As a longtime beach and pet lover, I’m so delighted to welcome cozy mystery author Jackie Layton to my blog today. Below are Jackie’s responses to my interview questions, followed by her bio and contact/buy links.
First off, congratulations on the release of your fourth book, Caught and Collared, in your Low Country Dog Walker Mystery Series set on the coast of South Carolina. Can you tell us about your new release and the series as a whole?
The series is set in the fictional town of Heyward Beach, South Carolina. Andi Grace Scott grew up in the area and begins to solve murder mysteries the day she discovers her mentor and client dead. Her parents had been killed by a hit-and-run driver, and the authorities never caught the driver. At the time, Andi Grace was eighteen and trying to find a way to keep her younger siblings with her. She was denied justice for her parents, but she’s older now and will fight to get justice for her mentor.
I love that your amateur sleuth is a dog walker who lives in an idyllic fictional beach town! What led you to choose your protagonist’s occupation and the setting for your novels?
I wanted an occupation that would give Andi Grace freedom to look for clues and question suspects, and I love dogs. I also love the beach and created Heyward Beach for the setting.
Is your protagonist, Andi Grace, inspired by yourself? Or anyone you know?
I’m not as brave as Andi Grace, but we both love our families, the beach and pets.
You’ve chosen to write a series rather than stand-alone novels. Readers love returning again and again to characters they love and have grown attached to. But what are the special challenges of writing a series?
The biggest challenge is keeping all the facts straight. I often refer back to the notes from previous books, and I also have secret Pinterest boards.
I read that although you’d always wanted to write, you didn’t begin writing seriously until your youngest child was in high school. What steps did you take to teach yourself how to write such well received cozy mysteries?
I joined groups like ACFW, Sisters in Crime, and Mystery Writers of America. I’ve taken a lot of online classes through these groups. I’ve also made good connections with others.
Do you consider yourself a pantser, a plotter, or somewhere in-between?
I’m somewhere in-between. I start with a loose plot, but along the way I’ll change things if I think it’ll make for a better story. Once I wrote a detailed outline of a story, thinking it’d help me write the story quickly. Instead, I was bored.
Are there particular authors whose work inspires you?
Yes. Diane Mott Davidson, Hank Phillippi Ryan, Brandilyn Collins, and Jenn McKinlay are just a few of the authors who inspire me.
You are also a pharmacist and a community volunteer with a family. How do you manage to fit in writing time?
I used to get up very early and write before work. I work part-time now at a pharmacy, and I’m able to work on my days off. I still find mornings to be my most productive time.
What’s next for you writing-wise? What are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on the fifth book of this series. I also have signed contracts to write a series set in Texas and another series set in Georgia. I’m feeling very blessed!
What would you like to add, or wish I’d asked that I didn’t?
If any aspiring authors are reading this, I’d like to encourage them not to give up. Join Sisters in Crime or another writing group or find a way to connect with other authors. We know the struggles and joys you’ll face, and we will cheer for you to succeed.
Thanks so much for visiting today, Jackie!
Former Kentuckian Jackie Layton loves her new life in the Low Country. She enjoys time on the beach, despite one vacation that ended with cracked ribs from riding her boogie board with the kids and another trip that ended with a fish hook in her foot and a trip to the emergency room. There’s nothing like time at the beach, although she tends to be a bit more cautious these days. Jackie is the author of four Low Country Dog Walker Mysteries, including Bite the Dust, Dog-Gone Dead, Bag of Bones, and Caught and Collared.
Google Play: https://bit.ly/3tHIWo8
Apple iBooks: https://apple.co/3qH04Iz
Barnes & Noble: https://bit.ly/3FHrceW