In these festive days, let me introduce you to a very prolific British writer, Geraldine Evans, author of police procedurals that contain a lot of humour and family drama.
Geraldine is the author of eighteen mysteries over two series/one standalone, one historical and one romance. She has also published shorter fiction and non-fiction, including HOW TO EFORMAT YOUR NOVEL FOR AMAZON’S KINDLE, PALMISTRY POINTERS FOR LOVERS AND PALMISTRY POINTERS FOR WRITERS (under the pen name Gennifer Dooley-Hart).
Now an indie author, she was originally traditionally published by Macmillan, St Martin’s Press, Worldwide, Severn House and Hale. Some of her novels are also available in audio and large print.
A Londoner, Geraldine lives in Norfolk, UK, where she moved in 2000.
Her 15-strong Rafferty & Llewellyn series features DI Joe Rafferty, a London-Irish, working-class, lapsed Catholic, who comes from a family who think – if he must be a policeman – he might at least have the decency to be a bent one.
Her 2-strong Casey & Catt series features DCI ‘Will’ Casey, a serious-minded, responsible policeman, whose ‘the Sixties never died’, irresponsible, drug-taking, hippie parents, pose particular problems of the embarrassing kind.
So peeps, ladies, gentlemen, and beloved monkeys, here I serve you Geraldine Evans on a hot platter. Geraldine!
<standing ovation as Geraldine walks on the stage. Whistling, shouts, and pulling crackers. The monkeys rattle their jungle jewels>
Welcome, welcome, welcome, Geraldine. Please, have a seat on our newly decorated grills, all red and green, sparkling and shimmering like sizzling lava.
Geraldine, as a way to break the ice, tell the audience first how we met. And don’t worry, our monkeys understand sign language.
<a spotlight beams on a busy translator at the far left corner of the stage>
Where did we meet, Massimo? Surely you can’t have forgotten? It was while you were up on that double murder charge and I was the foreman on the jury that acquitted you. I always had my doubts about that decision… Yes, it is good of you to feature me here. Perhaps we can do it again sometime? Next year, say? And every year after that, until one of us is either dead or banged up.
Ehmm, err, yes, Geraldine. That story didn’t make the news…yet. Harumph, this is going to be challenging, right peeps?
<audience laugh, claps their hands in unison and stomp their feet. Monkeys moon me>
Nutcracker, aka Geraldine, you surely have written a lot. What could you tell a reader wanting to discover your series. You have… 15 seconds. Go!
I think of my Rafferty and Llewellyn series—as well as my Casey and Catt series—as cozy procedurals. So if you’re looking to avoid the gore-fest of the latest deranged serial killer, they should suit you perfectly!
Well done, and with a couple to spare even. What’s your most recent work?
My most recent release is the digital edition of DEATH DUES #11 in my 15-strong Rafferty and Llewellyn procedural series.
You offer a tagline for this series, “Detective Inspector Joe Rafferty is cursed by coming from a family who think – if he must be a copper – he might at least have the decency to be a bent one.
Well, you’ll appreciate that such a tagline affords ample scope for fun and games at Rafferty’s expense. To add to his joys, he’s partnered by more moral than the Pope intellectual Welshman, Sergeant Dafyd Llewellyn who thinks the law should apply to everyone; even the mothers of detective inspectors, so you can be sure that Rafferty endures plenty of tears before bedtime.
Law to apply to everyone? You mean equally and without discounts to anyone? What a weird concept, surely just the Pope and a fictional character could believe such an out-worldly insanity. Are you working on something else in these days?
Apart from some shorter non-fiction, I won’t have another novel available until 2014. At the moment I have a (very) rough first draft of Rafferty #16, Asking For It. I’m also about to begin the research for my second historical, this time set in the 1400s during the later Plantagenet period. As with my first historical, Reluctant Queen, (about Henry VIII’s little sister), this next historical, will also feature
a real figure from the history books. Ah, almost forgot, an alternative tagline for Rafferty and Llewellyn series is… A Little Laughter. A Little Mayhem. A Little MURDER…
Well, everything can be said but a little of this and a little of that. You’ve definitely have written a lot, Geraldine. And, do you have a favourite one?
Ah, you want details? I’ll have to have a tally up. Dead Before Morning (2), Down Among the Dead Men (1), Death Line (1), The Hanging Tree (1), Absolute Poison (2), Dying For You (2), Bad Blood (1), Love Lies Bleeding (1), Blood on the Bones (1), A Thrust to the Vitals (3) went mad there!, Death Dues (1), Death Dance (1), All the Lonely People (2), Deadly Reunion (2), Kith and Kill (2).
That makes 23, though I might have forgotten one or two; I’ve been writing my Rafferty and Llewellyn series since 1993, so I’m going back a bit. When you add in Up in Flames (1) and A Killing Karma (2), from my Casey and Catt series, the total is 26. Not a lot, really, over seventeen novels in two series. My absolute favourites are Dying For You #6 in my Rafferty series and Reluctant Queen, my first (and so far, only) historical.
