Jen: This week we’re happy to welcome Misty Evans to Book Talk. Misty, will you please share a short bio with us?
Misty: I’m a suspense writer, mother of twin boys and wife of the best guy in the world. I also have a cool dog, Max, who weighs 125 pounds and thinks he’s a baby! I’m a terrible cook, have no athletic skills (other than being a mean pinball player), and I adore sea turtles.
Jen: Tell us about I’D RATHER BE IN PARIS and where it’s available.
Misty: Elite CIA operative Zara Morgan has a reputation as a loose cannon with a penchant for breaking the rules. Now she’s got a chance to prove she can be a competent field officer, but the test doesn’t end there. She’s been paired with sexy covert ops team leader Lawson Vaughn, a man who lives and breathes protocol.
Methodical is Lawson’s middle name. He specializes in high-risk search and rescue, not missions that involve tracking down terrorists. Especially while trying to keep the lid on a partner who has a problem with authority and skates by on wits and bravado.
Even before they get on the plane for Paris they’re under each other’s skin…and fighting a scorching sexual attraction. Drawn into an unauthorized game of vengeance, Lawson is forced to dance a tightrope in order to protect his partner from their quarry—a terrorist who’s about to unleash a biological nightmare on the Muslim world—and Zara is the first target.
With her life, and that of millions of innocent people, on the line, Lawson must become the one thing he despises. A renegade.
Jen: At what age did you discover writing and when were you first published? Tell us your call story.
Misty: My mother used to give me mini-notebooks in church to write in before I even knew my ABCs. I understood books held stories and I loved to pretend I was creating them. In fourth grade, I won second place in an essay contest with a story about my dad. By eighth grade, I was paying a friend to type my short stories.
Jump forward a few years (okay a lot of years). After my twin sons were born, I left the business world and started writing stories about being a stay at home mom with twin sons, two dogs, four cats and a broken (washer, dryer, car, fill in the blank). A couple of those stories made it into a small magazine and I was hooked again on writing.
The catalyst for my fiction stories was 9/11. My world turned upside down and I became a CNN junkie every night after my twins were in bed. Thinking about their future in the aftermath of that day scared me a lot. Everything seemed beyond my control. After a few weeks, I knew I had to do something. I turned off the TV and started typing a mystery using my best friends as characters. The bad guys got their just due in the end and my friends loved the story.
The dream to become published grew over time. I kept writing new stories, found suspense to be my favorite genre, and started attending writing conferences. Over the next few years, I sent out dozens of queries, samples and full manuscripts, only to receive a boat load of rejections. The call came as an email. I was thrilled, of course, and a little overwhelmed. I’d finally landed an agent. I called my hubby at work to tell him the good news through my tears. When I said, “guess what?”, though, he thought our old dog had died!
Even though I had an agent, I didn’t sell for nearly two years. Another round of disheartening rejections and then finally another call, in the form of an email, from an editor. This time when I called hubby, I wasn’t crying, but I think he might have felt like it after all the waiting.
Jen: Describe your writing in three words.
Misty: suspenseful, multidimensional, fun
Jen: How do you approach your writing? Do you plot or go with the flow?
Misty: Characters pop into my head with strong personalities, dangerous careers and lots of secrets. I usually have a loose plot in mind when I start typing, but both the plot and the characters reveal themselves more as I write. I consider it to be an organic approach to storytelling.
Jen: Do you have any “must haves” with you while you’re writing?
Misty: Coffee, my iPod, and my Flip Dictionary
Jen: What is it about the romance genre that appeals to you?
Misty: I don’t really write with any specific genre in mind. My Super Agent series has action, humor, drama, and romance, just like real life. My paranormals have action, humor, the Devil and romance. Just like real life!
Jen: Do you do anything special to celebrate a sale, new contract, or release?
Misty: I spend a day or two telling everyone I know, because sharing is the best part of selling. I drink some champagne, eat extra decadent chocolate and then get to work on my next story.
Jen: Is there a genre that you’d like to write?
Misty: I’ve tried romantic comedy, dark paranormal and mystery. There are lots of genres left to try if I ever have time. Maybe urban fantasy or YA.
Jen: Where do you draw your inspiration?
Misty: Inspiration is all around me. People, settings, even conversations I overhear while I’m waiting in the checkout lane can inspire me. I listen to a lot of music, read everything from Scientific American to Mary Oliver poetry. I never lack for inspiration or ideas.
Jen: Do you have a favorite character or one that you identify most with?
Misty: I have favorite characters in each story. For Operation Sheba (the first book in my Super Agent Series) it was Conrad. In Witches Anonymous, it’s Amy’s friend Liddy. For I’d Rather Be In Paris, I love Zara’s fashion sense, her raw guts and her past as a ballerina.
Jen: Who are some of your favorite authors and books? What are you reading now?
Misty: Favorite books range from To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee to anything Jodi Picoult. Currently, I’m reading a lot of YA: Twilight, City of Bones, Daughters of the Moon.
Jen: What’s next for you?
Misty: Another cup of coffee? Just kidding. My ultimate goal is to become a best-selling author who lives on a boat off the coast of Florida and comes up with ideas for new reality TV shows for Bravo. I’d love to see a series about ex-CIA operatives or witches.
Jen: Where can you be found on the web?
Jen: Do you have anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Misty: What was your childhood nickname?
Jen: Misty, thanks so much for being our guest this week. Readers, Misty will be stopping by to answer any questions you have. And everyone that leaves a comment this week will be entered in a drawing for an ecopy of I’d Rather Be In Paris. I’ll pick a winner on Thursday, April 2 around 5:00 pm PST. Please consider leaving an email address with your comment so that we can contact you if you’re our winner.