I have also always enjoyed solving puzzles, which led me to write suspense into all of my stories, too, no matter what their genre or subgenre.
I stopped writing fiction in law school -- confusing cases and boring briefs left little time for pleasure. But, I couldn't stay away. Soon as I could carve out time early in the morning before work at my first law job, I wrote for fun once more. Cathartic! In my first finished -- and as yet unpublished -- mystery, I killed off a law firm's senior partner.
Linda: They’re so different! With the Bar exam, there’s a lot of intense preparation in a short time frame. Then, you take the test and either pass or don’t--and if you don’t, you can’t take it again for months. I, of course, passed the first time, both in California and Pennsylvania !
With publishing, it doesn’t really matter how intense you make it. You need to finish that first book before you can even think of getting it published--or at least that’s so with nearly all authors. Then you send out queries and proposals to agents and publishers, and they usually take their time responding. My first published fiction consisted of short stories, and I won an award for the first one: the Robert L. Fish Memorial Award for best first short story of that year. I thought I was all set, that since I was a published author I could get anything published. Not! It took me another 5-6 years to sell my first novel.
Both careers are rewarding, but in different ways. Believe it or not, I enjoy writing and reviewing contracts. It’s not the same kind of creativity as writing fiction, but it involves a lot of thought. The “author” doesn’t really get credit for a good contract, since it’s usually the result of hard-fought negotiation. But it definitely feels wonderful to see one’s name on a book!
Kim: What do your coworkers think of your books? Have you considered rewriting your first mystery?
Linda: I sold my first novel when I was working as an in-house attorney at Unocal (Union Oil Company of California ). I received “the call” from an editor while at work, and I think my coworkers got a kick out of my enthusiasm! I recently told that story, and also described the evolution of my writing while practicing full-time law, at a meeting of the Unocal Alumni Association. Unocal was merged into Chevron a few years ago, though, and I had already left the company, although I had continued to work on projects for them for a while.
I doubt that I’ll ever rewrite that first mystery novel. I always need to identify with my protagonists, and I wrote that one when I had just started practicing law. At the time I began the story, I was a young associate at a law firm, and it was very cathartic to write about my protagonist finding the dead body of the senior associate! Now, though, although I do some work with law firms, I don’t particularly want to kill off anyone I work with.
Kim: Tell us about your work with pet rescue. Obviously it influenced your Pet Rescue Mystery series - can you give us a teaser about the series?
Linda: I am currently a dog adoption counselor for Pet Orphans of Southern California. I’m even taking a new course for the position this weekend. I actually started my research for my new Pet Rescue Mysteries before I began volunteering, but I found the subject so fascinating and gratifying that I was lured into volunteering to help to find loving homes for homeless animals.
The Pet Rescue Mysteries is a series that features Lauren Vancouver, a dedicated pet rescuer who runs a no-kill shelter in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles . In the Pet Rescue Mysteries, “no-kill” means pets, not people! Despite the difficult situations that pets are sometimes in when Lauren helps to rescue them, all animals in these stories wind up just fine. People are another matter. They are cozy mysteries, after all, so someone has to get murdered!
The first Pet Rescue Mystery, BEAGLEMANIA, was published in March and features a rescue from a puppy mill. Unsurprisingly, one of the people involved with that puppy mill becomes a murder victim, and because Lauren knew him and despised him, she has to solve his murder because she is a major suspect.
Linda: I’ve visited Alaska on cruises several times, and have also toured a bit. I find the place very alluring. Also, as anyone can tell who reads my work, I love animals and writing about them. ALASKAN WOLF is a paranormal romance, the second novel in my Alpha Force miniseries for Harlequin Nocturne. Alpha Force is a very covert military unit of shapeshifters! Just another kind of animal...
Linda: My next Alpha Force story, GUARDIAN WOLF, will be a September release from Harlequin Nocturne.
Next comes THE MORE THE TERRIER, the second Pet Rescue Mystery, in October. In it, Lauren is torn because her former mentor has become an animal hoarder.
Then, in November, my next Nocturne Bites (an e-novella) will be published: THE TALONS OF THE HAWK, about a lady-hawk shapeshifter.
Kim: No rest for the talented Linda O. Johnston! Mahalo, Linda, for joining us today! In honor of your visit, let's giveaway ALASKAN WOLF to one randomly selected commenter
1. Leave a comment about Linda, pet rescue, and/or the Alaskan frontier.
2. This giveaway is open to all readers.
3. Comments are open through Saturday, May 14, 10 pm in Hawaii. I will announce the winner on Sunday, May 15.
Kim in Hawaii
Speaking of animal rescue, hubby and I volunteer with Hickam's Ten Lives. In fact, we recently adopted Zsa Zsa - she came with the name that certainly matches her personality!
|Zsa Zsa in the middle of Legos!