The ExPat Returneth

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Graveyard of the Atlantic: Outer Banks, NC #bookgiveaway

My Missing Pieces Mysteries are set at the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The area developed the name, Graveyard of the Atlantic, because of the many shipwrecks that happened in the coastal waters. Many wealthy captains, with ships burdened by gold and other precious materials, lost their lives here through the years.

The area is rich in folklore dating back to its past as the original English settlement in America in the 1500s. 

It’s the place where the first colony, created by Sir Walter Raleigh, became the Lost Colony when he returned several years later to find all of its occupants missing. No one has ever solved the mystery of what happened to those people.

The islands were cut off from the state’s mainland for years before the first bridge was built. Bankers, as the inhabitants of the island were known, had to fend for themselves. They were scavengers, in many cases, living by their wits to survive. 

The islands were virtually lawless, becoming the home waters for many pirates, Blackbeard being the most famous. Bankers also had their own share in tricking some ships to their doom in order to seize their cargo. 

Hurricanes, and wild horses left behind by the Spanish, left their mark on the island. The place is still filled with ghost stories and legends. 

It would be impossible as a writer not to feel your imagination touched by this remote spot. The Missing Pieces Mysteries, with protagonist Dae O’Donnell, makes use of this hauntingly beautiful area. 

Dae is the mayor of Duck, a real town of 500 people. She is a finder of lost things. Her gift was handed down by her grandmother. She can find lost keys, missing watches, and in A Haunting Vision, she must find a small girl who has been kidnapped.

The mayor of Duck, North Carolina, Dae O’Donnell, is a woman with a gift for finding lost things. When her boyfriend Kevin’s ex-fiancĂ©e Ann arrives in Duck looking for a second chance, Dae suddenly finds herself facing certain heartache. And while her romantic life is in shambles, she’s even more concerned by the sudden change in her gift. After touching a medallion owned by a local named Chuck Sparks, Dae is shocked when her vision reveals his murder—and a cry for help. Dae doesn’t know what to make of the dead man’s plea to “Help her,” until she has another vision about a kidnapped girl—Chuck’s daughter, Betsy. With a child missing, the FBI steps in to take over the case. But Dae can’t ignore her visions of Betsy, or the fact that Kevin’s psychic ex-fiancĂ© might be the only person who can help find her.

Joyce Lavene writes bestselling mystery with her husband/partner Jim. They have written and published more than 60 novels for Harlequin, Berkley and Charter Books along with hundreds of non-fiction articles for national and regional publications. She lives in rural North Carolina with her family, her cat, Quincy, and her rescue dog, Rudi. Visit her at, Facebook/ Twitter: @authorjlavene,

Win a copy of A Haunting Dream, the fourth book in the Missing Pieces Mysteries, by leaving your name at my blog:  


  1. Joyce, I certainly can see how you'd find inspiration in The Outer Banks. Your blog made me want to visit there through your novels! The lost colony certainly is intriguing...


  2. I love the Outer Banks! Thanks so much for this post. I always found the Lost Colony on Roanoke so interesting as a kid. I have a friend who's researching some gravestones from Roanoke Island that ended up in a college in Gainesville, GA for some odd reason. So fascinating!

  3. I loved reading more about this book, it sounds absolutely fascinating. Characters with special gifts are always fun to read about.

  4. Sounds like a fun book, Joyce. I love the history behind the setting! Congrats!

  5. Appreciate learning about Outer Banks inspiration. Find the Carolinas a truly inspirational setting. Added all of your books to my TBR list.

  6. Thanks, Madeline. we feel the same way. It is always fascinating!

  7. Thanks for hosting me here, Larissa!

  8. Thanks for visitng, Terri and Jake!

  9. I loved your Renaissance mystery, Wicked Weaves, and this novel looks like a really good read,too. The setting is chillingly interesting. Can't wait to read it.

  10. Outer Banks are a great setting for a novel. One of my favorite places to visit.

  11. I love novels based on historical events or areas, and look forward to reading A Hauting Dream, Joyce.

  12. Joyce, This is a truly fascinating post. I've got to start reading your books soonest!
    Marja McGraw

  13. Thanks for stopping in, everyone! I agree, the Outer Banks a wonderful place to set a mystery!