Joan Livingston returns to the blog to talk about her second book in the Isabel Long Mystery Series,  Redneck’s Revenge. Welcome back, Joan!

Author Name: Joan Livingston

Book Title: Redneck’s Revenge 

Genre: Mystery

Release Date: September 26, 2018

Publisher: Crooked Cat Books

Please share with us what your latest book is about.

A man’ death — his daughter’s plea. Isabel Long has found her next case.

How did you come up with the idea for Redneck’s Revenge?

Redneck’s Revenge is the second in my Isabel Long mystery series. The first is Chasing the Case. When I decided to try my hand at writing a mystery, I knew three things: a woman would be an amateur sleuth; the setting would be the sticks of Western Massachusetts; and her first case would be related to her former career as a journalist.  

I wanted Isabel to be what the French call une femme d’un certain age. She’s been a widow for a year and has an adult romance in the middle of solving a case. Isabel also has an unusual ‘Watson” — her 92-year-old mother who came to live with her.

One of the characters from the first book, a woman who I would describe as being rough around the edges, turns her onto her next case. The woman’s cousin hires Isabel — for free mechanical service on her car — to find out how her father died. The story is that he was passed out drunk when his house caught on fire. She thinks he was murdered.

This case takes Isabel to a tough part of the country — think biker bars, junkyards, and some pretty hard men and women.

So how did I come up with the idea? Without sounding like a nut, I sat at my computer and the ideas just came to me.

How do you feel you’ve grown or changed as a writer from your first published title to your latest?

Having been a journalist for over 30 years, I had to learn how to write long, which was really hard for me at first. My chapters tend to be on the short side, but readers have told me they like that. I also refrain from long descriptions. I try to give the reader an idea without boring them with detail.

Then, there was learning to “show” not “tell.” The only time readers know what my characters are thinking is if I write in first person.

With each book, I learn something new whether it’s writing a mystery, a bilingual book for children, magical realism for middle-grade readers etc. That’s exciting.

If you were speaking to someone who hasn’t read your writing before, why should they want to read Redneck’s Revenge?

I create great characters. They become very real to me and to my readers. (One of the reasons I am happy to have a series is that I get to keep writing about them.)

Funny, I wondered whether a book set in a rural area in the US would appeal to people who didn’t live there. I am so pleased when readers in Europe and Australia — and fellow authors — tell me how the story resonates with them.

What’s one piece of advice you would offer a writer who feels discouraged?

One thing I learned is that there is writing, and then there is the business of writing. I believe many writers are discouraged by the second part. I say if you love writing, keep doing it. I have had two agents — fired them both — and received countless rejections from publishers and agents. But I kept writing. I still have eight books that I haven’t published. Some day I will.

Where can readers find you (website, blog, social media, etc.)?

Links for Chasing the Case and Redneck’s Revenge

Social Media

Thank you, Joan! Redneck’s Revenge is out TOMORROW. Pre-order now!


Joan Livingston is the author of novels for adult and young readers. Redneck’s Revenge, published by Crooked Cat Books, is the second in the mystery series featuring Isabel Long, a longtime journalist who becomes an amateur P.I. The first is Chasing the Case.

An award-winning journalist, she started as a reporter covering the hilltowns of Western Massachusetts. She was an editor, columnist, and most recently the managing editor of The Taos News, which won numerous state and national awards during her tenure.

After eleven years in Northern New Mexico, she returned to rural Western Massachusetts, which is the setting of much of her adult fiction, including the Isabel Long series.


Her next case. She’s in it for good.

Isabel Long is in a funk months after solving her first case. Her relationship with the Rooster Bar’s owner is over, but no surprise there since his sister turned out to be the killer. Then cops say she must work for a licensed P.I. before working solo.

Encouraged by her Watson — her 92-year-old mother  — Isabel snaps out of it by hooking up with a P.I. and finding a new case.

The official ruling is Chet Waters, an ornery so-and-so, was passed out when his house caught fire. His daughter, who inherited the junkyard, believes he was murdered. Topping the list of suspects are dangerous drug-dealing brothers, a rival junkyard owner, and an ex-husband.

Could the man’s death simply be a case of redneck’s revenge? Isabel is about to find out.