We have hit the time of the year when all the Choc-lit pros’ books start being published and Evonne is no exception.
Which book do you wish you’d written.
Am I allowed to say anything that hits the top of the best seller lists on both sides of the Atlantic? But seriously, this is difficult as there are so many books that I admire, from many favourite authors. I think I might choose a classic – The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey. For those who are not familiar with it, it’s a study of Richard III and the mystery of the Princes in the Tower, conducted as a police inquiry by the fictional policeman who appears in Tey’s mystery stores. It’s such a clever but simple idea, beautifully executed. I think Ricardian scholarship has moved on a bit since it was written, just after the war, and well before the discovery of the grave in the car park, but it is still a fascinating read. It appeals to the academic in me and to my crime writing side.
Which book cover have you looked at and gone that’s amazing.
This has to be The Lost Spells by Jackie Morris and Robert Macfarlane. The book comprises poems – or spells – and some breathtaking wildlife illustrations accompanying them. The owl on the cover is one of my favourites. I saw Jackie doing a live video of one of her paintings as part of the on-line Hay Festival early in lock-down and knew I had to order the book and its predecessor, Lost Words, from my local indie bookshop.
Which book character/s would you protect from the world?
I’m completely stumped by this one. It would likely be a child or an animal, I guess, but I can’t think of one.
Which was the last book that broke your heart.
I can confidently say that there hasn’t been one for a long time, and when there was, which I cannot remember, it was by accident. I am a completely escapist reader. I know I am quite unusual in this, but I give tear-jerkers a very wide birth and if anything I’m reading seems to be heading that way, it usually gets consigned to the DNF pile. I’m OK with mayhem, but not with tears. I can cry easily in real life, I want something different from my reading.
Which book would you make your child/ren read.
Whatever took their attention, within reason. I think the impulse to read is the important thing. I was a voracious reader, encouraged by my mother and grandmother. I also apparently had a taste for Shakespeare by the age of four, so I may have been unusual.
Which book would you rewrite in a different genre.
I have always wanted to ‘translate’ one of the Jacobean plays into a modern setting – one of Webster’s tragedies, for preference. As the plays are incredibly dark, the body count is astronomical, almost everyone ends up dead and there is no Happy Ever After, it would be a big ask to make that into a romantic suspense, so it will probably stay on the wish list forever.
If you could write any genre which one would it be?
I’m very happy writing romantic suspense. It took a long time and much experimenting for me to find my genre so I have no plans to change, although supernatural elements and maybe time slip, or possibly parallel stories, do appeal, so I’d never quite say never on that score.
If you could redesign any book cover which one, would you choose?
I’m not sure about re-designing. I’ve been very happy with the cover for all my own books. I do have a hankering after the lovely classic covers that the British Library uses for its reissues of Golden Age crime, especially the ones with trains, but I’d have to write the sort of book that went inside them for that. My WIP features an Egyptologist, so it will be interesting what might go on the cover for that one, if and when I finish it. And provided it gets accepted, of course.
Which book taught you the largest lesson about life.
I’m not sure about life lesson, but a book that I can pinpoint for changing my life is The Reef, by Nora Roberts. I read it when I was trying to find a genre that I wanted to write, after many years of experimenting. It’s a classic American romantic suspense – from one of the acknowledged queens of the genre. First published in 2008, that book is slightly dated now, I think, but she continues to be one of my favourite authors, both for these and her supernatural and J D Robb books. When I read The Reef it was a light bulb moment – ‘Can I do this?’ It turned out that, with the right application of effort, I could.
Which three books would you take on holiday in 2021?
All my choices are books I have been nursing on my TBR pile. There isn’t going to be a holiday, but they may very well be a Christmas present to myself – when I am not writing my own, that is.
Say Goodbye – It’s the last of a trilogy about FBI agents bringing down a creepy cult by another of my favourite romantic suspense writers, Karen Rose.
The Venetian Legacy – Crime in Venice from Welsh ex-pat Phillip Gwynne Jones. Reading his books is like being there.
Mr Dodge, Mr Hitchcock, and the French Riviera: The story behind To Catch a Thief by Jean Buchanan I’m calling this one research – apparently it’s about the book that gave rise to the famous film with Grace Kelly and Cary Grant, and as it is about the Riviera, it’s irresistible.
From chambermaid to “got it made” …
When hotel cleaning temp and poetry academic Megan Morrison finds out she’s inherited an Italian villa and small fortune from her estranged great-great aunt Olwen, she doesn’t quite know how to react. That is, until she travels to Portofino to see Il Giardino delle Rose for herself. Then she knows exactly what she has to do: live there!
Enchanted by the beauty of the house and gardens, fascinated by the history, and more than a little intrigued by handsome hired landscape gardener Gideon West, Megan can immediately see the villa’s potential as a dream home.
But having long-lost relatives sometimes means long-lost secrets – and it seems that Olwen had plenty of those. Could these secrets and a jealous obsession be powerful enough to drive Megan out of the house that she’s already fallen in love with?
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@EvonneWareham Evonne Wareham Author
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