Welcome to the Author Spotlight, Eva and congratulations on the release of both ‘The Last Gladiatrix’ and ‘Marriage Makeover’. You write across a variety of genres : rural, contemporary and even back in the times of the Roman Empire. Do you have a favourite?
Thank you. I love them all! I read all sorts of romance and when it comes to writing I can’t seem to settle on one kind to write. Variety is the spice of life, so they say.
In your latest release, Marriage Makeover, you tackle the weighty and emotional subject of a marriage broken by the loss of a baby, which is quite a change from the Roman empire. How did you go switching from one to the other?
I wrote Marriage Makeover first and I have no idea where the story line came from. It turned up one day demanding to be written. Marriage Makeover was incredibly hard to write. The storyline is not all dark drama – there’s a cheeky dog named Ernest and a fabulous best friend, Davan. They both provide moments of levity.
As for my historical romance, The Last Gladiatrix, it started as a short story aimed at an anthology. I loved the characters so much I kept it and lengthened the manuscript to novella. It never occurred to me to write historical romances before but now I’ve started it seems I can’t stop. I’m half way through my next one which tells the story of a minor character who appears in The Last Gladiatrix. Stay tuned!
Marriage Makeover is due to be released on May 24, can you give us a sneak peek?
Sure thing. Here’s an excerpt:
Nick could think of no better way to end the week than sharing a drink or two with good mates. The atmosphere at home between him and Tally had become so weird and tense lately you could almost cut it with a knife. Everything he said seemed to cause a fight. Here with his friends, he didn’t have to worry about saying the wrong thing.
Laughing at a joke someone told, he took a drink of his beer. He had no intention of getting drunk tonight. The rain started before he left home and he’d decided to take the car. Normally he would walk the mile to and from the pub. The beer began to take effect, his muscles relaxed and his guard came down. He exhaled and settled in to enjoy the night.
Female laughter rang out across the club. The girls had arrived resembling a flock of colorful birds in all their finery. Screeching like cockatoos. Nick winced at a particularly raucous laugh. Later they would gravitate over to the boys and they’d all have dinner together in the club restaurant. The gang had been doing the same thing for a decade and tonight the familiarity of routine soothed him.
He turned back to the boys who were hotly arguing the capabilities of the players in tomorrow’s football match. The sudden increase in noise coming from the girls’ table got his attention. The girls were up on their feet, laughing and talking, hugging someone. Their super-hyped animation got him curious as to who had them so excited. Then he saw her, Tally, and his heart stopped in his chest.
Talia looked beautiful, her hair tumbling around her shoulders reflecting golden light. Lately it had been scrunched up on top of her head sticking out every which way. She had makeup on too, something she never wore at home… He swallowed hard. Those jeans of hers hugged her bottom in a way which ought to be considered criminal. Charges should be laid. Her t-shirt skimmed in all the right places. He couldn’t take her eyes off her.
“Is that who I think it is?” His friend, Greg, nudged him. “Did you know Talia was in town?”
Nick nodded. “She’s staying at my place.”
“What?” Greg nearly choked on his beer. “You’re a dark horse. Kept that nicely under wraps.” He leaned back against the bar and joined Nick in contemplating Tally. “So…reconciliation on the cards?”
“What? No, nothing like that.” Nick had trouble focusing on anything other than his wife. Why did she have to be so damn hot? And why did she have to be here?
“You’re a foolish man Nick Carmichael. If I had a wife that hot I’d be hell sure of reconciling with her fine…”
“Greg! That’s my wife you’re talking about.”
Greg shrugged. “No reconciliation means no wife. How many years has it been?”
“It doesn’t matter. We are still married and Talia is still my wife” said Nick between clenched teeth.
“I’m just saying.” Greg shrugged and returned to expanding on his theory of football tactics for the coming game.
Nick’s gaze followed Tally as she got a drink from the bar and settled in with the girls. So much for a relaxing night out.
Out of all the characters you’ve created, which one is your favourite and why?
Super tough question! I think my favourite hero is always the one I’m currently writing. I kind of fall in love with them. My favourite heroine is really hard to call. It would be like choosing a favourite sibling. I love them all for different reasons. Davan, the sidekick character in Marriage Makeover is one of my favourite supporting acts. He’s adorable. I wish I had a real life Davan of my own.
What process do you go through in order to create three dimensional characters?
This is both fun and challenging. When a storyline presents itself it’s accompanied with the essence of the characters. From there I sketch out how they’d look physically. If I can find a picture of someone who matches that’s a big help. Then I get the character to write me a letter telling me who they are and what’s happening in their lives. I’m always surprised by what they tell me and I feel as if I’ve gotten to know them and their motivations. The letter lets me ‘hear’ the voice of my character.
What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve received?
Write with brevity. In other words, use fewer words and make them of better quality. I try to make my stories all killer and no filler. This makes following an arc of story to 50,000+ words quite challenging. And find a good critique partner. Mine is invaluable.
What do you wish you’d known when you started writing?
I wish someone had prepared me for the promotional side of the business. It was a very steep and sometimes overwhelming learning curve and I’m still learning. I never realised how much time promotion soaked up and how hard you have to work at it. Just locating opportunities is a full time job!
What’s the next project you’re working on, and how many other manuscripts do you have in the pipeline?
I’m currently working on Barbarian Bride, the next book in my Romancing The Romans series. I’m about two thirds through the MS. Then I have two rural romances lined up waiting. The first is about an Aussie girl who returns from Paris after ten years dancing at the famous Lido to a farm she’s inherited. She knows nothing about farming and thinks she can look the tough stuff up on Google or get it from a book. Needless to say she needs help but sometimes knowing who to accept help from when you’re new in town can be a tricky prospect.
Are you a panster or a plotter, or both?
I’m a combo. Is there a word for that? A Plonster? A Panter? Anyway, I like to create a framework of chapter content then wait and see if the characters agree with me.
Can you tell your readers something about yourself they’d never guess?
I once got to award the medals for Men’s Ice Skating at the Goodwill Games back in 2001. It was quite by accident. The person who was meant to award the medals never showed up. I was there as a guest in the VIP section when an official came running in looking for a volunteer. Right place, right time. And boy, do those skaters have tight buns!
Eva is giving away an E-copy of all of her Contemporary romance novels, including: T’was The Night Before Christmas, The Reluctant Wedding Planner and Marriage Makeover. If you’d like to be in the running to win, just leave a comment for Eva.
This contest is open world-wide and will be drawn on May 29th, 2013.
If you’d like to learn more about Eva or contact her, you can find all her links below: