Friday, July 9, 2010

Author Interview with Evie Alexis

Joining us today is author Evie Alexis. Here’s her bio: I’m a born and bred native New Yorker, urban gal at heart, suburban chick by choice. I am a full-time educator who writes on her “free-time”. With two kids, a hubby and going to school for my second master’s I don’t know how much free time I have, but somehow I squeak it in there. :)

[Anne] When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer, Evie?

[Evie] Somewhere before my pre-reading days. I used to sit down and look at the pictures in books. Since the words didn’t make any sense, I would sit down and make up my own stories based on the illustrations. My inventive retellings compared to the stories were wayyyy off. (Think reinvented Bible stories.) It was off. Once the reading and writing skills kicked in, I was off writing tales. And when people (genuinely) enjoyed my stories and encouraged me to write more, that’s when I speculated I might do this professionally.

[Anne] Tell us about your latest book.

[Evie] My latest work, And Cafe Con Leche is my first multicultural, young adult novel. It follows the story of eighteen-year-old Isabela Castillo and the trials of her young life, including the added pressures placed upon her shoulders by her exacting mother. A “nerd” in terms of educational standards and aspirations, she receives a few real-life lessons that give her pause in her plans and relationships.

[Anne] Sounds very interesting, Evie. What inspired you to write this story?

[Evie] The editor at Stonehedge, the company where I published my first book, told me to try my hand at it. Originally, it wasn’t supposed to be young adult novel, but as it continued to grow in plot and drama, it just evolved that way. I’ve had so many hands and eyes look and critique the work, and all those opinions helped cement the shape of the story. Anyone who has read the work before and reads the finished project may wonder at their visible influence in the work.

[Anne] How did you go about researching the book?

[Evie] A lot of the ideas of the story are based on my own cultural and urban upbringing. The setting: the projects, the train rides, the local pizza joint, the high school setting, those are things I know first-hand. However, I am not Catholic, so that took a little exploring, and I do not speak Latin. Hefty translators on hand.

[Anne] Do you have anything new in the works?

[Evie] I have an inspirational novel that has been accepted by Vintage Reflections Publishing. I’m really proud of that work, too. It started as a project for a writer’s group and look at it now. In the works are a series of short stories I am working in collaboration alongside other authors with Victory Tales Press. I really like my romantic Christmas short. The characters are definitely the most mature ones I’ve had yet, and yes, I do mean both in age and attitude. Also, look out for the “three-quel” to my Obsessive Compulsive books.

[Anne] What is your writing process like? Are you a plotter or a pantster?

[Evie] I’m a total pantster. Oh, I’m a wannabe plotter, but the pantsting soon gives way, and the story just takes off without me. I know what I want to happen, but sometimes it just doesn’t work that way.

[Anne] LOL. I know that feeling well. If you could be anyone of your characters, which one would you chose to be and why?

[Evie] I really like my young adult heroine, Isabela Castillo. Other than she and I being Nuyorican and strongly convicted, we don’t have much else in common. Isabela is very grounded and strong-willed. She tells people what she wants, when she wants, but isn’t crude or vulgar. Plus, she’s totally committed to education and everything else takes a backseat. I’m educationally minded (I have to be), but sometimes I’m more dreamy than anything else. These stories are a testament to that.

[Anne] Say your publisher has offered to fly you anywhere in the world to do research on an upcoming book, where would you most likely want to go? (Okay so maybe this isn’t very likely to happen but since I’m asking the questions…)

[Evie] This isn’t the most unique answer to your fun question, but if given such an opportunity as the one presented, I’d have to say France. My husband and I traveled to Paris last summer and it was one of the most thrilling experiences. What I lament not doing is visiting both the beaches and French countryside, something I would certainly do given that second chance.

[Anne] Great choice. I’d love to visit Paris! Okay, you’ve just been informed that your latest release was a NY Times bestseller and Hollywood wants to turn it into a movie. What actors would you choose to play your main characters?

