#GuestDayTuesday – #JoanHall – #Menagerie

Time for another #GuestDayTuesday, and it’s my great pleasure to have author Joan Hall visiting with us today. I know you’ll enjoy her thoughts on Music and Writing, so let’s get right to it. Take it away, Joan! 😀

Music and Writing

Hi Marcia. It’s a pleasure to be here today. I want to thank you for sharing your blog space and allowing me to connect with your readers. Although I’ve been a guest before, I’ll start by telling people a little about me.

From the age of ten, I knew I wanted to be a writer. I would scribble stories on pieces of paper. I’ve always loved wildlife and nature, so writing little vignettes about animals. Around the time I entered high school, I dabbled in poetry, then wrote my first “novel” on notebook paper when I was seventeen.

After graduation, I got busy with life and set aside writing, but the desire never left me. It wasn’t until late 2007 that I decided to do something about it and began taking online writing classes. Another few years passed before I published my first book, a novella titled The Stranger. To date, I’ve published seven books and have stories included in four anthologies. My most recent release is Menagerie. It’s a collection of thirteen mystery, suspense, and contemporary short stories.

Other than writing, music has always been a big part of my life. My mother played a radio in my nursery when I was a baby, so maybe that played a big part shaping my love for music, particularly classic rock from the sixties and seventies.

My brother is twelve years older than me, and he had a collection of ‘45s and albums. While he was at school, I played his records all day long. Before I learned to read the labels, Mom would tell me what each record was, and I would set aside the ones I wanted to hear. I used this real-life event in “Hot August Night,” one of the stories in Menagerie.

In early 1964, I fell in love with four young men from Liverpool, England. For my sixth birthday, my brother gave me a ’45 of “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” Almost sixty years later, I’m still a Beatles fan.

I create playlists for all my books and often mention songs in my work. A song by the Eagles served as the inspiration for the opening chapter of Unclear Purposes, the third book of my Driscoll Lake series. I’d written the opening chapter and wasn’t happy with it. One day while listening to the radio, “Lyin’ Eyes” began to play. Immediately, I knew how I’d write the opening.

John Denver’s music is also inspiring. Years ago, I used to write a First Friday Fiction post on my blog. One year I wrote a series with a twenty-seven-year-old main character old who returned to his hometown and discovered a few things about himself. You guessed it. “Rocky Mountain High” was the inspiration.

Elements of another John Denver song can be found in “Lone Wolf,” another story in Menagerie. Those familiar with his music would recognize elements of “I Think I’d Rather Be a Cowboy.”

The first Legends of Madeira book is a dual-timeline story and was inspired by a song. “Long Black Veil” is a country ballad first recorded in 1959 by Lefty Frizzell. The version I like and am most familiar with is by The Band and was on their Music From Big Pink album. The idea that a person who was hanged for a crime he didn’t commit could sing about his lover visiting his grave always intrigued me. I changed things around a bit, but that’s how Cold Dark Night began.

Music is still inspiring me. The morning I wrote this post, a song by the Traveling Wilburys came to mind. I have a feeling “Heading For The Light” will find its way into a story or a playlist.

This is just a few of the songs that have inspired me. I hope to continue listening to music, being inspired, and writing stories for a long time.

You Can Buy Menagerie HERE


King’s. The Tower of London. Glass. What do these have in common?

Each is a famous menagerie.

While this Menagerie doesn’t focus on exotic animals, it does contain a collection of stories that explore various trials people face and how their reactions shape their worlds.

Survivors of a haunted bridge. Women who wait while their husbands fight a war. Former partners reuniting to solve a cold-case murder.

These are just three of the thirteen stories in this compendium, encompassing past and present, natural and supernatural, legend and reality. The genres and timelines are varied, but there’s a little something for everyone who enjoys reading about simpler times and small-town life.


Terrific Selection of Stories!

I don’t often read short story collections, but I’m very glad I decided to give this one a go. Each story was the perfect length to read in one sitting, and each captured (and held) my interest from start to finish.

