October 2015 trade paperback and ebook formats), the second in her Superstition series. We recently caught up with her to get an update on what her series character, Rory Chasen, has been up to.

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Omnimystery News: We first met Rory last year when Lost Under a Ladder was published. What is she doing now?

Linda O. Johnston
Photo provided courtesy of
Linda O. Johnston

Linda O. Johnston: Rory remains a superstition agnostic in Knock on Wood, but she has settled in to her life managing the Lucky Dog Boutique in Destiny, California, which is all about superstitions. She moved to Destiny after heading there to determine whether superstitions are real when her fiancé died soon after walking under a ladder.

Now, Rory's willing to use superstitions to help sell things at the Lucky Dog, and she hopes to do things that provide good luck not only to her friends but to tourists. That's one of the things I like about Rory. She's realistic and pragmatic, but willing to take a chance on what may or may not be real. In Knock on Wood, one of her closest friends has moved to Destiny and becomes a murder suspect, and once again Rory has to help, by clearing her.

And I of course love her lucky black and white dog Pluckie, who is nearly always at Rory's side. She's a great, and lucky, dog!

OMN: What other changes are in store for Rory?

LOJ: She arrived in Destiny rather dubious about the reality of superstitions. She still is, but she's willing to use them, and to consider the possibility of things coming true. Plus, in Lost Under a Ladder she met Police Chief Justin Halbertson but it was too soon for considering much of a romantic interest after her fiancé had just died. That relationship is starting to evolve, though, in Knock on Wood.

OMN: Into which genre would you place this series?

LOJ: My Superstition Mysteries are definitely cozy mysteries, with an amateur sleuth and little violence or sex. There's a touch of paranormal in them, too — if you consider superstitions paranormal. Do I? Maybe …

OMN: Tell us something about Knock on Wood that isn't mentioned in the publisher's synopsis.

LOJ: I keep track of which superstitions I use in my books, and I've got three pages' worth in Knock on Wood! A lot of dogs appear in the story, too, including those tourists bring to Destiny. And then there are the black cats.

OMN: Describe your writing process.

LOJ: I rely on my subconscious to get me started, then once I have a good idea of where the story is going I plot it and create a synopsis that I then work from. Yes, once I'm writing my characters will often barge in, or talk to me, or both.

OMN: What are some of your outside interests? And do these ever find their way into your books?

LOJ: I doubt that you'll be surprised to hear that dogs are among my most important interests outside of writing. And, oh yes, lots of canines find their ways into my books!

OMN: We asked you this last time, but we're curious if your answer has changed. Complete this sentence for us: "I am a mystery author and thus I am also …".

LOJ: I really liked previous my response, so here it is again: I am a mystery author and thus I am also a killer as well as a crime solver. Odd combo, isn't it? Well, maybe not to an author!

OMN: What's next for you?

LOJ: More mysteries to come! My next one will be To Catch a Treat, my second Barkery & Biscuits Mystery about a veterinary technician who buys a bakery and turns half of it into a barkery where she creates baked treats for dogs. And of course she also winds up solving murders. To Catch a Treat will be a May 2016 release.

And yes, I'm still writing for two Harlequin romance series, too: my Alpha Force stories about a covert military unit of shapeshifters, for Harlequin's paranormal line, Harlequin Nocturne, and I also write for Harlequin Romantic Suspense.

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Linda O. Johnston a former lawyer who is now a full-time writer, currently writes two mystery series for Midnight Ink involving dogs: the Superstition Mysteries, where her protagonist runs a pet boutique, and and the Barkery and Biscuits Mysteries where the protagonist, a veterinary technician, also owns a barkery and a bakery. She has also written the Pet Rescue Mystery Series, a spinoff from her Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter mysteries for Berkley Prime Crime and also currently writes for Harlequin Romantic Suspense as well as the Alpha Force paranormal romance miniseries about shapeshifters for Harlequin Nocturne.

For more information about the author, please visit her website at LindaOJohnston.com and her author page on Goodreads, or find her on Facebook and Twitter.

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Knock on Wood by Linda O. Johnston

Knock on Wood by Linda O. Johnston

A Superstition Mystery

Publisher: Midnight Ink

Amazon.com Print/Kindle Format(s)BN.com Print/Nook Format(s)Kobo eBook Format

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?

Knock on Wood by Linda O. Johnston

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