And you are, 260 years old? Some keep their first novel simmering in a drawer for 10 years. 🙂 From the top of your work catalogue, what could you tell aspiring writers and procrastinators?
Writerly advice? Just do it. Make a start. Until you do, you’re likely to be filled with doubts. They might well be justifiable doubts. But you won’t know that until you try, so don’t allow doubt to so paralyse you that you’re unable to pick up a pen or wield a keyboard. You can still test yourself against the gatekeepers’ demands as my generation of writers had to do. Or you can take the quicker route of publishing on amazon’s kindle and/or the other retailers. But be warned that if you take the latter route with no established traditional publications, please be as certain as you can be that your work is free of typos, grammatical or punctuation errors, formatting problems or plotting glitches. Another tip: don’t spend your time comparing yourself to other writers. There’s always going to be someone more talented, successful, more wealthy than you. Accept it as just another of those painful facts of life, and move on.
Great advice, Geraldine, especially on what to do if venturing onto self-publishing. Too many think writing is easy and just require to fill screens with words and hit publish… thinking “someone will like it, oh and it’s only $0.99 so no one should complain.” Nope, stop doing that, enough already. Readers are truly fed up with such a disgrace. Well said. You say in the end to refrain from comparing to others. Aren’t you jealous at all?
Ah, you betcha I’m jealous of other writers! What writer isn’t, even if they don’t admit it? We all go ‘Grrr’ at thoughts of J K Rowling’s millions and think: I should have some of that! It’s only the worry about turning bright emerald that makes most of us keep the green-eyed god in check.
Hahahaha. At least you’re candid. But I’m at least 50 times jealous—in all its green shades—for something that wouldn’t pass my English teacher’s filter and yet it amasses gold. Oh well, and people still believe it is enough to write a good story… NOT! It’s enough to have a marketing juggernaut behind your back. LOL
In order to write all those books, and a series that doesn’t grow old but offers always something new, something unexpected, and unseen twists, I suppose you have to do lots of research?
I had my doubts before I started that I would have the stamina for all the research required. In fact, it wasn’t the keeping going as the knowing when to stop, that gave me problems. Historical facts provide so many tantalising and meandering by-ways to tempt you away from your main route. But these have to be resisted or, not only will you never finish, but you’re liable to go mad.
Going mad is one of the risks writer have to face. Anything else you fear?
I think an unfortunate occupational hazard of being a writer is that you spend your days slumped over a keyboard in a fug of cigarette smoke and brandy fumes, so poor circulation is one problem. If it wasn’t for the effort I put into avoiding housework I’d get no exercise at all.
Ah ha, maids of the worlds unite. Now you know how to escape your nemesis: turn to writing 🙂
<second mooning of the day, this time it’s the monkeys AND the maids in the audience. I enjoy the variation 😉 )
And now, now, now, it’s time to GET PERSONAL with Geraldine!
<Applause, and confetti falls from the sky. The juicy part can now begin.>
It’s the season to be good, so I’ll start with an easy one and gift you with a chance to win the most discerning part of the audience. Ger, what is your favourite fruit?
My favourite fruit’s the banana. Make of that what you will.
<Monkeys go wild. It was a long wait for them. Thunders of clapping roll on stage and we cower under a joyous launch of banana peels. Can’t do much, my monkeys are a-natural.>
<Crew’s taking a banana peel off our shoulders and head…> I’m sorry, Geraldine. We don’t train our monkeys. Their reactions come from their hearts. And from my heart, do you ever write naked?
Do I ever write naked? Are you mad? In this climate? I live near the east coast of England where icy blasts straight from the Siberian steppes can penetrate concrete. Apart from any other considerations, I’d have to tie a scarf across my eyes or risk being blinded by my lush, middle-aged gorgeousness. And my touch typing was never that confident.
It was a tricky one. I do write naked, btw. The fact nobody asks me what I mean reassure me I must do well in keeping a perverted eye and look during the interviews 🙂 Now, what is the most blatant lie you’ve ever told?
What is the most blatant lie I’ve ever told? My dear Massimo, I don’t tell lies, blatant or otherwise. I’m as honest as the day is long. Okay, seeing as I spend my days making up untruths, we might be talking Venusian days here rather than Earth ones. Though there was that one time when— But no. My lips are sealed. Lives could be at stake. Not least, mine.
Do you mean telling the truth 24H a day or during daylight only? 🙂 Tell us, now, what was the most demeaning thing someone said about you as a writer?
