Linda O. Johnston–Mysteries, Romantic Suspense and so much more!

May 24, 2022 by in category Jann says . . ., Writing tagged as , with 5 and 1
Home > Columns > Jann says . . . > Linda O. Johnston–Mysteries, Romantic Suspense and so much more!

Linda O. Johnston, a former lawyer who is now a full-time writer, will have published 57 books as of May 2022, including mysteries and romantic suspense novels.  Her new mystery series is Alaska Untamed, starting with Bear Witness, for Crooked Lane, under her first pseudonym: Lark O. Jensen. She also has a new Harlequin Romantic Suspense story being published in May, Guardian K-9 on Call. Most of Linda’s current stories involve dogs.!

Today’s interview is with multi-talented, multi-published author Linda O. Johnston. Let’s see what’s been happening in her life lately.

Jann:  I know you published several short stories before your first novel was published—A Glimpse of Forever. Do you remember what it was like to receive the phone call from the publisher?

Linda: Heaven! I’d been writing for a while and was hoping to eventually get a novel published. I loved time travel romance, and that’s what I’d written. And to learn it was actually going to be published? Wow!

Jann: Your career has blossomed. Forty-five plus novels later that include mysteries, romance, romantic suspense and paranormal romance. One thing they all have in common is animals. Is there a reason your books always include animals?

Linda: I include animals as much as possible because I love them, especially dogs. I’ve had dogs most of my life, and my favorites are Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. But to include any kind of dogs or other animals in my stories is really important to me. It’s fun that my new mystery Bear Witness, my first Alaska Untamed mystery, is about Stacie Calder, a naturalist who gives tours in Alaska and points out all sorts of fun wildlife to tourists.

And by the way, Bear Witness and Guardian K-9 On Call, which you mention in the next question, are my 56th and 57th traditionally published novels!

Jann: In August 2021 Harlequin Romantic Suspense published Her Undercover Refuge, the first book in your Shelter of Secrets series. Guardian K-9 on Call, Book Two released on April 26th. What obstacles did you set for your main characters, K-9 Police Officer Maisie Murran and veterinarian Kyle Kornel to overcome? Do they find their HEA?

Linda: In Guardian K-9 On Call, K-9 Police Officer Maisie Murran believes that Dr. Kyle Kornel, a veterinarian who works for the highly secret Chance Animal Shelter, is being framed for murder. Can she help clear him–or is her belief in him based unwisely on her attraction to him?

Kyle has argued with an owner of a local pet shop who is skirting the law regarding which dogs can be sold in the store. When she is found murdered, he becomes the primary suspect.  And then there are the dogs in question, who need to be saved.

While doing their respective jobs, Maisie and Kyle work together in all aspects of the case. Closely together. And… well, it is a Harlequin Romantic Suspense book, so I’ll let you guess whether they achieve their HEA!

Jann: Will there be a book 3 in this series?

Linda: Yes, there are likely to be at least three more.

Jann: I see you have another mystery series—Alaska Untamed Mystery. Congratulations!!!  The books will be published under your first pseudonym, Lark O. Jensen. What inspired you to create this new series?

Linda: Thank you!

I was on an Alaskan cruise a few years ago, before Covid, and had a particularly enjoyable time on a tour boat on the waters outside Juneau. The people who were actually providing the tour were wonderful, and my writer’s mind, always active, started wondering what it would be like to have a mystery series set in a similar situation. I even started asking some of the boat personnel questions. But no, we didn’t find any bodies onboard or otherwise.

Jann: How did you come up with the name Lark O. Jensen?

 Linda: I was asked to take on a pseudonym, though it was fine to let the world know it was me. I pondered all sorts of names, some nothing like my own, but decided to choose something that was at least somewhat familiar. And Lark O. Jensen has at least some similarities to Linda O. Johnston.

Jann: May 10th, Bear Witness, the first book in the series made its debut. Who is the main character and what challenges will this character have to face?

 Linda: Stacie Calder is a born naturalist who has come to Alaska because of the wonderful wildlife there. During the seasons where the weather will allow it, she gives tours on a tour boat in the waters off Juneau, and she brings here wonderful husky Sasha along. She has to put up with some somewhat nasty passengers who come along to research what happens on the boat because they want to start competing companies. One day, one of them disappears—and Sasha’s wonderful sense of smell discovers his body the next day on the shore of an inlet they visited. The authorities determine he was murdered, and Stacie has to get involved with figuring out who the killer is because some of her favorite people, including the captain of her boat, and even herself, are considered suspects.

Jann: You have several other mystery series including Barkery & Biscuits and the Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter Mysteries. What’s happening with them?

 Linda: At the moment, nothing is happening with the Barkery & Biscuits or Superstition Mysteries. But the Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter Mysteries are available in e-book form, and the spinoff Pet Rescue Mysteries will soon be available as audio books.

Jann: Do you find yourself returning to certain themes in your stories? What? Why?

Linda: As mentioned before, I like to include animals, particularly dogs. They speak to me, and not only in barks! I consider people who enjoy pets more likeable and think my readers may, too.

Jann: What kind of writer are you? A page a day or a burst writer?

Linda: It varies these days. I mostly write five pages or more a day when I’m in writing mode, which tends to be most of the time—or at least whenever possible. But I’m always thinking and planning and making notes.

Jann: In your books, who is your favorite character and why?

Linda: I love all my protagonists, or I wouldn’t write about them. I really like my new mystery protagonist, Stacie Calder, because of her love of wildlife and willingness to devote her life to studying and teaching people about them. I sometimes wish I could go visit her in Alaska and take one of her tours!

But perhaps my favorite is Kendra, of my Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter Mysteries. Kendra is a lawyer who lives in the Hollywood Hills with her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Lexie. At the time I wrote the Kendra stories, I was a practicing lawyer, and one of my Cavaliers was named Lexie—and I live in the Hollywood Hills. I’ve never run into dead bodies and had to solve murders, though—except those I write about.

Jann: Do you ever run out of ideas? If so, how did you get past that?

Linda: Never! I’m always thinking and plotting.

Linda, it’s been fun looking back at your career and seeing what it’s like now. Congratulations and good luck on the new series, Alaska Untamed Mystery!! Looking forward to reading another fabulous mystery series.

Author bio
Author bio
Jann Ryan grew up with the smell of orange blossoms in Orange County in sunny Southern California, where she has lived her entire life and dreamed up stories since she was a young girl. Never an avid reader, she was in her thirties when she picked up her first romance quite by accident. She fell in love with happily ever after and has been reading romances ever since. Wanting to put pen to paper, Jann joined Romance Writers of America. Currently, she is working on a romantic suspense series set in Stellar Bay, a fictitious town along the California central coast to fulfill her publishing dream.
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    Jann Ryan grew up with the smell of orange blossoms in Orange County in sunny Southern California, where she has lived her entire life and dreamed up stories since she was a young girl. Never an avid reader, she was in her thirties when she picked up her first romance quite by accident. She fell in love with happily ever after and has been reading romances ever since. Wanting to put pen to paper, Jann joined Romance Writers of America. Currently, she is working on a romantic suspense series set in Stellar Bay, a fictitious town along the California central coast to fulfill her publishing dream.
  • Great interview, Linda. Enjoyed hearing more about you. Your dedication of ability to write so many books keeps me in awe! And I like that you are always thinking and plotting!

  • Kathleen Harrington says:

    Alaska Untamed Mystery sounds like a great series! And Linda is such an accomplished author! What a great interview!

  • Hey, Linda. I can’t wait to read Bear Witness. And I hope to visit Alaska in “just” 15 months!.

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