Hi, Evelyn. Welcome to The Gal. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I've been an aspiring author since high school when I enjoyed writing short stories. I began my first novel while attending college later in life, and while working in the offices of a major soft drink company. Now, after taking early retirement, I finally have the chance to write full time. Being a life-long mystery buff, I was a former member of the Agatha Christie Society. I'm currently a member of Sisters in Crime. When I'm not reading mysteries, reviewing them or writing them, I enjoy playing the piano. I'm an amateur Lapidary and an organic gardener. I also host authors and their novels on my writer's blog here.
What are five things most people don't know about you?
I practice yoga and qigong. I walk every day. I won't eat a veggie unless it's organic. I have a gluten allergy. And I love to watch old movies, especially mysteries.
What is the first book you remember reading?
The first book I remember racing is a really old school book titled: Fun with Dick and Jane.
What are you reading now?
Right now I'm reading Home of the Braised, A White House Chef Mystery by Julie Hyzy.
What made you decide you want to write? When did you begin writing?
I've always found it easier to write my thoughts down than to verbalize them, so writing has always been something I've done. While I've never kept a diary, I have been known to fill volumes of spiral-bound notebooks.
Do you have a special place you like to write?
There is a small room in my home that I call my office where my desk, computer and printer are located. That's my special writing place.
Do you have any quirks or processes that you go through when you write?
When I begin a novel, I always know the first sentence and the last. I have an idea of what the story is about and I begin it with my first sentence. But after writing a couple of chapters, I have to do a quick outline so I know why direction my story will be taking. By the time I write the final chapter, I find that my last sentence fits in very well.
Where do the ideas for your books come from?
Ideas for novels can come from anywhere. Sometimes I'll see something on a television news show that will spark an idea for a novel. Or I'll use a situation that happened to me as an idea. For example, in my novel Masterpiece of Murder, I was taking art classes when the idea for that story came to me. In the case of my latest novel Once Upon a Crime, I was at a Gem and Mineral Show with my daughter, when she came up with the idea for that story.
What books have most inspired you?
I've always been inspired by the mysteries of Agatha Christie, Arthur Conan Doyle and Dorothy L. Sayers. Whenever I need to feel that inspiration again, I'll go back and reread one of their stories.
Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?
Since I write mysteries with a romantic element, I find that sometimes it's difficult to know how much romance to write into the story so that the reader feels the same as the characters without actually having to go into graphic descriptions. I know there are many mystery writers who do write that way. I'm not one of them, but I have to admit that a few of my characters do get carried away sometimes so that the romance is a little on the warm side.
What do you think makes a good story?
In my opinion, a good story should have interesting characters that you care about, a solid plot with a few unexpected twists, and the story should have a satisfying ending.
Which, of all your characters, do you think is the most like you?
Of all my characters, I think the person most like myself is my protagonist Charlotte Ross's Aunt Nettie because she's a woman who seems younger than her years, is obsessed with good health, eats a lot of vegetarian meals, and supports the organic way of life.
Why did you pick your particular genre?
I chose to write stories because I've always loved to read them. As a life-long mystery buff and a hopeless romantic, what else could I write? I decided to add a little romance to my mysteries to give the story some heart, and hopefully keep the reader interested enough after the mystery is solved to continue reading to find out if the characters actually get together in the end.
What makes your books different from others out there in this genre?
My mysteries are a little different from others in the genre because, instead of the sleuth actually solving the crime, mine inadvertently falls into the solution as if by accident, which makes her potentially the next murder victim, and she ends up having to be rescued in the end.
What can we expect from you in the future?
Right now I'm working on the final novel in this series about two capricious friends who's misadventures induce them to become amateur sleuths. The next novel is titled Ever After. In it, I hope to tie up all the loose ends and bring the series to a satisfying conclusion.
Where can we find you?
Once Upon a Crime is available at: