Hot Seat Featuring Linda O. Johnston

Welcome to HOT SEAT, a new section of my blog where I intend to place authors on a very warm seat, and then interrogate them.  Just kidding, it’s all fun and games over here.

The phrase was given to me by author, Lynne Marshall, who underwent much scrutiny by my readers several months ago. Then author, Jennifer Crusie did a blog post interview this week at featuring author Lucy March, and the interview style intrigued me, so I stole copied it and the idea for Hot Seat took off.

My first author in the official seat is, Linda O. Johnston. Welcome, Linda.                     

I met Linda in 2001, when I joined Romance Writers of America and found an amazing group of authors/writers in Los Angeles. LARA is the Los Angeles chapter of RWA. Over the years I’ve watched Linda’s career blossom. She is one very busy lady, and diverse to the say the least: A mystery, intrigue, paranormal romance, and romantic suspense author, and backed by her years as a lawyer, she brings authenticity to the page. I enjoy the way she plants her clues and weaves her subplots. And she is generous with the writing community, teaching classes, sharing her wealth of knowledge, and always available to answer a question or two for a struggling writer. This month she will be teaching an online course through the Orange County Chapter of RWA: Kiss Me or Kill Me, Writing Cozy Mysteries 101 for Romance Writers.

Linda has published 29 novels. Her most recent is The More the Terrier, the second book in her Pet Rescue Mystery series, published by Berkley Prime Crime, and available through and Barnes & Noble:

Shelter manager Lauren Vancouver, “an ardent advocate for homeless pets” has taught herself a new trick: sleuthing. Now she has a chance to hone her skills, as animal hoarding leads to one less human life…

When Lauren finds that her old mentor, Mamie Spelling, is an animal hoarder, no one is more shocked, and she jumps in to help the cramped critters. But Mamie’s troubles don’t end there. She’s accused of murder when the CEO of a pet shelter network is found dead. The aggressive businesswoman was bullying Mamie to join her organization by threatening to expose her hoarding but that was before Lauren took control of the situation. Now Lauren’s dogged determination to clear her former friend of murder may put a killer on her tail…                                                                       The first in the series was Beaglemania. A great read. I love Beagles! Hounds Abound will be released in April 2012. Two of Linda’s Alpha Force miniseries, from Harlequin’s Nocturne Bites, Hawk’s Challenge, and Cougar’s Conquest, were released in late 2011, and so was full-length Nocturne Guardian Wolf, also part of the Alpha Force miniseries.  Linda’s first Harlequin Romantic Suspense, Undercover Soldier, will be released in July 2012.

Now, here is how Hot Seat works: Leave a question in the comments section about Linda’s stories, her process, a craft question, or anything to do with her passion for animals, her love of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, or her volunteer work at Pet Orphans of Southern California. I will send Linda the questions, she will answer them, and I will post them next Tuesday.

To learn more about the author, please visit or visit the blog she shares with five other authors, where she posts every Wednesday. Linda is also on Facebook. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, the Orange County and Los Angeles chapters of RWA, Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and the International Thriller Writers. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and her Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Lexie and Mystie.


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24 Responses to Hot Seat Featuring Linda O. Johnston

  1. Linda – How did you get started rescuing pets?
    We had a rescue pit bull until she died last summer. I was always afraid one of the dog fighters I know hide around here would steal her. Many times I wondered what I would do if that happened.
    I’m going to buy both series for my daughter who has just finished her college degree and wants to start a dog grooming business. I know she’ll love them. She’s a well known rescuer.

  2. Robena Grant says:

    Good morning, Linda. Welcome.
    I’ll go first. What is it about the mystery genre that calls to you?

  3. Janie Emaus says:

    Hi Linda and Robena,
    Well, I’ve known Linda for years. I just wanted to stop by and say “hi.” And add that along with everything else Linda does, she’s a fabulous critique partner.

  4. Hi Robena!
    Here is my question for Linda.

    Are you a draft writer? If so, how many drafts do you do per book?
    Or do you polish as you go along and when you’re done, you’re pretty much done?

  5. Gina B. says:

    Hi Robena and Linda!

    Linda, your Pet Rescue Mystery series sounds like so much fun. My question for you is: you’re so prolific! Do you focus on one book at a time or are you usually working on several projects at once?

  6. I just wanted to pop in and thank Robena for inviting me here. So far the questions don’t sound intimidating. 🙂 I’ll look forward to answering them next week.

  7. Donna says:

    Absolutely love the title “The More the Terrier” drawing my interest. I have friends that had a black lab. trained as a rescue dog, but failed at the end. She was wonderful

  8. Maria says:

    I would think that with mysteries you’d need to plot the book. Do you prefer a detailed plot or do you work with a basic outline and then just write? Do you have a different method for your paranormal romances? Or do you again need more of a plot because of how you sell those books? Does selling on proposal require a plot and how closely do you have to follow the outline that you sold? What happens if the book veers away from the proposal that you sold?

    Finally, whichever type of writer you are, plotter vs. pantser, have you written any books the opposite to your normal style and how challenging was it or did you enjoy the process?


  9. Leigh Court says:

    After 29 novels, I want to know how Linda comes up with her story ideas! My poor brain would be sucked dry. Newspaper/magazine articles? Inspiration from her pet rescue organization?


  10. Hi Robena and Linda,

    Here’s my question for the interrogation, um, I mean interview.

    You write without a pen name in two pretty different genres: paranormal romance and cozy mystery. Does this ever cause confusion on the publishing side of things?

    Looking forward to reading the transcript/interview.


  11. Robena Grant says:

    Keep the questions coming. I’ll be sending them off to Linda on Saturday morning. So, there is still time. : )

  12. Hi Linda and Robena!

    Do you still use a critique partner? Do you have different people you use for each genre? What do you think are good qualities to look for in a partner or group? Do you write the whole book and submit it to your partners, or send chapters as you finish them?

    Can you tell I’m interested in critiques? Soon I’m going to have to send my work to people outside my loving support network, to get an honest opinion and I want to choose wisely.

  13. Robena Grant says:

    Megan! Hi. I’m so happy you stopped in (and I love your blog about the men in your life, so amusing, probably because I no longer have young kids in my own, I’m…waiting…waiting, to be a grandma.)

    Excellent questions.