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Wednesday, June 23, 2021

An Interview With Jackie Layton

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?

I have a fifteen-year-old Westie, and some friends joke about how well 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? 


Andi Grace loves her siblings too much to ever feel resentment. It was her choice, and she doesn’t regret the sacrifices she made.

 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? 


Ha ha, twists and turns for sure. At the first writing conference I attended, a speaker said it normally takes a person ten years to get published. That was a real eye-opener, and it was true. It took me about ten years of writing and learning before I signed with my agent, Dawn Dowdle. I will always appreciate how much she’s done for me.

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.


Yes. Andi Grace and Marc’s relationship continues to grow, and she’ll expand her business. She has no intention of solving another murder until, well, until she finds another dead body. There will be some new characters in the fourth book along with the regulars. The fourth book is scheduled to release in February 2022.

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




Annette said...

Hi, Jackie! Welcome to Writers Who Kill!

Margaret S. Hamilton said...

Congratulations on your books and new series. Dogwalkers tend to discover more bodies than any other group, don't they?

Jackie Layton said...

Thanks, Annette! Margaret, I agree about dogwalkers finding more bodies. Maybe because they get around a lot and are looking down to keep the dogs safe.

It's good to see you all here! Thanks for commenting!

KM Rockwood said...

Sounds like some good additions to my summer reading collection.

Grace Topping said...

Thanks, Jackie, for joining us at WWK. I look forward to hearing more about your new series.

Kait said...

Congratulations on your latest book. Andi Grace sounds like my kind of girl. Looking forward to your Texas books. Nothing better than German baking. Hope s/he’s not the first victim!

Jackie Layton said...

Thanks, KM. I hope you enjoy it!

Hi Kait, it sounds like I may need to check my recipes with you. Every Christmas my mother and I used to bake German cookies.

Shari Randall said...

Hi Jackie! Congratulations on your new series. It made me think of those gorgeous David Austin roses, which are grown in the UK and I believe, Texas. Thank you for visiting WWK!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your series! I love dogs (and roses), so look forward to reading.

M. E. Bakos

Molly MacRae said...

Congratulations on all your success!

Debra H. Goldstein said...

Congrats on all that is coming your series and pure fun. Enjoy!!!!!!

Marilyn Levinson said...

A fun interview. Congratulations on your new series, Jackie!

Jackie Layton said...

Hi Shari, I'll have to check out the David Austin roses. M.E. thanks for your kind words! Molly, thanks so much! Debra, I'm so excited about starting a second series even though I still love Andi Grace and the people of Heyward Beach. Thanks so much, Marilyn!

I have had so much fun hanging out with you all today! Thanks for having me at WWK!