Hello Readers and Writers!
Today we are introducing you to an author who dances on the boarders of her genre to create novels that spring to life! She is the author of four Gothic fantasy novels including the Portrait in 2016, the Grand in 2017, the Van Helsing Paradox in 2018, and the Van Helsing Resurgence in 2019. Her stories feature strong female characters and vivid settings with historical and sci-fi touches.
Introducing Evelyn Chartres (nom de plume)!
RL: When did you start writing as a career?
EC: I began writing for fun when a friend of mine introduced me to some online role playing sites. The concept was easy enough, create a character, throw them in a scenario where others interact, and let the story unfold. It was a great way to learn to write stories on the fly, and that's where characters like Evelyn first saw the light of day.
Those communities eventually petered off, so my interactive play turned solo. That's where a lot of the groundwork was lain for my first novel. These stories were eventually cobbled together to make my first novel. That finished worn remained in an unedited state for almost a decade.
About five years ago, I dusted it off, gave it some finishing touches, and released it. I then applied a lot of my lessons learned to my second book, which has turned into four published books so far. Overall, its a great choice for a hobby!
RL: What's your current work in progress?
EC: I'm working on the third book of the Clara Grey Adventures. The Van Helsing Incursion kicks off a few months after the second book ends. I wanted this one to explore how past choices of the heroine continue to shape events around her.
I also played with the style a bit, a smaller cast, and employ juxtaposition to contrast differing situations. Overall, I like the way that it has turned out, and all it needs is a good edit!
RL: Your genre is Fantasy. What led you to write in that area?
EC: I used to associate with horror, namely gothic horror. I loved the atmosphere of old school horrors, stories weaved around a dark and foreboding world that was not necessarily focused on death and gore. Alas, I feel that modern horror has focused on the latter elements to shock a desensitized audience.
That's when I found dark fantasy, worlds weaved around classic horror creatures. In my mind, Frankenstein and Dracula would likely be classified as dark fantasy had they been released today. So yay! I'm home!
RL: How do your books rebel against the status quo in your genre?
EC: My stories refuse to be confined to one genre. My stories sometimes explore religion, contain science fiction elements, and often have some history thrown in. Fitting my stories strictly into one genre would certainly change the feel of my books, some drastically.
RL: Which one of your books is your favorite?
EC: The Portrait will always have a special place in my heart. It certainly won't win any literary prizes or have a large fanbase. In fact, it needs another round of edits to make it a bit more legible.
Still, it represents a story that was near and dear to my heart for years. It has a feel unlike any other in my collection, and it clearly denotes my progression as a writer.
RL: Talk to me about the path you choose in publishing.
EC: I chose to self-publish for a few reasons. Firstly, working full-time and the path to getting traditionally published appear to be in conflict. There is a lot of work involved, and I have no intention of giving up my day job.
I love writing and did not want to go through a state of getting near-constant rejection letters. If anything could take the joy out of writing, this seemed to be it.
Lastly, I want people to judge my books. Self-publishing allows me to give out my work, to get my books out there and hopefully have someone else fall in love with them. For me? That's the reason I continue to travel down this path.
RL: How do you manage writing time? Authors often complain about not having enough time to write. Is this an issue for you?
EC: I don't write all the time, life and work just get in the way. Besides, it takes me about a year to write, edit, edit a lot more, polish, and release a story. So I'm often at one stage or another during the year.
So I write when and where I can. That's why I write on my smartphone, because there is quality time to be had while flying to and from business meetings. I'll also arrange my day to get me a block of time to get more writing done. Lastly, I don't set a schedule, since that would just creates artificial constrains that hinder my creativity.
RL: Where do you see your writing career going from here?
EC: I have no fixed goals. Keep on writing, release, and hopefully someone will enjoy the stories. Still, who knows what the future will bring?
RL: Your website has an extensive recipe collection! Can you tell us about your passion for culinary arts?
EC: I often refer to the following quote, 'You can eat to live, or live to eat.' Cooking delicious meals not only sustains you, they can be enjoyed, and are a great way to entertain. So exploring new and traditional dishes has been a way for me to keep enjoying food.
Traditional recipes also allow me to connect with my past. Deciphering old recipes from my mother, making them coherent, and keeping them alive for others to enjoy. Otherwise some of these would fade into the collective memory of society. Why loose those staple dishes that many of use grew up on?
RL: What can readers expect from you in the future?
EC: I've been toying with a few storyline that features a world nearing extinction. The rich left the planet a decade ago for the stars, the upper-middle class escape to the ocean.
This story focuses on those who could not afford the lavish treatments. Those who seek untested drugs and specifically the ramifications to their descendants.
I've always written a prologue of sorts and plan to work on the main body after my latest book is released!