Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Guest Blogger Geraldine Evans

Geraldine Evans joins me today from across the pond, bringing an interview--and prizes! I'm happy to post this on the eve of her newest book launch, which is tomorrow, 2/24.

Here's her bio:
Geraldine Evans has been writing since her twenties, though only began to get novels published halfway through her thirties. As well as her popular Rafferty & Llewellyn crime series, she has a second crime series, Casey & Catt and has also had published an historical, a romance and articles on a variety of subjects, including, Historical Biography, Writing, Astrology, Palmistry and other New Age subjects. She has also written a dramatization of Dead Before Morning, the first book in her Rafferty series.

She is a Londoner, but now lives in Norfolk England where she moved, with her husband George, in 2000.

Deadly Reunion is her eighteenth novel and fourteenth in the humorous Rafferty & Llewellyn crime series. She is currently working on the next in the series.
She's currently doing a tour, at the end of which, some lucky commenters will win her books as prizes. Here's how that works:

The draw of all the comments throughout the Tour will take place at the end of the Tour (end-Feb). There will only be three winners, each of whom wins one signed copy of Deadly Reunion, my latest hardback (fourteenth in my Rafferty & Llewellyn crime series), one copy of each of two ebooks that are the first and second novels in my Rafferty & Llewellyn crime series, that is, one of Dead Before Morning and one of Down Among the Dead Men. They will also receive a subscription to my blog (which they can let lapse when it  runs out).


And now to the interview: 
  
What made you decide to take up crime writing?

Partly, it was that I kept getting my romantic novels rejected. Even after I had one accepted, the next one was then rejected. I decided the writing world was trying to tell me something. It had been dawning on me for some time that I wasn’t really suited to writing romantic novels. I think I’d only ever set out to write them because I’d thought they’d be easy. Clearly, I was wrong! I’d always read crime novels and after reading that the British crime author, Colin Dexter, the creator of Morse, had only taken up crime writing after a wet weekend in Wales during which time he read a very bad crime novel, something clicked. Because I’d recently read a very bad crime novel, too. I dared to think that maybe I could do it better. Anyway, I tried my hand at it and wrote Dead Before Morning, the first book in what went on to become my Rafferty & Llewellyn crime series, which, with my latest, Deadly Reunion, is now fourteen books strong.

Where did you get the idea for writing your latest novel, Deadly Reunion?

I’d been reading a lot about romance and social media like Friends Reunited and Facebook and people meeting up again after years apart. I thought why not take this to the ultimate and instead of love, having murder as the end result. I thought it was an idea that had legs. Who doesn’t remember the person from their youth that they hated as well as the one they had a crush on? I thought all the simmering emotions would be brought to life at a school reunion.

Tell us about your name police characters.

My main characters are Detective Inspector Joe Rafferty, my ‘ordinary Joe’ policeman and Detective Sergeant Dafyd Llewellyn, the inferior with the superior education, class and morality. Rafferty comes from a family who are over-fond of suspect ‘bargains’, a predilection that causes Rafferty some angst, especially as his police partner has morals as high as an elephant’s eye and doesn’t think that even the mothers of detective inspectors  should be above the law.

There is a lot of humour in your crime novels – why did you decide to write this kind of crime novel?

Because I had become a little bored with reading straight as a die crime novels that just had the murder and nothing else. When I read fiction I look to be thoroughly entertained and, for me, that means having a few laughs along the way. So that’s the kind of crime novel I decided to write, with poor old Joe Rafferty always being one step away from catastrophe, via his family, as far as his career is concerned. In A Thrust to the Vitals he has to somehow protect his murder suspect brother while trying to catch the real villain. In Dying For You, he creates his own little difficulty when he joins a dating agency and uses a borrowed identity to do so, then finds himself, or rather, his alter ego the chief suspect in a double murder inquiry, an inquiry which he is then forced to lead. And in Deadly Reunion, he finds himself saddled with four unwanted lodgers, courtesy of his Ma, who has decided a family reunion is just the thing. So in each book, there’s a sub-plot where Rafferty has some problem or other in addition to solving a murder.

Why did you decide to pair Rafferty with Dafyd Llewellyn?

