Playing with Fire #SomethingWickedTour @JoanHallWrites @storyempire

Welcome friends! Pull up a computer, tablet, or phone, and sit a spell as Story Empire’s Something Wicked Blog Tour continues. You can find the complete tour schedule here. My guest today is Joan Hall, who shares a very scary and very human kind of wickedness . . .


Mae, thanks for hosting me today for this second day of the Something Wicked Tour. It’s a pleasure to be here and interact with your readers.


Hey everyone. More often than not, the greatest evil we face isn’t with the paranormal or encounters with aliens. Real people often commit serious crimes—among them are espionage, murder, kidnapping, and arson.

During a six-month period in 1992-1993, a series of arsons occurred in Seattle, Washington, and the surrounding area. Before a task force identified a suspect, over 107 fires occurred. Three people died as a result of a fire in a retirement home.

Paul Kenneth Keller was arrested and charged with the crime. His father identified him from a composite drawing and criminal profile. Keller had a fascination with fires from an early age. After his arrest, he admitted to setting seventy-six fires and is currently serving a ninety-nine-year prison term.

Does a serial arsonist sound like the basis for a novel? That’s what I did with Unknown Reasons, a romantic suspense novel and the second in my Driscoll Lake Series. The arsonist targeted houses, businesses, and a nursing home.

The common factor? My main character, Brian Nichols, has a connection with each place. He’s trying to build his business while overcoming his past. He’s also in the middle of a new romance.

But someone is intent on destroying him. What’s worse, he becomes a prime suspect.

Excerpt: 
He stepped out of the shadows, leaving the cloak of darkness, and crept toward the abandoned factory. His pulse quickened with excitement as he neared the building. On the other hand, it could be nerves. A solitary streetlight illuminated his path for several feet between the fence and an abandoned boxcar.

But there was little to worry about. It was Friday night, and many of Driscoll Lake’s residents would be at the football game.

It was hard to remember a time when fire didn’t captivate him. He learned how to start a flame without the benefit of matches or a lighter and delighted in holding a magnifying glass in a position where the sun reflected on dry leaves, causing them to smolder.

Fire was essential. People used it for cooking. It gave off warmth and provided a source of light.

One small spark could quickly develop into a roaring flame. And a roaring flame was powerful. It could destroy. Even kill.

Book cover for Unknown Reasons by Joan Hall shows sun reflected in lake, golden water, ghost profile of man's face superimposed over wanterBlurb:

If you can’t stand the heat…

Rachel Jackson hails from one of Driscoll Lake’s wealthiest families. Like her father, she became a doctor and is now a respected physician. But despite her successful career, Rachel feels something is missing from her life—until she crosses paths with Brian Nichols.

The son of a hard-working mother and alcoholic father, Brian acted out when he was young, earning a reputation as a troublemaker. As an adult, he’s worked hard to clean up his act and now owns a burgeoning construction company.

Rachel and Brian form an unlikely friendship which begins to blossom into something more. But a series of structure fires—determined to be arson—puts Brian in the hot seat. The properties are all associated with his work, making him the prime suspect. Toss in his juvenile history, and he finds himself the focus of a tenacious investigator. Even Rachel starts to have doubts.

Brian struggles to save his relationship, his company, and his reputation. But unless the real arsonist is caught before striking again, everything Brian holds dear may go up in smoke.

Universal Purchase Link

Connect with Joan:
Website | Blog | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | BookBub

This is another great read you’re going to want to grab. I’ve read this entire series, and enjoyed it immensely, especially the small town setting and characters who feel like neighbors and friends.

Today, you can find me haunting Staci Troilo’s blog with a look at Home Circles. Sounds pretty un-spooky, right?  Well, they’re likely not what you think. Find out here and say hello!

Welcome Joan Hall with Unseen Motives #RRBC Author

Hand writing a letter with a goose featherHappy Thursday, blogging friends! Today, I am delighted to welcome fellow Story Empire member and Rave Reviews Book Club author, Joan Hall. This is the first time Joan has been featured on my blog, so I hope you’ll give her a warm welcome. She has a new release (which I’ve read and highly recommend) and also took the time to answer a few questions for an interview. So, let’s get down to chatting with Joan…

Thanks for visiting today, Joan. I have a number of probing questions for you. 🙂Let’s start with plotters and pansters. I think even plotters often veer from their outline during the writing process. When you finish a novel, how closely would you say the end product resembles your original concept — 100%? 50%? Something else entirely? 

I call myself a “planster.” I have a general idea of how I want the story to go and end, but doing a detailed outline would take the fun of writing away. Unseen Motives ended as I planned, but as I began writing, it took some unexpected turns. I planned for it to be a stand-alone novel, but ideas for two other books came as I began to write. I would have to say the finished novel is 75% in line with my original idea.

Isn’t it wonderful how those other books crop up and start whispering “series?” In the case of Unseen Motives, I’m happy to see where the next books in the series take you, as I’m a big fan of mysteries. What is it that attracts you most to that genre?

