An Interview with best selling author Eva Marie Everson

I am beyond thrilled to have Eva Marie Everson as my special guest today. I’ve known this outstanding lady since starting my chapter of Word Weavers here in Illinois. She is the founder and president of Word Weavers International. Word Weavers made a profound effect on my life and I’m honor to have her grace my blog.

Yeah, a bit of a fan. Welcome Eva. I like to start by asking authors to share a little about their writing journey.

  I’ve written as far back as I can remember, and before I could put pen to paper, I made up stories and acted them out in the backyard of my childhood home. In 1996, I began writing for a children’s ministry. Then, in 1997, I began working on my first novel. Somehow, I knew it would be published! And it was; it was my third book published of the forty I’ve published since.

Forty is an impressive number. What is your latest published project?

  Dust

What inspired you to write your book?

The book came as an idea that formed after hearing the song Dust in the Wind by the 1970s rock band KANSAS. I questioned whether the lines in the chorus were true—are we just “dust in the wind” or do our lives really matter? And what about those who seem to be the “ordinary lives” of “ordinary people”? Can they leave extraordinary legacies? The story followed from there.

Wow! You have my attention. I have my copy and can’t wait to dig in. What kind of research was involved with this book?

I didn’t have to do a lot of research for this one. It begins in 1965 and goes to present time, all of which I lived through.

       So did it. 😊

Do you have a favorite verse that resonates with you? John 6: 68: Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

Such a powerful verse.

Here are two questions I love asking authors.

If you could go back in time and give one piece of advice for your younger self about writing, what would that be?

 Don’t wait. Do it.

Who is your best support system to keep you focused on your writing?

 My Word Weavers Page 6 group.

Word Weavers is a wonderful supportive on so many levels.

Writers are told to read. What is your favorite genre to read for fun?

I read a variety for fun and I am hopelessly hooked on anything by Richard Paul Evans. We don’t write alike, but my books are often next to his on bookshelves (Evans/Everson). So, since he is a multi-multi-multi bestseller, that doesn’t hurt me too much! 😊

I’ll have to check him out.

Before you go, I want to know where is your favorite place to write?

 In my office. I seem to slide into another world when I’m here (I’m here now).

Thanks so much for stopping by.

I’m posting the back cover copy of Dust to tantalize my readers.

Can an ordinary life leave an extraordinary legacy?

In 1977, when nineteen-year-old Allison Middleton receives a proposal of marriage from Westley Houser, she eagerly accepts, having no idea the secret Westley carries—a secret that will change Allison’s life forever. But Allison rises to the challenge of raising Westley’s toddling daughter as though she were her own.

Over the course of their lifetime together, Allison, Westley, and Michelle form the strong bond of family. As Allison struggles with infertility and finding her way during a time of great change for women, others—some she knows and others whom she never meets—brush and weave against the fabric of her life, leaving her with more questions than answers.

From teen bride to grandmother, Allison’s life chronicles the ups and downs of an ordinary woman’s life to examine the value of what we all leave behind.

More about Eva Marie Everson

Eva Marie Everson is a multiple award-winning bestselling author of both fiction and nonfiction. She is the president of Word Weavers International, the director of Florida Christian Writers Conference, the managing editor of Firefly Southern Fiction, and a wife, mother, and grandmother. She and her husband are owned by a very spoiled cat. They make their home in Central Florida.

Connect with Eva Marie on social media

www.EvaMarieEversonAUTHOR.com

Eva Marie Everson’s Southern Novels on Facebook

Eva Marie Everson on Instagram

Eva Marie Everson on Pinterest

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Cozy up with a Christmas Novella

The Holiday season can be a busy time of year. For me it’s not Christmas without reading a few Christmas novels. It’s a tradition as beloved as watching the cheesy Hallmark movies. If you can’t read a whole novel why not a novella?

Let me share a few I’ve read this year.

A Door County Christmas

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All four novellas are set in Door County, all have a Christmas cactus in the mix and each has healing framed in humor.

