Hey, gang, this is Joan’s first visit to Entertaining Stories. She’s one of the members of Story Empire and we’re all out on tour this week. Please make her feel welcome by clicking on those sharing buttons and checking out her wares. If you leave a comment, you might even win one of the prizes.
La Niña (And Another Real-Life Event)
Hello everyone! The Story Empire Roadshow is rolling on. I want to thank Craig for hosting me on this fourth stop. Today I’m going to talk a bit about the weather phenomenon, La Niña.
You may wonder how or why La Niña relates to a piece of fiction. But in my novel Unseen Motives, the La Niña episode of mid-2010 to early 2011 influenced weather worldwide. In Texas, and other surrounding states, the year 2011 was one of the hottest and driest on record.
Summer began early and stayed late. Rainfall stopped in early spring and by late July grass was like dry powder. Officials issued outdoor burning bans (people couldn’t even use charcoal grills) and numerous wildfires broke out all over the state.
Lakes, rivers, and ponds dropped to record low water levels—many dried up completely. And those once deep waters revealed clues to some long time mysteries. Eight years after the space shuttle Columbia exploded over Texas, someone found a significant part in Lake Nacogdoches.
Closer to home, people found unusual and unexpected things in their stock ponds. Upon reading one such story, the idea came to me to have a character find a long-buried secret in a small pond. (I won’t tell you what this character found, but suffice to say it contained a significant clue to a long unsolved mystery.)
Although five years passed between that severe drought and the publication of Unseen Motives, I decided to set the story during the drought of 2011.
There are other aspects in the book based on real-life events. One of which is something that happened to me when I was seventeen—the time I saw a ghost.
Well, maybe it wasn’t a ghost, but I don’t know of any other explanation. When you see a man walk out of the shadows, step onto his porch, bend down to pet his dog, and walk inside his house it has to be real. The dog even acknowledged his presence.
A couple of hours later, I learned this man was taken by ambulance from his home (I saw the ambulance leave, but couldn’t see who they placed inside. The man had died. My mother also saw him, so I know I wasn’t dreaming. So what did I see?
I decided to have a character who suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder see a man whom some people believed was dead. Because this character had experienced hallucinations, she keeps silent, but does record the event in her journal. She was afraid if she told, no one would believe her. The last thing she wanted was for someone to place her back in a mental hospital.
Unseen Motives is a work of fiction. But as a writer, I took the liberty of incorporating these two real life events into the story. Intrigued yet?
Things aren’t always as 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.
Author of Suspense, Mystery, and Mainstream Fiction
On tomorrow’s tour stop, I’ll feature a deleted scene of the book. And at the end of the tour, I’m giving away a $10.00 Amazon gift card. Leave a comment to be entered in the random drawing. I’d love to know if you’ve seen anything that can’t be easily explained.