THE WINNER OF EVA'S BOOK, CHASING SUNSETS IS MERRY. CONGRATS - ENJOY THIS BEAUTIFUL BOOK. THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO CAME BY AND JOINED IN THE CONVERSATION!!
I am very pleased to have Eva Marie Everson as my guest. An award-winning author of fiction and nonfiction, her books include Chasing Sunsets (Book One of the Cedar Key Novels), This Fine Life, Things Left Unspoken, The Potlock Club and The Potluck Catering Club series (written with Linda Evans Shepherd) and Reflections of God’s Holy Land: A Personal Journey Through Israel written with Miriam Feinberg Vamoosh. She will be teaching, The Foundations of Fiction Through Film, at the Write-to-Publish Conference, May 30 – June 2. She will also be the keynoter and banquet speaker.
PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT TO BE INCLUDED IN THE DRAWING FOR CHASING SUNSETS, BOOK ONE, CEDAR KEY NOVELS.
Eva, when did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
About the same time I understood if you hold a crayon and put that crayon on a piece of paper, something magical transferred. I don't remember a time in my life when stories didn't dance around in my head. The property I grew up on had a lot of pine trees, which of course means a lot of pine straw during certain times of the year. I would rake the pine straw into the shape of houses and stores. I had my own town in the backyard. Then I would act out the stories in my head. Eventually those stories made their way to paper.
I wrote my first "book" when I was in the eighth grade. The premise was so ridiculous, but all my friends read it and loved it (of course). Today, those same friends (now Facebook friends!) say, "I remember your first book!" and I just want to die. LOL
I didn't follow my dream of writing though. I went into nursing. Then, in 1992 I became very sick and had to stop working. It was during that time God replanted the dream. I wrote for a children's ministry from 1996 to 1997. It was at this time I heard about a group of writers forming and decided to join it, which led to other doors opening for me. I went to ICRS (then called CBA) in July 1999 with an idea and more nerve than I would have ever thought I possessed. Nine days later, I was offered a contract. The rest is... well ... history, as they say.
Describe how you are going to use movies to teach the fiction class at the Write-to-Publish Conference?
This is how I taught myself to write novels, by watching movies. By dissecting them. By studying the characters, the scenes, the motives of the characters that drive the scenes, etc. After a time I came to realize the way I'd taught myself was also a way to teach. I began to use it at writer’s conferences and it was a huge hit. Then, in 2011, I served as an adjunct professor at Taylor University for four months. I used the same method there and, again, it was a hit. If you write fiction or you want to write fiction, and you take this class, you'll certainly never watch a movie the same again. But, I also think you'll never write the same again.
How important is it in the life of a writer to attend a writer’s conferences?
Very important. Not only is the teaching invaluable, but also the networking. Ours can be a very solitary business. We sit in front of our computers in our home offices or at the kitchen table or sometimes at Starbucks. But really, even if we are around coffee-drinking patrons or a family of five, kids running around and the TV blaring, it's still solitary. We need to be with others who understand the words running around in our brains. And, of course, if we want to meet editors and agents, etc., this is the place to do it. I think the years of sending in a manuscript and being "discovered" from the slush pile is pretty much over. I could be wrong, but I don't think so.
Tell us about your latest book, Chasing Sunsets, and how did you discover Cedar Key, the setting of the book?
I went to Cedar Key (not part of the Florida Keys) after the 2004 Florida Hurricane season looking for a new place to get away and write. It. Is. Amazing. It's like this little piece of heaven time forgot. There's nothing pretentious about it. The life there is down home. It's about the sun rising and the sun setting. It's about working hard all day and then sitting out by the water at night with friends in the afterglow of sunset. During one of my trips there, I sat on the balcony of my condo, flipped through a magazine and came across an ad for Liz Claiborne "whites." The ad sparked an idea ... and a three book contract was born. Chasing Sunsets is the first of those books. It deals with a number of issues such as divorce and remarriage, child custody issues, losing a parent, finding an old love, alcoholism ... I had no idea so many stories were within the one until I started getting emails from readers, telling me how "this" element of the book or "that" element of the book affected them. I was really blown away by that.
For anyone who has read Book I, you can go to “Eva Marie Everson’s Cedar Key Novels” on Facebook and see some of my photographs, videos, and learn more about the local flavor of Cedar Key, Florida.
Tell us about your critique group, Word Weavers, and how it became a part of the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild.
That's the same group that formed in 1997 ... there were only five of us, initially. But we grew. I became the first president, a role I held and cherished for about six or seven years. During that time, it became obvious we were doing something right; our writers were getting published quite successfully. When asked, "How can I start a Word Weavers?" I would give the basics and say, "Good luck to you!"
After I turned the role of president over to Larry J. Leech, II and when he was asked that same question, he would give the basics but then form chapters of Word Weavers. He asked me to help with the leadership of the now seven chapters and I accepted.
After two years and according to our new bylaws, he turned the presidency over to someone else, but he, Cheri Cowell, and I remained in the overall leadership.
I've been working for Jerry B. Jenkins' Christian Writers Guild as a mentor for years. Jerry was coming to the Orlando area in 2010 and asked if I could help organize an "Afternoon with Jerry B. Jenkins" in which he would speak to the locals about writing, publishing, and the Guild. I said, "I know the group that can!" Jerry saw what Word Weavers was all about firsthand. He spoke to Larry (who then spoke to Cheri and me) about the Guild acquiring Word Weavers and bringing our concept to groups or potential groups across the country. We made a plan and, in one year, we went from seven chapters within the nation to thirty within the USA and Canada. We’re still growing.
You also took a trip to Israel that changed your life and you co-authored a nonfiction book about that experience. Tell us a little about the trip and the book.
I'm going to talk about that in one of my keynotes, so ...
Tell us about your next project.
I'm working on a few things right now. The second novel in the Cedar Key series is ready for press. I'm nearly done with Book 3. I'm also working on the novelization for a movie to be released in October of this year. "Unconditional" is an amazing movie, based on the true story of Papa Joe Bradford. You can read/see more about it at: http://unconditionalthemovie.com/
What do you like to do to relax when you are not writing?
My husband and I live in a lakefront house. We like boating. We like hanging out by the water with the kids and the grandkids. Cooking out with family and friends. Fishing. I love to read, of course. Knitting. Hiking. Love hiking. Shopping and finding great bargains and I love coffee, but I’m picky about it, too.
One of my favorite things to nurse is my photography habit. I'm so grateful for digital photography I could just dance. (Oh yeah ... I like to dance...)
Don’t forget to leave a comment to be eligible to win a copy of Chasing Sunsets. The contest will end at midnight, Thursday, March 15.