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85 thoughts on “#GuestDayTuesday – #JoanHall – #Menagerie

  1. Hi, Marcia! I’m another who loved this eclectic mix of stories and it’s been fascinating to hear from where some of Joan’s inspiration comes. I really enjoyed your review, as well! ♥♥

    Liked by 4 people

  2. What a fabulous idea to have a playlist for each book!
    At the mention of the Tower of London I was hooked. Then there was white water rafting, another of my passions.
    This sounds like a fascinating collection of short stories, which will be wonderful to dip in and out of as I do like Robbie and scrabble up my own huge TBR pile!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Not sure if I’ve warranted any bravos of late, Gwen, except for hosting great friends and writers like Joan, perhaps, but I’m sure glad you enjoyed her post and her book as much as I did. Thanks so much for stopping by and taking a moment to let us know, and bravo right back to you, my friend! 😀 ❤


  3. Pingback: On The Road With Marcia Meara – Joan Hall

      • PS … sorry I was unable to respond to comments yesterday, but am catching up today. I think your post was a rousing success and you your love of music has made some of us think about new ways to use it either in our writing or to inspire our writing. Thanks so much for visiting, and hope you’ll come back many times in the future! 😀 ❤

        Liked by 1 person

    • True, Janet, and lyrics can be so very moving, as well. Having said that, books can go into a whole lot more layered detail with characters who become almost real to readers. It’s a good thing we have BOTH art forms to inspire and entertain us, isn’t it? I’m glad we don’t have to make a choice! 😀

      Thanks so much for stopping by and taking a moment to say hello! 😀 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  4. A big congratulations to Joan on the excellent review! I found her comments about songs’ inspiring her fiction fascinating. On another note, I’ve always had a problem with “Long, Back Veil.” She would rather let a man die than own up to having had an affair?

    Liked by 2 people

    • “Long, Black Veil” is the only song Joan mentioned that I wasn’t familiar with, but all the rest … oh, yeah! Music I well remember and still love, even if I haven’t pulled any specific inspiration from them in my own writing.

      I did do a hopefully amusing scene in my first book with a few misquoted lines from Dire Straits’ “Money For Nothing,” but that, and using song titles (which are legal to use) as my chapter titles in my Emissary series is as much as I’ve done with music in my books. I am very impressed with how Joan gleans inspiration and ideas from music she’s enjoyed throughout her life. (Well done, Joan!)

      Thanks for stopping by to say hello, Liz! Appreciate it! 😀 ❤

      Liked by 2 people

  5. What a great post! I share your love of music, and I smiled at the mention of The Traveling Wilburys, as most people have probably never heard of them. A good friend of mine played bass with them for a few years. Songs are a great source of story inspiration for me. Thank you for hosting this guest post, Marcia. Good stuff!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • My fellow music lover! The idea behind the Wilburys came about by accident, but what talent -George Harrison, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty, Geoff Lynn, and Bob Dylan. Now, I’m wanting to listen to some of their songs. Thanks for stopping by, Jan.


    • I thought Joan had written a great post, too, Jan! It was a treat to have her visit TWS, and I hope she’ll come back often. (BTW, I definitely remember The Traveling Wilburys, and Tom Petty was a special favorite of mine.)

      Thanks so much for stopping by today and taking a moment to let us know you enjoyed the post! 😀 ❤


  6. You and I are about the same age, Joan, and we have similar musical tastes. I remember loving the Beatles as a child, and belting out John Denver songs while tooling around the mountains in my jeep. I haven’t used music to inspire my writing though and was intrigued by how influential it is in your work. That’s very cool. Great to see you here at Marcia’s and congrats on her great review. Thanks for hosting, Marcia. ❤ Hugs to you both.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Pingback: Why The Home Became the Center os Our Lives by Traci Kenworth – A Dash of Words with Loleta Abi Romance Author

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