Geraldine Evans is the author of seventeen books, thirteen of which belong to her popular Rafferty & Llewellyn mystery series. Below she shares her books and her thoughts on writing.
BH: Dead Before Morning is your first book in your Rafferty & Llewellyn series. Could you tell us a little about it?
GE: It was published in hb the US in 1994 by St Martin’s Press. It’s almost ready for publishing as an ebook on kindle, iPad, iPhone, nook, kibo, android, etc. It introduces DI Joseph Aloysius Rafferty, some of his rumbustious family and DS Dafyd Llewellyn, his straightlaced sidekick. In this book, a naked girl is found murdered in a private psychiatric hospital, her face horribly mutilated. Rafferty has to solve the crime as well as get one of his many cousins out of jail. And it is only when he does his good deed for the day with regard to the latter, that the fates help him solve the murder.
BH: How about your most recent installment in the series, Death Dance?
GE: Detective Inspector Joseph Rafferty is getting married; the last thing he needs is another murder that puts his plans in jeopardy. Adrienne Staveley was strangled, and is soon revealed as a woman with several lovers, a stepson who hated her and a husband who tramped the streets rather than spend time in her company. Altogether, there are a number of suspects who could have reason to kill her. Another possible disruption to Rafferty’s plans and his heart occur when some of the fingerprints in the Staveleys’ home are revealed to be those of his fiancee, Abra. She’d never mentioned knowing the dead woman, moreover, her prints had been found in John Staveley’s bedroom. Was Abra cheating on him even before they married? Or was she a possible murderer? His mind in turmoil, he wasn’t sure which option he preferred. But, somehow, he must put his problems aside and find the murderer.
BH: Which character do you feel is most like you? Did the similarities make it easier or more difficult to write the character?
GE: Definitely Joe Rafferty. He is me – the me I would be if I were a man and a cop. The similarities made it a lot easier to write about him. He’s a bit more of a rule-breaker than I am, but our sense of humour is the same. There’s something of my mother in Ma Rafferty, as well as a bit pinched from the various ladies I used to know when we went to Dublin for the summer holidays when I was a kid. But having said that, there’s a little of me in Llewellyn as well, as I’m quite a studious type.
BH: Which book in the series would you encourage new fans to begin with? Should they start with the first book, or can they pick up somewhere in the middle?
GE: It’s not necessary to start at book one as each book can be read as a standalone. But I suppose all authors prefer readers to start from the beginning and learn about the characters gradually. But if they would like to start with my favourite book, I still think I like Dying For You best as it’s the one where I get my poor old Rafferty deep inthe mire. It’s number six in the series and came out in, I think, 2005 in the US.
BH: Is it hard to write from a male perspective? Do you have any tips for authors who wish to write from the perspective of the opposite sex?
GE: I don’t find it hard, but then I’m not a very girly woman; I was never very fond of pink, for instance, even when I was a little girl. Tips. Hmm. I would say try not to make them too tough. All men have their feminine side, even the most macho types. I’m not saying have them spend hours prinking and preening, but make them rounded, rather than a stereotype. Think about the men in your own life – they will all have their weaknesses and emotional times; maybe use them to help you build your characters.
BH: Tell us a little about your path to publication.
GE: It was a long one! I started writing in my early twenties, but I never finished anything. It was only when I hit the milestone age of thirty that I really got down to it. I wrote a novel a year for six years, only the last of which was published. That was Land of Dreams, a romance set in the Canadian Arctic (don’t ask!). When my next romance was also rejected, I turned to crime and – apart from one historical novel Reluctant Queen, about Henry VIII’s little sister, which was written under the name Geraldine Hartnett – I have written crime novels ever since. All during the years I was rejected, I had also written articles on subjects like historical biography, writing and New Age and these were published, not just in the UK, but in foreign magazines also.
BH: What is your writing schedule like?
GE: I’m not an early riser. I generally start writing around 10.00 a m and carry on till around 6.30 or 7.00 p m. I’ll often continue to write later in the evening as well, though nowadays, I tend to give myself the weekends off (if I don’t, my husband moans! Quite rightly, really. He married me because he likes my company, after all).
Of course, as with other writers, I have other calls on my time. I’ve just finished proofreading my latest Rafferty novel, Deadly Reunion, which is out in the UK at the end of February 2011 (out in the US a few months later). Next, I have to do the final proofread of the ebook version of Dead Before Morning, after which I’ll have to get myself in gear to get the next out of print Rafferty novel, Death Line, ready for epubbing. I give talks and interviews. I do all my own marketing and produce flyers, bookmarks, news releases and postcards.. I also interview other writers for my blog, which I started recently. I use facebook, I tweet and belong to various Author websites, where I post and which I regularly update. So altogether, I keep quite busy.
BH: What does your workspace look like?
GE: I do most of my work downstairs in the living room by the fire (nearer the kettle for tea!). It’s quite a small room and is not very tidy (no Domestic Goddess, me!). I used to work all the time in my study upstairs, a small boxroom as we call them in the UK, but since Mark, my stepson, gave me one of his spare laptops, it’s been wonderful to have the freedom to work anywhere. I’ll get my husband to take a picture. The living room’s a bit of a shambles at the moment because I was busy yesterday evening wrapping Christmas presents for my family (nearly done. Only four more to get, though we also have four December birthdays and three in January L). Wish my lot went in for a bit of family planning!
BH: What is your favorite book on the craft of writing?
GE: I like the one by Lawrence Block. I can’t find it at the moment and I can’t quite remember the title (From Plot to Print?), but I’ve read that from cover to cover many times. I love his humour. Some writers who try to teach about writing get a bit too precious, but I’d definitely recommend his book.
BH: Any words on advice to aspiring writers for keeping the hope alive?
GE: I know it’s difficult. I’ve been rejected many times. Have a cry, then dry your eyes, grit your teeth and say: ‘I’ll show ‘em’! Try something different and shorter, like an article, something you don’t need to put your heart and soul into Anyone can research facts for a non-fiction piece and put them in order with a bit of flair. Don’t forget to do your research on your intended market, too, regarding what their requirements are (word length, subject matters covered, etc). As I mention on the Advice Page on my website (www.geraldineevans.com), this will, hopefully, give you something, maybe several somethings, to put on your writer’s CV, which should lead editors to at least consider you a professional. Getting non-fiction published is a lot easier than trying to place a novel. But with regard to your novel, please don’t follow the herd with the latest hot ticket. All would-be writers do that. Do your own thing and write what matters to you: that way, you’ll stand out from the crowd.
BH: Thank you, Geraldine, for the interview and for your thoughts on writing and publishing! For more of Geraldine, you can visit her in various places on the internet:
Website: http://www.geraldineevans.com Here you can visit Geraldine’s blog, find links to her books on Amazon, and read all sorts of writerly advice.
Blog: http://wwwgeraldineevanscom.blogspot.com (If this link doesn’t work, try going from Geraldine’s website.)
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