Geraldine: Not really, beyond trying to write every day.
Paul: What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors? Why?
Geraldine: I like crime novels, historical novels and historical non-fiction. My favorite crime authors are Reginald Hill, Cynthia Harrod Eagles, Ruth Dudley Edwards. I like these authors because although they’re crime novels, they also incorporate a lot of humor, which, for this reader, adds to the enjoyment. Favorite historical novelists: Philippa Gregory, Jean Plaidy, Sharon Penman. I like these authors, particularly, because they are able to bring the past and its characters vividly to life for me.
Paul: If someone had the power to step into your creative mind what would they see?
Geraldine: They would see all the ideas I have for further writing, be it novels, short stories or non-fiction, all of which I have written, though, so far, only my novels (20) and a variety of articles have been published. My mind is teeming with so many ideas that I sometimes wish I could be cloned so that I would have time for them all.
Paul: What is a typical day for you?
Geraldine: I tend to work very late so I’m not an early riser. I perhaps get up around nine a.m., after eating breakfast in bed. Then, once washed and dressed, it’s straight on my computer to check emails, book sales and sales rankings. I have been concerned mostly lately with getting my backlist eformatted. This is taking up a lot of time which means my WIP has had to take a back seat, though I have written a number of short stories for my writers’ group, which I intend to put up on kindle, etc., when time permits. Since getting a laptop, I have come downstairs from my tiny study and work in the living room. A chunk of my time is spent in trying to stop the room turning into a hovel (I’m not a very tidy person). I have two two-seater settees and one is currently buried under an avalanche of paper.
Paul: Do you have a favorite character in each of your series, aside from the lead? If so, which one and why?
Geraldine: In my Rafferty & Llewellyn procedural series, I confess to a liking for my irreverent, rather naughty Catholic priest, Father Roberto Kelly. I like him because he’s politically-incorrect, like me! In my Casey & Catt procedural series, I like Star Casey, my lead’s unreconstructed hippie father. I like him because he doesn’t obey anyone’s rules, but lives his (admittedly drug-blurred) life on his own terms. That’s one of the reasons I became a (thankfully, not drug-blurred) writer.
Paul: In all the years you’ve been publishing your work, what is the biggest mistake you made that you could share so others can avoid making it?
Geraldine: I suppose my biggest mistake was right at the beginning of my writing career, when I failed to grasp the significance of the size of the advance. Small advance = midlist status with no chance at hitting bestsellerdom and little chance of making a living as a writer. Once branded midlist, you tend to stay there. You’re also likely to be among the first to be dropped from a publisher’s list when times are hard.
Paul: How do you find the time to write?
Geraldine: At the moment, because I’m eformatting my backlist, with great difficulty. But at least now I’m now a full-time writer. Once I’ve finished proofing Rafferty novels 8 and 9, I intend to concentrate on my WIP and finish preparing the rest of my backlist later in the year.
Paul: What is one thing you hope I do not tell the readers?
Geraldine: Ha! Ha! So many to choose from! Let me see. That I sometimes lounge around in bed, reading, till 11.30 in the morning. My excuse is that I often work into the wee small hours. And writers have got to read, right? So it counts as work.
Paul: If you are self-published, what led to you going your own way?
Geraldine: Reading and learning from other authors who had already taken the Indie route. Writers such as J A Konrath and Kristine Katherine Rusch, among others. They explained the advantages, especially to the midlist author with a good-sized backlist. I epublished four books in my backlist to which I had regained the rights. And then, when I’d finished my latest WIP (Kith and Kill) and sent it to my publishers, they demanded the erights to the rest of my backlist as a condition of publishing. From my reading, I knew of the value of my backlist and I refused their demand. So was thus totally thrown out of traditional publishing and cast adrift on my own. It was an opportunity I was glad to seize.
Paul: Do you plot your stories or do you just get an idea and run with it?
Geraldine: I tend to just get an idea and run with it. I’ve never been the kind of writer who sits down and plans their novel from start to finish. To me, this would be a fate worse than death. Utterly boring. I didn’t leave the dead-end day jobs behind only to start boring myself voluntarily.
Paul: Do you do a lot of editing or do you find that as time goes on your writing is more fully-formed?
Geraldine: I find experience has made my writing more fully-formed. I seem able to write with an editor’s eye. Although, once the first draft is done, I always have to work on my descriptions, which tend to be on the short side.
Paul: Do you have to do much research for your stories?