I’ve always been fascinated with unsolved mysteries and intrigued with the idea of being a private detective. Of course, I want to solve the mystery!

I can relate to all of those! How did you choose your title?

I wrote this with the working title Willow Lake, and later changed the name of the town to Driscoll Lake. I played around with titles such as Hidden Intentions or Ulterior Motives, but there are countless books with those titles. I used a thesaurus and came up with Unseen Motives along with titles for books two and three, Unknown Reasons and Unclear Purposes. 

Excellent choices! Without giving too much away, tell us a bit about your favorite scene. 

A scene near the end (where the mystery is solved) was probably one of the most exciting ones to write, but there is a scene with Stephanie (the protagonist) and Matt (who becomes her love interest). He confesses something about his background and why he feels guilt over the death of his wife.

Both Stephanie and Matt were wonderful characters. When you’re not writing, what else do you do? Do you have any guilty pleasures (fave foods, TV shows, silly distractions) you’d like to share? 

Living in Texas, I’d have to say Mexican food is my favorite. I’m not much of a TV person, but I love MASH reruns. I own all eleven seasons on DVD and often watch a show before going to sleep at night. Sometimes to take a short break from writing, I’ll play solitaire online

I remember having incredible Mexican food during a visit to Arizona. I love it too, but it’s not as authentic in the east. 🙂 Oh, and MASH. That was a fabulous show!  How about pets? Pets and writers seem to go together like peas in a pod. What can you tell us about yours?

I love animals and have three pets – an outside dog named Maggie and two cats, Tucker and Little Bit. Tucker is the inspiration for the cat Whiskers in Unseen Motives. Little Bit is a black tailless Manx and I featured him in a story I wrote for a Halloween Anthology. What’s Halloween without a black cat? Both cats tend to “hover” when I’m writing and Little Bit often climbs in my lap. They just don’t understand that Momma is working! 

LOL! I wrote a book review for Amazon last week and before I could click “submit,” my cat, Raven, walked across my keyboard and erased the whole thing! I had to redo it from scratch. Cats just don’t care what’s going on when they want attention.

Okay, a few quick questions:

Dream vacation gifted to you by a fairy godmother: A trip to the Australian Outback.

Favorite season: Autumn

Favorite type of music: Classic rock, especially music of the sixties and seventies.

Favorite musical group or singer: I’ve been a Beatles fan since I was six years old. A big highlight was being able to see Ringo Starr in concert a couple of years ago.

Casual or dressy: Casual. I could live in blue jeans.

Mountains or beach: Mountains. I love to get away from the Texas heat and humidity!

I bet it was great seeing Ringo in concert. I feel in love with the Beatles as a tween and plastered my bedroom walls with photos of Paul McCartney. I think he was one of my first crushes. 

Thanks for visiting with me today Joan. Before you leave, please share the blurb for your newest release.

Book cover for Unseen Motives by Joan Hall features close-up of a window surrounded by brick and vines

UNSEEN MOTIVES

Things aren’t always what they seem…

Stephanie Harris is no stranger to mystery and suspense. The author of several best-selling thrillers returns to her hometown of Driscoll Lake twenty years after her father’s suicide when her great-aunt Helen dies.

She hopes to settle Helen’s affairs as quickly as possible and leave behind the place where she suffered so much heartache. Soon after her arrival, Stephanie stumbles upon information that leads her to believe that all is not as it seems.

When she digs deeper into secrets long buried, she begins to receive warning notes and mysterious phone calls. The threats soon escalate into deliberate attempts to harm her. Stephanie soon finds herself caught in a web of deceit and danger.

Who doesn’t want her to stay? And why? What are they afraid she’ll learn?

Undaunted, Stephanie searches for clues about the scandal surrounding her father’s death. But discovering the truth places her in the path of a cold-blooded killer.

Purchase Unseen Motives Here

Author Joan Hall in a casual pose outdoors with trees in backgroundAUTHOR BIO
Joan Hall has always enjoyed a good story. Some of her earliest memories are of her mother telling stories of family history and folklore. Joan developed a love of reading, frequented the school library, and spent countless hours immersed within the pages of books.

At age ten, she realized she wanted to become a writer and began to scribble stories on pieces of paper. At age seventeen, she wrote a short novel and started writing another one. After high school, she set aside her desire to become an author for several years. However, the passion for writing never left her.

Joan likes to create character-driven fiction with strong, determined female leads and male characters that are somewhat of an enigma. Her favorite genre is mystery and suspense—often with a touch of romance.

When she’s not writing, Joan likes to take nature walks, explore old cemeteries, and visit America’s National Parks and historical sites. She and her husband live in Texas with their two cats and a dog.

Connect with Joan at the following haunts:
Website
Blog
Twitter
(@JoanHallWrites)
Facebook
Goodreads
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See all of Joan’s books here