Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Frances Evesham Interview

How many books have you published?
I've published seven books in all. Two are set in Victorian England (The Thatcham Hall Mysteries),
and a series of five 'Agatha Christie' style murder mysteries set in the present day in a small English seaside town in Somerset.

How did you become interested in writing?
I've always loved reading, the first step to becoming a writer. The first books I remember loving were The Borrowers, the Moomins, the Narnia stories and any book about horses. I began to scribble in notebooks, and when, later, I heard about the Bronte sisters, I developed tiny notebooks, like the ones they used, in the hope that their genius may rub off on me!

What is a day in the life of an author like? Do you write a certain number of words, do you write in the morning or evening, etc?
I write in fits and starts, as I can't stop once I get into a story, and when it's finished I like to take a break. Also, a writer these days has to spend considerable time marketing, so I devote one day a week to non-book writing activities.

Do you plot the entire book first, then write or plot as you go?
I plan very carefully, because there needs to be a coherent thread throughout the book, leading to the murderer. I plan the overall story line, and then write short synopses of each scene. Then, I begin to write, and often completely change the story as better ideas pop into my head. Like many writers, I find my characters develop a life of their own, and I've even had to change the identity of a villain. In that case, I had to go back and revise the entire book, but I was delighted with the result.

Do you use real people and places as models for your books?
I set each story in a place I know. The Exham on Sea books are set in Somerset, and Libby, my amateur detective, lives in a small town very like my own, but with a different name. I don't want to offend any neighbors! The characters begin with characteristics of people I have known, but these develop and change. I write a background for each person in the story before I begin writing the book, so they are very real to me.

Who is your favorite author?
I love other mystery writers, and Agatha Christie is at the top of the pile, for her plots and wicked sense of humor. I adore the author character who appears in several of her books, called Ariadne Oliver, who gives wonderfully stringent opinions on writing that I suspect must be some of Christie's own opinions. She's especially good in "Mrs McGinty's Dead" where she describes one of her own inventions, a Finnish detective: "Of course he's idiotic, but people seem to like him." Perhaps Christie felt like that about Hercule Poirot.

How do you promote your books?
I invite people to sign up to my newsletter, (at so I can tell them directly about new books and , especially, any special promotional prices. I send a free Kitchen Cheat Sheet to all new members of this VIP group, as a welcome. I occasionally speak at events in the local area, and have strong links with some other writers. That means we can introduce our readers to each others' books, which is a win-win as my readers hear about other authors they might enjoy, and new readers can hear about my books. I'm thrilled when a reader contacts me, through my website or directly through email after I send out a newsletter, and I've discovered readers all over the world who are rapidly becoming friends. I don't do very much social media, but maintain a Twitter and Facebook account.

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