Monday, February 28, 2011

Off to Ireland for a wee nip with Gabrielle Evans

Since there isn't anything I wouldn't do for my readers, I recently took a trip to the land of shamrocks and leprechauns and the Blarney Stone in order to meet with author Gabrielle Evans. Here is what she had to say.

Good thing Yaoi Radius has such a large travel budget, as today, I am in Ireland to interview writer Gabrielle Evans.  Nothing is too good for our readers!  I’m in a small fishing village by the name of Doolin, which is situated on the west coast of Ireland.  I make my way to the pub with the unpronounceable name—I won’t even try to say it, I’ll just butcher it. Approaching the bar, I ask the genial barkeep if  the lady in question has arrived.  He nods and points to a table in the far corner, asking me my pleasure. Unsure if she’s ordered, or what she might like, I tell him I’ll get back to him, and make my way through the natives to the object of my quest.

“Gabrielle?” I wish to ascertain, not make assumptions.  At her nod, I take my seat opposite her, holding out my hand.  “Hi, Brie, I remember now.  I’m not that senile.” I laugh.  “Julie, naturally.  Nice to meet you.  What a great place.”  I take stock of my surroundings, drinking in all the local flavor.  It’s Ireland, and it’s beautiful.  “Have you been here before, is that why you recommended it?”

After shaking hands, she settles back in her seat with a smile. "Glad you found it okay. It's good to meet you as well." She laughs as she glances around the pub. "I've been in a few times since I arrived. It's a friendly place." She waves a hand toward the bartender. "That's Grady, and you won't meet a nicer guy. Everyone has been very welcoming. I'm on a bit of a research mission for my next novel, and so far everyone has been a load of help." Refocusing her attention, she nods down at the empty tabletop. "Would you like a drink? Grady builds a mean Guinness."

“Builds?” I ask, showing my ignorance. It’s been a long time since I worked in a place that serves drinks, and they didn’t have Guinness around back then.  “I didn’t know it was built.  I mean, I thought it was a ready made sort of thing.  I’ve never tried it.  If you recommend it, I think I’d like to.”  I smile at the author, relaxing in her company.  This is such a neat place.  Memo to self: take lots of pictures.

“The nice thing about doing research is that you can deduct it from your taxes.  What’s your next novel about? Is it another on in your series, or something different?” 

Holding up a finger to stall the conversation, she calls to the bartender for two Guinness. "True, you can get it in a can or a bottle, but that's almost sacrilege. You don't just draw it from the tap either. It's a process." She waves her hand around and smiles. "You'll see. Now, what were we talking about? Oh yeah, my next novel. Well, it's the fifth book in the Moonlight Breed series, titled Forgotten Sins. My newest hero is an Irish Thoroughbred shifter from a fishing village a lot like Doolin. Although, I'm getting  some great material, and I think I might just have a new series forming." She taps her temple and winks. 

I can’t help but smile at such enthusiasm. Being a writer is the best job in the world, I know. Having whole populations living in your head may be disconcerting to some, but to us it makes perfect sense.  “Ooh, that is awesome,” I commend her.  “I can’t wait to hear all about it. Forgotten Sins.  I like that title.  Whose sins have been or should be forgotten? And tell me more about your Irishman? Is there someone you drew on for inspiration, maybe? Someone whose face you see when you think of him?”

She laughs again and wags a finger. "Now, Julie, you know I can't tell you whose sins they are. It would ruin the ending. Plus, book two only just released, and it would give secrets away in books three and four. However, I will tell you that it is Boston's book. I originally thought his book would be the fourth, but things didn't really work out that way." She frowns a little before shaking her head and smiling brightly again. "Flynn is a great character, and I'm having so much fun with him. I suppose he reminds me a bit of Colin Farrell, and isn't that just yummy?" She sighs wistfully. "Ah, and here's Grady."

Tall and lean with gorgeous blue eyes, the bartender sets two large glasses of some dark and frothy liquid on the table. "Will ya be needin' anything else, then?" He winks, smiling cheerily. Brie actually blushes a little.

