Unseen Motives, by Joan Hall

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.

Get your copy right here.

Joan Hall

Author of Suspense, Mystery, and Mainstream Fiction

Connect with me on:


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.

Joan Hall




Filed under Writing

57 responses to “Unseen Motives, by Joan Hall

  1. Reblogged this on Welcome to the World of Suzanne Burke. and commented:
    Take a look at “Unseen Motives” And some of the intricate weaving of plot ideas, by Author Joan Hall! Great post, folks.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Great post, I have reblogged it with pleasure.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I love when real events combine with fiction and I love fiction which takes the time to incorporate events (weather, social situations, news) so that it sounds more real.
    I have never witnessed anything strange or mysterious (not that I remember), but I’m always intrigued by mystery. As a scientist I always try to approach matters in a rations way, but some times the line is blurred.
    Grat post Joan! Can’t wait for the deleted scene!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Love a ghost story! (And especially a RL one.) This sounds so intriguing…

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Ghost stories are always fun to read and I’m really curious how the two ideas match up. Curious to know what’s in the water in the first picture.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. harmonykentonline

    Ooh, now I’m soooo intrigued, Joan, and am delighted that I bought Unseen Motives the other day!! Can’t wait to uncover this mystery 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Now I really want to read this 🙂 Your story of the man and his dog reminds me of my BFF from high school and the night she saw her grandfather. He’d just died that night–somewhere else. Spooky, but for her comforting in a way. I might have to use that in a story… Good luck on the tour!

    Liked by 3 people

  8. I love the way you used the inspiration from events in real life to create fiction. Unseen Motives is a great read, and it’s fun learning how it came to be. Your story of the man on his porch gave me goosebumps!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Pingback: Visiting the Playground with C. S. Boyack #StoryEmpireRoadshow | From the Pen of Mae Clair

  10. Craig, Joan, great post.

    Joan, I’m with Mae. Your man-with-dog story gives me chills. I love that these events made their ways into your novel in some fashion.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Fascinating that you saw a ghost – I’ve always been a believer – and love that you combined those two events in your book. They’d definitely get the plot bunnies busy.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. carmens007

    Oh, ghosts are my favorite, both reading and writing. IO do believe in them and in rebirth. So your book is more than tempting. And the real life elements you added- I mean the Ninia episode- lends the story more real life feeling. Best of luck Joan! ( And an off topic thing – tell your co-worker that things here started getting bad. They want to push us east again. His family will know what I mean.)

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Oooo liking this one. 🙂
    sherry @ fundinmental

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Fascinating, Joan! I love how you took a real event and incorporated it into your story. Thanks for sharing, Craig.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Sounds good, Joan. Thanks, Craig

    Liked by 2 people

  16. I AM intrigued. Sold 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Pingback: Do You Remember When ~ Mae Clair – Joan Hall (Blog)

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