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Friday 6 November 2015

ℚ♫ The Evans Trilogy [1-3] - Jennifer Collin

Today we have the pleasure of meeting up with author to talk about the Evans Trilogy, a Chick-Lit series.
"Jen Collin's writing is so thoroughly delightful and so beautifully crafted that the reader can't helped but be wrapped up"

"Jennifer Collin is a beautiful writer with a lovely turn of phrase and the characters come to life expertly under her tutelage"

"Jennifer has a way of pulling you into the book and you feel a part of the story

Author Q&A | The Series | About the Author | Giveaway & Tour Stops

A very warm welcome to Jennifer Collin; thank you for joining us today.

Here at BooksChatter we love music, so Jennifer Collin has shared with us her music playlist for Bring Me Back, the third book in the Evans Trilogy.

If you would like to find out more about the songs Jennifer selected, visit her blog and have a look at her Chick Lit Rocks post - enjoy!

What was the inspiration for the Evans Trilogy?

"I started writing the Evans Trilogy when I was working with a lot of town planners.  I’d always lived in a neighbourhood where new developments were never wanted.  But working with these town planners, I started to see that if it’s done well, developing your neighbourhood could be the best thing that ever happened to it.  I wanted to tell this side of the story, to take someone most people see as a villain and turn him into a hero.  With this in mind, Set Me Free, Book 1 of the trilogy, came to life.

Set Me Free is the story of art gallery owner, Charlotte Evans, who discovers a developer plans to knock her gallery down to build a new apartment complex.  She goes into battle to protect it, only to find the developer isn’t what she expected.  She’s intrigued and attracted to him, as he is to her, and they eventually realise that whoever wins the battle for her building, they’re both bound to lose either way.

I hadn’t planned on a whole trilogy when I began writing Set Me Free, but the secondary characters, Charlotte’s sister Emily in particular, were begging for their story to be told as well, so I decided to give them their own books.  Open My Eyes (Book 2) tells Emily’s story and Bring Me Back (Book 3) is their little brother, Andy’s."
How much of yourself is reflected in this series, and how?
"Not a great deal, actually.

Charlotte, my leading lady in Set Me Free, is gutsy and not afraid to thrown herself into the unknown.  She gives up her home and her career to take a punt on her sister’s talent.  In contrast, I’ve always played it safe and have rarely done anything so bold.  I’ve had the same day job for almost 15 years!

Emily, the lead in Open My Eyes, married young and was supported by her husband while she built up her career as an artist.  She also relied on Charlotte’s gallery to make that career work.  Emily plays it safe like me, and her story is about how she adjusts when everything that was safe is suddenly taken away.  Emily and I differ because I’ve always been fiercely (perhaps foolishly…) independent and rarely let myself rely on anyone else to help me out.

Annie, from Bring Me Back, is nothing like me.  She’s Charlotte on steroids.  She left home at 18 to live in Japan and teach English.  While she was there she developed a love of the steampunk sub-culture and when she returned to Australia, she created a career for herself as an academic so she could live it every day.  She’s fiercely protective of those she loves, and doesn’t hold back if she thinks someone or something is threatening them.  In contrast, I’m a pacifist and conflict avoider.  Annie even intimidates me!  But I do adore her."
The first thing that draws me to a book is its cover.  Can you tell us about your covers - why you chose that concept and who the artist is.
"I adore my covers!  They were created by Design for Writers, whom I cannot promote enough.  They were so fantastic to work with and have absolutely nailed the ability to interpret what their clients are looking for.  I had so many specific things I wanted them to convey and they got everything right.  For example, I needed them to show how the series starts out quite light in Set Me Free, but as it progresses, it tackles issues of depression and drug addiction and as such gets heavier.  If you look at the covers in order, I think you get that sense very clearly.

Interestingly though, these are not my first covers for the trilogy. Personally, I prefer illustrated covers and my original covers were illustrated by a friend of mine. I adore these too, but decided to switch to see if a new cover would reach a different audience. It seems to have worked, because the new cover of Set Me Free caught the eye of Books on the Underground, the charity who place books on the London Underground for commuters to read.  Set Me Free has been travelling the Underground since the end of October – hopefully catching a few more eyes!"

Why should we read the Evans Trilogy and what sets it apart from the rest?

"I think it’s my characters.  My leading ladies are strong and resilient, and my men are vulnerable and sometimes get it wrong.  They’re the antithesis of the damsel-in-distress rescued by an alpha male kind of story.  Sometimes, particularly in the case of Annie and Andy (Bring Me Back), it’s the woman rescuing the man.