"We're good. Thanks, Grady." He nods his head and saunters back toward the bar. "Isn't he beautiful?" She pulls her drink to her, wrapping her hand around the base, and brings it to her lips.

“That he is,” I can’t help but agree, “and he has the loveliest accent.” I feel myself falling into that accent, my words coming out with a bit of Irish, though unintentionally. Must be the pull of just being in this amazing country.

“Alright,” I pretend to pout, “but maybe you can tell me after the interview.”  I laugh hopefully. “Honestly?  I think Flynn is yummier than Colin Farrell, but that’s just me.” The Guinness is here now. Time to see what all the fuss is about.

I lift the tulip shaped glass. The dark liquid inside has a pretty frothy top. I take a tentative sip, and then a longer one.  It has a dark taste, if that makes any sense. “Mmmm, this is delicious,” I admit, “thanks for the recommendation.  “Now Flynn.  If he were filling out a character resume, what would you say were his best traits?  And his worst?”

"Really, I think his best and worst traits are one and the same. Flynn is logical, level-headed, and he doesn't often let his emotions lead the way. It's a good thing when he's trying to outrun the bad guys, but it also has a decidedly negative impact on his relationship with Boston." She chuckles at this. "I haven't really paired two alpha-minded males before, and it is making for some interesting twits and turns." Then she smiles devilishly and winks. "And just wait until you meet Flynn's brother, Declan."  

“I love those names. Flynn and Declan. They’re beautiful.  I like Boston’s too. How do you come up with your names? Do you have people who inspire you, or do you use a site, like looking up baby names? In this case Irish baby names?” I take another sip of the brew. I find it tastes better than beer, which I’m not a huge fan of. I can see why it’s so popular. “And their characters too? Do you fill out any sort of character sheets for them, or keep a timeline or an outline or anything?” I find it fascinating to learn how different authors ply their craft.

Her eyes round in surprise. "You can do that? Make an outline?" She laughs and takes another drink before continuing. "I tried doing the outline at first, but my characters always had different ideas than I did, so I just gave up on them. I know how the story begins and how it ends. Everything in the middle is as much a surprise to me as it is to the readers." She waves her hands around as she speaks. It's obvious she doesn't even realize how animated she is with her gestures. "I use sticky notes on my desktop to kind of keep an outline of how much time has past, what month it is, what season, that sort of thing. My characters mostly come to me pre-packaged so to speak, so it's like meeting a real person. I don't have to fill out a description for them, it's all there in my head before I even start writing."

Tapping her forehead, she crinkles her nose a bit. "Usually, the names come with the characters. It's really like having a living person reside inside your head, introducing themselves and yammering on non-stop. When I do have to choose a name, it's because I need it to mean a certain thing, or come from a specific origin. With those, I'll do a Google search for what I need." She shrugs and leans back in her seat again. "Other than that, it's just a lot of hot men, yelling inside my head, trying to be heard over each other."

“Wow, lucky head.” I can’t help but smiling. “I don’t outline, myself, but I find if I don’t make a timeline as I go, I won’t remember what day it is in what book, I have so many going on. And I’m drowning in sticky notes, not to mention they can disappear.  My planner is invaluable, I’ve found, at helping me focus on my blog and having guests and such, like you. Do they sell food here?” I ask hopefully. My stomach is growling and it’s not being very discreet about it.

“Do you work on more than one book at a time? What would you say is your average time for writing a book? What is the average length of your books? Do you aim for any particular length, or do you just write until you think the story is complete? Do you like to leave a cliffhanger of any sort to segue into the next novel?”

I take a breath, hoping I haven’t inundated her with too many questions all at one time.

She stares at me blankly for a moment, then shakes her head as if to clear it. "Uh, well you can get a burger or sandwich and some fries, though they call them chips here. I'd recommend the fish sandwich."

