The Evans Trilogy
by Jennifer Collin
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GENRE: Chick Lit
Book 1: Set me Free
Disastrous love life aside, Charlotte Evans is rather content with her life. Her quaint little art gallery is plodding along nicely, and her sister Emily’s artistic career is about to take off, thanks to her tireless promotion. She even gets to see her best friend every day and drink his delicious coffee in the café next door.
But when dastardly property developer Craig Carmichael comes along, threatening to demolish her gallery and take everything away, Charlotte has an unexpected fight on her hands. Not only is she battling to stop Craig’s development, she’s also struggling against the mysterious magnetic pull that has her on a collision course with Craig himself.
Craig Carmichael is fighting the Battle for Boundary Street on more than one front. The tenants of the building he wants to knock down are mounting a strong case against him and in a hot-headed moment he put his career on the line for a project that is threatening to fail. If the project doesn’t succeed he will lose everything, but for some reason he’s having trouble maintaining his focus.
As their worlds begin to unravel around them, anyone could win. It’s what they might lose that has Charlotte and Craig wondering what it is they really want.
Book 2: Open My Eyes
Everything happens for a reason, they say. And sometimes the reason is you’re stupid and make bad decisions. Sleeping with her sister’s best friend is one of the dumbest things soon-to-be divorcee Emily Evans has ever done. But she’s determined to put it behind her and move on. She’s walked away from her cheating husband, managed to make a new friend, and found herself a real job and somewhere to live so she doesn’t have to couch-surf any more. Everything should be falling into place but for one problem – there are some mistakes from which you can’t move on.
Meanwhile, Ben Cameron is getting on with his life. After all, it’s the only thing to do once your heart has been stomped on by the woman of your dreams. Expanding his business and getting cosy with the girl next door are proving welcome distractions. He’s even happy to babysit his nephew, as long as he can to hand him back when he’s done! And thankfully, Emily Evans, the woman with the heavy boots, is avoiding him like the plague.
But Emily can’t avoid him forever, and when she drops a bombshell that turns Ben’s world upside-down, suddenly, getting on with his life takes on a whole new meaning.
Book 3: Bring Me Back
Andy Evans is on the move. For six long, lonely years, he’s been running from his past, leaving his family and his life as a drug-addicted rock star far behind. His latest move takes him to the sleepy seaside town of Oamaru, New Zealand, to sell cigar-box guitars to tourists. The only running he’ll need to do will be training for the half-marathon in nearby Dunedin. But when Andy sets eyes on Steampunk HQ, Oamaru’s main tourist attraction, he realises his days of running might not be over, especially if a certain Steampunk fan from his past catches up with him.
Annie Martin is on the cusp of great success. Her career as a Steampunk academic is about to take off, as long as she can convince one disagreeable, New Zealand-based Professor to sign up to the anthology she’s putting together. Thankfully, Annie is a master at maintaining her poise and few people, no matter how nasty, can rattle her. Not any more. In fact, it’d been a good six years since anyone had gotten under her skin, after her best friend’s brother had vanished into thin air.
When Annie finds her future career on a collision course with her secret past, Andy Evans is the last person she expects to find tangled up in the mess. With a vengeful drug-dealer or two hot on his heels, and a vindictive academic determined to ruin her credibility, can Annie bring Andy back to his family before it’s too late? Annie and Andy are used to being alone, but if they don’t work together, there’ll be much more at stake than her livelihood and his sobriety.
Book 2 Open My Eyes
‘What the hell is she doing here?’
Ben Cameron froze mid-swipe of the café table in front of him. He focussed on the cloth in his hand. It had been some time since he’d heard her voice. Two long months of convincing himself she didn’t matter any more. But now, the sound of her huffing and puffing behind him brought everything back in a flash flood of frustration.
He straightened and turned towards her slowly. ‘Hello, Emily,’ he said.
Her hands were on her hips and she was glaring at Cassie behind the espresso machine. Memories best forgotten returned. He pushed them aside, wanting – needing – to see her differently.
Her long dress swirled around her slightly fuller figure. Her hair hung loose, a new fringe framing her face perfectly. Yes, outwardly different, but there was something all too familiar about the rush of his blood and the ache in his chest. He steeled himself, mustering some indignation of his own, while her sea-green eyes moved between him and Cassie.
When she didn’t return the greeting, he checked to see if her foot was tapping.
Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Jennifer Collin, author of the Evans Trilogy.
Hi Jennifer, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
Hi, and thanks for having me!
I’m an Australian author, based in the sunny city of Brisbane. I grew up in the Australian outback, spent my high school years in boarding school, completed a Bachelor of Arts at university and have worked in a civil service job for most of my adult life.
Mine’s not a very exotic story, so I try to make it interesting in other ways. I like to travel the world as much as I can and I like to create characters that get up to a bit of mischief.
What were you like at school?
I was a good girl until I hit my teenage years, when I was far too easily led astray by boys. Fortunately, my nerdy tendencies meant my hormones didn’t compromise my studies. I did, and still do, love to learn.
Were you good at English?
Yes, although my teachers weren’t the most inspiring and it wasn’t my best subject. I was top of my class in economics and geography.
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
I have a full-time job outside of being a writer so at the moment, it’s simply to have the freedom to quit it and write full-time. I have so many ideas swirling around in my head, but no time to get them on to paper/ into the computer.
One of the ideas I’m most excited about is a children’s series. I have a nine-year old daughter with reading difficulties who hasn’t found her kind of books yet. I think I know what she needs, and I’m keen to make it happen for her.
Give us an insight into your main character. What does he or she do that makes them special?
To answer this, I’ll talk about Charlotte Evans, the main character from Set Me Free and the catalyst for the whole trilogy.
