Wednesday, October 27, 2021

#Interview with Evelyn Rainey Author of Daisy and the Three Shoes

Synopsis: For Daisy, there are three kinds of shoes. The good kind – because her girl wears them when they go for walks. The bad kind – because her girl wears them when she leaves Daisy. And the very best kind – the ones with wheels! This wonderfully illustrated book for second, third and fourth grade readers also has a discussion guide and is listed with the Accelerated Readers program.


Welcome! Today we have a wonderful interview with author Evelyn Rainey!  We hope you enjoy getting to know this author today! 

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How do you come up with the Title and Cover Designs for your book/books?Who designed the Cover of your books?

Titles are usually written after the book is completed. They are my hardest part of the process, and one of the hardest ideas to get through to my authors. Once my book is published, I often wish I’d gone with a different title. Major lesson learned with my first book Minna Pegeen – it has to be pronounceable and spellable by the twenty-something salesclerk at the local bookstore or you’ll never sell it. Now, it has to be trackable through a google search – so no more than 5 words and no punctuation!

 Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title?

The book comes first, then the title. If you start with the title, you limit yourself to just that hook.

 How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?

As I write my novel, I have dozens of characters, so I give each one of them a letter. Then, once the novel is finished, I go back and make a chart of the characters and do some research about names (google baby names …) Then I choose a name which best matches the characteristics of that character. One thing that is very important to me – each character name must begin with a different initial letter. Your brain doesn’t read names, it locks onto the first letter and swishes past everything else in order to hasten your enjoyment of the story. So if all 7 of your characters have names beginning with B, your reader will loose interest because they all become jumbled together in your reader’s mind. 

Do you decide on character traits (ie shy, quiet, tomboy girl) before writing the whole book or as you go along?

I start out with an idea of what a character is like, but the character itself often  starts to grow and change and becomes someone else entirely. I love that! And I make sure that every antagonist has a redeemable trait, and every protagonist has a fault.

 Do you basic plot/plan for your book, before you actually begin writing it out? Or do you let the writing flow and see where it takes the story?

I start out with a plan, but there are times when the story just takes on a life of its own and I let it run for a while. Writing is a spiral process, so I will go back and weave in details or erase rabbit trails many, many times.

How do you market/promote your books?

Before COVID, I used to do book signing events and loved them. I spoke at a writer group or conference at least once a month. I also got to be Guest Author at several science fiction conventions, and I loved that, too. I maintain a website and make book trailers (those are fun!) But since covid, book signing events, conferences, and conventions seem to be a way of the past. I use the phone or zoom to do interviews, but you can’t autograph a book over the internet. I send out news releases. But again, with no face-to-face book events possible for now, it is tough to market successfully. I am utilizing this Crossroads Review site, and other book blitz sites which promise to boost sales. 

What do you think makes a book a really good/bestseller?

People who have never read it but have been paid to promote it through their TV shows are the driving force behind current bestsellers (one-night wonders). However, time and timeless values will polish a book into a best seller over the decades. Values and what it leaves the reader feeling and how it helps the reader survive the difficulties of their current life – these make a book into a classic, even if it takes decades. I’d rather be known as a writer of the classic tale XXXXX than the writer who was famous for one month – and what was the name of that book???

Have you ever suffered from a "writer's block"? What did you do to get past the "block"?

You can’t force writing. If your mind and soul are not able to write for a time, it is because they are busy learning and growing and changing. Let the writing rest, learn the lessons during those silent times. Then the writing will flow again.

What do you do to unwind and relax? Do you have a hobby?

I crochet. I love to sing, too. I especially love to teach a concept to someone and help them grasp that concept, no matter what that concept is. I love to cook from scratch. 

Have you ever based characters on people you know or based events on things that have happened to you?

In a round-about way, yes. The serial killer book that’s on the back shelf of my writer’s mind is based on a musician who was just creepy, but no one quite could put a finger on why. Our instincts were just trying to warn us. I don’t believe he would recognize himself in the book, though. 

Are there any hidden messages or morals contained in your books? (Morals as in like Aesops Fables type of "The moral of this story is..")

I certainly hope so! Books without a soul are like grocery lists, all they do is give the ingredients, they don’t leave the reader full and nourished. 

Is there a certain Author that influenced you in writing?

I loved the way Rachel Carson described the living creatures of the world. I loved the way CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien described the magic of the world. I loved how I would dream about the characters in Robert Jordan’s novels. I love how Moses began as a man incapable of speaking without stuttering to eventually develop into the writer of the Torah. I love how Paul spiraled the concepts of his epistles around and around, until the whole of each letter is woven together and one can trace the nuggets he taught from the very beginning all the way through each one.

Which format of book do you prefer, ebook, hardback, or paperback?

