Good morning everyone. Today’s guest is the witty, L. C. Evans. Linda and I have met on Twitter and Facebook and I’ve had the pleasure of reading some of her writing on Sunday’s during our Sample Sunday extravaganza. I decided yesterday that I needed to perhaps read a sample before I did the interview. I wasn’t too far into the sample when I ran across a line that stopped me. “. . . reminding me of a vulture trying to take off with a belly full of road kill.”
Maybe it’s growing up in the backwoods of Kentucky and being exposed to my share of wonderfully humorous expressions from the mouths of real “characters” — but I knew right away I was going to like this character. I truly did not want to quit reading, and yes, I’ll be buying Linda’s book this weekend and finding myself a hole somewhere to hide in until I finish it.
LP: Good morning, Linda. Tell us a little about yourself. Where you live now, and where you grew up?
LCE: I grew up in a small town in Southwest Florida, but now I live near Charlotte, North Carolina. As a child I used to love the beach and fishing. I’ve always loved animals, too, and we had a lot of them. We raised chickens and ducks for meat and eggs. It was always a bad move for us children to choose a favorite chicken or duck and give it a name because inevitably it ended up in the pot. For pets, we had dogs, cats, guinea pigs, rabbits, turtles, horses. We had a donkey, but it liked to start braying at 5 in the morning and wake up everyone within a five mile radius, so we couldn’t keep it. My dad once brought home four baby alligators and we kept those for a long time until he returned them to the wild. They were getting kind of big and it would have been hard to explain if one of them ate us.
LP: Your father sounds a lot like mine. We were all woke up one morning to mom’s raised voice and hurried down to find dad in the kitchen with eight baby pigs. The barn had flooded and he’d brought them into the house and, of course, was using some of mom’s best towels to dry the little fellows off. We loved it, but mom wasn’t happy at all.
Do you feel that the environment you were raised in has any effect on your choice of genre?
LCE: I mostly write mysteries, so I can’t say that a small town environment contributed to that. It wasn’t as if there were a lot of murders in our neighborhood. However, there were always a lot of characters around. My dad’s family members were some of the original settlers in the area and he knew everyone and he knew all the old stories. He’s a great storyteller and he used to keep us laughing with tales about these characters. I like to write humor, whether I’m writing mysteries or romance, so maybe my dad’s funny stories were an influence.
LP: Sounds like a wonderfully warm family atmosphere. When and why did you begin writing?
LCE: I started writing as soon as I learned how. When I was eight, I used to write puppet shows and my friend and I would perform these shows on my grandmother’s front porch and charge other neighborhood kids a nickel for admission. That included the popcorn.
LP: Five cent popcorn. Now those were the days. What inspired your first book?
LCE: My first book was Jobless Recovery and that was inspired by frustration after my husband and his co-workers lost their computer programming jobs to cheaper imported labor. The book is a political satire and it’s been compared to The Grapes of Wrath.
LP: I knew there was something I liked about you. I’ve been wanting to try satire for months now. Maybe if I ever get out of the Bayou I’ll take a shot at it.
How do you come up with your titles?
LCE: Sometimes the titles just present themselves and sometimes I struggle. With Talented Horsewoman, I couldn’t come up with a title, so I used that as the working title with every intention of changing it. Somehow in all the excitement of publication, that little detail got overlooked. I don’t like the title, but I’m stuck with it. I try to be more careful now.
LP: Of course, living in the Bluegrass State, and Lexington, horses are a natural part of my everyday life. Is there a specific message in your novels that you’d like the reader to grasp?
LCE: I like happy endings. With Jobless Recovery even though the subject is grim, I tried to leave readers with a sense of hope and a belief in the unquenchable nature of the human spirit.
LP: How much of your book is realistic or based on real life issues?
LCE: Jobless Recovery is my book most based on real life. Some of the phone calls the main character made to Washington are taken from actual calls I made to Washington. But the book is fiction, especially the part about what happened to the Senator. My other books are pure fiction, though I did borrow character traits from people I know.
LP: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
LCE: I didn’t start calling myself a writer until after my first short story was published.
LP: Do you have a specific writing style?
LCE: My writing tends toward humorous. I try to write with more description or more seriousness and so far haven’t really succeeded. I suppose I should give in and write the way I write without worrying about changing.
LP: I think if it’s natural, and from what I’ve read so far it is, then your best work will be the work that flows the easiest. If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
LCE: I couldn’t choose. I learn something from every book I read, even if the book isn’t very good. In that sense, all writers are my mentors.
