A Conversation with Author BJ Magnani

IR– What inspired the idea for your book?

BJM– I was asked to write an educational and entertaining series for a scientific journal about a toxicologist who uses poison to assassinate terrorists as a way of ‘teaching’ chemists about toxins and poisons—that was the birth of Dr. Lily Robinson.

IR– Tell us about a favorite character from the book.

BJM– With respect to my series, I enjoy Dr. John Chi Leigh, an ever-changing, ever-surprising chemist. As the series continues, the reader learns more about this intriguing man. And you may wonder, whose side is he on?

IR– What comes first for you — the plot or the characters?

BJM– In my case, the characters came first. Since I was asked to create an assassin, Dr. Lily Robinson became the flawed heroine of my short stories and the first three novels in the series. Now, there is an entire cast of characters (friends, colleagues, and enemies) tossed about in stories that take the reader around the world.

IR– What do you look for in a story as a reader?

BJM– I look for engaging characters—someone to root for and someone to despise. And if I enjoy reading a book, I want the story to continue (The Lord of the Rings; the Harry Potter series.) That’s what I love about a series. You learn and grow with the characters

IR– Who is your audience?

BJM– The audience for my books love’s learning about science and medicine with their fiction and is intrigued with geopolitical events that plague the world. They are also invested in relationships—mothers and daughters, passionate lovers, and loyal colleagues.

IR– What has been your favorite reader feedback? 

BJM– I love it when readers tell me they experienced strong emotions while reading the story—they cried, felt angry or terrified, or didn’t want the story to end. I enjoy talking about the novel and the characters and what we (author and reader) think might happen in the next book.

IR– How do you interact with your readers?

BJM– Frankly, it’s been a huge advantage to have Zoom book club events. This has allowed me to connect with people from around the country. So if you have a book club and want to dial in an author from Boston, please contact me. 

IR– What is your all-time favorite author?

BJM– I enjoy medical and science thrillers and was influenced by physician writers such as Arthur Conan Doyle, Michael Crichton, and Robin Cook.

IR– What is the first book that you remember reading?

BJM– I loved reading as a child, particularly horse or animal stories (The Black Stallion—Walter Farley, A Filly for Joan—CW Anderson, The Incredible Journey—Sheila Burnford) and mystery, adventure books (Nancy Drew, Trixie Beldon, Tom Swift) and books by Jules Verne and Arthur Conan Doyle.

IR– What advice would you give to a writer working on their first book?

BJM– I had no idea what the process entailed when I wrote my first novel. Become educated about what publishing a novel involves through courses and networking, and don’t give up. It’s a long road.

IR– What are you working on in the near future?

BJM– I’m working on book 4 in the Dr. Lily Robinson series, and I just finished writing a romance novel!

IR– What are your favorite books?

BJM– I think of books that I’ve read more than once: The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Jurassic Park (or anything by Michael Crichton), the Harry Potter series. 

IR– What is your author spirit animal?

BJM– It would be a horse since I grew up with horses and became an accomplished equestrian at a very early age


IR– What would the title of your autobiography be?

BJM– The Queen of All Poisons

IR– What would your dream library look like?

BJM– I would love a massive library with all my medical books, travel books, field guides, and fiction books (mystery, fantasy, adventure, romance.)

IR– If you had a secret room that opened by pulling a book on a shelf, what book would you choose?

BJM– A Treatise on Poisons by Robert Christison (1829)

IR– If you went on a road trip with any author, dead or alive, who would it be, and where would you go?

BJM– I think I would ask JRR Tolkien (The Lord of the Rings) to take me to Middle-earth.

IR– If you knew you could not fail, what would you do?

BJM– Travel back in time. Imagine being able to talk to historians and authors in their own time. What a trip!

A Message in Poison by BJ Magnani Banner

A Message in Poison
by BJ Magnani
May 9 – June 3, 2022
Virtual Book Tour


Sparks fly as Dr. Lily Robinson-the brilliant academic pathologist and covert assassin for the U.S. Government-investigates two seemingly unrelated deaths alongside her lover, Agent Jean Paul Marchand, and D.C. Medical Examiner Dr. Logan Pelletier.
A Message in Poison by BJ Magnani

A U.S. Senator and the president of a developing nation are found dead in their beds. As governments thousands of miles apart react to the fallout and begin their investigations, no one claims responsibility, and no motives are clear. Yet, the cause of death implies a link between the two—one that only a mind versed in poisons and politics can decipher. With her personal relationships teetering on the brink and her loved ones facing foreign threats, Lily must unravel the mystery and uncover a plot more calculating than anyone could imagine—but it may be too late.

