Jo Robertson

A clandestine government organization called Invictus "recruits" outstanding athletes for secret projects. But their top agent Jackson Holt has extraordinary, almost preternatural, qualities not even the Organization can explain.
Olivia Gant, professor of Ancient Studies at a private college in California, was once Jack's childhood sweetheart. But when he deserted her, he left her alone to combat her stepfather's drunken attentions and her mother's careless neglect.
Nearly twenty years later, their paths cross in a mission to fight a bizarre religious serial killer whose methods include crucifixion and burial alive. Olivia and Jack battle for happiness against years of secrecy and distance as they use Olivia's expertise in Latin and Jack's special gifts to track a brutal killer.
Can Olivia forgive Jack for his long-ago betrayal? Can Jack allow Olivia to witness the terrible Change that makes him such an effective killing machine?
Forensic psychiatrist Kate Myers believes the killer of two teenage girls in Bigler County, California, is the same man who savagely murdered her twin sister over fifteen years ago. Working with a single-minded tenacity, she sets out to prove it.
Deputy Sheriff Ben Slater hides his personal pain behind the job, but Kate's arrival in his county knocks his world on its axis. He wants to believe her wild theory, but the idea of a serial killer with the kind of pathology she proposes is too bizarre.
Together they work to find a killer whose roots began in a small town in Bigler County, but whose violence spread across the nation. A Janus-like killer, more monster than man, he fixates on Kate and wants nothing more than to kill the "purple-eyed girl again."
DONNELL: Big city or small town girl?
JO: I'm a small-town girl at heart who has to be near a big city! I want theatre, libraries, a university or two or three, and lots of shopping venues. I hate crowds and traffic, but want at my fingertips all the amenities that go with a big city.
DONNELL: Morning or nighttime person?
JO: Ironically, I'm both if I set my internal clock. The year I finished my California teaching credential, I stayed up until two in the morning and got up at six pretty much every day. Of course, I have a marvelous husband who took over all those pesky chores like grocery shopping and kid tending. I usually wake up pretty cheerful in the morning so I don't mind rising early, but if I stay up past 10:00 at night, I'm pretty much up all night. I get a second wind or something.
DONNELL: Which of your characters would you like to invite to dinner? Which of your characters would you least likely invite to dinner?
JO: Oh, this has to be Slater, the hero of "The Watcher" who also plays a secondary character in the second book in the trilogy "The Avenger." The word I apply to Slater is "steady." My friends claim that I've modeled him after my husband, but Slater has a painful past that makes him wary of people and an excellent sheriff.
I'd never invite one of my villains to dinner. They're too chilling even for me LOL.
DONNELL: Panster or Plotter?
JO: Total panster, which I'm afraid is often synonymous with "clueless" or "disorganized," but for me it's about initially having the scaffolding of the story in my head (hero, heroine, villain, conflict) and discovering the details as I write. Sometimes I don't know what's going to happen until my fingers touch the keyboard. Sometimes I'm surprised and a bit shocked by what I find out!
DONNELL: Do you read reviews of your books?
JO: I do. I think reviews are a good indicator of whether you're reaching your target audience or not. You can learn as much from a bad review as from a good one. What didn't work for that reader, for example, and is that a valid criticism. It's delightful when a reviewer homes in on what you consider are the strengths and weaknesses of your book. It's kind of a "I knew that" epiphany.
DONNELL: Introvert or Extravert?
JO: I'm a total extrovert. Sometimes my family wishes I were more demure. As an extrovert, I get energized by sharing ideas with other people. When I taught English and was department chair, I realized the importance of the synergy generated by bouncing thoughts off people you respect.
DONNELL: What’s in your refrigerator right now?
JO: Not much as I don't cook. All right, maybe once or twice a week. Honestly, I love cooking, and especially baking, but who has the time?! But there's always milk, cheese and eggs in my refrigerator. And ALWAYS Pepsis in my mini-fridge!
DONNELL: You’re on a raft in the middle of the ocean. You’re out of water and sharks are circling your craft. Who do you want with you?
JO: I have to say my husband on this one because he's so clever and innovative. I'm sure he'd figure out a way to get us out of the situation!
DONNELL: What turns you on? Then reverse this question, what turns you off?
JO: A man in a suit. Can anyone say Matt Bomer?
Nasty odors. I have a strong sense of smell and a whiff of something bad is gaggy!
DONNELL: What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing?
JO: I've finally been able to achieve the last big dream I had for myself. LOL, I tell my husband I'm ready to go now. I was graduated from college, married and reared a family (although several have come home to roost), and taught high school (a life-long dream). The only thing left was sharing my writing with an audience. My journey through indie publishing has been far more successful than I could've hoped, and I'm grateful to all those readers who's expressed interest in my books.
And now a question for your readers, Donnell:
If you could undo a single act or decision you've made, what is/was it and why? Or, conversely, what opportunity presented itself to you that you passed over and now wish you hadn't?
Donnell, thanks so much for having me! Today for two random commenters, I'm giving away an electronic download of one of my books, either "The Watcher" or "The Avenger."
Jo Robertson, a former high school English teacher, lives in northern California, near the beautiful Sierra Nevada foothills. She enjoys reading, scrapbooking, and discussing the latest in books, movies, and television shows. Any "spare" time she has is spent enjoying her seven children and sixteen grandchildren, who bring a great deal of joy to her life.

