Message From The Author

Linda O. Johnston

Book Title: SIT, STAY, SLAY
Genre: Amateur Sleuth, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller

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Author's Message



For a long time, I used writing as an escape from my legal career, but now that I write more than I practice law, I'm finding that a lot more of the characters I create are attorneys," muses transactional attorney and author Linda O. Johnston. After publishing romances, time travels and romantic suspenses since 1995, Johnston is celebrating the publication of her first mystery novel, Sit, Stay, Slay (Berkley Prime Crime), the first book in a series about litigator Kendra Ballantyne, esq.

"The law mystique tends to focus on litigators, so that was the career I gave Kendra," Johnston says of her hapless protagonist, who is ousted from a large law firm and forced to take a pet-sitting gig to survive. When her human clients start to die, Kendra goes in search of the killer—aided by sexy detective Jeff Hubbard and a special pooch.

"I'm not Kendra and she's not me, even though we each live in the hills overlooking the San Fernando Valley and own a tricolor Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Lexie," Johnston says, adding that she has owned Cavaliers for more than 30 years. Johnston also notes that she ran
a neighborhood pet-sitting business around the time she started "really" writing, when she was a preteen.

Her first published fiction was in the mystery short-story realm—her story, "Different Drummers," won an award for best first mystery short story of 1988—so she's no stranger to the genre. "Nearly everything I write has both romance and suspense in it, and I found myself focusing on the romance genre years ago when I recognized that," she says. "Genre crossovers are a lot more common now, but back then I had agents and editors tell me I couldn't have a real romantic interest in a mystery, nor could I combine elements of sci-fi with suspense and romance."

These days nothing holds Johnston back. She still works occasionally as a lawyer, still writes romances and romantic suspenses, and the second Kendra Ballantyne book, Nothing to Fear but Ferrets, is due in August. "I've always prided myself on my ability to switch from one kind of writing to another, so going from contracts to fiction is what I do daily," Johnston says. "I believe in versatility!"—LF

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