Inside the Book:
Title: The Book of Barkley
Author: L.B. Johnson
Publisher: Outskirts Press
2015 Reader's Favorite International Book Award - Silver Winner.
Gripping Memoir, Hailed "An Instant Classic" by Critics, Shares Journey of Love & Life through the Inspirational Eyes of Man's Best Friend... Crafted from the heart and experiences of L.B. Johnson, 'The Book of Barkley: Love and Life Through the Eyes of a Labrador Retriever' takes readers from the author's depths of grief and personal despair to an empowering new life chock-full of love. But Johnson's radical life change didn't come from finding God or attending a cookie-cutter support group, but instead from a black Labrador called Barkley who taught her the real, innate meaning of love. In a wholly-unique and uplifting new memoir, Johnson tells the deeply-personal story of her life and experiences with a rambunctious Labrador Retriever named Barkley. It's not just a story of one woman and her dog; but a bold journey to discover what love really is, and why learning to live like a dog gives humanity a powerful new meaning.
The InterviewWelcome to The Writer's Life, L.B. Johnson. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?
I was adopted by a retired Air Force Officer and his wife and raised out West in the late 60’s. I spent quite a number or years as a pilot myself before going back to graduate school to complete my doctorate in a criminal justice related field. I was ready to hang up my wings to solve a bigger mystery than what kind of meat was in our crew meal sandwich. My writing evolved from a lifetime of journals to magazine articles and books in the last two years.
Can you please tell us about your book and why you wrote it?
I wrote The Book of Barkley – Love and Life Through the Eyes of a Labrador Retriever after losing my only brother and my beloved dog within a few weeks of each other, both to sudden, aggressive cancers. It was written as both a memoir and a eulogy to them both, although the book ends shortly before my brother passes. The book chronicles my life and an early heartbreak that changed how I looked at others and the world, until I brought a little black bundle of fur in my life. As a single world traveler and a successful pilot I thought how hard can raising a little black lab puppy be? I was in for a surprise. With Barkley, though numerous hilarious adventures and times of somber reflection, paths that not only healed me but brought me to my husband, I learned to look at the world as my dog did, finding a powerful humanity in that.
What were some of the biggest challenges you faced writing it?
I wrote it immediately following the death of my brother. We were adopted together and were extremely close. Writing of our childhood, the first pets we had, and how he stayed a part of my life through so many things, brought forth quite a few tears.
Do you have a press kit and what do you include in it? Does this press kit appear online and, if so, can you provide a link to where we can see it?
I do not maintain a formal press kit. I maintain an author website with professional reviews, information on the books and updates on future books.
Have you either spoken to groups of people about your book or appeared on radio or TV? What are your upcoming plans for doing so?
The Book of Barkley recently won Silver in Non Fiction (pets) in the Readers Favorite International Book Award and through that event, held in Miami in November of 2015, I have been able to talk to a number of other authors who were also recognized. I also donate 100% of the sales proceeds of my books to Animal Rescue non-profits and have spoken at a number of fundraisers, for which I provide autographed books at no cost to them, for auction items. I have no plans at present to speak on radio or TV.
Do you have an agent and, if so, would you mind sharing who he/she is? If not, have you ever had an agent or do you even feel it’s necessary to have one?
I do not have an agent, but in hindsight, I feel that it’s important. The Book of Barkley, as well as my second book, both were #1 in sales in genre at Amazon and have been critically acclaimed, but that was through almost full time marketing efforts on my part. An agent would have been an even better asset for all that marketing entails, especially for a new author. I plan on using one for my next book, planned for late 2016.
Did you, your agent or publisher prepare a media blitz before the book came out and would you like to tell us about it?
My publisher prepared a detailed press release that was sent out prior to the initial publication.
Do you plan subsequent books?
My second book, Saving Grace – A Story of Adoption was published a few months after The Book of Barkley. A third book is in progress and I anticipate publication in mid 2016. After two books in a year, and being a newlywed, I’m taking a little bit of a break to spend more time with my husband.
Thank you for your interview, L.B. Johnson. Would you like to tell my readers where they can find you on the web and how everyone can buy your book?
http://lbjohnsonauthor.blogspot.com/ The book is available online at Barnes and Noble and through Amazon at: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1478734345
Meet the Author
A former commercial pilot, LB Johnson grew up out West where she later received a doctorate in a Criminal Justice related field in order to pursue a career in federal service after hanging up her wings. She lives in Chicago with her husband and rescue dog Abby. Mrs. Johnson is active in animal rescue and donates 100% of her writing proceeds to animal rescue organizations across the United States as well as Search Dog Foundation.
Her books include the #1 Amazon Best Sellers "The Book of Barkley" and "Saving Grace - a Story of Adoption". She also has been awarded the Readers Favorite International Silver Book Award for Excellence in Writing.
Check out writing updates and news at her author's webpage http://lbjohnsonauthor.blogspot.com/