Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Introducing R.A. Evans and a Book Giveaway!
I'd like to introduce you all to R.A. Evans. He'll be speaking at the Grand Rapids Region Writers Group Conference with me in October. If you're interested in attending, we'd be more than happy to have you!
But let's get back to my guest. He's going to be giving away a copy of his book Asylum Lake - either print or e-book - winner's choice. All you need to do to enter is leave a comment. So what are you waiting for? The contest starts today and a winner will be chosen at 7 pm, September 12th.
R. A. Evans writes. By day he pours his creative energy into meeting the varied needs of his clients. By night, he writes for pleasure. It’s what he does. It’s who he is. If you like your humor dark, your blood-letting messy, and the creepiness factor cranked to eleven, he’s the author for you. His debut novel, Asylum Lake, hit the shelves to rave reviews and its sequel Grave Undertakings will be unearthed in Summer 2011.
A graduate of Grand Valley State University, Evans started his career at a small town newspaper, and has spent the past fifteen years working in marketing and public relations.
How did your writing path evolve?
I always suspected I had a story to tell but it took me some time to find my voice as a writer – not to mention the time to crank it out. After years of thinking about it I finally took the plunge and realized very quickly that the thought of writing was more difficult than the actual act. The words just came spilling out.
How would you describe your writing style?
I am all about organized chaos! For my novel Asylum Lake I started with 53 note cards – one for each of the chapters I envisioned for the story. On each card I wrote the chapter title. I recall shuffling through and reading those chapter titles and feeling like all I had to do was simply fill in the details. I didn’t write the story in order – which was actually helpful because the plot unfolds over the span of 60 years and in a very non-linear way. I used a similar approach for my new novel Grave Undertakings.
What type of research do you do for your books?
Probably more than what is necessary! For Asylum Lake I did a fair amount of research into the history of the mental health system in Michigan – everything from the architectural standards for the hospitals to the various treatment methods. The research didn’t stop there, however. I had to know what side arms and vehicles law enforcement were used by law enforcement in the 1950’s and 1970’s; I wanted to make sure all of the small details made sense so the large details would make sense. The last thing you want as an author is to let something bring the reader out of that temporary suspension of disbelief.
From what or where do you derive the most inspiration for your stories?
I want to believe that the things that go bump in the night are real...and they only way to keep them away is to write about them.
Grave Undertakings, the sequel to your debut novel Asylum Lake, is about to be released. Can you tell us a little bit about the series?
Asylum Lake is a good old-fashioned horror novel — accessible, creepy and eminently readable. It tells of a writer, Brady Tanner, returning to his hometown of Bedlam Falls, Michigan. Brady’s recovering from the loss of his wife and is trying to pick up the pieces of his life. Well, he’s come to the wrong place!
Bedlam Falls is a town that’s witnessed some terrible events over the years. And over it all looms the specter of the shuttered asylum. Readers learn more about the gruesome incidents that have beset the town by way of flashback — related through three generations of the Tanner family, all of who have been consumed, in one way or another, by the town’s sinister secrets. As the story unfolds readers learn why the asylum and its denizens continue to cast a shadow over the town. And why Brady Tanner is now being targeted by a sinister supernatural force.
With Grave Undertakings readers follow Brady as he searches for the elusive Dr. Wesley Clovis. As the one-time hospital superintendent’s dark past comes to light, Brady finds even more shadowy connections between the troubled small town, the abandoned asylum, and his own family.
The veil of death will be parted; answers will be found and souls will be lost.
What are you working on at the moment?
My current project is FLIGHT and it’s my own personal take on the popular zombie scenario. U.S. Air Marshal Liz Downie thought she had lucked out with her assignment – a half-empty red eye from London to the states. The passengers – an odd assortment of State Department staffers freshly plucked from the embattled U.S. Embassy in Iraq. These aren’t your usual friendly skies, however. Tucked into the passenger jet’s shadowy cargo hold hides a secret the U.S. Military will do anything to protect – and Liz Downie everything to stop. Where do you run when you’re 30,000 feet in the air?
What would you do if you weren’t a writer?
My day job is as a marketing/public relations consultant. I help businesses both large and small with branding and messaging. It lets me flex my creative muscles in a completely different way and has been extremely helpful as I build my own author platform and promote my books.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?
I have three young kids so my interests are basically whatever they are interested in. When I
have the time I love to read and play video games.
Of all of the characters you’ve created, who is your favorite and why?
Why not just ask me which of my children I love best! There is a lot of me in the character of Brady Tanner – but he’s the younger and cooler version of me from ten years ago. He’s been fun to write because he’s real. He thinks and acts like I do – his world view is the same.
Do you have any writing rituals? Like times of the day, food quirks, etc?
Mountain Dew and Funyons are required! Other than that I am an equal opportunity writer. Just give me a place to plug in my laptop and I’m good.
Do you listen to music when you write or do you need quiet? If you listen to music – what kind?
Music is huge for me; I need the background noise. Pearl Jam is a must for me. Every writing session has to have some PJ! Beyond that, I’ll create specific playlists based on the mood of what I’m writing. It’s probably just not the playlists you would imagine. In fact, the bloodiest scene from my novel Asylum Lake was written while listening to Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline.
If you could give an aspiring author one piece of advice, what would it be?
Much like any activity practice makes perfect. I’m a much better writer after completing my second novel than I was when I started my first. That being said, a lot of what I write is complete rubbish. But every so often I’ll find that groove and bust our 3-5,000 words of pure gold. You just have to stick with it.
Where can readers find you? (website, blog, twitter, facebook)
The best place to find me is on my blog at www.raevanswrites.wordpress.com. You’ll have complete access to my random musings, book reviews, and my own author interview series 7 Deadly Questions. You can also follow me on twitter at www.twitter.com/raevanswrites. Finally, on facebook at www.facebook.com/asylumlake.