Probably because I’m perverse! I wanted to make life as difficult for Rafferty, and potentially as amusing for the reader, as I could. So, along with a family prone to buying suspect ‘bargains’ or doing other things on the edge of criminality, I thought it would be amusing to provide Rafferty with a partner as upright as the Pope, one who was in many ways, Rafferty’s superior – whether it be in morality or education or class. A superiority of which Rafferty is only too aware.

You have, during the course of the series, introduced other family members. Could you tell us about a couple of them?

Rafferty is a gladly-lapsed Catholic, so it seemed only right to introduce the family priest who is a cousin on his mother’s side. Father Kelly regards it as his mission in life to bring Rafferty back to the Catholic fold, much to Rafferty’s chagrin. Nigel Blythe, aka Jerry Kelly, is another cousin. Nigel is an estate agent (realtor), who is a social climber with ideas above his station in life, certainly they’re above someone with a name like Jerry Kelly, hence the name change. Nigel’s another one who’s ‘superior’ to Rafferty. Unlike Rafferty, Nigel is a stylish dresser and lives in a spacious warehouse apartment. His interaction with Rafferty invariably causes Rafferty plenty of angst.


You decided to set the series in the county of Essex in England. Does this have special significance?

Yes, it does. In England, Essex is a rather derided county – there are even jokes about its inhabitants, such as: What’s the difference between Essex and Mars? Answer: There might be intelligent life on Mars. And: what does an Essex girl consider a really classy meal? Answer: A wood chip (French fries) fork with her takeaway.

I thought it was the perfect county in which to place Rafferty, whose family is working-class. Essex people have the reputation for being duckers and divers and wheelers and dealers and several of Rafferty’s family are of this type.

Though, funnily enough, having chosen Essex as the location for the series, the place seems to be becoming of less importance as the series progresses.

Rafferty’s mother, Ma (Kitty) Rafferty is a strong character. Is this the way she was always going to be?

Definitely. Ma was just another aspect of how I made life difficult for Rafferty. Right from the start, she’s been a real old-fashioned Irish mother, always poking her nose into his business, chiding him about the lapsed nature of his religion and match-making him with girls with child-bearing hips.

Deadly Reunion, as you said, is the fourteenth novel in the series. Do you foresee the series continuing indefinitely?

I don’t see why not. As long as I can keep coming up with plots and convincing funny sub-plots. If I think the stories are faltering, I’ll stop, but until then it’s business as usual in Rafferty’s Cop Shop.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on Kith and Kill, which is another Rafferty novel. In this one, a ninety-year-old woman is murdered on the night of her birthday party. The sub-plot has Rafferty striving to keep his family on the straight and narrow when they set about deciding what present to buy Ma for a triple anniversary.
LINK TO MY PAGE WITH THE BLOG TOUR DATES:


Deadly Reunion
A Rafferty & Llewellyn crime novel by Geraldine Evans
Publication: 24 February 2011 (UK) 1 June 2011 (US)

Blurb

Detective Inspector Joe Rafferty is barely back from his honeymoon before he has two unpleasant surprises. Not only has he another murder investigation - a poisoning, courtesy of a school reunion, he also has four new lodgers, courtesy of his Ma, Kitty Rafferty. Ma is organising her own reunion and since getting on the internet, the number of Rafferty and Kelly family attendees has grown, like Topsy. In his murder investigation, Rafferty has to go back in time to learn of all the likely motives of the victim's fellow reunees. But it is only when he is reconciled to his unwanted lodgers, that Rafferty finds the answers to his most important questions.

3 comments:

Judy Bobalik said...

I can't believe I was unaware of Geraldine until I saw her posting on 4MA. I immediately bought her first couple of books for my Kindle.

Thanks for the interview.
Judy

Kaye George said...

And I can't believe I never knew about 4MA until your post here, Judy! I'm glad you found Geraldine and Rafferty.

Geraldine Evans said...

Firstly, Kaye, thanks for hosting me. This blog tour has been quite an experience. I've never done one before so I was gob-smacked about the amount of work involved. But I've done all my posts now and there's only a couple of days to go till the tour ends. Bring on the next one!

Judy,

Thanks for the purchases. There's nothing finer than the clink of cash! I hope you enjoy my Rafferty books. I'm currently preparing the third book in the series for epubbing. I'll put it up on my website when it's done. Thanks again. Appreciated.