She plucks a thin sheet of paper from between the salt and pepper shakers and slides the menu across the table. "I'm working on four different books right now, doing pre-submission edits on another, and that's not even counting when I receive line edits in my inbox. I just work on one until I run out of ideas, or a character from another book has something inspiring to say. The time varies, but I guess on average, it takes me about three weeks to complete a manuscript." She shrugs. "It just depends on how long it is, and what else I have going on at the time."

Pausing to take a long drink, she tilts her head to the side as her brows draw together in concentration. "On average my books run around forty to forty-five thousand words. Some longer, some shorter. I have a little gadget that measures my word count progress, and I usually set the goal as forty-five or fifty thousand words. It's just a reference point though. If I feel the story is complete at thirty-five thousand words, I don't worry about the goal. I haven't purposely left a cliffhanger yet, but that can always change. Normally, I like scatter little hints throughout the book to give readers an idea of what's coming next in a series." She takes a deep breath and lets it out slowly. "So, did you decide what you want to eat?"

I almost say reply Grady but decide to behave. “Burger and chips sounds great, I’m not big on fish sandwiches.” I drain my Guiness, lick off the slight moustache that I just realize is there from the foam. I must look like a real doofus, I think.

“Sounds like you’re keeping busy,” I smile. “Is this your full time vocation, then? Or do you work another job to support your writing habit? I know how hard it is for writers to earn a living at their profession, most are forced to seek outside gainful employment, unless they’re lucky enough to have someone else support them.”

Holding up a finger, she hurries across the pub to the bar, presumably to place the orders, then right back to slide into her seat. "Yeah, I guess I'm one of the lucky ones. I have an amazing husband who works hard to provide for us so I can stay home with the kiddos. I was a stay at home mom long before I started writing." She shrugs. "It's what works for us. It's not all bonbons and soap operas, though. Between chores, errands, school, sports, and my writing, there are some days where I feel like I barely have time to breathe. Trying to keep up with so much can be stressful, but I'm sure you know that." She nods slightly. "I'm my own worst critic for sure. I get so nervous just before I new release that I can't sleep and just become this neurotic mess. Do you get nervous before a release? Or is that just a newb thing?"

“I know what you mean. I’m a stay at home unemployed person right now, and I don’t watch soaps or eat bonbons.” I laugh at the idea. I don’t think many people do any more, which is why they’re basically dying off; they’re dinosaurs whose time has come. “Do I get that nervous before new releases?  I don’t think so, to be honest. Maybe I’m getting jaded?  Or maybe just used to it?  I’m not sure.  I don’t remember ever losing sleep over it, though. I do worry about being accepted.  And liked. But I try not to think about it, or about reviews. Reviews are just opinions, after all.  One person’s.  Not the end of the world.  I mean, everyone wants to be liked, sure, but it isn’t really realistic to expect it.”

“If you were to be stranded on a desert isle with the person of your choice—real or fictional, living or dead—who would it be? And let’s make this an alternate universe where you’re free to make this choice, and not married?” I have to throw that in, otherwise married women tend to take their hubbies, of course.

"Hmm, I guess it's just a newb thing, then. I'm hoping it gets easier with each new release. I think it's more of a personal trait, actually. I tend to over analyze and worry everything to death, not just my books."

Propping her elbows on the table, she leans forward. "A desert island with anyone of my choosing? I think I'd have to choose Archias, the hero of Race the Sun, my upcoming release with Silver Publishing. Not only is he big and yummy at over seven feet tall, with rippling muscles and silver blond hair, but he's also an ancient Macedonian warrior. Other than entertaining conversation and being fantastic to look at, he'd be able to protect me and hunt for food. I'm not really the damsel in distress type," she shrugs nonchalantly and winks, "but if a big, sexy man wants to take care of me, who am I to argue?" 

“Don’t worry,” I attempt to sound reassuring, hope I don’t come off as condescending, “you’ll relax as you get more and more of those under your belt.”

