Interview with mystery author Joyce T. Strand

Today I have an
interview with novelist Joyce T. Strand. We’re chatting about her new mystery, The Reporter’s Story.

During her virtual book
tour, Joyce will be having 3 giveaways:
Prize: Kindle Fire 7” WiFi 8GB Black plus e-book or paperback copy of The
Reporters Story
Prize: $25 Amazon gift card and e-book or paperback copy of The Reporters
Prize: e-book or paperback copy of The Reporters Story
To be entered for a chance
to win one of the prizes, use the form


Joyce T. Strand is the author of who-done-it contemporary and historical
mysteries set in California. All of her published six novels are inspired by
actual events and/or real people, although they are definitely fictionalized.
Her first three contemporary mysteries feature protagonist Jillian
Hillcrest, a public relations executive who encounters murder and mayhem at her
Silicon Valley company. Jillian’s boss, Brynn Bancroft, solves the next two
mysteries when she leaves her position as Chief Financial Officer to run a
winery in Sonoma. 
In Strand’s first historical mystery, a Superior Court Judge strives to discover
the truth behind the mystery of a robbery-murder in a small California town in
1939. In her newest mystery, The Reporter’s
, a house burglary in 1912 San Francisco piques a young reporter’s
instincts that leads to intrigue and murder.
Strand headed corporate communications at several biotech and high-tech
companies in California’s Silicon Valley for more than 25 years. Unlike
Jillian, however, she did not encounter murder in her career. Strand lives with
her two cats and collection of cow statuary in Southern California, and enjoys
exploring and writing about the growing wine region in the Ramona Valley near San
Welcome, Joyce. Please tell us about your current
The Reporter’s Story is my second mystery set in the past to feature a
character who might be considered a minor hero. Emma Matheson is a reporter at
a San Francisco newspaper in 1912, whose life is based on a real-life reporter
of the times. She gets drawn into solving a mystery of a house burglary that
the owner denies happened. Her intense desire to become a world-class,
front-page reporter drives her to pursue the solution—leading to murder,
intrigue, and smuggling.
What inspired you to write this book?
First, I am a mystery
writer and love to create and solve a puzzle with interesting, amateur sleuths.
I have written five contemporary mysteries with two protagonists who get pulled
into the need to solve crimes in Silicon Valley and/or the Sonoma wine region
of California.
But, as a history buff, I
am also intrigued with how our predecessors might have lived. At the same time,
I’m enthralled with some of the minor “heroes” who don’t necessarily receive
broad recognition but who made a difference.
I decided that I wanted to
search for these “heroes” and write mysteries around their lives. My first one,
The Judge’s Story, featured a
California Superior Court Judge set in a small California town in 1939
In The Reporter’s Story, the protagonist, Emma Matheson, is based on a real-life reporter of the time, Marjorie
C. Driscoll, who originally worked for William Randolph Hearst and then in 1921
joined the San Francisco Chronicle, a
competitive newspaper to Mr. Hearst, and eventually at the Los Angeles Times where she became a respected front-page
contributor. A graduate of Stanford, Ms Driscoll wrote an article in The Stanford Illustrated Review in 1920,
titled “In the Newspaper Field” that describes the features of a successful
reporter, including the mantra “know a little of everything.” Emma’s reporting
values are drawn from this article.
Excerpt from The
Reporter’s Story:
Chapter 1
Emma Matheson entered the
police station. As a recently hired reporter for the Gazette daily newspaper in 1912 San Francisco, she had convinced
her editor to allow her to cover the frequent house burglaries as part of her
daily assignments. Emma was determined to make her mark and prove that females
were capable of reporting front-page news.
The desk sergeant had come
to look forward to Emma’s visits and considered it his responsibility to train
the young reporter in the ways of police work. The new mayor’s directive to
co-operate with the news media reinforced his inclination. He would often give
her tips on which burglaries to pursue.
“Ya might wanta see about
that one there on Clay Street. Bunch of jewelry and stuff stolen. Probably
worth—maybe $8,000. It would take me sixteen years to earn that much. Maid
reported it. Officer said she seemed jittery. She wasn’t sure of the amount but
said the missus would return today so there might be more to it. Burglar musta
know’d master and mistress of the house were gone.”
studied the report. “But the maid was there and she didn’t hear anything?”
what she said.”
makes you suspicious? Why do you think it’s worth a follow-up visit?”
He said, “Look at the
report. The maid called police. Then she gives a report to the officer who
responded. But when the butler comes into the room, he said that he wasn’t so
sure there’s a theft. He said to wait until the master or mistress return home
to know for sure.”
Emma continued reading the
report. “It says the maid claimed the house was ransacked. But the butler
wouldn’t let the officer check it out. That is kind of strange.” She looked up
from the report. “If I wanted to go there to talk to them, what’s the best
The sergeant studied the
address. “Ya probably want to grab the cable car up the hill. Then it’s mebbe a
two-block walk—where them new houses are—painted different colors.”
Break-ins happened
frequently in the city, but Emma had learned to listen to the veteran sergeant
and if his instincts suggested she should follow up, then she would.
What exciting story are you working on next?
I am working on the third
novel of my contemporary mystery featuring Brynn Bancroft, which I plan to
release in November 2016. Brynn is a spinoff character from my first three
novels. She leaves her position as the Chief Financial Officer of a Silicon
Valley biotech company to manage the winery that she and her ex-husband have
purchased in Sonoma. HILLTOP SUNSET was the first of the trio; and LANDSCAPE
FOR MURDER, the second. Both are standalone although the main characters are
the same.
Brynn just can’t seem to
avoid getting drawn into murder and crime, despite her best intentions of
marketing her killer cabernet and forgetting her abusive childhood.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
As a public relations
professional in the high-tech and biotech arenas for more than 25 years, I had
to write numerous white papers, publish by-lined articles, and draft press
releases. Writing took up at least 50% of my time.
However, I decided to
write fiction in 2009 when, for the first time in my career, I was unable to
find a new position and my late husband suggested I should write a book—since
that’s what I’d done for most of my life. I discovered quickly that fiction is
different than non-fiction. Nonetheless I knew the discipline of writing and
learned to turn a background paragraph into dialogue very quickly.
Including The Reporter’s Story, I have now written
and published seven mysteries. I would say that I became an author with the
publication of my first novel, On
Message: A Jillian Hillcrest Mystery.
Do you write full-time? If so, what’s your workday
like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to
I do write full-time, but
I also self-publish. When I’m writing my first draft, my day is dedicated to
drafting at least 3,000 words per day once I’ve plotted my story and done the
necessary research. Time dedicated to editing and re-writing the remaining 5 to
10 drafts is determined by my editors and proof-readers.
Once I’ve produced a final
draft, gotten it formatted and printed, I focus on the marketing process. And I
also start to plot my next book.
I confess that in the evenings
I enjoy watching TV. I also help out friends who might need some writing to
promote their business. And I do enjoy playing with my three grandchildren. My
most favorite past time, however, is going to live theater, particularly
Broadway musicals. 
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I am a “just-do-it” kind
of writer. When writing my first drafts, I don’t worry about grammar, plot, and
consistency. I just write those 3,000 words or more a day. To me, writing is
all about re-writing.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
In my teen years, I
decided that I would become an attorney. I loved Perry Mason. However, when I
looked at a law book, I quickly changed my mind.
Anything additional you want to share with the
I would encourage readers
to write reviews of the books you enjoy. It is so very helpful to both authors
and other readers.
Thanks for being here
today, Joyce!

