Vanessa’s life passion project is writing restorative fiction. Her first collection of fiction novels are powerful stories of the human condition and restoration of life. They are gritty, raw stories with authentic characters whose lives and experiences will take you on a heartfelt journey through love and loss and remind you of the unbreakable human spirit and transformative power of grace, love and human kindness. Of her first two novels ‘Out of the Ashes’ and ‘Beautiful Fragments’, Amazon readers have said “Evetts dives headfirst into the ‘too hard basket’ and does justice to weighty human experiences” & “Phenomenal, empowering and heartbreakingly real, these are books that will inspire and uplift women everywhere.”
Breaking Art – The Podcast Link
What authors did you dislike at first but grew into?
Eek, I feel mean saying this but can honestly admit, I tend not to go back for seconds. There are so many amazing writers and books out there, I am a try and drop kind of reader – so if something doesn’t grab me by the heart, shock or interest meter I’m out of there. Unless it’s a classic, of which I have to admit – I have read very little, but I have many on my office bookshelf (which is the #1 to be read zone) … so this is a to be continued kind of question.
Do you try more to be original, or to deliver to readers what they want?
100% original. When I am writing, I dive right on into the demands, needs, quirks, qualms, fears, pain and lives of my characters, so much so that I catch myself thinking as them while out living my life. Yes, I have voices in my head and I like it. Writing this way feels as though I am giving a more authentic and impacting story to readers which is more important to me than what the market says they want.
How do you select the names of your characters?
My characters walk into my head and heart fully formed. They know what they are called, how they feel and what they want to say. I am merely a vessel. Now I know that sounds all sorts of crazy, but hey, being a bit wild, quirky and open to creative whims is part of the job description. I do get to pick surnames sometimes. One of my characters was lovingly called Dr Harry Whittaker, purely because my friend, who was on retreat with me, was scoffing down delicious Whittaker’s Doris Plum Chocolate while I was brainstorming. Chocolate for the win!
If you had to do something differently as a child or teenager to become a better writer as an adult, what would you do?
I think the life and experiences I have had enabled me to write restorative fiction which is my life’s passion project. I found my safe place in books, poetry and song from an early age and wrote a lot of lyrical prose as a teen. I wish I’d never stopped but understand the absence of words in that 15-20 year season acted like a springboard for my first two years as an author. It was a torrential downpour of inspiration, through which I wrote my first three full size novels.
Have you Googled yourself? Did you find out anything interesting?
Only this hilarious photo posted by the creator of Breaking Art the Podcast - Jason Naylor. It was a wild moment of me holding up my first novel ‘Out of the Ashes’ after completing a super fun interview with him. He took serious author photos too but loved this one because it was crazy and he knew I was fun enough not to care. We had a good laugh about it.
What was the first book that made you cry?
This one is easy. Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. My favourite author for this reason – because her words climb into my heart and rip me wide open. I remember reading the book in one go, when I was 19 and newly married. I read through the night, frantically wiping off my streaming tears because I couldn’t possibly stop reading even for a second. I just had to know.
Are there any secrets in your books that only a few people will find? Can you tell us one? Or give us any hints?
The main thing people ask is how much of me is woven throughout ‘Out of the Ashes’, my first novel. My journey with grief is not a secret, nor is my year I spent in Argentina on a student exchange when I was seventeen. My novels are fiction, but people who know me well will recognise the little gems posted throughout. I’ll give you one for free, the scene where Grace describes her accidental childhood experience at a nudist beach, complete with dangly bits, artistic protesting and a very embarrassed mother – that is a scene right out of my childhood.
Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym? Why?
Not for my main body of work in restorative fiction. I may publish my children’s books (which are squirrelled away) under a pseudonym purely as a form of separation. Also, if I was to write something that would detract from my work in restorative fiction, I would seriously consider using a pseudonym to protect my brand.
How did publishing your first book change your writing process?
I wrote three novels before I published the first, and then edited and published two in the same year. It was insane. Working with professional editors enabled me to write with more of a critical eye, aware of common errors and tighten up my first draft in the natural process of writing. A good editor is worth their weight in gold, they alert you to your quirks and bad habits and enable you to continuously upskill in the craft.
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
My third, Then She Roars is entering the final editing stages and will be released early 2020. I am currently writing the fourth and fifth of the collection – yes, at the same time – this was not intentional but as I said early, my characters are bossy. I also have a few non-fiction projects underway, although they are neither unpublished nor half-finished, they exist, barely. And I have about seven children’s books waiting for me to pause for a second to notice them with their hands up, and two children’s novel series, of which I’ve written one book each and then abandoned … they are quirky and fun and deserve attention … one of these days.
What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters of the opposite sex?
Integrity and authenticity of voice. Making sure you capture them as honestly and realistically as possible without your own perspectives, experience and assumptions getting in the way.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
Yes, I love reading reviews. A good one helps to validate your work, and a bad one – if constructive helps to grow you as an author. I’ve been really blessed so far with reviews. At the end of the day, I am confident in my voice, my message and the quality of products I am releasing thanks to my incredible team of professionals. It is impossible to produce a creative work that everyone loves, I appreciate the fact that someone has taken the time to review, even if they didn’t like it, heck, I don’t like everything I read.
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