“Archias sounds delicious. Does this mean he’s a heterosexual hero, or are you changing his orientation for the sake of having your way with him on this imaginary isle?” I can’t help but grin.  “He reminds me of another Macedonian beauty by the name of Julian. Are you familiar with Fantasy Lover by Sherrilyn Kenyon?” I make a mental note to put Race the Sun on my need to purchase list. I find myself twisting the hair that falls over one shoulder around my fingers, picturing this massive hunk of man.

"Well, of course I want to have my wicked way with him!" She looks aghast as if any other answer is ludicrous. Then she grins and settles back in her chair. "If we need a label, I guess Archias is bisexual. He was cursed and placed in a magical bottle to be something like a genie, granting wishes and all that. He preferred women, but had been with men. Now, he just prefers Jade, his hunky little pool shark."

A perky waitress with a blonde ponytail sashays up to the table, setting down two plates, heaping with food. She nods, smiling brightly, and hustles off to another table.

Picking up the ketchup bottle, Brie nods and smiles. "I love Sherrilyn Kenyon, and Fantasy Lover is one of my favorite in the series. Archias isn't much like Julian, though. Similar profession, somewhat similar circumstances of being bound to objects." She shakes some ketchup onto her plate and replaces the bottle in the center of the table. "That's really it, though. Archias was a Myrmidon, trained and commanded by Achilles. He wasn't always so big. It was part of his punishment, as well as being entombed inside a bottle. I'd maim someone to have his deep teal eyes though." She sighs, smiling dreamily. "Do you have any of those characters you just wish were real?" 

“Yeah, I think I do,” I have admit, reaching for the mayo, I take some for my burger and for my chips.  Hey, it’s an acquired taste. Never seen Pulp Fiction? “But for different reasons, I think. Max and Richard would be like my bff’s, and Derek Deville would be a fun friend to have, he’s so flamboyant. Avery is smokin’ hot, and he  really makes my blood boil one minute and then he’s all tender the next.  They’re all real to me, of course, inside, but yeah, it would be sweet to have them walking and talking and living with me, to watch them come to life. That’s what movies are for, right? What about you, do you have some of your characters that you wish were oh so real?” I take a chip and dip it into the mayo, taking a bite.  Delicious!

Well, Archias, obviously." She takes a bite of her burger and chews slowly before swallowing. "I think Keeton from The Moonlight Breed series as well. He's crazy and funny, but he's also sweet and has the biggest heart. He'd be a great friend. Quinn Harper from my Salem Night series. She's a firecracker and doesn't take guff from anyone." She bites her bottom lip and looks upward as though considering. "Oh, and Jalen! He's a warrior fae, though the biggest sweetheart, and just so beautiful to look at."

Taking another bite, she nods knowingly. "All my characters are very real to me, too. It's hard to say goodbye sometimes, which is why my books usually spin into a series. I don't always plan more than one book, but I get attached, and it just ends up that way, you know?"

“Absolutely,” I swallow before I reply, trying not to mumble in the process.”I admit that I’m rather unsure of my female characters. I never know if they’re good or not.  When I was role playing in rp games online, I didn’t play many women, mostly men, and I think my writing reflects that.  I think I have a good ear for creating the male voice, but I find women harder to sustain as main characters.  Do you have any problem writing for either sex?  I can tell that men come naturally to you, but what about women?”

She nods in apparent understanding. "It is harder for me to write women, which seems strange since I happen to be a girl." Laughing, she waves a hand around in dismissal. "I have one m/m/f menage and another het story coming this spring, and they were both much harder to write than my m/m stories. I've never been a girlie-girl. I always had more guy friends than girl friends. I didn't play with Barbie dolls, and I still rarely wear makeup. I did the sports thing, or I was out jumping fences, climbing trees, and playing in the dirt. My female leads tend to be tough and independent. They love their heroes, but they're not going to bow down and let the men run the show. My girls aren't supermodel thin or movie star pretty. They're average women with a lot of heart." She shrugs. "Well, at least I'd like to think so. My one weakness is cute shoes, so that's probably the most girlie thing you'll see from my female characters."

