The Still Small Voice By Brenda Stanley: Review/Giveaway/Interview

Jan 7, 2023 | 2023 Articles, Lorie Lewis Ham, Mysteryrat's Maze

by Lorie Lewis Ham

This week we have a review of The Still Small Voice by Brenda Stanley along with an interesting interview with Brenda. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win an ebook copy of the book, and a link to purchase it from Amazon.

The Still Small Voice by Brenda Stanley
Review by Lorie Lewis Ham

The Still Small Voice by Brenda Stanley is more than just a mystery—it is the story of a family that has been broken by prejudice, lies, and secrets. Madison Moore has been estranged from her family for many years so she is shocked when her dying father asks to see her. She is hesitant to return, but a part of her hopes that he is going to apologize for how the family treated her, so she decides to make the trip. What awaits her is much more than she could ever have imagined.

Madison’s life is not in the best of places—she is an out-of-work journalist who doesn’t know what her future holds—the only thing she can be sure of is her partner’s love. With the exception of the one uncle who stood by her and with whom she has stayed in touch, her reception at home is lukewarm at best and in some cases hostile. When she meets with her father, instead of getting the apology she longs for, he tells her about a decades-old murder that he witnessed and kept silent about and asks for her help to exonerate the woman who confessed and went to prison. He claims he has proof that she is innocent, but since he is weak and can’t speak much of the time, she struggles to find out from him what that proof may be, so she sets out to try to find out on her own.

Painful memories haunt Madison and she struggles with whether to do what her father has asked or just go back home. Her family still clings to the religious beliefs that caused them to reject her so it is hard for her to be around them. But not only does the journalist in her want to know the truth, she still hopes that her father will apologize. Plus, she just can’t stand by and let an innocent person remain in prison. Even though she faces many roadblocks along the way, and fears the truth may be more than her family can handle, she continues to search for the truth and the proof that her father claims he has.

The Still Small Voice is a page-turner that keeps you guessing about the murder and the details of why Madison’s family treated her the way that they did. If you are looking for a good mystery that is a bit different and is as much about family as it is about murder, be sure to pick up this book.

Lorie Lewis Ham is our Editor-in-Chief and a contributor to various sections, coupling her journalism experience with her connection to the literary and entertainment worlds. Explore Lorie’s mystery writing at Mysteryrat’s Closet. Lorie’s latest mystery novel, One of Us, is set in the Tower District of Fresno and the world of community theatre!<

Interview with Brenda Stanley:

KRL: How long have you been writing?

Brenda: I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing. I have a small, laminated book that I wrote when I was a child that my mother kept all these years. It’s about a raindrop and conserving water. I read it to my grandkids now. I started writing as a profession when I was just out of high school – I started as a radio news reporter, and then as a newspaper reporter. After getting a degree in journalism, I became a television reporter and anchor. Even though I wrote my first novel when I was 17, I wasn’t published until almost 30 years later.

Brenda Stanley

KRL: When did your first novel come out, what was it called, and would you tell us a little about it?

Brenda: My first novel was published in 2010. However, I wrote it when I was 17. It is called I Am Nuchu. It’s a young adult mystery based on the Fort Duchesne Reservation. It was added to the English curriculum at the Shoban High School on the Fort Hall reservation. I’ve loved hearing from young people after reading the novel even after all these years.

KRL: Have you always written mysteries/suspense and if not, what else have you written?

Brenda: My novels are all in that genre. They all have twists and turns and endings that you don’t expect, but I am also a cookbook author. I love cooking and creating new recipes. My cookbook, The Zucchini Houdini, still hits the bestseller list at the end of each summer, when everyone is trying to figure out what to do with the prolific squash.

KRL: How fun, will have to look that up. What brought you to choose the setting and characters in your latest book/series? Do you yourself have a background in the Mormon church?

Brenda: I believe in writing what you know. I was raised in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (commonly known as the Mormon church). My family left the church when I was in high school. Much of what is in the novel are things I saw firsthand. I felt it was a realistic setting for the story and what the characters were facing.

KRL: Do you write to entertain or is there something more you want the readers to experience from your work?

Brenda: I don’t sit down to write with any intent but to tell a story. I love to read, and it’s the best feeling when someone tells me they’ve enjoyed my books. When they say they were taken by surprise- it’s even better.

KRL: Do you have a schedule for your writing or just work whenever you can?

Brenda: I usually write every day. When I was working and had all the kids at home, I had to be creative, and squeeze it in, but even now, I prioritize my writing time.

KRL: What is your ideal time to write?

Brenda: I find mornings are best. A mug of tea and my dogs sleeping under my desk help to get me into the mode.

KRL: Do you outline? If not, do you have some other interesting way that you keep track of what’s going on, or what needs to happen in your book when you are writing it?

