This evening in the Library we have Kelly Evans, who has dropped in to say hello and to share some insights into her life as an author.
Born in Canada of Scottish extraction, Kelly studied history and literature at McMaster University and creative writing at Humber College, with continued medieval studies during her time living in England. Kelly has authored four historical novels to date and contributes articles to historical publications. She also writes satirical articles about managing your manor during the Black Death, told by fictional advice columnist Lady Matilda.
Before retiring last year to write full time, Kelly ran her own company as a successful analyst and project manager in capital markets. She is a voracious reader (she brought over 3,000 books with her when she moved back to Canada from England) and enjoys history, music (she plays medieval recorder), and watching really bad horror and old sci-fi movies.
Which genre do you write in and what draws you to it?
I write historical fiction, focussing on Anglo Saxon England. I love imagining lives of those who lived a thousand years ago, and if their reactions would be the same as ours, given a particular situation. I also write historical horror, both short stories and novels.
Who has been the biggest influence on your writing?
Rod Serling of Twilight Zone fame. Not many know he wrote many of the episodes, and could REALLY tell a great story in a short amount of space. I learned about economy of words from him. I love horror so Stephen King was a huge influence on my horror novels. Lastly, Margaret Atwood taught me how to keep a story moving, while also subtly including important plot details.
Has your country of origin/culture influenced your writing?
I lived in England for 16 years so yes, the country and culture absolutely influenced my writing. It’s also the place I got serious about writing. Just walking through a medieval building, soaking up the history and ghosts of famous historical figures, it was very inspirational.
Do you have a favourite time of day to write?
I’m a night owl so rise about 10:00am, do emails and other business until 2pm, then write until 2am, taking breaks for food.
If you weren’t an author, what would you be up to?
An archaeologist or an archivist in a dusty old museum. I’ve actually taken archaeology courses!
If a movie was made of one of your books, who would you like to play the lead roles?
Funnily enough, I’ve thought about this! If they made a movie out of my historical horror novel, the Mortecarni, I’d love to see Taron Egerton as Brother Maurice, the physician monk, Idris Elba as his friend Fala, and Barry Allen as Brother Maurice’s squire, Hugh.
If you could live the life of an historical figure for one day, who would you choose and what would you get up to?
I think I’d chose Elizabeth Cochran aka Nellie Bly. A Victorian journalist, she got herself committed to one of the worst psychiatric hospitals in the country for the purposes of exposing the horrible treatment of patients. Her work helped to establish investigative journalism as well as prompting changes to hospitals and treatments.
If you could travel back in time, what era would you go to? What draws you to this particular time?
Anglo Saxon/Early medieval! Known as the ‘dark ages’ thanks to the Victorians, the period was actually rich in literature, medicine, engineering, and more.
You have been chosen as a member of the crew on the first one-way flight to Mars – you are allowed to bring 5 books with you. What would they be?
1984 – George Orwell, The Norton Anthology of English Lit Volume 1; The Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas; The Chrysalids – John Wyndham; and Skeleton Crew – Stephen King.
My latest novel is The Confessor’s Wife. It’s the story of Edith of Wessex: daughter to the most important earl in Anglo Saxon England, wife to King Edward the Confessor, and sister to King Harold Godwinsson. Her story was always told in the footnotes of THEIR history. Until now.
In the 11th Century, when barren wives are customarily cast aside, how does Edith of Wessex not only manage to stay married to King Edward the Confessor, but also become his closest advisor, promote her family to the highest offices in the land, AND help raise her brother to the throne? And why is her story only told in the footnotes of Edward’s history? Not everyone approves of Edward’s choice of bride. Even the king’s mother, Emma of Normandy, detests her daughter-in-law and Edith is soon on the receiving end of her displeasure. Balancing her sense of family obligation with her duty to her husband, Edith must also prove herself to her detractors. Edward’s and Edith’s relationship is respectful and caring, but when Edith’s enemies engineer her family’s fall from grace, the king is forced to send her away. She vows to do anything to protect her family’s interests if she returns, at any cost. Can Edith navigate the dangerous path fate has set her, while still remaining loyal to both her husband and her family? Buy Link
Amazon: Kelly Evans – Author