Geraldine: The amount of research necessary depends on the story. Of course, for both my procedural series, I have to keep up with advances in forensics and changes in law and procedures. Apart from that, I’ve had to do most research for my historical about Henry VII’s little sister, Mary Rose Tudor and for my Casey & Catt series, the first of which involved deaths by arson of an Asian young woman and her baby. This book demanded I read up on Asian culture and religion as well as what happens to the body in death by fire.
Geraldine: My most recent book is The Egg Factory, a contemporary/suspense set in the infertility industry. It involves the suicide of my lead character’s younger sister, the reasons for which are tied up in her involvement with an unscrupulous fertility expert and his amoral partner. Their illegal activities attract the attention of organized crime, which leads the main character, Ginnie Casey, an investigative journalist, into deadly danger when she starts to look into the background to her sister, Karen’s, death.
Paul: What inspired you to write this book?
Geraldine: Its sheer topicality and the fact that an intriguing plot idea came to me, which I simply had to write. This was another book that required extensive research, but that didn’t deter me. I’m one of those writers who enjoy research. The trick is knowing when to stop!
Paul: Do you also write any poetry, non-fiction or short stories?
Geraldine: Funnily enough, although I haven’t written poetry since I was at school, I attended a talk by a local poet only the other week and he had us writing a poem. About a door of all things! He rather liked my effort, even though he had me reading it backwards. I also write short non-fiction and short stories, though I have yet to achieve publication of the latter.
Paul: Do you have any pieces of work that will never see the light of day?
Geraldine: Never say never. I think some of my earlier pieces might yet be resurrected once I find the time to give them a thorough edit. My earlier works were romances aimed at the Mills and Boon market and they’re well-known for having very strict requirements. For six long years I tended to get back much the same comment: ‘Too much plot and not enough romance’, although they said that my writing was good. This comment moved me to murder, where I have found my niche.
Paul: Do you enter competitions? Are there any you could recommend?
Geraldine: I’ve entered very few competitions, though I would recommend the short story competitions in Writing Magazine/Writers’ News. The winner receives a short, professional critique of their work, which is as valuable as gold dust.
Paul: How much marketing do you do for your published works or for your ‘brand’?
Geraldine: A lot. This is another eater of writing time, but I feel it’s part of the job. I’m a member of the Crime Writers’ Association, East Anglian Writers, Crimespace, LinkedIn, The Red Room, plus several other sites. I tweet, I’m on Facebook. I send out flyers and postcards. I comment on other people’s blogs and I have my own blog and website (http:///www.geraldineevans.com). I did a blog tour. I try to keep all these sites updated with my doings. Since starting e-publishing, I can now afford to go to writers’ conventions, of which I’ve booked several this year. I’ve also booked writing holidays for writing improvement and networking.
Paul: What’s your favorite / least favorite aspect of your writing life? Has anything surprised you?
Geraldine: My favorite part is getting a good idea for a novel and running with it. My least favorite, I suppose, is having so much writing time consumed by the ancillary activities necessary to a writer’s life. I was surprised by the time it took to actually achieve publication. I was even more surprised when, after having all six of my romances rejected by Mills and Boon, my very first crime novel, Dead Before Morning, was taken from Macmillan’s slush pile and published.
Paul: What do you do when you’re not writing? Do you have any hobbies or party tricks?Geraldine: Party tricks? Yes, I read palms, though I’ve let this slide lately owing to time constraints and I’ve forgotten most of it, anyway. I also enjoy gardening from seeds and cuttings, growing my own vegetables, painting portraits and learning to play the keyboards. I’m also about to sign up for a ballroom/Latin dancing class. Good thing I no longer need to have a day job!
Paul: Thanks, Geraldine, that was great. I wish you every success for the future.
She's been been plucked from slush piles twice: once by Robert Hale, and once by Macmillan, who took her very first mystery novel, DEAD BEFORE MORNING, and published it, in 1993. They sold it in turn to St Martin's Press in the US and thence on to Worldwide for softcover publication. Not bad for a writer who had endured six long years of rejections for her first six (romantic) novels.
She ventured into epublishing her backlist towards the end of 2010. So far,she has epublished ten of her novels, the latest being KITH AND KILL (#15 in Rafferty series) and THE EGG FACTORY, a Standalone contemporary women/suspense novel set in the world of the infertility industry.
Geraldine is a Londoner, but she and her late husband, moved to Norfolk (UK) in 2000. She is a member of the Crime Writers' Association and East Anglian Writers.
Geraldine's Blog: Geraldine Evans
Geraldine on Twitter: @gerrieevans
Geraldine on Facebook: Geraldine Evans
Gealdine's latest book: The Egg Factory (Amazon)