New Bakery and Biscuits Mystery (with interview!): Bad to the Bone by Linda O. Johnston

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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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Character Interview: Rory Chasen, owner of the Lucky Dog Boutique

Rory Chasen, manager of the Lucky Dog Boutique in Destiny, California, hopes her new line of good-luck doggy toys will be a hit, especially the stuffed rabbits with extra-large feet. The timing of the line’s debut proves ill-fated, though, as several local shops—including Rory’s—are ransacked and vandalized with spilled salt and other unlucky charms.

The most likely culprit is disgruntled real estate agent Flora Curtival, whose issues with the town give her a motive. But when Flora is murdered and one of Rory’s toy rabbits is found with the body, Rory needs all the luck she can get while trying to determine just who killed the superstitious vandal. 


Q: Rory, thanks for stopping by Island Confidential. Why not tell our readers a little bit about yourself–maybe something they might not guess?

My name is Rory Chasen, and my stories are being told in the Superstition Mysteries,.  I’m still not sure how I feel about that, but if it helps other people learn to deal with superstitions, whether or not they actually cause the effects they’re reputed to, well, that’s okay with me.

I don’t think it will be surprising to readers, but I’ve always enjoyed pets, most especially dogs.  That was why I happen to own, or be owned by, my spaniel-terrier mix Pluckie, whom I found out was actually good luck, since she’s a black and white dog.  Before I moved to Destiny, California, I worked in a chain pet store, so I arrived here with most of the skills I needed to manage the Lucky Dog Boutique, which is what I do now.

One thing that readers might not know was that I was a fairly ordinary person when it came to superstitions, before my beloved fiancé Warren walked under a ladder and was killed by a car right afterwards.  I did the usual things of crossing fingers and knocking on wood, almost without thinking.  And now?  Every time I do either of those things, or engage in any other superstitious behavior, I think about it a lot!

Q: Who’s the character you get along with the best? Why?

Once again I don’t think what I’m about to say will be surprising to readers, but the person in my stories that I get along with best is Justin Halbertson, the Destiny Chief of Police.  We’ve been getting closer…. Also, I certainly get along well with Gemma Grayfield, my bff, who’s moved to Destiny partially to hang out with me.

Q:  Which other character do you have a conflict with? Why?

Ah… that’s a pretty strange thing and might juice up my superstitious agnosticism.  It seems as if the people here in superstitious Destiny who’ve rubbed me the wrong way end up dead.  That happens even when I’m not the main murder suspect, as I am in my latest adventure UNLUCKY CHARMS.

I suppose if I had to name a person I sometimes have trouble with here who’s still around, that’s probably Mayor Bevin Dermot.  He is so pro-Destiny that sometimes he does or says things that he may believe are in the best interests of the town, but I don’t always agree with him.

Q:  Just between you and me: What do you really think of your author?

Who–Linda O. Johnston?  She’s wonderful in many ways, since she tells my stories so well.  On the other hand–well, since I’ve become just a bit superstitious, I wonder if it’s a good idea for her to be telling the whole world about all of this.  Could it bring me bad luck?  Could it bring herbad luck?

Q: What’s next for you?

Actually, I’m not sure.  I hope to continue my wonderful life in Destiny with all my friends, most especially Justin.  I’m not currently anticipating any more murders, and therefore there may be no additional books about me.  But who knows?  Even thinking such a thing could jinx me in the universe, so maybe I’ll have more adventures sometime in the future.


 

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 for Midnight Ink.

 

Author Links:

Webpage:  www.LindaOJohnston.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LindaOJohnston

Purchase Links:

Amazon  | B&N

 


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