LP: What book are you reading now?
LCE: Linda, I’m reading your book, The Gifts. I didn’t plan it this way. I just finished reading HP Mallory’s Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble and your book came up next on the list.
LP: “Gulp”. Seriously, folks, I didn’t pay her to say that, and having read her humorous sample, I’m terrified of what she’s doing to think of my rather dark mysteries.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
LCE: So many great indie writers have come along since Kindle publishing became easy. It would be hard to name even half of these wonderful writers, so I’ll stick to a few. I like humor and mystery and romantic comedy. I read Barbara Silkstone, Karen Cantwell, HP Mallory. Their books are very good and range from Barbara’s funny and quirky Alice Harte to Karen’s over the top amateur sleuth Barbara Marr to HP’s spunky witch, Jolie. Consuelo Saah Baehr is another wonderful indie author I’ve discovered. She’s very versatile in her writing and I love her sense of humor.
LP: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your first book?
LCE: I did. After I published Jobless Recovery, so many of the things I wrote about in the book came to pass in only a few short years. I published a second, updated edition with a better cover.
LP: One of the truly wonderful things about being an Indie. Are you currently working on a new book, and if so, can you share some of it with us?
LCE: I’m currently working on four new books. I’m writing a sequel to We Interrupt This Date, the third book in the Leigh McRae horse mystery series, a sequel to Night Camp, and a brand new book that I guess I’d call an urban fantasy/sci fi.
LP: Wow! And I thought I was the only one that had to have four or five different projects going at the same time so I could cope with my moods.
What is the most challenging part of writing your current work in progress?
LCE: I’ll just talk about the We Interrupt This Date sequel. The most challenging part is finding enough of a central conflict to carry the whole book. Since main character Susan has changed so much since the first book, she’s stronger now. Something that would have been a challenge for her before is no longer a problem.
LP: Who is your favorite authors and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
LCE: Right now I’d say my favorite author is Dickens because of the way he could write such wonderful characters. But I’m always changing my favorite author.
LP: With all the great authors out there, and the fact that eBooks are more affordable, it has opened a whole new world for readers. I’m certainly enjoying it. I can now read 10 books for the former price of one.
Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
LCE: I haven’t yet. For We Interrupt This Date, I made several trips to Charleston. I’m thinking I need to set a book in Europe. Have to do that research, right?
LP: *Smile*. Of course, and clearly that’s all tax deductible. Do you design your own covers?
LCE: I don’t even attempt to design my own covers. I’m hopelessly inept when it comes to graphics and artwork of any kind. I can’t even succeed with color books. My kids used to make fun of me for the way I chose the colors. “Mom, why did you color his shirt lime, his pants purple, and his hat orange? Your picture is so ugly. Be sure to sign your name at the bottom so people won’t think I did it.” This from a six-year-old.
LP: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
LCE: Plotting. Sometimes the story just won’t come in or I start writing and decide the original plot won’t work so I have to go back and change everything.
LP: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
LCE: I’ve learned something from each book I write. But one thing I’ve learned from all of them is that I can’t force myself to keep to a rigid outline. My writing is a process of discovery and I can’t keep to that process if I have too much of a detailed plan in advance. I end up having to do a lot more work when I write myself into dead ends, but that’s how it works for me.
LP: Do you have any advice for other writers?
LCE: If you really want to be a writer, you have to persevere. Make the time and don’t ever give up. And don’t ever stop trying to improve your craft.
LP: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
LCE: I hope you enjoy my books and if you do, I’d love for you to post a review. If you don’t enjoy my books, there’s no need for you to trouble yourself with a review. I know you’re very busy. Smiles.
LP: On that note–since you’re reading The Gifts, I do hope you’ll like it, and if you don’t, well I understand how busy you are with all those new books to write. Thank you for being with me today, Linda. I loved Karen Cantwell’s Take The Monkeys and Run, and I have a feeling I’m going to love The Witness Wore Blood Bay. If I don’t, well, I can always get lost in the Bayou again.
If you’d like to know more about Linda you can visit her blogs and website at:
My blog: http://lcevansauthor.blogspot.com/
I also blog at: http://amoosewalkedintoabar.blogspot.com/
My website: http://lcevans.com/L.C._Evans_Author/Home.html
Now, if you want to join me this weekend in a hole where you can shut out the real world and enjoy a few hours of humor and mystery, download a sample, or better yet– Buy Now!