Today we’ll be looking at the Extravagant Kelly Evans. She answered many questions, and I can’t wait to share them all with you!
Hi, I’m Kelly Evans! I was born in Canada of Scottish extraction and graduated in History and English from McMaster University in Ontario. After graduation I moved to the UK where I worked in the financial sector. While in London I continued my studies in history, focusing on Medieval England and the Icelandic Sagas (with a smattering of Old Norse and Old English – tip: swearing in Old Norse is a really effective conversation stopper!).
I now live in Toronto with my husband Max and two rescue cats (Bear and Wolf). I retired from work earlier this year to write full time. My short stories have been published in numerous magazines and E-zines and my second novel was published in March of this year.
Website: Kelly A Evans
What is your earliest memory of writing an original story?
In middle school, I wrote a series of short horror stories for my best friend that involved the seasons ie. a killer snow drift for winter, a killer leaf pile for fall etc.
I’m curious how dark these stories got since you were only in middle school…
What authors inspire you?
Geoffrey Chaucer, George Orwell, Stephen King, too many really!
Stephen King is popular amongst the Canadian Writers group!
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I write historical fiction and find little tidbits to inspire from the books I read. For my horror stories, everyday life actually, I have a bit of a warped mind and sometimes laugh at inappropriate situations!
Sometimes you just can’t help but laugh!
How do you build your characters?
For my historical fiction I research the heck out of them! I also do psychological sketches for each character. For my horror characters, same really, try to really get into their heads.
Do you have pre-writing routines?
I tidy. I can’t write if the house is messy.
It’s said that an organized space makes us more productive.
What do you do to take a break from writing?
I read! I also play oboe and medieval recorder and watch WAY too much TV.
Is a medieval recorder way less annoying than a regular one?
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
In high school. I wrote for the school newspaper and continued to do so when I got to university.
How do you outline your stories?
Awesome story, I’m a HUGE fan of outlining! I use coloured post it notes with a single comment summarising ideas and then put them up on the wall. Different colours represent different characters, themes, ideas I want to include. I move them around until I’m happy, then write it all down and expand each section until I get detailed outlines for each chapter.
That sounds a little too chaotic for my tastes, but if it works for you then keep it going!
What genre do you write and read in?
I write historical fiction (England, Anglo Saxon/Viking times), horror short stories, and historical horror novels. I read mainly history books, physics books, or historical fiction.
What writing advice would you give to your past self?
Don’t take yourself or criticism too seriously! Listen to what experienced writers have to say. Take breaks when needed, you need to refill that creative cup sometimes, you can’t write on empty.
What piece of advice do you commonly give, but have trouble following yourself?
Turn off the TV! Yeah, I’m really bad at that, SO easily distracted by all the pretty moving pictures.
I tried working in the living room once because my family said I was too anti-social that day. I did no work… Too much T.V. No good!
What time of day are you most productive?
Between 4 in the afternoon and 2 in the morning. I’m a night owl and one of the perks of being retired is I can stay up late!
You’re living the life!
How do you motivate yourself to write when you’d rather not write at all?
I turn off the tv, all the music, log out of all social media and sit down with a blank page and just write. Or I’ll go back and re-read something I’ve written recently and do some editing.
What would you do if you weren’t a writer?
I was in investment banking but I sort of fell into that. I’d love to be an archaeologist!
Will you be the next Indiana Jones?
Quick! Write a paragraph with this prompt: “the darkness rose through the sky.”
“The darkness rose through the sky and surveyed the frozen land below. It liked winter, felt at home, comforted by the cold. It lay down and embraced the snow-blanketed fields like a lover.”
Have you ever taught someone how to write?
I occasionally help out another writing group I’m part of by running one of their weekly Twitter chats about writing, I’ve done chats on using the senses, use of weather, and fairy tales/myths in writing.
How do you work through your rough writing days?
I remember to take it easy on myself. Sometimes you just need to take a day off, a week off, enough time to recharge and reset.
Do you prefer self-publishing or the traditional way?
I’ve tried both and prefer self-publishing. I guess if a really large publishing house wanted my book, I wouldn’t say no!
It’s good to be open minded!
What advice can you give aspiring authors?
Read. Then read more. And then read even more. Take time to learn your craft. And manage your expectations.
And at some point right so you can track your progress.
What is your most prized piece of work?
My first published novel should be but my second is my most prized. The main character is one of my favourites and I had SO much fun writing it.
Aside from writing, what’s your favourite part about the whole process of publishing a book?
Working on the cover! It’s always so exciting to see your vision come to life in front of you!
What character, that you created, would you want to be your best friend?
The main character in my recent historic horror. He’s a medieval physician monk, he knows SO much and has led an interesting life.
How did you feel when you first published any piece of work (novel, essay, short story, etc.)?
I was absolutely in shock. The email had actually gone to my spam folder and I didn’t see it for about a week. Lesson: always check your spam folder!
That’s crazy! It’s a good thing you checked it in time!
What is your favourite book of all time?
1984 by George Orwell, I’ve read it about once a year since, well, 1984.
Do you think you’ll want to keep writing even after you’ve retired?
I retired earlier this year so that I could write even MORE!
What’s your favourite book to movie adaptation?
The Princess Bride, no question. Book to TV adaptation would have to be Wolf Hall.
What project are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on the second novel in my Anglo Saxon England series, and finishing up an article in a series I write about surviving various social situation during the Black Death in England (written by Lady Matilda and done like a 1950s women’s magazine advice column). I’m also spending too much time on marketing my recent historical horror and planning the next in THAT series. Phew.
Thanks so much to Kelly Evans for taking the time to fill out the questions. I hope you have a happy retirement and continue writing fantastic work! Stay tuned for Friday where I have another special guest.
If you have any ideas on what I should write about in my next post, head to the Suggestion Box. I’d love to hear from you.
STRENGTH FROM WITHIN, MY DEBUT NOVEL, IS AVAILABLE NOW IN KINDLE STORES AROUND THE WORLD.
Here’s a couple links to help you find it:
If you need help finding it for your country, let me know and I might have a link. Thanks so much! See you next time 🙂
Photo Cred: Stock Snap