Author JoAnn Chaney speaks about first novel March 30 at The Bookworm |

Author JoAnn Chaney speaks about first novel March 30 at The Bookworm

Since releasing her first book, "What You Don't Know," author JoAnn Chaney has encouraged other aspiring authors to pursue their dreams and goals.
Special to the Daily |

If you go …

What: JoAnn Chaney, author of “What You Don’t Know.”

When: 6 p.m. Thursday, March 30.

Where: The Bookworm of Edwards, 295 Main St., Riverwalk at Edwards.

Cost: $10, includes appetizers.

More information: Call 970-926-7323, or visit

“A book is not about the murder, it’s about the people. You have the murders take place, but what is really more interesting is how people are reacting and responding.”

This sentiment inspired Colorado author JoAnn Chaney to write her debut novel, “What You Don’t Know.” Today at 6 p.m., Chaney will discuss her book at The Bookworm of Edwards. Currently residing in Colorado Springs, Chaney spent part of her life as a Vail Valley resident in Avon.

Her new novel will keep readers on the edge of their seats. There are few victims who survived the attacks of an infamous serial killer. Their lives, though spared, will never be the same. There was an eerily silent pause from the serial killer’s work, but he’s back, and the victims have to figure out how to pursue life before death pursues them.

locals will identify

Living most of her life in Colorado, it was an easy decision to use the Denver area as the backdrop for her new thriller.

Support Local Journalism

“There are many books I’ve read that are set in places I’ve never been to,” Chaney said. “I’ve never read a book set in Baltimore and thought, ‘Yes, this is obviously Baltimore,’ but locals would absolutely identify. I really wanted to set something in Denver that locals would relate to. I think the location lends a lot of the atmosphere, so I put in a lot of local places to add to the setting of my story.”

Denver residents will pick up on places such as The Broker Restaurant downtown and the original Tattered Cover Bookstore. As Chaney began touring after her book’s release, she was able to host a book signing in the very bookstore she wrote about.

“It is weird because I wrote the book and went around to bookstores in Denver and the moment I went into the Tattered Cover was almost surreal,” Chaney said. “I’ve received a lot of emails from people who live in Denver saying that it’s so cool to read a book that feels authentic to where they live. They have told me they’ve eaten at The Broker and now see it completely differently.

“They’ve become so excited when I describe the carpet at Tattered Cover. It’s been such a fun experience to see people latch on to the story that way.”

pushing yourself

Chaney has always considered herself a writer, but she found herself in the same place as many aspiring writers do today. She had started several works of fiction that remained half written and never finished.

“About 10 years ago, I made the decision that I was actually going to finish writing a book,” she said. “I had quite a few things that I stopped at some point and never came back to. I went back to school to get my master’s in creative writing in hopes that it would push me toward my goal. It did. It gave me the structure and understanding I needed to finish a novel for the first time in my life.”

focus and persistence

The result of pushing herself to finish the novel led to “What You Don’t Know.” Since the release of the book, Chaney has met several aspiring authors and has nothing but encouragement for them as they pursue their dreams and goals.

“I really love speaking about the book, but I also love talking with people who write, as well,” Chaney said. “In the events I’ve done in town and in Denver, I’ve met a lot of writers who are looking for encouragement, and I am more than happy to give that. I was right there for so long, but after sitting down with focus and persistence, I couldn’t be happier with the result and hope to lead others to their goal, too.”

Support Local Journalism