A Message in Poison, the third part of the Art of Secret Poisoning trilogy (The Queen of All Poisons and The Power of Poison), continues with twists and turns as Dr. Lily Robinson travels the globe, stares down death, and finds herself at “another crossroad, another choice between life real or imagined…”

The fast-paced action juxtaposes nicely with the personal dilemmas Lily faces as she uncovers a new plot that forces her to reconsider her talents and place in the world.
~ D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

Book Details:

Genre: Medical Mystery / Thriller
Published by: Encircle Publications
Publication Date: April 20th 2022
Number of Pages: 278
ISBN: 1645993256 (ISBN13: 9781645993254)
Series: A Dr. Lily Robinson Novel, The Art of Secret Poisoning Part 3
Book Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

I’ve done some terrible things in my life. Big lies splash in my wake and follow me until the water creeps into my lungs. I’ve murdered many people who deserved to die. I take the phrase ‘pick your poison’ literally. My arsenal of natural toxins and poisons hidden deep within a freezer provide enough variety to mimic natural death. The cool salt air at my seaside cottage coaxes plants in my poisonous garden to yield the natural killers that I need. And I have collaborators around the world who can provide for me what my garden cannot.

Yes, it’s true that I’ve spent much of my life taking care of patients as a physician and taught a generation of medical students. But it was this very expertise in toxicology that captured the attention of our government. They seduced me and then orchestrated a transformation from consultant to assassin. Some say it’s my jewel-green eyes, raven-colored hair, and even my stiletto heels that tend to disarm my victims. They are blinded to the truth. With eyes closed to the Hippocratic Oath, I travel the world, eliminating terrorists and traitors with poison, stealth in a bottle, in the name of preventing mass destruction on a global scale. Our small covert counter-terrorism team weeds out threats at home and abroad—sanctioned killing, the price of doing business. I’m told that ‘the good of the many outweighs the good of the one.’ It’s become my guiding mantra, allowing me to rationalize this dual existence.

I hide my secret life beneath the cloak of justice, and I’ve discovered that others do too. So I ask you if you’re sure you know the truth about those around you. This last year of my life has been fraught with revelations that I didn’t see coming. For more than twenty years, I thought my baby, my little girl, had died in the Colombian jungle. Not only did I learn that she’s alive, but I discovered that she’s attending the same medical school where I have my academic appointment—a life-changing disclosure. I tremble when I think that we may have brushed by each other not only at the university, but in my fleeting past. I look back and see momentary images of familiarity etched in my mind. Was my beautiful Rose right in front of me while I wore blinders of guilt and despair?

JP, my lover, and partner in our covert government band, grasps my turmoil. Desperate to soothe my soul, he promises that life’s twists and turns can only make us more resilient and resolute. Facing the wind, my body stands tall and hard like a tree firmly rooted in the ground. Having no support on its own, a vine uses its tendrils to clutch to the broad trunk. My stories are like this vine, ever climbing, ever strangling—a complicated life that requires both brilliance and strength.


Excerpt from A Message in Poison by BJ Magnani. Copyright 2022 by BJ Magnani. Reproduced with permission from BJ Magnani. All rights reserved.


Author Bio:

BJ Magnani

BJ Magnani (Barbarajean Magnani, PhD, MD, FCAP) is the author of the Dr. Lily Robinson novels: The Queen of All Poisons (Encircle Publications, 2019), The Power of Poison (Encircle Publications, 2021), and A Message In Poison (Encircle Publications, 2022.) Lily Robinson and the Art of Secret Poisoning (nVision Publishing, 2011) is the original collection of short stories featuring the brilliant, yet deadly, doctor. Dr. Magnani is internationally recognized for her expertise in clinical chemistry and toxicology, has been named a “Top Doctor” in Boston magazine, and was named one of the Top 100 Most Influential Laboratory Medicine Professionals in the World by The Pathologist. She is Professor of Anatomic and Clinical Pathology (and Professor of Medicine) at Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, and the former Chair of both the College of American Pathologists (CAP) Toxicology Committee and the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Tufts Medical Center.

Follow BJ Magnani on:
BookBub – @bjmagnani
Twitter – @bjmagnani
Facebook – @bjmagnaniauthor

Join us for an InstaParty at #bjmagnani!!

Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!

05/09 Guest post @ The Mystery of Writing
05/11 Interview @ Nesies Place
05/12 Showcase @ Books, Ramblings, and Tea
05/13 Review @ Novels Alive
05/17 Interview @ Quiet Fury Books
05/18 Showcase @ The Authors Harbor
05/20 Review @ Waterside Kennels Mysteries
05/21 Showcase @ Silvers Reviews
05/23 Review @ Melissa As Blog
05/24 Showcase @ Celticladys Reviews
05/25 Review @ Pat Fayo Reviews
05/26 Guest post @ The Book Divas Reads
06/01 Review @ Sharon Beyond The Books
06/02 Interview @ I Read What You Write
06/03 Review @ Nesies Place




  1. Great interview. This sounds like a very interesting book.
    I am a huge fan of Robin Cook, BTW! Have read most of his books.
    I love medical mysteries and medical dramas, so I would probably love your book!


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