I can’t tell you all how happy I am to be hosting today’s guest. We’ve been friends for years and have had stories published in the same anthologies, but I don’t think we’ve ever released novels so close to each other before. Today, let’s celebrate Joan Hall’s latest release, Unknown Reasons, and welcome her back to the site.
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.
As you can see, someone is lighting fires in Driscoll Lake. However, I got the idea for this post title when listening to The Doors’ 1967 hit by the same name.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a music fan. I began listening to my brothers 45s (yes, I’m that old!) before I could read the labels. Although I like a variety of music, Classic Rock is my favorite. It would be a toss-up to say whether my favorite pastime is listening to music or reading.
But as much as I love music, I always wanted the room quiet while I wrote. That is, until I wrote Unknown Reasons. The main character, Brian Nichols, is not only a business owner, he’s a part-time musician who plays drums with a local band.
As I wrote the story, I began thinking of songs that match specific scenes. I was about a third of the way through the first draft when I created a playlist for the book on Spotify. It’s an eclectic mix, including songs by Queen, The Eagles, Nicolette Larson, Kiss, and Carly Simon to name a few. Listening to music helped when I needed a little added inspiration.
Some of the songs I mention by name in the book, such as “Waiting for a Girl Like You.” I hint at Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game” without naming the title. Other songs such as “I Was Made for Loving You” by Kiss or Crowded House’s “Don’t Dream It’s Over” aren’t mentioned, but they fit a particular scene or event.
When I wrote the last line of the last chapter, I concluded the playlist with Carly Simon’s “That’s the Way I’ve Always Heard it Should Be.” Oh, and the song that inspired the title of this post? “Light My Fire” isn’t included, but I will say that Brian and Rachel light a few fires of their own.
Joan Hall likes to create character-driven fiction with strong, determined female leads and male characters that are sometimes a bit mysterious. 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.
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