I definitely prefer a paperback. Ebooks are easy on my eyes, yes. Hardbacks are solid and enduring. But a paperback FEELS right in my hands. It SMELLS unique. It LOOKS just right to my eyes (New Times Roman size 12 in black font). Plus, you can give them away without going broke. 

What is your favorite book and Why?  Have you read it more than once?

The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings series by JRR Tolkien and Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank get read at least once every decade.

Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is your favorite/worst book to movie transfer?

Books which are rich in background and slow to build are trash when turned into movies. For example, the Harry Potter series – great books, crappy movies. If you cannot embrace the fullness of who the characters are and why, then the adventure is just that – a mad dash from point a to z. 

What are you currently reading? Are you enjoying it? What format is it?(ebook, hardback or paperback)

In no certain order or priority:

The Peter Tremayne series about Sister Fidelma from AD600’s. paperback

The Ruth Galloway Series by Elly Griffiths. Ebook.

Various textbooks for my Biblical Studies graduate program. Paperbacks and hardcovers.

Poetry, Historical Fictions, Sermons, contemporary fictions that have been submitted to my publishing house. Word Docx

Do you think ebooks will ever totally replace printed books?

Stone tablets, wooden poles, papyrus scrolls, velum codex, printing press, word documents, ebooks… One took over when the previous one became too hard to work with, too slow, or too expensive. However, ebooks are dependent on the grid, and if that fails (when that fails) we will return to hand-held copies.

Do you think children at schools these days are encouraged enough to read? and/or do Imaginative, writing?

Children today are encouraged to read, but they are expected to pass tests to prove they have read the books, rather than enjoy the books and learn from them. For example, the Accelerated Reading program – which I thought was wonderful! - was designed to encourage and enhance the reading of books – earning points and getting rewards for them. Now, the AC is used (misused) as an expectation to master the comprehension of the book. To quote a PE teacher, “it sucks the joy right out of reading.” Writing in the school setting has lost the imaginative spirit – students today write to a pattern and cannot stray from that pattern or schools in which those students learn and test loose funding and their teachers will be penalized on their professional evaluations. 

Did you read a lot at school and write lots of stories or is being a writer something newer in your life?

I was never without a book and a notebook growing up.

Did you have a favorite author as a child?

CS Lewis, Edith Blyton, Robert Lewis Stevenson, Robert Heinlein (yes, I read him beginning when I was ten), and as I grew older, Louis L’amour, Michael Crichton, Stephen King. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I discovered really terrific women writers.

Do you have a treasured book from your childhood? If yes, what is it?

The Hobbit.

Do you have a favorite genre of book?

Murder Mysteries (both cozies like Elly Griffiths and hardcore like Kathy Reichs) – to read, I can’t seem to write them, though. 

 Is there a book you know you will never read? Or one you tried to read but just couldn't finish?

Not yet…

Oh, wait, I did start and stopped before the end of the first chapter – 50 Shades of Gray.

Are there any New Authors you are interested in for us to watch out for? and Why should we watch out for them?

Earl Presley – he writes historical novels about the REAL early church in Scotland and Europe.

Mitchel Fidel – he writes historical novels about the REAL early church in the Middle East.

Rosemary Hyde – poetry and French folk stories which help bridge the gaps between cultures and passions.

Diane Everett – poetry which tells the story we all understand, that of brutality from which joy and hope arise.

 Is there anything in your book/books you would change now if you could and what would it be?

I would change the title of Minna Pegeen to My Pearl, just so people can pronounce and spell it. I would also like to have published Bedina’s War as the three original books: Tinker’s Damn, Orchidea, and Bedina’s War. 

What do you think about book trailers?

I love them! I love making them! I love watching them! My favorite part is putting music to them! I use Kevin McLeod’s music almost exclusively. I used to show various book trailers to my journalism students to help them see how to focus on an idea and promote it. That’s what started me researching how to make them. Now every book I write and/or publish has an accompanying book trailer.

What piece of advice would you give to a new writer?

Write to write, not to get rich and famous. Follow the rules – LEARN the rules first. When a publisher tells you to change something, change it (unless the new material violates your morals or the heart and soul of the novel). If you tell people that one day you will become a writer, you never will be a writer. Write now. BE now. And enjoy. 

 Do you or would you ever use a pen name?

In hindsight, I probably should have used a nom de plum for Laughing Humans and The Island Remains. It may be hard for a church to understand why their minister wrote sexy novels. But truth is truth. And I am proud of my name and my books. So, no, I will probably not use a pen name.

If you could invite three favorite writers to dinner, who would you invite and enjoy chatting with?

Kathy Reichs, the Apostle Paul, Rachel Carson. But what in the world would I serve???

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