When her Advanced Placement English students challenged her to quit talking about writing and "just do it," she wrote her first completed manuscript, "The Watcher," which won the 2006 Golden Heart Award for romantic suspense.
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  1. Hi Jo,
    So nice to see you here. If I had the chance I would have chosen to go away for college instead of attending a school close to home. I think I would experienced so much more by being away from home.

  2. Hi Jo,

    Both The Avenger and The Watcher blurbs sound like both novels are page turners! And congrats on your indie success!

    I try not to spend much time looking back. Most everyone has a few regrets as well as missed opportunities. I think it is best to try to learn from both and push on!

  3. Jo, I love the idea of your Ancient Studies professor in The Avenger. Yes, studying Latin is important.

    As for looking back, my mother always says, "Remember what happened to Lot's wife!"

  4. Jo, I love that your students were the ones who encouraged you to Just Do It! Congratulations on your publishing success.

    Strangely, I wish I studied more in high school and then college. I was an above-average student without studying in high school, and had such a hard time in college because I never learned study skills.

  5. Hi, everyone! I'm a bit late getting up this morning, but glad to see all you early risers.

    Thanks so much for having me at GLIAS, Donnell! I love your site.

  6. Oh, Jane, I so identify with you. I grew up in Virginia and was only 17 when I was graduated from high school. My parents wanted me to go to William and Mary or another local college. I wanted to go clear across the country, but of course, it was very expensive.

    So, I worked for the federal government for over a year, saved my money, and got my wish! Luckily, that's where I met my husband 4 years later!

  7. Thanks, Gillian! Good philosophy. Dwelling on the past (especially mistakes) can keep you locked there, refusing to go on with life.

  8. Hi, Jane. Smart mom you've got there. Wasn't it that Lot's wife looked back with regret and longing for the wickedness in Sodom?

    But definitely looking back with longing for something you can't change is counterproductive. We have to learn from our mistakes and move on.

  9. Ah, Abigail, me too. High school came so easily and I got a scholarship to college, but when I got there -- big university -- I was overwhelmed by the large classes and the freedom. I got a 2.4 average and lost my scholarship the first year. I do regret that.

  10. Trying to post. Darn Blogger, Jo, I'm so glad to see you here! Welcome to Get Lost in a Story! ~ Donnell

  11. Welcome Jo, your books sound fabulous, edge of your seat reads. I will have to start looking for them. Thanks for sharing them with us today.

  12. LOL, Donnell, blogger gives me fits too! That's one of the reasons we Romance Bandits switched to WordPress. It's a bit easier to negotiate.

  13. Thanks, Virginia. I appreciate the compliment. If you have an ereader and you want to get one of my books, be sure to order the download. It's only $2.99! I want my readers not to pay the trade paperback price LOL!

  14. Abigail, I meant to say that having my AP students prod me about my writing was really an eye-opener. Here I was teaching them expository writing to pass the AP Lit test, and I wasn't stretching my own writing muscles!

  15. Jo, I don't see that anyone is answering your question about what thing would they do differently. I have to say this is an esoteric question, but I think in country songs and this brings to mind the Forester Sisters lovely song, I'd Choose You Again. Really great song and full of wisdom. If God gave me the chance to do it all again, I'd carefully consider all points then out of all the boys in the world, I'd choose you again. (Don't tell my hubby) I like to keep him off balance. :) ~ Donnell still anonymous

  16. Hi Jo!
    I have to say I really try to live without regrets and don't have many, or at least anything major that I would change. Hmm so I would say perhaps have learned to drive earlier than I did :)

    I'm like you, I'm a small-time girl at heart but do appreciate the convenience of a mid-size city.

  17. At what age did you learn to drive, Na?

    I was 18, way older than my friends, but I blame it on the fact that back then you had to be able to parallel park and I was deadly awful at it!

  18. Donnell, I want to thank you and your fellow bloggers for having me today. It's nearly 11:00 pm on the east coast, so I imagine ya'll are setting off for bed.

    Delightful dreams and wonderful writing!

  19. Jo, Avery Flynn just commented on Facebook that she was reading The Watcher, her husband jiggled the knob and scared the crap out of her. I *think* that means you've gained a new fan because she just tweeted about it. Word of mouth is the best advertisement ever, don't you agree? I'm in Colorado so bedtime's not quite here. But as always it's a pleasure! ~ Donnell

  20. Hi Jo!
    Sorry to be late for the party.

    For those who have yet to read Jo's books, you are in for a special treat! They are fast-paced and exciting with some of the creepiest villains ever. ;-) (Yes, being Jo's critique partner has definite perks!)

    I admire you for going to the big university instead of staying close to home. I always wanted to go to USC, but was afraid of the costs and living in SoCal on my own. I always regretted that I didn't do that.

    I also regret that I didn't get serious about my writing a whole lot sooner. But then, I might not have snagged YOU as a wonderful critique partner, so I don't really want to change that decision.


  21. Hi, Cindy! Thanks for the compliments. I have the same regret as you that I didn't start getting serious about my writing until about 5 years ago. So much wasted time LOL!

    Thanks for stopping by

  22. Thanks for passing that information along, Donnell. I'm always thrilled when my books give readers a, well, thrill LOL!

    Now why did I think you lived in the Outer Banks?

    Yes, gotta love the retweet button!