Story Behind the Story: Family Skeletons by Josie Malone

by EilisFlynn

Elizabeth Flynn, who writes as Eilis Flynn, is an editor and writer. Find her on social media.

March 17, 2021

The latest in the Story Behind the Story series is the latest in Josie Malone’s Baker City Hearts and Haunts series, about a town that is teeming in ghosts, and seems to be fairly comfortable about it. I did some early editing on Malone’s first entry in this series, and I remember thinking about the town, and how it must feel to be that close to its ancestors! Josie is also offering a free ebook raffle of the first book in the series, so drop a comment at the website and I’ll choose a winner.

What’s the theme behind your story? 

Moving on doesn’t mean forgetting.

What’s the logline? 

Baker City Hearts and Haunts, “Where love is real and so are the ghosts!”

What were you thinking about or what was happening when the idea occurred to you? 

Family Skeletons is the third book in the series, and Tate Murphy, the career soldier hero, charmed me when his friends in More Than A Spirit (book 2) repeated what he said, that if he wanted a wife, the Army would issue one to him. He met the heroine, Sullivan Barlow, the night she buried her best friend, Raven, who’d died in combat. Neither of them immediately realize they’re being haunted by Raven, who plays Cupid for them.

How did the original idea change as you went along? 

Raven became a stronger character than I anticipated, but she was always enjoyable, especially when she began interacting with the town medium. 

How did you conceive of your characters for this story and how did they change? 

They both grew during the story, especially the heroine who learns to “embrace the suck,” as the hero says, and that she doesn’t have to give up her best friend, even if Raven isn’t what could be considered “real” any longer. Then again, what is “real”?

Are you pleased with the results, or do you wish you had done anything differently in the story? Why or why not? 

I always love the books when they’re finished. For now, the story is perfect. Of course, in ten years when I know more about writing and crafting stories, I’m sure some error will jump out at me.

Who would play your leads in the movie if (when!) you make a deal? 

Jennifer Lawrence and Sam Claflin. I could definitely see them kicking butt in a movie version.

What else do you want readers to know? 

Here’s the back-cover blurb:

Sergeant First Class Sullivan Barlow has plans for her future, and none of them include the guy she slept with in a night of weakness. Intending to forget the devastation of losing her best friend in Afghanistan, Sully woke the next morning still alone. Her only solace — she hadn’t told the man her real name. 

A career soldier, Tate Murphy has three more years in the Army until he’s eligible for retirement. Seven weeks ago, he met a woman in a hotel bar and spent the night with her. He hasn’t been able to get her out of his mind and can’t believe his luck when he finds her again.

Then they discover their first night together resulted in something they never expected. She’s pregnant and Tate immediately proposes. Pregnant and struggling with survivor guilt, the last thing Sully needs is to learn her best friend may have died, but hasn’t left yet. 

Tate says, “Sometimes courage is an act of survival.” Sully fears trust is a casualty of war. Will she and Tate ever find it again either by themselves, or with the help of those who have passed on before? 


Josie Malone lives and works at her family business, a riding stable in Washington state. Teaching kids to ride and know about horses since 1967, she finds in many cases, she’s taught three generations of families. Her life experiences span adventures from dealing cards in a casino, attending graduate school to get her master’s degree in teaching, being a substitute teacher, and serving in the Army Reserve — all leading to her second career as a published author. Visit her at her website,, to learn about her books. To sign up for her newsletter, go to

Here’s the link to the Family Skeletons trailer! 

Buy links:

Amazon-ebooks –

Amazon Print –

Nook Press –

Smashwords –

Kobo –

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