Small Towns and Humor by Joan Reeves

The Trouble with Love by Joan ReevesI love small towns. Because I grew up in a small town, I know a lot about these unique communities — the social structure, the economics, and, most importantly, the people who live in small towns.

Favorite Setting

A small town is my favorite place to set a story, and many of my contemporary romance novels are set in small towns. Small towns are like characters in a book and give color and depth to the story.

Even though I spend the week in a townhouse in Houston, we have a country home too so I don’t lose touch with my roots, and I even subscribe to the weekly newspaper in the nearby town that has a population of 719. My goodness. That makes my hometown where I grew up look huge with its boasted population of 5,000+. I also subscribe to my hometown’s newspaper.

Homage to Leno and Carson

One of my favorite segments when Jay Leno and Johnny Carson were the stars of The Tonight Show was where they would read the unintentionally funny items from newspapers and advertisements sent in from viewers.

Never fear! Since I subscribe to 2 small town newspapers, I see funny stuff in print all the time. Of course, it’s not supposed to be funny!

I just about fell out of my chair yesterday when I read in one of those papers about the man who planted a bomb in his wife’s car. No, that wasn’t funny, but the comment from the Sheriff’s Department (deputy’s name withheld to avoid embarrassment) was.

The small town reporter asked the Deputy about the explosive device. The Deputy replied: “The explosive device did not explode, and we can’t tell whether it was homemade or not.”

Excuse me? Homemade or not? Are there stores that actually sell car bombs? I mean, aren’t all car bombs, by their very nature, homemade?

Life Is Just Different

The following isn’t particularly funny, but it’s so far removed from urban life as to appear amusing, and a bit endearing, if you’ve ever lived in the oil patch as my husband and I did when first married.

Sign on a restaurant: We deliver to surrounding oil fields.

And I don’t mean Domino’s or Pizza Hut.

Life really is different in rural and small town America. The people seem more patient and kinder. It’s almost as if there are stock characters, and every town is required to have its requisite number of them.

The pace is definitely more relaxed. My Romantic Comedy series Texas One Night Stands is all about small town life where you sneeze and someone across town says, “God bless you.”

To Sheriff’s Deputy Susannah Quinn, the heroine of The Trouble With Love, that’s suffocating. She’s tired of the town knowing everything about “poor little Susannah” and plans to escape as soon as she can. The only thing standing in her way is tall, dark, and too darn sexy for her own peace of mind.

In the second book of the series, Romeo and Judy Anne, high school principal Judy Anne Palmer is tired of being up on that pedestal of respectability. She kicks over the traces one night in Dallas. When her one-night lover shows up in her hometown, she’s afraid her night of passion will end up being the biggest scandal her little town has ever seen.

Both of these books, along with my others, are available at most ebook sellers; audio book editions are at and iTunes.

Book 3 of Texas One Night Stands

Next month, I’ll begin writing a book that I’ve been salivating over! It’s the third book in the Texas series, Forever Starts Tonight.

Allison Platt, from The Trouble With Love, adores Alton County, Texas, where her cousin Hogan first met Susannah Quinn and where Allison hangs out a lot. Ten years ago, when she was 18, Allison was married and divorced. She says, “It was the usual case of ‘young and stupid’ —  I was young; he was stupid.” While traveling in Mexico, things go horribly wrong. Allison’s father recruits her ex, Donovan Platt, to bring her home.

Maybe I’ll have Allison deliver lunch to an oilfield while she’s hanging out in Alton County.

But Wait! There’s More!

Small towns? Like? Dislike? What do you think about books set in small towns? Leave a comment with your email address, and I’ll send you a coupon code for a free copy of Old Enough To Know BetterA woman with a past. A man who wants to be her future.

Post Script: Joan Reeves makes her home in the Lone Star State with her hero, her husband, but you can find her online at: her blog SlingWordsher website * Facebook * and Twitter. She lives the philosophy that is the premise of all of her romance novels: “It’s never too late to live happily ever after.”