Backcover copy

.In this new and updated release of a popular Christmas novella collection, peer behind the closed doors of a Wisconsin tourist town gone dormant for the winter season. Watch as the drama and romance start to heat up—just as Lola the innkeeper promised her four single friends a year ago when she gifted them with her prayers and a Christmas cactus. Will each woman find love—along with cactus blooms—as promised?

 

If you only have time to read one Christmas novella I strongly recommend The ornament Keeper.

The Ornament Keeper.

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Eva Marie Everson is a fav author of mine. She writes southern fiction that keeps the reader engaged and in the scene until the last word on the last page. The main characters in this novella are married with a family and a messed-up relationship. As a reader we get to see the problems. It takes the couple a bit longer to figure it out. Ornaments play a key role in revealing things to the reader. I loved it. Read it in a few hours.

Back Cover copy:

Award-winning author Eva Marie Everson wraps up a Christmas story of hope, love, and forgiveness just in time for the holidays. The Ornament Keeper, a contemporary Christmas novella, features Felicia and Jackson Morgan who are spending their first Christmas apart after twenty years of marriage. But a lifetime of gifted ornaments helps Felicia piece together the story of their marriage and the one mistake of unforgiveness she made before they said, “I do.” Can these memory-filled ornaments reunite this family before Christmas? Only time will tell.

For all my historical romance readers you’ll love Mary Conneally’s collection.

Three Christmas Novellas: Longhorn Christmas, The Sweetest Gift, and The Christmas Candle.

Three aweet stories that take you back to a different time and remind you of the true meaning of Christmas. I was particularly interested in The Sweet Gift as it is based on her great grandparents love story.

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Back cover copy:

Three previously released Christmas novellas.
Longhorn Christmas
Netty Lewis, a lonely young widow is saved from a raging mama longhorn by a passing cowboy who’s been wandering since the end of the Civil War.
She needs help surviving her rugged life and caring for Jeremiah, her young son. And that means rounding up a nice-sized herd of wild-as-wolves longhorns.
Netty and Roy, along with Jeremiah begin a journey toward Christmas, family, home and love.
And a herd of longhorns are making the way hard.

A sweet re-telling of The Gift of the Magi–with a happy ending
The Sweetest Gift
She longs for music. He needs a valuable horse to improve his herd.
When Christmas comes the gift they truly give is the gift of love.

The Christmas Candle
A lonely widower with a pair of out-of-control sons he never got to know while their mother was alive.
A woman with a love of nature and beauty and scent…and the little boys seem determined to destroy her way of life.
A feisty Ozark mountain granny who doesn’t put up with much nonsense.
The gift of a candle for Christmas and a Christ child who is a perfect match for this scent of heaven.

Grab a blanket, your favorite beverage and snuggle up with a Christmas story. Share in the comments your favorite Christmas novel, novella or collection. Maybe it will inspire someone for a last minute Christmas gift.

 

 

 

Computer Meltdown-Oh No!

computer meltdownThis past week my sweet hubby spent days trying to rescue my computer from meltdown. The Microsoft tech my husband spoke with on the third day really knew his stuff and remotely fixed everything. Hurrah.

The lesson learned. Don’t put off repairs. My computer was acting up and I kept putting off taking it in for cleaning, repairs, whatever it needed. After all, I had to write. Edits, proposals, blog posts—the list goes on. They were all due soon.

Here are the horrendous scenarios

It kept acting up. Widows 10 kept trying to load. Temporary crash while doing a proposal. Recovered the proposal, sent it off. Windows 10 tried to load again. Loaded Windows 10. Big Mess. Hubby talked to computer geek. Followed suggestions. Widows 10 installed. Now no Word program. No camera and no audio. Can’t write. Can’t do online critiques. Great! Hubby went back to the cyber drawing board and called Microsoft a few times. Now all is restored. At least where Microsoft 365 is concerned.

And then

Hub reinstalled Scrivener but I have to find the docs to place back in program. That’s where I construct my stories and rearrange scenes, outline ideas. In other words, my next novel creations are in their infancy somewhere in my pc.