Charlotte takes life a fairly seriously. Raised by an emotionally-detached single mother, from the age of about twelve, Charlotte started taking care of her younger sister and brother. She’s fiercely protective of the people she loves, which means she often gets a little bossy with her siblings.
Charlotte gave up everything to follow her sister Emily to a new city to open an art gallery so artist Emily could sell her paintings. She’s very focused on making the gallery, and Emily’s career, a success.
Naturally, when Craig Carmichael walks into the gallery one day to tell her he’s going to tear it down, she jumps straight into the figurative boxing ring and comes up swinging.
What are you working on at the minute?
My work-in-progress is a secret, but I can mention I’m working on rebuilding my blog, author page and social media presence. No one tells you when you write a book that 50% of what you do will be marketing!
Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?
Bring Me Back is my most recent book and it features Andy Evans, Charlotte’s little brother, and Annie, who is Emily’s best friend. Andy would be played by Tom Hardy, one of my favorite actors. I loved him in Mad Max Fury Road. Like Max, Andy is haunted by his past. When I look at pictures of Tom Hardy from that movie, it’s like Andy is staring back at me. Annie would be played by Emily Blunt, whom I just adore in everything she does.
What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?
It’s possibly more a question of when did I decide to finally finish something! My head full of ideas means there have been many, many false starts.
The catalyst for finishing Set Me Free was job insecurity. My workplace was making a number of employees redundant and we were all advised to get to work on our “Plan Bs”. I needed to channel my nervous energy somewhere, so I dug out one of those false starts and started re-working it. Once I’d finished Set Me Free, I’d found my groove and the characters helped drive me to finish the rest of the series.
Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
This summer (it’s summer here in Australia), I’ve started getting up at 4:30 or 5am and putting in an hour before the rest of the household wakes up and we all start getting ready for school and work. When my children were younger, they went to bed earlier and I used to write at night once they were asleep. But these days, I collapse into bed myself not long after them. Early starts have become my only option.
Where do your ideas come from?
Everywhere. Conversations I have with friends and colleagues; smells, sights and sounds that tickle my senses; watching people. Sometimes ideas come to me in dreams.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
A combination of both. I start plotting but I’m too flip-floppy to stick rigidly to an outline and I change it as I go along. Sometimes it’s because of a better idea, sometimes my characters take me unexpected places.
What is the hardest thing about writing?
I guess if I’m getting up at 4:30am to do it, it must be finding the time!
And possibly staying off the internet.
Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors.
I read loads. Mostly for research these days, rather than pure pleasure. As an example, for my secret work in progress, I’m reading lots of medieval romances. They’re driving me nuts because it’s so hard to find a hero who isn’t a complete jerk. Although Lynn Kurland knows how to create a fantastic medieval hero and she’s definitely one of my favorite authors.
Others include Jenny Crusie, Kate Perry and Penny Reid, all of whom write contemporary romance with a healthy dose of humor.
For your own reading, do you prefer eBooks or traditional paper/hard back books?
Ebooks. Because when I finish a book in the middle of the night I can download another with one click. I was a late convert to ebooks, but now I am devout.
What books are you presently reading?
As mentioned above, a lot of awful medieval romances. But I recently gave up on one to pick up Tangled up in Tuesday by Jennie Marts. It’s the fourth book of her cozy mystery Page Turner’s series and, like the rest of that series, it’s fabulous.
Tell us about the covers and how they came about.
The original covers to the series were illustrations created by a good friend of mine. I loved those covers, especially because I’ve always preferred illustrated covers. But after doing some research, it occurred to me that my potential readers might in fact prefer photographic covers, so I decided to experiment and see where it took me.
The new photographic covers were done by Design for Writers, who are just brilliant at what they do. Given I prefer illustrated covers, I wasn’t convinced they’d produce something I’d love. But they did. Oh, how they did. I love these new covers. They’re incredible in so many ways. For example, I explained to Design for Writers how Set Me Free is light, with elements of humor, but as the series progresses the humor scales back and they get a little darker. The designers captured this perfectly.
Do you have a trailer or do you intend to create one for your own books?
No, not yet. But this is an idea I’ve been contemplating regularly at 5am.
Do you think that giving books away free works and why?
Yes, I do. Especially if you have a series and you can draw readers in with the first book. One thing I’m not sure works anymore is putting them on sale for 99¢. As Kindle lending grows, I’m beginning to suspect that giving them away for free might be the only way to catch new readers.
How do you relax?
I’m a parent – the only time I’m relaxed is when I’m asleep.
I don’t mind spending an hour or two in front of Netflix with my hubby though. As I mentioned earlier, we also travel, which is not very relaxing, but it makes me sound more interesting!
What is your favorite quote?
Some days, when I’m having a rough day at work, it’s “Don’t let the bastards grind you down”.
But most often it’s one attributed (perhaps incorrectly) to Christopher Columbus: ‘You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore‘. It reminds me that the best and most exciting things in life only happen when you’re brave and step out of your comfort zone.
What is your favorite movie?
The French film, Amelie, starring Audrey Tatou. I named my oldest daughter after her. It’s beautifully shot, with quirky characters and magical romance.
How can readers discover more about you and you work?
You can visit my website at www.jennifercollin.com, and click through to my blog while you’re there.
Any final words?
Just thanks so much for having me! It’s been a pleasure.
Thank you very much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to take part in this interview.
Jennifer Collin writes quirky, and sometimes gritty, love stories about ordinary people dealing with what life throws at them.
She lives in Brisbane, Australia, with her husband, two noisy children and a cantankerous cat.
She used to party, but now her idea of a good time is an uninterrupted sleep. These days, her characters do her partying for her, and she doesn’t necessarily let them sleep.
myBook.to/setmefree (Amazon buy links)
Jennifer Collin will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B&N gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.