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Veterinary technician Carrie Kennersly, owner of the Barkery & Biscuits bakery for dogs, is reluctant to sell her recipes to pet food manufacturer VimPets. Jack Loroco, a VimPets representative, assures Carrie that it would be a great opportunity to grow her business. His promising new relationship with Carrie’s friend, Billi Matlock, doesn’t hurt his cause. But the budding romance takes a bad turn when Wanda Addler, another VimPets employee, sets her sights on Jack.
After threatening to ruin Jack’s career if he doesn’t give her what she wants, Wanda is found dead. Jack and Billi are put at the top of the suspect list, and Carrie is doggone determined to rescue them from a life behind bars.
Island Confidential: Linda, welcome to Island Confidential. Can you tell us a little bit about your protagonist, Carrie?
Linda Johnston: Carrie Kennersly is a veterinary technician who always wanted to be her own boss. She also loves creating healthy dog treats for the patients she helps to care for. When a friend has to leave the town of Knobcone Heights, California, where she lives, Carrie buys the friend’s bakery and turns half into a barkery where she bakes and sells those treats. The other part remains Icing on the Cake, the bakery for humans. And when someone who badmouths her efforts is murdered in the first book and Carrie’s considered a suspect, she also becomes an amateur sleuth first to help save herself and, in subsequent books, to help friends who are also accused of murder.
How much are you like Carrie?
LJ: I’m a real animal lover like Carrie, but I couldn’t be a veterinarian or vet tech because of having to potentially cut patients open or give them shots to save their lives. Nor am I much of a cook, as Carrie is. But yes, I’d love to meet her and talk to her about saving and feeding animals, particularly dogs.
Do your characters change and evolve throughout consecutive books in the series?
LJ: Since the protagonists in all my mysteries have love interests, those relationships tend to evolve throughout the series, mostly drawing them closer. Also, my protagonists kind of get used to the idea of being amateur sleuths, though they didn’t start out that way. That’s definitely true of Carrie in the Barkery & Biscuits Mysteries, including her relationship with veterinarian Dr. Reed Storme.
Have you ever thought of killing someone that you know in real life–on the pages of a murder mystery, I mean?
LJ: Yes. Let’s leave it at that–although I of course would not harm anyone for real. But that’s part of the fun of writing murder mysteries!
How realistic is your setting? Do you take liberties, or are you true to life?
LJ: For most of my stories now I make up the small towns where my stories occur. However, my first published mysteries, the Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter Mysteries and the spinoff Pet Rescue Mysteries, all took place in Los Angeles, where I live.
When the movie or TV series is made, who plays the major parts?
LJ: As I first saw this question, I got online and looked at the actors and actresses who star in the mysteries shown on the Hallmark Movies and Mysteries TV channel. I even got to hear one of them speak at a Sisters in Crime conference held near my home in the Los Angeles area. I think it would be great fun to have my Barkery & Biscuits series featured there. Who could play Carrie Kennersly? Well, maybe Allison Sweeney, Lori Laughlin or Candace Cameron-Bure. And of all the love interests in those stories, I’d kind of like to see Cameron Mathison play Dr. Reed Storme from my stories. I haven’t met a dog who’s just like Biscuit, but I’d be happy with a rescue dog taking her place.
What’s the worst and best advice you’ve heard or received as an author?
LJ: The worst advice? I’ve heard other authors say they’ve been told by editors or agents that their work isn’t good enough and that maybe they should give up. I’ve even had a couple of new editors stop buying my work over the years, though fortunately none has been that cruel. But I’ve also been at this long enough to realize that not everyone will like what you write, so never, ever give up no matter who tells you to quit! The best advice I’ve heard, and that I always pass along? Keep on writing!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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 and the the Barkery and Biscuits Mysteries for Midnight Ink.
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