Readers, sign up for WordPlay, Joan’s email list/newsletter, and receive a short story, not published elsewhere. Writers, sign up for Writing Hacks, Joan’s free newsletter, and receive a free copy of a nonfiction book.


About Joan Reeves

Joan Reeves is a NY Times and a USA Today bestselling author of Contemporary Romance. She lives her happily-ever-after with her hero, her husband, in the Lone Star State. Sign up for Joan's mailing list: and visit her at and her blog
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14 Responses to Small Towns and Humor by Joan Reeves

  1. Joan Reeves says:

    Gee, it’s awful lonely in here today. Where is everyone? Hiding from the rain? Wishing you all a great weekend.


  2. Kristy says:

    I grew up in a small town, too. Arlington, Washington had about 2,000 people and even more cows when I left in the 80s. My dad and two brothers still live there and I visit a couple of times a year. Probably because I was homesick I based my Rose Arbor series there (and I fictionalized it.) But I must have done a good job with my fictionizing because one reviewer said that “this author has obviously never been to Arlington.” Sigh.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joan Reeves says:

      Oh, Kristy, we just can win for losing, can we? It’s like a novella I wrote years ago about a blizzard in Montana that was based on an actual 3-day blizzard I went through (huddled in front of the gas stove with no power for 3 days) that struck the Dakotas and Montana. A reader wrote in that she lived in Montana, and I didn’t know what I was talking about–that they never had blizzards! Told me if I was going to make it up that I should do better research.


      • E. Ayers says:

        My niece lived in San Fran for 10 years. She constantly whined about the weather there. Then someone wrote that it never snowed there. Um.. I wonder what that white stuff was that fell from the sky? And what is that white stuff on the mountains that surround San Fran?


  3. susanrhughes says:

    Your books are great, no matter where they are set.


  4. leighmorgan1 says:

    Forever Starts Tonight….what a wonderful title! Can’t wait to read everything in this series. There’s something special, touching and comically frustrating about small town life. Even those who are hard-core city dwellers seem to love these stories. I grew up in a small town, left for undergrad and graduate school, then moved right back. We play and work in the city, but we still live in a town of approximately four thousand. Weird, right? Looking forward to: FOREVER STARTS TONIGHT!


  5. stephaniequeen says:

    Love the concept for your small town stories. You can definitely give them that authentic feel based on your experience. Reading stories in small town settings fascinates me since I’ve always lived in suburban areas outside of large cities like Boston and New York. Even small towns don’t seem small when they’re in the shadow of big cities.


    • Joan Reeves says:

      Stephanie, great comment: “Even small towns don’t seem small when they’re in the shadow of big cities.” Houston is so large that it has swallowed whole many small towns that now exist within its city limits.


  6. monarisk says:

    I never lived in small towns but in peaceful suburbs that can be considered small towns. Yes I can imagine funny stories in small towns where everyone knows every secret about each neighbors. No one can write a funny story as Joan Reeves.


    • Joan Reeves says:

      Thanks, Mona. I remember long ago when hubby and I moved from the oil patch in New Mexico where we’d lived since we married to Dallas. My husband’s boss’s wife said: “Don’t worry about how big Dallas is. You’ll just live in the small section of it where you buy your home. That small piece of Dallas will have everything you need for daily life.”

      What she didn’t add is the joy of big city life that I found. You live in your small area, but you have access to everything the big city offers–libraries, museums, theater, concerts, world-class universities, professional sports, etc.


  7. E. Ayers says:

    I like small towns. In so many ways they are safer. People know you, know what you drive, they say hello, and in general they are much nicer than living in a city. I like visiting the city but not living there!

    Love the title!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joan Reeves says:

      Yes, it really is true that people are friendlier in small towns. Perhaps it’s because they’re less hurried and harried so they can take time for the small pleasantries that enhance life.


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