Hello today to the lovely Evonne Wareham, a fellow Choc Lit author who has her new book, A Wedding on the Riviera, due out on 22nd September. Today I’m nosing about her workplace, as I’m always curious to see where my pals write. And I’ve got two places to nose today. Hurrah!
Ok, so you’ve got two spaces I’ve located on my travels, one upstairs and one downstairs. Can you let everyone else know which is which in these photos, and why you have two spaces? Do you do different sorts of work at each one?
Downstairs is the one with the lap top, where you can see some of the garden through the French doors. That one is where my Internet is – my connection with the world. All my social media, on-line research and electronically assisted procrastination takes place there. For non-electronically assisted procrastination I can look out on my container garden, and watch the birds and the weather. Upstairs is the one with the basket chair and the aspidistra in the window that belonged to either my grandmother or my great aunt – I inherited one from each of them. That machine is quite old and is really only an up-market typewriter. It’s not connected to anything, so I don’t have to worry about any nasty computer bugs.
The laptop one, with the gorgeous garden view shows me a very comfortable looking chair as well. Is this chair somewhere you like to sit and have a cuppa, or is it for visitors so they can come and chat to you while you work?
My desk is in the corner of the dining room, the table is in the other half, so that chair is somewhere for a cuppa, or thinking time. When I’m working I run on tea.
The space with the little easel looks very professional. Is this the one you did your PHD at as well?
Yes – everything gets typed there. My PhD, which I finally wrapped up in March – a week before lockdown – and I had such plans for all the things I was going to do this summer – is in history. The bedroom next door has a large tin trunk – all my precious archive notes and chapter drafts were in there, in case the house caught on fire! My uncompleted manuscripts are supposed to be in there too, but at the moment they are in a carrier bag, as I was looking through them to remind myself what I had. I must put them back! The easel holds my microphone headset, as I use speech to typing soft ware. I needed something to hang it on, to stop me dropping the thing and treading on it.
Is the paperwork by the desktop device a novel, ready to be typed up, or a plan for a book? Do you handwrite your books first, then translate onto the screen, or just go for it?
It’s a novel manuscript. The post-it would be a note about something I needed to check. I’m not one of those writers who use the post-it system for plotting. My first draft is always hand written. I think that’s years of note taking and essay writing. My handwriting is dreadful now – just a kind of hieroglyphics. That’s why the speech to type software. I can read the book to the machine. We have arguments sometimes about what it thinks I said and what I thought I said. The heroine for A Wedding on the Riviera is called Nadine. I could not convince it not to type ‘The Dean’, so there was a bit of search and replace going on. When I started writing, I simply couldn’t ‘think’ onto the computer. I’ve got better at that, but I still like to hand write. I suspect it’s now part of my creative process, and it does mean I can write anywhere.
I can see a quirky little telephone behind your laptop. Tell me more!
It is a modern phone, it has push button dialling, but in a vintage style. I fell in love with it and bought it as birthday present to myself a couple of years ago. It reminded me of the first phone we ever had, when I was a teenager – a long time ago.
I can also see a lovely book cover on the screen – tell me more about it. I understand it took a while to write your latest novel as you were doing your PHD. Did it seem strange to be doing something creative instead of academic after all that work? And what was your PHD in?
That cover is actually for the first in the ‘Riviera’ Series – Summer in San Remo. I keep meaning to put up the new one, but I do think the colours in that one blend nicely with the curtains. The series is at lighter end of romantic suspense, although I do write grittier ones as well. The Riviera books are about sunshine and glamour and escapism, as well as crime and mayhem, although the new one – A Wedding on the Riviera – is a few shades darker than Summer in San Remo. It can be read as a standalone – there is a new central romance, with a new heroine and hero, but you get to catch up with characters in the first book as well, when they get together to organize a sting to catch a con man. There are supporting cast members too, who I hope are going to get their own books in due course. The first draft was written a couple of years ago, but I had to put it aside when I was writing up the PhD. I found I couldn’t mix the two. I enjoy the academic stuff – I’m an archive addict – and I tend to compartmentalize. Writing a thesis does mean you have to tell a story, in a way. My supervisor used to remind me that I had to keep telling the reader what I was doing and why, rather than keeping it all for the big reveal at the end. It was lovely to get back to fiction writing, although I enjoy studying. My thesis was about Cardiff Council in the Second World War – not as dry a topic as it sounds, as the Council was responsible for a lot of the behind-the-scenes organising of things like air raid shelters and helping people who lost their homes because of bombing.
What are your plans for the future? Any more book ideas bubbling away? And can you not wait to get started on it, or are you having a little break first?
I’ve made a start on Riviera 3 – provisionally entitled, A Villa in Portofino, which gives away the location. It’s a contemporary story, but one which has roots in the war, so my academic work is drifting into my writing a bit. I’m researching for Riviera 4 as well. My hero for that is going to be an Egyptologist, unless I can talk him out of it. Heaven knows where that came from, but it means I have to find out about Egyptology. I’ve got some partially completed manuscripts for grittier stories too – still romantic suspense, still a love story, but with a higher body count. I’m hoping to have a go at them next year.
Thank you so much Evonne. Good luck with the new book and thanks for letting me have a peek at your writing spaces – I’ll see myself out…no, don’t worry. I haven’t really got the cute little phone in my handbag, I promise…
Evonne is an award winning Welsh author of romantic suspense – more crime and dead bodies than your average romance. She likes to set her book in her native Wales, or for a touch of glamorous escapism, in favourite holiday destinations in Europe. She is a Doctor of Philosophy and an historian, and a member of both the Romantic Novelists’ Association and the Crime Writers’ Association.
A return to the Riviera on the trail of a runaway groom …
When out-of-work actor Ryan Calder attends a wedding as the plus-one of successful businesswoman, Nadine Wells, he doesn’t expect to get in a scuffle with the groom.
But Ryan has a good reason. He recognises the groom from another wedding where the same man made a quick getaway, taking the wedding money and leaving a heartbroken bride in his wake. It seems he’s struck again, and Nadine’s poor friend is the target.
Ryan and Nadine decide they can’t let it happen to another woman, so with a group of friends they hatch a plan that will take them to the French Riviera, hot on the heels of the crooked groom. But could their scheme to bring him to justice also succeed in bringing them closer together?
Buy links for A Wedding on the Riviera