Thursday, April 5, 2012

Author Linda O. Johnston: Dogs, Mysteries And Me

It’s a pleasure to welcome author and fellow dog lover Linda O. Johnston here today to talk about her latest release, HOUNDS ABOUND, as well as her writing and why she includes dogs in it.

Linda’s latest book was released Tuesday, April 3, and is the third installment in the adorable Pet Rescue Mystery series about a pet rescuer who also solves mysteries. In HOUNDS ABOUND animal shelter manager and amateur sleuth Lauren Vancouver finds herself mixed up in a murder that may close a much-needed shelter. She’ll have to keep herself and her animals safe from an unleashed killer. 

Now Linda talks about “Dogs, Mysteries and Me.”  
I’m delighted to be here as a guest on the Thoughts in Progress blog. I’m even more delighted because I’ve been requested to discuss animals--especially dogs--in mysteries, and why I like to include them. 

The answer is easy. I’m a cynophilist. A dog-a-holic! 

I love all animals, but I’ve always been 9780425247051particularly drawn to dogs. I got my first puppy when I was eight years old--from a pet store. Bad idea. My mother took Cuddles to the vet for an exam the next day and she--and all puppies at that store--had distemper. We sadly returned her and couldn’t have another dog in the house for three months for fear of infection. That gave me time to research the puppy I wanted. I decided on a Boston terrier, and we adopted Frisky. She was exactly that--frisky and lovable! 

I wanted to be a veterinarian most of my childhood--until I took an AP biology class that taught me I wouldn’t be able to operate on animals. Enough said. 

On my first trip to London I saw a woman on the Underground carrying two adorable dogs. Love at first sight! They were Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. The breed was very rare then in the States but I found my first Cavalier--Panda. He was the first of many, including my two current babies, Lexie and Mystie. 

The pet store issue introduced me to the problems of people handling pets improperly for profit. Too often these days, pet store puppies are from puppy mills. 

That’s an issue that helped me come up with the theme of my first Pet Rescue Mystery, BEAGLEMANIA. It starts at a puppy mill rescue. The second was THE MORE THE TERRIER. In it, my protagonist Lauren Vancouver discovers that her former mentor had become an animal hoarder. 

I’m delighted that the third in the series, HOUNDS ABOUND, is an April 2012 release. It features a very special animal shelter named Save Them All Sanctuary, which gives a home to senior and disabled pets.  

My purpose in writing the Pet Rescue Mysteries is to entertain people. If they happen to call attention to issues surrounding animals, they do it in a way that won’t hit readers over the head with a message. My stories revolve around a no-kill private pet shelter in Los Angeles. One thing I’ve done often is to reassure my readers that, no matter what the circumstances, all the animals in my stories are saved. They are cozy mysteries, though, so people sometimes get murdered. The slogan I’ve adopted is:  “In the Pet Rescue Mysteries, ‘no-kill’ means pets, not people!” 

Do I think people are reading more about animals now than in the past? I don’t know for sure, but I am aware that, statistically, there are a lot more pets in households than there used to be. People consider them family members. I’m therefore not surprised if people enjoy reading about animals more than they used to.  

I certainly enjoy writing about them!
Linda, thanks so much for guest blogging. I had to laugh at your slogan, so cute. I think your stories do a wonderful job of enlightening readers to some of the problems pets face that we might not otherwise be aware of.

While she may have wanted to be a vet, Linda is a lawyer and writer of mysteries and romantic suspense. She lives in the hills overlooking the San Fernando Valley with her husband Fred and her two Cavalier King Charles spaniels, Sparquie and Lexie. Her two young adult sons visit often. For more on Linda and her writing, visit her website at

Do you enjoy books where animals are involved? Are you sometimes drawn to a story just because it features a pet like yours? Thanks so much for stopping by today. Be safe and have a wonderful Thursday.



  1. I've seen those books around! I think you are doing a wonderful service by not only writing cute mysteries but making people aware of the problems surrounding puppy mills.

  2. Mason - Thanks for hosting Linda.

    Linda - I'm a dog-lover myself who's currently proudly owned by two former shelter dogs. I know what you mean about loving dogs... What a neat idea to have a series that centers on a shelter, where so many different kinds of people meet, and Clarissa is right; it's also an excellent way to educate people about shelters and shelter pets. I wish you much success.

  3. Linda, thanks again for sharing your story with us. Pets are a real part of families and your stories do entertain and educate us. Wishing you much success with your writing.

    Clarissa and Margot, thanks for stopping by. You're both right. Can't beat a good cozy that also enlightens us.

  4. It's amazing to see people at their best and worst around animals. It often lets you know more about the people than they realize.

  5. I like this series and I do like seeing pets in the books that I read.

  6. Linda, I love the titles and covers--made me chuckle. I love all creatures (well not sure about people yet). I wish you the best.

    Mason- You're the greatest!

  7. What a great thing. We have two dogs, one a rescue dog. Two joys, currently taking their afternoon naps. And it's blessedly quiet :)

    Hi, Mason!

  8. I like stories with animals and those look very interesting
    I like the covers too

  9. Hi Mason and Linda - great post - and I did love the take you have on life, writing, and make sure it's us that die - not our beloved pets .. seems a wise decision ..

    People do love stories about animals - always a sure read ... cheers Hilary

  10. Sorry I'm late. I was a little distracted with dogs and tornadoes lately. But I couldn't pass this post up.

    Love the cover!
    Love the premise!

    There are simply not enough dog stories out there.

    I am so pleased to meet a new (to me) author. Best of luck on this series, Linda. Being the proud parent of three rescues, this is right up my alley.


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.