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2 thoughts on “Interview with mystery author Joyce T. Strand

  1. Unknown says:

    Hello Lisa,
    On behalf of Joyce Strand and Book Marketing Services, I would like to thank you for hosting Joyce today on Lisa Haselton’s Reviews and Interviews. She is excited to be here today. If any of your followers have any questions and/or comments they would like to share, please leave them in the comment box, Joyce will be by later in the day to respond.
    Joyce is having a giveaway during her tour. 1st prize: Kindle Fire HD 7 WiFi 8GB Black plus ebook or paperback copy of The Reporter’s Story; 2nd Prize: $25 Amazon Gift Card and ebook or paperback copy of The Reporter’s Story; 3rd Prize: ebook or paperback copy of The Reporter’s Story. Click here to enter:
    Joyce also has a guest posting today on Must Read Mysteries. Her topic there is Who Drives the Plot: Criminal versus Sleuth. Please join her there as well:
    Please join Joyce tomorrow, Friday, June 17th. She will be the guest blogger on Lori’s Reading Corner. Her topic is entitled Mystery Exploits the Past,
    Check where Joyce is each day on her tour by clicking here:
    Best regards, Della

  2. Joyce Strand says:

    Thank you so much for the opportunity to talk about my newest mystery, THE REPORTER'S STORY. I love talking about my books and their characters. I appreciate telling your readers about them–everything but the actual solution to the mystery, that is. I appreciate that you offer authors the ability to connect with your readers.

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