“I can relate.” I nod sympathetically. “As a girl, I used to pride myself on being able to beat up the guys in the neighborhood. Not that we had all out brawls or anything, but I never hesitated to hit them. I did play with dolls, though, with my sister, but I also liked to play games with balls.  And no, that wasn’t meant to be a double entendre.”  I almost snort, as I realize what I just said. “My heroine, Samantha, wants to be dominated, though. Not in a dom/sub sort of way, but she wants a strong man in her life, and she finds that in Eric, my vamp. And a whole lot more. I honestly believed I was a gay man in another life. Do  you believe in past lives?”

She actually does snort. "I know what you mean. My best friend is gay, and he's asked me more than once if I'm sure I'm not a gay man." She continues to smile, but her brow wrinkles. "I won't say I don't believe in it, just that I've never given much thought to past lives or reincarnation. If I did have a past life, I think I may have been a man, but not a gay man. I find women just as attractive, only in different ways. With men, I like to feel protected. With women, it's the opposite, and I feel like the protector. Either way, I like to be in control and make the decisions. It's a delicate line to navigate. I think my husband was made just for me, though." She chuckles softly. "He takes care of me when I want him to, and backs off when I need space. I'm a lucky girl." 

“You’re a very lucky girl, I hope that I can get lucky that way some day.  Does he have a brother?” I laugh before I finish off my very satisfying meal, pushing back my plate.  “Goodness, that was delicious. How about another round of Guinness, on me? Unless you have another drink you’d like to introduce me to? And then maybe show me around this town a bit, if you don’t mind?”

"Actually, there's another little place down by the water that I'd like to show you. We can get a drink there." Standing, she waves to Grady and motions towards the door. "I have a tab here, so I'll just pay for this later."

I follow Brie, waving to Grady in turn, giving him one last lingering look as we head out the door and off to our destination. My recorder is put away. It’s time to have some fun.  Talk to you later, dear readers!

Now, here's a look at Brie's book, By the Light of the Moon, and a bit of a pic to go with it.

By the Light of the Moon [Moonlight Breed 2]
by Gabrielle Evans
Heat Rating: Sextreme          Novel Length (50,000+ words)
Siren Publishing –

Wildly flamboyant and proud of it, Keeton Taylor knows he’s a bit much for most men. Logan is everything he’s ever dreamed of in a partner, but learning they are destined mates throws him for a loop. Forever is a huge commitment.
Logan has spent years searching for his mate. He never imagined that fate would pick someone so perfect for him, though. His instant attraction to Keeton is more than just some shifter pheromone thing. It’s love at first sight.
His ex-girlfriend has other plans for the cursed shifter though. An Arsidian Demon in her mating heat, she is hell bent on having Logan as her own, and eradicating the competition…Keeton. Can Logan save his new mate before the full moon, or will he lose his angel forever?


  1. Ah, a pint of the black stuff, huh? My family are from northern ireland, i take it you're from southern? It is a bit rainy there at the moment, so ducking in the pub is a good idea. Love your book cover. Good luck with it.

  2. Lidsay: Thanks!! It's all Julie, though. I just answer the questions. LOL!

    Margaret: Thank you. The book cover is rather yummy, huh? That's all from the brilliant Jinger Heaston over at Siren.

    For now I park my car in Dallas, Texas. I would love to live in Ireland, though. *sigh* Maybe some day.

  3. My question for you, my dear Gabrielle, is how you manage to visit picturesque Irish villages with all that on your plate. And Julie, won't you share some of that Yaoi Radius budget? :D Great interview!

  4. Thanks Scarlet!
    I never leave home without my laptop. I'm always writing. I actually tried to write DURING Thanksgiving dinner with my in-laws. Yeah, that went over so well. Besides, Grady makes for great inspiration. *wink*

  5. Gabrielle & Julie,

    This was a great interview. Bri your a very lucky lady to have a man that works hard so you don't have to work at a job.

    Very lucky indeed. Best wishes to you on your new book.