Today we sit down for a chat with cozy mystery author Jackie Layton. Learn more about Jackie and her books at her website.
When did you realize you wanted to write novels?
I always dreamed of writing, but it didn’t seem possible or practical. When my youngest son was about to graduate from high school, it occurred to me if I didn’t try writing, I’d regret it.
How long did it take you to realize your dream of publication?
It took about ten years. That probably seems like a long time, but at the beginning of my journey, I was working full time and had family commitments. It took a lot of juggling, and my family was supportive, and at last the dream came true.
Are you traditionally published, indie published, or a hybrid author?
I’m traditionally published.
Where do you write?
A few years ago, we moved to South Carolina. We converted a porch to an office for me. Like I said earlier, my husband has always been supportive of my dreams.
Is silence golden, or do you need music to write by? What kind?
I have a playlist with Michael Buble, Brett Eldredge, Craig Morgan, The Fifth Dimension, John Legend, Trisha Yearwood, Reba, Stevie Wonder, Thomas Rhett, and many more.
How much of your plots and characters are drawn from real life? From your life in particular?
The setting, Heyward Beach, is a combination of my favorite beaches. In Caught and Collared, the victim is a podcaster. I couple years ago, I began listening to crime podcasts and I began to wonder…what if?
Describe your process for naming your character?
I look up names that are age appropriate, and I try to choose names that are popular in the region. In South Carolina, it’s popular to be called by your first and middle name. My main character is Andi Grace, and her sister is Lacey Jane.
Real settings or fictional towns?
What’s the quirkiest quirk one of your characters has?
Marc Williams was raised in foster care. The best family he had was an older couple. Marc’s in his early thirties, but some of his expressions sound like a much older man.
What’s your quirkiest quirk?
I became a sports fan when I had sons. Now that we’re empty nesters, I still watch ballgames on TV and cheer and clap. I attended the University of Georgia, so in football season I ALWAYS cheer for the Georgia Bulldogs. I was raised in Kentucky, and my husband and oldest son graduated from the University of Kentucky, so I cheer for the Kentucky Wildcats during basketball season.
If you could have written any book (one that someone else has already written,) which one would it be? Why?
Truth Be Told by Hank Phillippi Ryan is a fabulous story with twists and turns.
Everyone at some point wishes for a do-over. What’s yours?
I wish I’d been brave enough sooner and tried my hand at writing.
What’s your biggest pet peeve?
Poor customer service.
You’re stranded on a deserted island. What are your three must-haves?
I assume there’s no wifi. I’d want my Bible, my journal, and I guess I’d need a pen.
What was the worst job you’ve ever held?
One summer I was a candy striper and worked in the hospital’s physical therapy department. Burn patients had treatment in whirlpool baths. Afterward, I had to clean the tubs and all the dead skin was on it.
What’s the best book you’ve ever read? Ever?
As a child I read The Best-Loved Doll. It was the first love story I ever read. I begged my mother to check it out of the library every chance we had. She finally found and bought a copy for me.
Ocean or mountains?
Ocean! I live five minutes from the nearest beach.
City girl/guy or country girl/guy?
What’s on the horizon for you?
I’m contracted to write two more books in A Low Country Dog Walker Mystery Series. I also have contracts for a series set in Texas and one set in Georgia.
Anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself and/or your books?
I try to bravely face challenges, and I want the heroines in my stories to be brave and kind. As a pharmacist, I connect with people in my community. One of the best things about writing is connecting with readers all over the world.
Thanks for having me on your blog today. It’s been fun connecting with you and your readers.
Caught and Collared
A Low Country Dog Walker Mystery, Book 4
When a scavenger hunt turns up a dead body, dog walker Andi Grace Scott will have to make a dogged effort to collar the culprit . . .
Setting out for a day of fun on her town’s first-ever scavenger hunt, Low Country dog walker Andi Grace Scott is dismayed to find an unattended dog wandering the streets—but that’s nothing compared to the shock she gets when she finds a dead man floating in the swimming pool of the dog’s owner. What’s more, she’d seen the very same man having a very public altercation with his wife just the night before. Despite being warned off the case by the local sheriff, Andi Grace can’t help nosing around to find out who’s behind the foul deed.
It turns out the victim was a well-known radio personality who focused on cold-case investigations and was rumored to be breaking a huge story on his next show. As Andi Grace digs deeper to learn who may have wanted him dead, she’s faced with a suspect list that includes a cold-hearted widow who stands to inherit a bundle, a local country star with family demons to hide, and any number of unknown criminals who may have been the focus of the victim’s big reveal. Whether the motive was love gone bad, a career under duress, or a killer’s deadly secret, Andi Grace knows she’ll have to act fast before she becomes the next cold case herself .