by Grace Topping
It’s always a pleasure to hear good news about an author’s career. Jackie Layton joins us today at Writers Who Kill to talk about her Low Country Dog Walker Mystery Series and to share some exciting news.
Welcome back, Jackie, to Writers Who Kill.
In your Low Country Dog Walker Mystery series, Andi Grace has her own dog walking business. What inspired you to have a character care for dogs? Do you own or have experience caring for animals?
we treat him. I took a lot of time trying to find a fun job for Andi Grace that would also give her time to solve mysteries.
I read mysteries very carefully looking for clues, hoping to identify the villain by the end. In Bite the Dust, you had me fooled. Do you know who the villain will be in your story before you start a book?
Yes. I have a loose plot when I begin writing a story.
The story arc for your series includes Andi Grace’s family history and relationships. Did you plot the arc before you started the series?
I knew Andi Grace needed to grow in each book, but I wasn’t sure of specific details. I have another family surprise for my readers in the fourth book.
Family is very important to Andi Grace, especially since she had to assume responsibility for her younger brother and sisters when she was only eighteen. Now, years later, does she feel any resentment having to forego her plans for college and her independence?
In Dog-Gone Dead, Andi Grace has to work to clear her brother of murder. Does she still feel a need to protect her siblings? Do they resent her “mother hen” manner?
Nate, Andi Grace’s brother, doesn’t always appreciate her mothering. Andi Grace will slowly learn through the series to treat them like her siblings and not her children.
You’ve set your series in the South Carolina low country. What does this setting contribute the most to your books?
The weather and beach play a big role. People in the low country spend more time outside all year long, both in real life and in the books. The more time you spend together, the stronger the friendships.
Tell us about your journey to publication? Did you have a smooth journey, or was it filled with lots of twists and turns?
What mystery writers have inspired you the most?
Should we start with Carolyn Keene? I was hooked on Nancy Drew. Diane Mott Davidson was one of the first mystery authors I consistently looked for. I’ve read all of Hank Phillippi Ryan’s books and met her at Malice Domestic in 2019. She was kind and gracious.
Has your career as a pharmacist given you some ideas for committing undetectable crimes? If so, are you tempted to use any of them in your books?
I’m playing around with an idea for an undetectable crime using poison, but I don’t want to give too much away.
I understand you have a new cozy series coming out. Can you tell us about that?
Thanks for asking. The new series is set in a small Texas town. The main character is a flower farmer who discovers a dead body while delivering flowers to a local business. There are a variety of characters in this series including a retired TV star, a German baker, a veteran barista, three elderly sisters who know everybody’s business, and many more characters.
What’s next for Andi Grace? I hope we’ll see more mysteries featuring her and her family.
Grace, thank you so much for hosting me today. It’s been so much fun!
Thank you, Jackie. I look forward to the new series.
You can learn more about Jackie Layton and her books at www.jackielaytoncozyauthor.com