[Evie] Wow...these questions just get tougher. Let’s see.... I’m going to have to research who the young, Latina stars are to play the part of Isabela. For the part of Marcus Finch... Maybe one of those cute Jonas brothers guys. I don’t think they act though.

[Anne] What type of books do you like to read when you’re not writing?

[Evie] My favorite are British Literature. I’m a sucker for the classics. I adore Dickens just as much as Bronte, and each have a different style and flavor. Contemporary works run a larger gambit.

[Anne] Name three things you can’t live without (excluding spouses and family because that’s a given).

[Evie] My music. I have to listen to something classical or inspirational.  My chocolate. Is there life without it?  My Bible. I don’t know what I’d do without that book. Try to memorize what I can, but there’s only so much brain power I have.

[Anne] What advice would you give to any aspiring writers out there?

[Evie] Be ready to take criticism, but never let any of it discourage you! This is one of the toughest professions to handle if you’re a sensitive, and believe you me, I am that but I think God has used this to toughen me up. Surround yourself with a strong support team! Also, make sure you research your agents and publishers, because that too can be a tough and troubling road to traverse.

[Anne] Great advice, Evie! Where can we find you on the web?

[Evie] I’m available on my official site and my blog

[Anne] Where can we purchase your books?

[Evie] My books are available at Amazon and all other ebook retails sites such as fictionwise and mobipocket. Through Vintage Reflections, you’ll be able to purchase my books through Barnes and Noble and Borders as well.

[Anne] Is there anything else you’d like to add?

[Evie] Just a huge thank you for having me here. I appreciate the interview, the opportunity and the time.

[Anne] You’re very welcome, Evie! I’m glad you were able to join us. It was nice learning more about you.


EA said...

Anne, thank you so much for the interview! It looks great and was a lot of fun. It's almost comical to be on this suspenseful blog while promoting a YA book, but I guess you can see being a teenager with all its pitfalls is a huge suspense in and of itself!

Rebecca J Vickery said...

Hi Evie and Anne,
Great interview and Anne really does ask some "gotta think" questions.
Huge congrats on your Inspirational being contracted. And can't wait for Obsessive 3. Love those books. Best wishes for lots of writing and tremendous sales.

Miss Mae said...

Hi Evie!

Loved hearing more about new YA, and congrats on getting the contract at Vintage. Well done, girlfriend! :)

EA said...

Rebecca, thanks for stopping by. Yeah, I really had to sit there and think through some of these answers. I'm 1/2 way with obsessive 3. I'll have to send you an excerpt of one of my favorite parts thus far.

MM, thank you for your kind comments. I'm really psyched of the opportunities afforded. :) Love and blessings.

Alicia Jennings said...

Evie, your book sounds great. I hope you have much success with it.

Anne does ask great questions. I love reading her interviews and learning about all the different authors.

Sharon Donovan said...

Hi Anne and Evie. Great interview and great book, Evie. Best of luck!

EA said...

Thanks Alicia and Sharon. Writing this work has been a lot of fun, and a labor of love. I thank Anne for helping me showcase it and more about my work in turn. :)

Anne Patrick said...

Hi everyone!
Thanks so much for dropping by and supporting Evie. Doesn't her book sound awesome?

Evie, if the character in your book is anywhere near the teenager I was, there is bound to be some suspense:0

Thanks again for a fantastic interview!

Laurean Brooks said...

Evie, congratulations on a contract for Your YA inspirational!

Anne does ask some tough questions, but you handled them well.

As for chocolate, what would life be without it?

BTW I'm a wanna-be-plotter, too. Being a pantster makes for a lot of rewrites, since I change my mind so much...even the characters' names. LOL

Here's wishing you a gazillion sales.

MarthaE said...

Well - I thought I had commented on this the day it went up but obviously I got sidetracked. Nice interview Anne and Evie.
I am excited about the imminent YA release. We've all had our share of teenage rebellion and angst.And of course I wish Evie success with all her works. :)