Elizabeth Chats With…Frances Evesham
This month I am introducing another of the writers behind West of England Authors. She is a woman of mystery: by which I mean she writes in the mystery genre, both contemporary and Victorian novels. But she also collect grandsons, Victorian ancestors and historical trivia, and plans one day to visit penguins at the South Pole when she has ‘knitted enough woolen underwear.’ My guest this month is Somerset-based author, Frances Evesham.
Hello Frances and welcome. Let’s start with an off-the-wall question. If you were a car, what type would you be and why?
My first car was an ancient Renault 4. I’m not sure whether I turned into the car, or it became me, but we had so much in common – even more, now that I’m older and crankier. The car kept going, even when bits were falling off and a hole appeared in the floor. It was, in my eyes, a fabulous mix of practical, funny and daring, and the engine ticked over like clockwork, needing only an occasional change of spark plugs. The only difference between us is that the car is no longer on the road, while I keep chugging on.
How would you finish the sentence “Not a lot of people know…”?
I used to sweep the roads in Wembley, when I was a student. Anyone remember the girl in the orange knitted hat (I knitted it myself) sitting by the road, eating Mars Bars? That was me. Thank you all the people who brought me cups of tea.
How do you relax?
I was a baby boomer, and the list of things we weren’t supposed to do included sitting around daydreaming. After all, as the teachers would say, “The devil makes work for idle hands.” As a huge, lifelong fan of doing nothing, I carried around a ton of guilt, until a course in hypnosis taught me to justify sitting and ‘daydreaming’ as work – and guess what, that’s how my stories start their lives.
If you had to escape a fire, what three things would you take with you?
Clean underwear, obviously. Did I mention I grew up post-war? Family photographs and the documents relating to my ancestors. My husband, who makes a great cup of tea. I would leave the goldfish, hoping the tank of water would save the little blighter. He was left here ‘temporarily’ by one of my children on leaving home – ten years ago.
If you could meet one person from history, who would it be, and why?
I recently discovered six or seven generations of newspaper journalists in my family tree, starting with George Moir Bussy, my great, great, great grandfather. He was a friend of Dickens when they worked as Parliamentary reporters together. What better way to learn everything I need to know about Victorian writing for my Thatcham Hall Mystery novels?
Watch a film, go to the theatre, read a book or talk to friends- which would you prefer?
All of the above. Reading is cheapest and I can do it at home with my feet up on the sofa, so that’s probably the winner.
Would you describe yourself as left-brain (analytical) or right-brain (intuitive) or a mix of both?
Definitely both. After all, I’m a proud leftie but always played tennis with my right hand. When I trained in speech therapy, ideas about specific locations of the brain for different jobs were rigid. Scientists have since discovered huge amounts of information about the human brain in recent years, and now we know it is flexible and adaptive. Now, there’s no limit to the things human beings can achieve.
If you knew you had only 24 hours left, how would you spend them?
I’d spend the time walking on the beach and cooking up some wonderful food for a last meal taken with the people I love. We’d open a bottle or three of the best red wine, taking our last sips together at 23 hours and 59 minutes.
What inspires your writing?
I love finding new locations for my stories, and as I live in beautiful Somerset, there are plenty of places to choose from. The Exham on Sea Mysteries use different beauty spots in the county, and I’m especially keen on the location for the third story, Murder on the Tor: the mysterious Glastonbury Tor, a place of romance, history, myth and legend.
I love the chance to research, and spent many happy hours climbing the Tor and enjoying the spectacular views. Once I have a location, the story almost writes itself!
Thank you Frances for spending time chatting to me today. Readers: you can find out more about Frances and her books on her website; on Facebook and on Twitter. You can find out more about West of England Authors on our website.