Brenda: I outline my novels, but those outlines change. Because my books often have more than one storyline or narrator, I need something to keep things on track. I will often start with the ending. It helps to know how everything comes together, and then I can fill in the details. I also spend a lot of time getting to know my characters. I do a lot of writing about them that never ends up in the novel.

KRL: Did you find it difficult to get published in the beginning?

Brenda: It took many years to get published- like 30. I started, sending queries long before the internet or even computers. There were a lot of rejection letters that came through the mail. It was when I got my agent that things changed. She opened doors and got editors to actually read my books. Before that, I felt lost in the slush pile. I really feel that made the difference.

KRL: Do you have a great rejection/critique or acceptance story you’d like to share?

Brenda: I tell people that I could wallpaper my entire house with the number of rejection letters I received, so when my first book was published, my friends and family held a party and gave me a framed cover of my novel with a bunch of the review blurbs surrounding it. It hangs on the wall in my office and reminds me how glad I am that I didn’t give up and have rejection letter wallpaper.

KRL: Most interesting book signing story-in a bookstore or other venue?

Brenda: I was scheduled to do a book signing at a bookstore in my hometown and the newspaper did a story the day before. When I arrived, there was a line out the door. I couldn’t believe all those people were there for me. However, once I got inside, I realized the store had other things going on that day including giving away prizes to the first 100 people through the door. It may not have been for me, but the initial feeling was pretty good, and I did sign quite a few books that day, so their marketing efforts paid off for me!

KRL: What are your future writing goals?

Brenda: I have a young adult mystery that I’m currently writing, and many more ideas that are rolling around. My goal is to get people to read my books. That is why I do this. I love interacting with readers, and when I hear that someone who hasn’t been much of a reader is now reading my books- there is nothing better.

KRL: Who are your writing heroes?

Brenda: My writing heroes are those who write what comes to them and not what they think will fit the mold and sell. Unfortunately, many of these authors found success posthumously, but their works have endured.

KRL: What kind of research do you do?

Brenda: I love all types of research – Internet, library, interviews. As an investigative reporter, that is what I did for a living, and I loved it. I often travel to the areas my novels are set. Even if I feel I know a place because I have lived there in the past, I find it helps to jog memories and reinforce ideas. The problem is I sometimes get so wrapped up in digging up information, I end up in the weeds and lose a day of writing. However, the best twists in my books come from those hours of research.

KRL: What do you like to read?

Brenda: I enjoy many different genres but find myself leaning toward mysteries. I also love young adult fiction and have been reading (and re-reading) Newberry award winners. I am inspired by these incredible stories and writers.

KRL: What are your favorite TV shows or movies?

Brenda: I enjoy documentaries and true crime. I think it comes from my years working in the news and covering the crime and courts beat. While my stories are fiction, there are so many real experiences that I use in my storylines and my characters.

KRL: Have you any advice for aspiring or beginning writers?

Brenda: My advice is to simply write. You can’t grow as a writer unless you sit down and put words on paper (or the screen). There are a lot of people who tell me they’ve always wanted to write a book, but when I ask what they’re working on or what the story is about, they tell me they haven’t written anything- just dreaming.

Sit down and write. It doesn’t have to be an entire novel. Start with a short story or a poem. Take a writing class or join a group. This will help inspire you to write and also be a good way to get feedback. It can be really intimidating to let someone read your writing, but getting feedback is not only a great way to learn, it can also give you the push you need to keep going. Find people you trust to be your sounding boards and then sit your butt in the chair and get writing.

KRL: What is something people would be surprised to know about you?

Brenda: I think most people are surprised when I tell them I have five children including two sets of twins and that the twins were born twenty months apart- in other words, I had four children under the age of 2. They are all grown, and some have kids of their own now. When I think back about those early years, life seems pretty easy now!

KRL: Do you have any pets?

Brenda: I love animals. My husband is a veterinarian, and we live on a ranch in Idaho. My pets include 2 dogs, 3 sheep, 16 chickens, and 5 horses.

KRL: Is there anything you would like to add?

Brenda: I love talking to book clubs. Depending on where the club is located, I will do Zoom, Facetime, or even in person visits to discuss my books. I’ve spoken to book clubs all over the country. It’s such a fun way to connect to readers.

KRL: Website? Twitter? Facebook? Instagram?

Brenda: website:
Twitter: @myauthorlife
Facebook: BrendaStanleyBooks
Instagram: Bstanleybooks

To enter to win an ebook copy of The Still Small Voice, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “still” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen January 14, 2023. You must be 18 or older to enter. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. Also listen to our new mystery podcast where mystery short stories and first chapters are read by actors! They are also available on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Spotify.

You can use this link to purchase the book. If you have ad blocker on you may not see the Amazon link. You can also click here to purchase the book.

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. Sounds interesting! Count me in!

  2. We have a winner!


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