An Interview with Geraldine Evans, writer of Crime, Romantic and historical fiction and short Non-fiction.
What a versatile writer she is: two different crime series, a romance, short non-fiction on a variety of subjects, and in 2004, as well as two crime novels, her first historical novel. When asked what made her try writing so many different things Geraldine replied:
"I suppose I just like variety. But after starting out writing romantic novels, only the sixth of which was ever published, I decided I'd try my hand at crime novels. I sent Dead Before Morning, my first attempt in the genre, to Macmillan, the second publisher on my submission list, and it was pulled out of their slush pile and published in 1993."
That was the first in the Rafferty & Llewellyn series. The seventh, Bad Blood, was published in December 2004. All Geraldine’s crime novels have a strong humorous element. So what made her decide to write humorous crime novels rather than more serious crime?
Geraldine tells us "I suppose it's just that I've always found the more humorous crime novel doubly entertaining. You not only have the mystery to solve, but the characters generally get themselves in to all kinds of entertaining scrapes as well. Anyway, after I decided that was what I wanted to do, I came up with DI Joseph Aloysius Rafferty, Catholic-raised and secondary modern educated, from a working-class family far from averse to back-of-a-lorry bargains - particularly his Ma, Kitty Rafferty. For his foil I hit on Sergeant Dafyd Llewellyn - the university-educated only son of a Methodist minister - a morally upright Welshman who thought the law should apply to everybody - even the mothers of detective inspectors. All I had to do then was write the novel… “
Geraldine also has a second crime series on the go - the Casey & Catt series. The police characters are DCI Will (Willow Tree) Casey, whose parents are nreconstructed old hippies and Sergeant Thomas Catt, the politically-incorrect
product of children’s homes.
Geraldine’s first historical novel, Reluctant Queen, was published in March 2004, under the name Geraldine Hartnett. This tells the story of Mary Tudor, Henry VIII's younger sister. What attracted Geraldine to this character in particular?
She tells us "I love the Tudor period. The characters are all so much larger than life. And although I had only learned a little about Mary's life, it intrigued me enough to try to find out more. And then I discovered the rest of the story of her love for Charles Brandon, whose father had saved the life of Henry and Mary's father, Henry VII, at the Battle of Bosworth, and although Henry pushed the teenaged Mary in to marrying the old and sickly King Louis X11 of France for State reasons, Mary was determined not to let Henry force such a marriage on to her a second time. So she schemed to defy Henry and marry Charles Brandon."
Does Geraldine have a typical writing day as most authors seem to?
"No. Not really. When I started out, I was working five full days a week as an office temp. Now, although I no longer have a day job, I still work in the evenings. I used to work a seven day week, but now, thankfully, it's down to five and a half or six."
All writers seem to settle on a favourite writing method. Some, particularly crime writers, have said they prefer to do their plotting from the end to the beginning. Is that Geraldine’s method of writing?
‘'No. For my crime novels at least, my brain thinks in scenes, which I then slot in to place and draft and redraft. I used to have to do a lot of cutting and pasting, but with more experience, I seem to have reduced much of that element and the number of drafts required."
Geraldine has also had articles published on such diverse subjects as history, writing and new age subjects. Owing to the demands of novel writing the articles have been on hold for a while. But it's certainly something she would like to take up again.
With all her experience as a writer, is there any advice Geraldine would give to anyone who might just be starting out on a writing career?
"Yes. Firstly don't try copying writing trends. Write what you want to write - I found my particular niche by looking at what I preferred to read. Secondly, listen to that wise little voice that is telling you, as mine did, that writing romances (or whatever) isn't really your thing. I ignored that little voice. It took six years and six books for one of my romances to get published, yet my very first attempt at a crime novel achieved publication on only its second outing. Thirdly, do make use of professional criticism services. I found their advice invaluable. On the Advice section of my website, would-be writers will find the details of two reputable firms, one of whom I used in the past."
If you would like to know more about Geraldine Evans and her novels, visit her website: www.geraldineevans.com
Appended below, are details of Geraldine’s novels, non-fiction and their publishing details:
Dead Before Morning
(Pub: Macmillan 1993, St Martin’s Press, H/B, NY 1993, Worldwide P/B, US 1995)
Down Among The Dead Men
(Pub: Macmillan 1994, St Martin’s Press, H/B, NY 1994, Worldwide P/B, US 1996)
(Pub: Macmillan 1995, Ulverscroft Large-Print 1997)
The Hanging Tree
(Pub: Macmillan 1996, Ulverscroft Large-Print 1997)
(Pub: Severn House Dec 2002)
Up In Flames
(Pub: Severn House Dec 2003)
Dying For You
(Pub: Severn House, UK June 2004, US August 2004)
Bad Blood (Pub: Severn House, UK Dec 2004, US March 2005)
Love Lies Bleeding
(Pub: Severn House, UK Aug 2005, US Nov 2005)
Land of Dreams
(Romance, Pub: Robert Hale 1991 (first published novel)
(Under the name Geraldine Hartnett
- Historical, Robert Hale
NON-FICTION - ARTICLES
Various, but includes the following:
Carve His Name with Pride (The Life of Grinling Gibbons, the master carver)
Palace of History (The story of Whitehall Palace)
What’s In a Name? (British Place Names)
All published byThe Lady magazine)
Horatio Nelson - East Anglian Courage (Suffolk & Norfolk Life)
Edith Cavell - East Anglian Courage (Norfolk Life)
Articles on writing:
A Cautionary Tale (The dangers of getting a writing idea)
The Proof of the Pudding (Why persistence pays in spite of rejections)
Cartography and Fiction (The importance of drafting a map of series’ locations)
Written in the Stars (Astrology and writing)
Write Lines (Palmistry and the writer)
All published by Writers’ Monthly
Love Lines (Learning More About a Lover)
Published by Dateline Magazine