You know it will happen

And did I mention my editor sent my MS to me for some additional edits when I had no Word program? Those are the things writer’s nightmares are made of. If not for my phone and mini tablet, I would have been unable to access my emails and send a note to my editor.

 broken computerBiggest lesson

My computer is important to my writing career. I must invest in programs, updates and even be willing to replace it sooner than later. I’d backed up my novel and proposals on a stick. But all my other stuff would have been lost if things had gotten worse. Microsoft has a cloud storage I’ll be using with this new version. Save your work in more than one place. A stick, the cloud, and external hard drive. Eva Marie Everson emails her latest draft to herself every day. If something happened to her computer she has a copy that can easily be restored.

Don’t put off keeping your PC in good working order. Runners don’t wear ratty tennis shoes. Cyclist don’t ride bikes with bent wheels. Dog groomers have their scissors and styling blades sharpened often. And painters don’t use rickety ladders.  If you are serious about your wordsmithing keep your equipment in good shape.

It won’t be long and docx will be the only acceptable format for publishers. They move with technology so we must as well. Keep your receipts and turn them into your tax preparer. Get an external hard drive, sticks, and subscribe to a cloud storage space. Don’t be like others we’ve all heard about who lost their complete manuscript due to a computer malfunction. The latest version of Word saves your work even when your power dies or you have a temporary crash. But if your computer has to be wiped because of a virus that has shut ‘er down, you may be frantically trying to recreate your masterpiece from memory.

How do you back up your documents and keep your work protected? Leave a comment inquiring minds want to know. 

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Writing a Novel From a Screenplay

I want to welcome Eva Marie Everson to Writer’s Patchwork today. One of my fave authors I am excited to do this interview. She has graciously agreed to let me pick her creative brain. Today I want to ask her how to write in reverse.  Eva Marie was given the opportunity to write Unconditional the Novel

Author Eva Marie Everson

which was released in conjunction with its movie counterpart Unconditional. Starting with a screenplay to develop a novel must have its own set of challenges. My readers are anxious to learn how you did it.

Have you ever converted a screenplay to a novel before?

No, I had not, but I had been teaching fiction courses using movies as a learning tool for years, so I felt I was up for the challenge.

 

What are the biggest challenges you face with this project?

I can’t say I had a “big” challenge. Of course I doubted ever so slightly that I could pull it off, but the more I wrote, the more I knew I could.

I know that Papa Joe was a real person and you had the privilege of spending time with him. How much more of his story is in the novel than we see on the screen? What was some background that you don’t get from the movie?

For example, I asked him about his illness and he was able to give me so much more detail. I asked him about some of the issues in prison; he graciously explained. And, I asked his wife Denise what drew him to her when they first met. I got to throw that in as well.

I suspect that Samantha Crawford is a fictious character created to help drive the theme.  The movie gives us a very visual back-story of Sam’s life.  Because she is a story book artist the use of illustrations is very effective.  The rain gave the viewers the feeling of sadness and loss.  I love how you were able to build that same feeling of loss differently though words.

Explain how you reconstructed the on-screen scenes to paper?

Mostly in tears! I realized after a while that Sam hates the rain because it was the rain that drove Billy out the night he was killed, so she blamed the rain. Even though she had written that wonderful story about Firebird, she couldn’t see the truth behind her own words. So, I made the rain a “character” of sorts. Also, I had just gone through a deep grief and was getting through the final stages when I wrote Unconditional, the Novel. So, I allowed myself to hurt to the very core of my being … and then, when I’d bled all over the keyboard, I started typing.

Are you a plotter or pantster and how did that influence how you followed the screenplay story line?

I’m both when I work on my own novels. This time, I had a plot. I was able to create some background — for example, how Billy and Samantha met, fell in love, why they didn’t have children — but the rest was from the brilliant mind of Brent McCorkle, who wrote the screenplay and directed the film.

Often when a novel is converted to the big screen lots of liberty is taken in order to tell the story in under two hours. How much liberty were you allowed to reverse the process? What kinds of things did you add?  

Well, as I mentioned, I added some back story to Sam and Billy’s life together and I was able to add some facts about Papa Joe and Denise. I’m also able to add setting. What people are wearing. What they can hear … smell… see… touch and taste. I only had to slip inside their skin.

