Thursday, August 16, 2007

Interview with Eva Marie Everson and Linda Evans Shepherd

Today, we have Eva Marie Everson and Linda Evans Shepherd, authors of the Potluck Club series, to share with us. They have generously agreed to provide a free book to whoever wins a drawing on my blogs, so please check the bottom of the interview for details.

First, I’d like to thank you both for agreeing to be interviewed on my blog! I really enjoyed The Potluck Club Takes the Cake, even though I haven’t read the first two books in the series yet.
Who came up with the idea for the Potluck Club?

LES: While at a mountain getaway, I read a novel about friendships and felt disappointed because the book only scratched ‘surface issues.’ It hadn’t shown the love, conflict or reconciliation that makes friendships real.

Later, as my husband was driving our family down the mountain, I decided if I were to write a novel about the friendships of women, I would add those missing ingredients and call it The Potluck Club.

I immediately called Eva. Between dropped calls, I explained my concept and said, “It could be a book about friendships written by real friends.”
“Let’s do it!” she said, and the rest is history.

HC: Eva Marie, you and Linda have each published several books on your own. Do you enjoy writing with a collaborator?

EME: I do! To be honest, this isn't for everyone. Some say that novelists can't write together and the work be equal. But Linda and I developed a system by which the work was split in half. This is not to say there have been no "problems" along the way. But Linda and I agreed from the beginning that the END RESULT was to have a WONDERFUL product, written to God's glory and [wo]man's enjoyment. That means sometimes agreeing to disagree, and talking it out. Other times it means saying, "I love you" and recognizing that nothing gets in the way of our friendship.

HC: How about you, Linda?

LES: It’s been a treat because Eva and I share friendship in the real world as well as a world of fiction. I never know what Eva is going to ‘do’ with the characters I write until I see her chapters and neither does Eva know what I’m going to ‘do’ with the characters she writes. This keeps the drama in our chapters fresh as well as unpredictable. Plus, it’s taught Eva and I how to go deeper into both the art and gift of friendship.

HC: Is it easier or harder than writing a book by yourself?

EME: Harder, for sure. No wait...easier. LOL Actually, it's nice to have someone to bounce ideas off of. But you have to understand that creative people become very protective about that which they create. So, again, it can be tricky and its not for everyone. I enjoy writing with Linda. I can't say I'd like to work with every writer...but I enjoy writing with Linda.

LES: I like writing solo and I also like writing with Eva. But like Eva says, I wouldn’t want to work with every writer. Before we wrote Potluck, Eva and I complied five anthologies with dozens of other writers. Though those books were fun to create, we later joked that it would have been simpler to have written those projects – with just the two of us.

Though that experience, Eva and I learned collaborations can be more complicated than writing alone. We also learned the two of us worked well together. So, if you find a good collaborator who shares your heart, your work ethic and your writing standards, then explore the possibilities.

HC: Do you have any advice for anyone considering collaborating on a novel?

LES: Test drive the collaboration process. Before you write something as complicated as a novel, try writing an article or two together. Also, spell out some agreements. Before Eva and I started our first Potluck Club novel, we spelled out our writing duties, schedule and editing responsibilities.

HC: Did the two of you choose which characters you would write, or did you both write all the characters?

EME: Linda and I went to the beach ( Cocoa Beach , FL ) during a trip Linda made to Florida for another conference. While we watched the waves beat against the shore and basked in the warm glow of the setting sun, we each developed three characters. We just started talking as though we were telling each other about personal friends of ours. I don't even think we wrote anything down...we just talked. We came back to my house that evening and started fleshing them out.

HC: The characters are all very well drawn. They’re real. Even though I hadn’t read the first two books, it didn't take long to get caught up in their lives. What made you decide to write in multiple POV?

LES: Thank you!

Eva and I wanted our six characters to be distinct. We also wanted a way to divide up the writing process. So we each created three characters. When we take turns writing our chapters, we slip into one of our ‘own’ character’s viewpoints.

HC: Is there any hope for further adventures of the Potluck Club?

EME: Why goodness, yes! We have three more books featuring our fearless friends of the potluck! They've formed their own catering company. Beginning next year, look for The Potluck Catering Club's Secret Recipe to be released, with two more books near summer for the next two years.

LES: It’s exciting because I think each new book is better than the last.

HC: One last question: do either or both of you have any new books coming out soon?

EME: I do, yes. I have a book written for Thomas Nelson/Nelson Bibles, currently titled (the working title) Touching the Bible; An Intimate Journey to the Land of God 's Heartbeat. This book is also cowritten, but with my Jewish friend, Miriam Feinberg Vamosh (best selling author from Israel ). Miriam has a Masters Degree in Archeology and Heritage; she led tours for 30 years. If there is a rock in Israel that Miriam doesn't know about, I'd be shocked! She was my guide/interpreter when I was in Israel in 2002 as a journalist. I went back to Israel alone in February of this year so she and I could tour the country--just the two of us--taking photos and journaling as we went along. The book will feature our photography as well as photographs by one of the most gifted photographers I've ever met, Doron Nissim , Miriam's excellent information about the traditional, biblical, or historical elements of each site followed by pages from my journals, which focuses on how the soul is stirred by the site. I'm beyond excited for it to be released, which will be next Spring.

LES: I’m also working on a solo novel entitled Star Bright as well as a couple of nonfiction projects on prayer and lifestyle worship.

HC: Thank you so much for taking the time to share all this with our readers! May God continue to bless you both as you write for Him!

If you're interested in winning a copy of The Potluck Club Takes the Cake, please leave a post here, or send an e-mail to hope_chastain [at] (lose the spaces and replace [at] with @). Be sure to mention that you want to enter this drawing, as I hope to hold one for every interview where the author(s) have one available!


Peggy Blann-Phifer said...

I have met and adore both of these ladies. And their friendship is genuine.

Please enter me in your drawing for their new book. It's a great series!


Anonymous said...

Please enter me to win a copy of the book you have offered. I just think the Potluck books are good and some of the receipes in the book are GREAT!! It doesn't get any better than that. Good book and good food. :)

Nora Stlaurent

ladystorm said...

Hi Hope, nice interview! I would like to be entered into your drawing for there book. Thanks :)

Kathy Carlton Willis said...

Hi, there Hope! Great launch for hosting blog tours here. I know you from the ACFW book club loop. Thanks for entering me in the drawing for the Potluck Club book. I read their last one, so look forward to getting my hands on this one!

Kathy Carlton Willis
WillisWay at aol dot com

Hope Chastain said...

Thank you all for your lovely comments! I'll be sure to enter you! :-)

Lindsey said...

I would love to be entered in the drawing for the book! It's one I really want to read. :-) And thank you for the great interview!

Lindsey Freitas

Doreen said...

Hi, I would love to be entered to win this book! Sounds really great!

Hope Chastain said...

I'm collecting names for the hat!
I'm also trying to decide on a good cut-off date to hold the drawing.