Joan Hall on Small Town Secrets #StoryEmpireRoadshow

Today, during the Story Empire roadshow, I’m delighted to welcome Joan Hall to my blog. She and I have a similar love for mysteries and small town settings. Don’t miss out on meeting some of the characters who populate the small town in her book Unseen Motives. Take a look . . .

Small Towns Have Secrets

Hi everyone. I want to thank Mae for hosting me on this second stop of the Story Empire Roadshow. Yesterday I gave you a brief view of the fictitious town of Driscoll Lake. It’s a growing bedroom community, but still small enough that many residents know one another.

vintage photo of a bookmobile with crowd gathered around it

Many people prefer to live in small towns where the crime rates are low and life takes on a slower pace. Bud even small towns have secrets and Driscoll Lake is no exception. I probably should say some people in the town have secrets.

Stephanie Harris is my protagonist in Unseen Motives. She comes back to town for the first time in twenty years for a funeral and soon learns someone doesn’t want her to stay. She receives a “welcoming” note the day she arrives and two others. Someone follows her home one night in an attempt to frighten her, and then she receives a threatening phone call.

Instead of allowing these things to scare her away, Stephanie is determined to learn more about the circumstances surrounding her father’s death.

Stephanie doesn’t know who to trust. Even her high school crush Matt Bradford first acted as if he doesn’t want her around. Their initial meeting was less than friendly and Stephanie learns he was in her aunt’s house only hours before she found the first note.

Brian Nichols is another former classmate. Once the town renegade, Stephanie was convinced he would be in prison by now. When she saw him shortly after her arrival, she was surprised to learn he became a successful building contractor. He acts friendly, but when she wants to question his mother (who was once her father’s secretary) Brian is hesitant to allow it. He tells Stephanie its best to leave the past alone.

Kyle Lawrence, a local newspaper reporter, is eager to help. But Stephanie learns from his wife Christine that Kyle has an obsession about her father’s crime. He was only sixteen when the events happened. Why would he have such an intense interest? Does he have something to hide?

Rachel Jackson is the daughter of Madelyn Cameron Denton, the woman Stephanie’s father murdered. While Rachel accepts the police investigation of her mother’s death, she doesn’t want the past revisited. However, Stephanie can’t imagine Rachel being behind the threats. Rachel isn’t that kind of person.

Then there is the unknown man who makes certain he’s aware of Stephanie’s activities. When he isn’t watching himself, he has people within the town to spy upon her. He can’t afford the truth to come out—to do so would destroy everything he’d worked hard to achieve.

As you can see even people in small towns have their secrets. And small towns aren’t exempt from crime. Murder, suicide, embezzlement. Who would have imagined something like this would have happened in Driscoll Lake?

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

Unseen Motives is on sale this week for .99
Click here for the purchase link.

And be sure to check out tomorrow’s tour stop where I’ll be talking with Matt Bradford, Driscoll Lake’s handsome police chief.

At the end of the week, I’ll select two random winners for $10.00 Amazon gift cards. To enter, leave a comment below. What do you think about these characters? Can you tell which ones have unseen motives?

joan hall, author bio box

Connect with Joan:
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Amazon  |  GoodreadsGoogle+  | Pinterest 

Continue to follow the Story Empire Roadshow at these
blogs for more giveaways, prizes and fun!

Staci Troilo | C. S. Boyack | Harmony Kent | Joan Hall | P. H. Solomon

The Monday Buzz from Story Empire 3-20-17

old world type map with script writing laid over top and words Story Empire set off as a bold headerNot only is it Monday and the start of a new work week, but it’s the first day of spring. Although it doesn’t look or feel spring-like in my corner of the world, I’m hoping mild temperatures return soon, bringing the flora and fauna that go with them.

In the meantime there is always the Monday Buzz from Story Empire to distract me.

And speaking of distractions, SEer Joan Hall has a great post today about blocking them when you’re trying to write. This one was an eye-opener for me. Hop over and check it out!

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