When you write a novel from your own ideas you decide how your characters are going to look, mannerism and weaknesses.  Did watching the actor’s adaptations of the characters limit your creativity?

No, because the producers chose wonderful actors!

Did you add more details to the secondary characters such as Denise or Anthony?

Denise, yes. I called her and we talked for a while. There’s a scene when she and Sam are talking about how much she loves Joe … that came from my conversation with Denise. Little things Denise said and did came just from what I got from the real Denise on the phone.  I wanted to keep Anthony as much a mystery as possible–which is understandable when you see the movie or read the book. But I had fun with his apartment. Describing it. Knowing I had to get Sam out of the apartment quickly when “T” comes home unexpectedly while she is rummaging through his things. That one scene led me to ask, “How did she get out?” That’s when I came up with the back door … 🙂

What did you learn from this experience that added to your writing toolbox?

That I absolutely loved the whole process and that I’d do it again and again. I also learned what I am capable of doing in a short period of time.

 

Tell us about your latest writing project.

I just turned in the final book in the Cedar Key trilogy for Baker/Revell. This one is titled Slow Moon Rising (the other two are Chasing Sunsets and Waiting for Sunrise). I’m currently working on a novel for Abingdon called The Last Will in Testament, which is a new stretch for me because it’s a Rom-Com.

I loved reading Chasing Sunset and Waiting for Sunrise. Can’t wait for Slow Moon Rising and The Last Will and Testament. Thanks so much for visiting me today. May Jesus continue to bless your writing talent.

Follow Eva Marie Eversons’s blogs and website. You will find a lot of good stuff there.

My 1 Writer, 1 Day Blog: http://tinyurl.com/46ond24

My Southern Voice Blog: http://tinyurl.com/4lm2wn4

New Website: http://www.EvaMarieEversonAuthor.com

The Magic of Belle Isle Inspires Writers

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Often when I watch a movie I find some excellent take-way value. After watching Magic of Belle Isle I found a treasure. The main character, Monte Wildhorn, an author whose passion for writing died with his wife is taken to Belle Isle by his nephew(under protest) in hopes of rekindling it.  Monte has no intention of ever writing again. Alcohol and the dog that came with the home areh is only companions. That changes when he meets his neighbors, the O’Neals. A single mother with three girls who disturb his grumpy existence. Ten-year old Finn (short for Finnegan) O’Neal offers to pay Monte to teach her to imagine. Charlotte O’Neal’s piano playing lifts his soul and Fin’s determination to understand how to write a story inspires him. He finds his muse again.

The scene that captured my writer’s heart and reminded me why I write took place between Finn and Wildhorn. He points down the road and asks her what she sees.

“Nothing.”

“Try harder –tell me what you don’t see.”

The quizzical look on her face is priceless.

Later Finn understands as she looks out the window toward the beach. Monte again asks her what she doesn’t see. This time she weaves a tale about a girl being pursued by a man.  Her imagination is ignited as she adds to the tale. The girl tricks the villain into going into the cellar where she slams the cellar door and secures it with a broom until the police arrive. Finn explains that she and a neighbor boy like to hide in the cellar.

Monte commends her imagination and using what she knows.

These two points are priceless. Writing about what you don’t see and writing what you know.

Writing what you know

Recently I have been reading Eva Marie Everson’s Cedar Keys Series. Eva has vacationed in Cedar Keys on several occasions. The setting is so familiar to her that the character movements feel natural.

Brandilyn Collins experienced Lyme disease and from that wrote the suspense thriller Over the Edge drawing from her own experience battling the disease.

Jerry Jenkins grew up around law enforcement. His father was chief of police. This experience makes his Precinct 11 series so believable.

Use your imagination to write what you don’t see

Seeing the unseen comes naturally to those with vivid imaginations. A painter captures the light on canvas, the sculpture sees a figure in flawed marble.  A writer sees a stranger lurking in the shadows of a pleasant tree-lined street.

Like Monte I wasn’t feeling in a writing mood.  I found my muse again as I watched Monte rekindle his through his association with the O’Neal family.  As my mind pondered the insights I was gaining from Magic of Belle Isle I was inspired to write this blog post.

What inspires you?