All of my characters are resilient.  They pick themselves back up when they get into trouble.  It might take more time for some (*ahem, looking at you, Emily (Open My Eyes) and Andy (Bring Me Back)) than others, but they all eventually bounce back.

Also, the series is based in Australia and is written with an urban Australian tone.  By urban Australian, I mean it’s not over-the-top parochial and the tone and language is subtle.  Still, it’s unmistakably Australian with its dry, understated humour."
Who would you recommend the Evans Trilogy to and what should readers be aware of (any warnings or disclaimers)?
"To be quite blunt, it’s for readers who like a bit of steam.  There’s a number of sex scenes and the bedroom door is wide open.  If you like your romance clean, you’ll either need to skip a few pages or skip the series all together.

Because the characters are strong, it’s not a deep, intense series where vulnerable or naïve characters grow emotionally.  It’s more for readers who like something light and fun that they can read in one or two sittings.

You’ll also like it if you like female characters who stand up for themselves and men who sometimes question whether they’ve got it right."
If you could / wished to turn Evans Trilogy and the Evans Trilogy series into a movie, who would be your dream team?
"I cast the series about halfway through Set Me Free and I’m very happy to share!   I’ve had pictures of the following actors on my noticeboard for the last three years:
  • Amy Adams is Charlotte Evans, with her lovely luscious auburn hair.
  • James McAvoy is her love interest Craig Carmichael, because he looks so good all suited up and clean cut.
  • Charlotte’s sister Emily is played by Amanda Seyfried, whose big green eyes suggest there’s some naivety within.
  • Charlotte’s best friend Ben is played by Malcolm Freberg, who was a contestant on the American Reality TV show, Survivor and gorgeous enough to be cast in The Bold and the Beautiful in 2013.
  • Charlotte’s brother Andy was to be played by Emile Hirsch, but his contract was discontinued during filming and he’s been replaced by Tom Hardy.
  • Annie, who joins the cast in the second book / movie, Open My Eyes, will be played by Emily Blunt.
I hadn’t thought about who would direct it though…so I’ve done quite a bit of googling to figure out who.  I’ve landed on Sharon Maguire, who is a friend of Helen Fielding’s and directed Bridget Jones's Diary.   She did a great job of translating that book to film and I think my babies would be safe with her."
What do you like to write?  Do you stick to a particular genre or do you like to explore different ones?
"I like to write about ordinary people overcoming the stuff life throws at them.  I adore love stories and will stick to romance, though I’m not sure I fit into a specific sub-genre.  I break too many rules!  When I was writing the trilogy, Set Me Free (Book 1) had greater emphasis on comedy, it was more of a rom com.  But Open My Eyes (Book 2) had a little less, and finally, Bring Me Back (Book 3) was and is much more about the intrigue and drama.  There’s still some comedy in it, but only a light touch.  Based on the way the Evans Trilogy evolved, I suspect I’ll end up writing more romantic suspense."
Is this the genre that you also like to read?
"In my twenties, I used to love reading really morbid, depressing and confronting books.  Stories of child abuse, domestic violence and other forms of mal-treatment.  But once I had children, it was like a switch flicked in my brain and suddenly I no longer wanted to know anything about the horrors of the world.  I wanted my kids to have a bright and sunny world full of love and happy endings.  I couldn’t stomach morbid and depressing any more.  I went back to romance, which I loved as a teenager and now, it’s all I read."
What is your writing process?
"It’s chaotic!  I start with a mind map of my idea, which becomes an indecipherable mass of squiggles and circles on a sheet of butcher’s paper.  From there, I write key scenes on post-it notes, which I shuffle around on the wall of my home office.  I’ll also write lengthy character profiles and really get to know my characters.  Only after all this is done will I let the story out.  It comes out quickly and roughly, until a character doesn’t like where they’re going – at which point I need to go back and review the story up to that point and weave in new elements.  Here’s where it becomes a dance – two steps forward, one step back."
What is in store next?
"My next book is still a secret, but I can tell you it will be a standalone.  I can also tell you I’ve been googling Medieval Europe…"
And as a final quirky thing, to get to know you a little bit better... do you have a pet or something that is special to you that you could share with us?
"Here is a photo of me and my daughters."
I’m still determined the world should only be
bright and sunny and full of happy endings.

(Photo actually taken for school fundraiser)
Lovely photo.  Thank you so much for sharing it with us!

The Evans Trilogy - available NOW!

UK: purchase from US: purchase from find on Goodreads


Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thank you for hosting

Unknown said...

Thanks for the post! It looks AMAZING!!!!

BooksChatter said...

Hi Jennifer! thank you for visiting us and I am glad you like it :-)