Meet Kelly Evans. Kelly is an author of Historical Fiction, whisking her readers away to another time. She has many and varied interesting historical facts on her website that are both fascinating, and educational. Lets find out a bit more about her love of the genre, and the inspiration behind her books.
Tell me about yourself
Hi, thanks for having me on your blog! I’m Kelly, I’m Canadian, but have lived in England for nearly 20 years. While living there I was able to travel extensively, which I absolutely loved. I worked as a project manager in finance for 25 years, then retired to write full-time. I mainly write historical fiction but have also written historical horror.
How long have you been writing?
I used to write short stories about various older students we knew in high school, disguising them in an ongoing adventure. I would write the stories in my last class of the day, then leave them in a friend’s locker to find the next morning. She’d read them to her home room class the next day. Apparently, I had a bit of a following!
What drew you to your chosen genre of Historical Fiction?
I’ve always loved history; my parents are Scottish so perhaps that heritage started me off. I studied it in university and when I moved to England, well, you see your first castle and that’s it! I love imagining different situations, both mundane and exciting, and how people in past times would react. My love of writing paired with my love of history, merged naturally into historical fiction.
Some of the historical facts you have on your website are fascinating. How much time do you spend researching?
Oh wow, it really depends on the book. For my first novel, I spent about a year researching, slowly, ensuring I was fully immersed in the history. The next one followed on from the first, so less research was needed. My historical horror took 3 months of research, which I loved because it was all Black Death and medieval medicine. Basically the answer is more than I need to create a believable world for my readers.
Do you have a favourite book you’ve written, and why?
That’s a difficult one! I think it must be 'The Mortecarni', my historical horror. I know zombies are passé but I’m a huge fan from way back, so it was fun to do my own. But the story is about so much more, including medieval medicine, and it set me on a path to learning as much as I could!
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m currently editing my latest novel, 'The Beggar Queen', about a 7th century woman who is kidnapped in England and sold into slavery in Merovingian France but rises to become queen. I’m also working on a novella about two groups of medieval monks who steal a relic from each other, a kind of medieval comedy.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Don’t be so hard on yourself! The first draft does NOT have to be perfect. You can always change things when you’re editing. Oh, and wait until you write the entire book before editing!
What are the ethics of writing about historical figures?
I guess there are the ethics of telling as historically accurate a story as possible, but also the ethics, if you’re writing a more modern piece, involving hurting, or damaging, the reputation of someone who has living relatives or who is, themselves, still living.
The latter doesn’t affect me as I write about people who lived a 1000 years ago. I do strive to be as accurate as possible and try to use as many primary sources as are available. The further back in time you go, however, the less documentation there is, so sometimes I just have to make an educated guess about a person or event. It’s the best I can do without a time machine!
What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?
Self-doubt. It just oozes into everything and is SO difficult to shake loose.
What advice would you give to a writer working on their first book?
Read. And write a lot. And then read more. Read in your chosen writing genre. Write as much as you can. Oh, and did I mention read? :)
What do you like to do when you are not writing?
I really enjoy watching really bad old horror movies, especially anything with huge bugs. If it’s a B movie, I probably own a copy! I also enjoy playing medieval recorder, sarcastic ukulele, and Animal Crossing!
Thank you to Kelly for sharing her inspiration with us. If you would like to check out her work, click on the links below.