By a fair margin, I suppose the most demeaning thing said about me as a writer would have to be the one word review: ‘Ouch!’ That exclamation point I find particularly hurtful. But every writer gets that sort of comment (and worse) during the course of their career. I’m a pretty tough old bird and after years of being on the receiving end of such barbs. Spiteful reviews (for want of a better term) of that kind, no longer cause the hurt they were clearly intended to. But just remember, if tempted, that I murder people for a living…
Indeed, some reviews are there only to trigger a “Whatever” so much they’re deprived of any meaning. Besides, there are very few reviews around. The majority an just opinionated comments, as good or bad as they could be. Besides, tell us more of your reaction in front of a bad review as a crime and murder writer…
My reaction? I hunt you down and kill you. And in answer to another of your questions, Massimo, yes, I have found the perfect way to commit murder. But if you think I’m going to tell you what it is — especially when I may well yet have recourse to its perfection in the future should I receive another ‘ouch!-worthy review.
Eh, I knew you couldn’t answer that one. It is part of your tools for a next novel in your series. How would you, and would you ever write one day your autobiography?
Mae West famously advised that you keep a diary and one day it will keep you. I doubt my life has been as voluptuously lived as Ms West’s, so writing my autobiography has never been something I’ve ever considered. Besides, I never paid any heed to her advice and as my memory is poor and getting worse, I’d just have to invent. In theory I could ask my siblings for their memories, but then the memories of one’s siblings are no more to be relied upon than one’s own. And then there’s that sibling rivalry thing; family never seem to feel the urge to build you up and pander to the over-inflated writer’s ego. One of their more regrettable foibles.
At least, we can feature them as victims in some of our stories. Would you have an uncreative work, maybe one with a steady income instead of being a writer?
Would anyone want to work in an entirely uncreative job? Not me, that’s for sure. Been there. Done that. Most of my non-writing life has been spend in uncreative jobs. And I loathed all of them. I need to do creative work. Same as I need to breathe. It was that need that kept me going through all the rejections of my earlier writing life.
Well, I believe rejections will be a thing of the past. The publishing scenario is changing and the old roots can’t sustain the many trees anymore. Geraldine, as a last gift, give readers the elevator pitch for DEATH DUES and Reluctant Queen the story of Mary Rose Tudor, Henry VIII’s defiant little sister.
My pleasure. For Death Dues, DI Joe Rafferty is anticipating a long and trying week, especially with his wife-to-be’s wedding budget spiralling out of control and his superintendent demanding the swift resolution to the series of muggings of local loan sharks’ collectors. And sure, enough, he isn’t disappointed.
When one John ‘Jaws’ Harrison is found with his skull caved in, in an alleyway backing on to rundown Primrose Avenue while on his way to collect debt repayments from the residents, Rafferty and his intellectual partner, Sergeant Dafyd Llewellyn, imagine the case will be easily solved. Armed with a list of local debtors, they begin their investigations. But they hadn’t counted on the conspiracy of silence amongst the residents — most of whom had good reason to want Jaws dead.
With the Super breathing down his neck and fiancée Abra sending his blood pressure to boiling point, Rafferty is forced to make some unorthodox decisions and stretch his intuitive powers to breaking point.
It’s a Tudor historical novel. One NOT about any of the six wives! Henry had plenty of other relatives, most of whom, given his short-lived dynasty and shaky right to the crown, the always insecure Henry had executed throughout his reign in order to secure his throne. Can you imagine what it must be like to be the little sister of infamous English king, Henry VIII? Remember, this is the king who went on to have six wives, two of whom he had beheaded.
…he knew something about how nasty marriages can turn, but he definitely was a man women could lose their head for.
Ah yes, <grins> and although the teenage Mary Rose is his favourite sister (he even named his famous ship after her), his shifting alliances and ruthless desire to have his own way, made him push the young and lovely Mary into a hateful state marriage with the ailing and ancient King Louis XII of France.
But, a reluctant Mary Rose, as strong-willed as Henry and passionately in love for the first time, with champion of the lists Charles Brandon, doesn’t give in easily. Before agreeing to the match, after a relentless campaign by her loving brother to get her to say yes, Mary Rose extracts a promise from Henry. A promise she is determined he will keep.
At the French court, Mary Rose is pursued by the witty, charming, but debauched Francis, Louis’s heir, who, even at the young age of twenty, is a practised seducer. Between the awful conjugal embraces of her sickly old husband and the persistent and unwanted attentions from Francis, Mary is in a desperately unhappy situation. But then, her ailing husband dies, and the lusty Francis is elevated to the French throne and absolute power.
Mary Rose thought her situation BEFORE her husband’s death was difficult, but then she hears rumours of her kingly brother’s plans for her future. And they do not include keeping the promise he made to her.
Trapped in an impossible situation, caught between a lustful Francis and the ruthless self-interest of her older brother, the spirited Mary Rose makes a fateful decision aware, even as she does so, that she is taking her very life in her hands.
Dead Before Morning
Get in touch with Geraldine:
and finally, Createspace.