Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Andrea J. Johnson's "Poetic Justice"

Andrea J. Johnson is the Acquisitions Editor of the RIZE Imprint at Running Wild Press. But when she isn’t helping new authors achieve their dreams, she specializes in writing cozy mysteries that warm the soul and puzzle the mind. She’s also a contributor for the women’s lifestyle website Popsugar and a columnist for the genre fiction magazine LitReactor, but it’s her experiences as a former court reporter that fuel her ability to turn real-life headlines into captivating novels.

Her new series, the Victoria Justice Mysteries, asks the question: What if the trial’s stenographer—not the police, judge, or jury—solves the case and saves the day? Readers will find that the first installment, Poetic Justice, raises the stakes on such a dilemma when Victoria finds herself in the middle of a drug case where a missing bag of cocaine leads to the judge’s murder.

Here, Johnson dreamcasts an adaptation of Poetic Justice:
The original inspiration for this book came from the 2006 reality TV series Who Wants to Be a Superhero? presented by Stan Lee. The show’s premise asked contestants to create characters who could become comic book heroes—and in my mind, what better hero than a court stenographer who seeks to undo a bad verdict through vigilante justice? However, I wasn’t a writer back then, so the idea got shelved until a couple years ago when I found myself bingeing holiday movies. Whereupon, I realized my premise had to have heart and humor in order to succeed—otherwise, I’d simply have someone running around breaking the law and that wouldn’t entertain for long. (See Bruce Willis in the Death Wish remake to unpack the thematic trouble of such an unruly hero.)

So as you peruse this cast list, imagine instead a Hallmark movie with a little edge, a lot of love, and a plucky heroine determined to restore justice at all costs.

Victoria Justice (protagonist) – Yara Shahidi from Grownish. Fans should be mindful that I deliberately made my main character twenty-five so she’d have room to grow over the course of the series. Shahidi is a little younger, but fits the look and the essence of Victoria as a girl figuring out her identity in a world set on squashing her dreams.

Jillian Gailbraith – Annie Potts from Pretty in Pink. Like most Gen Xers, I love this movie! Jillian plays the same best friend comic relief role to Victoria that Potts does for Ringwald’s Andie.

Corporal Ashton North – Eric Dane from Grey’s Anatomy. This character becomes Victoria’s sleuthing partner (and as the series progresses, love interest), so I always picture someone hot but smart.

Judge Frederica Wannamaker – Viola Davis from How to Get Away with Murder. The show’s meme of Davis rolling her eyes as she picks up her briefcase is the distillation of this character. My vision of Frederica is a bit older, but the gravitas Frederica brings into Victoria’s life (until all heck breaks loose) is the foundation of what Davis offers as an actress, so this casting was a no brainer.
Visit Andrea J. Johnson's website.

--Marshal Zeringue