Fantasy/Sci-Fi Focus (FSF): Hi Evangeline! How’s it going? How has this crazy year been treating you?
Evangeline Rain (ER): Hi Michael! I think everyone around the world has been very affected and it’s crazy indeed! I hope the crazy tones down soon.
FSF: I fully agree. It handy effected us much due to the fact that I already worked from home and I’ve actually gotten more time with my family but I know it’s had a devastating effect on so many.
ER: I think working from home crosses many lines though. It’s hard when we’re expected to operate professionally when the kids are running amok at home. It drove me to quit my day job of 16 years when the lockdown entered the second month.
FSF: Well I hope we can end it all this year and begin some form of normalcy again. So I did have a question to start us out. When did you know you wanted to be a writer and describe the journey that led to your first published novel.
ER: I’ve always wanted to write, but it’s not deemed as a “proper” job so I didn’t really pursue it. 2 years ago, one of the reader groups I was in organized a small writing competition. I joined for fun and won the third place. I think that’s when I started to have to courage to write for real.
However that novel didn’t take off because the story was going nowhere, it was lacking. I was fortunate enough to get my first set of tips from Vicki Stiefel. She was very generous and encouraging. I learned a lot. Subsequently, I sent my manuscript to various competitions to get feedback to improve on my writing.
It was quite a long, bumpy road before the first book was published, but I’m very glad I did and very proud that I managed to pull through the process.
FSF: So I’d like to talk about your Chikara Revolution series and specifically the first novel Fatal Extraction. Can you tell our audience a bit about the book and why it should be their next click?
ER: I love watching Sci Fi movies, but I felt that the men were stealing the show. I wanted a Sci Fi like the Resident Evil series where Alice was the kickass lead throughout. Then I came across Monica Enderle Pierce’s Glass and Iron series and I got very inspired. I thought maybe I could try to combine everything. I must say it was a tad too ambitious for a debut novel but I had a lot of fun writing it.
The book revolves around a female pirate, Nirvana Faust, my version of Han Solo, and a high-ranking officer, Zane, who had just defected from his planet. They were forced by circumstances to work together in a difficult mission. Nirvana, being much older, didn’t think much of Zane at first, especially when he looked very unsure of himself, nerdy and all. Besides, she’s used to being the boss and being in control.
However, as the book progresses, she learned that he was not what he seemed, and it was dangerous to keep underestimating him. She was torn between trusting him as a partner, but not knowing what other surprises he might spring on her.
When I wrote the book, I visualized it like an action-packed movie, so that’s how it turned out. The first book introduces the story arc in the series, and the subsequent books will feature different romantic pairs with recurring characters. Readers, like me, who don’t enjoy slow burn romance that are stretched over a few books, will enjoy this series.
FSF: Sounds amazing. Do you write with a particular audience in mind or do you write for yourself and hope that readers will come along for the ride?
ER: This is an excellent question. I started out writing what I wanted to read, so it’s more for myself. Later on, I realized it’s not how this industry works. I cannot keep writing for myself. While I hope to find my own tribe, I’m studying the other authors to see how I can try to find the balance in writing to market, and maintaining my individuality at the same time. However, I still want to explore different genres against the better advice of the more experience authors. I’m still finding my niche..
FSF: As a self published author, what has been your biggest joy in the experience and what have been your biggest challenges or obstacles?
ER: My biggest joy has been finding readers who enjoy my books. The best are those who enjoyed all, even though I switched genres. Their affirmation and reviews kept me going.
The biggest challenge would be finding these readers and trying to make my books reach more people. As a self-published author I have to fork out money to produce and market a book. The costs incurred keep snowballing and thus, my day job is needed to feed these expenses until I get more sales.
FSF: How much of yourself and those in your personal life make it into the characters that you write about?
ER: I would deny vehemently that my books reflects my personality, but my close friends who had read my books said they could see me clearly in all the characters and their behaviour. I guess the way I write also reflects my views on some of the issues happening around the world.
FSF: What are some of your biggest influences in all media forms (not only books and authors) that have inspired your work?
ER: Movies and computer games are my biggest influences. I would say they influence me even more than books and authors because I am very visual. I often find it hard to form a detailed mental image based on descriptions alone, but a picture is worth a thousand words. When I’m out of creative juice or stuck in a writing rut, I’d catch a couple of movies and watch the cut scenes from various computer games on YouTube. It’ll usually help get my writing mood back on.
FSF: As an indie author, how important is reader interaction to you? How do you like to network with your readers?
ER: I haven’t gotten many readers yet. Those who write to me gets my next book free. I’m never going to earn anything like that, but it shows how much I appreciate them reaching out to me and affirming me. I believe all authors, established or not, need affirmation from their readers. I would ask all of mine to email me at email@example.com. I often invite them to pitch in ideas for my next book too.
FSF: Speaking of which, what’s next for you? What can readers look forward to in the coming year?
ER: I’m working on Book 3 of The Chikara Revolution, taking the advice of my author friends to try to write a little more of one genre before jumping around.
Then I will work on Book 2 of my Chinese Historical Romance. This one took me by surprise because I wrote Book 1 on a whim, I didn’t expect readers to want more. These two are confirmed and in the works.
After that I’ll see if I have any inspiration for Book 3. If not, I’ll work on expanding a 5k word piece which I submitted for a GrimDark magazine. Naturally I didn’t make it because it was not grim and dark enough. I think it might turn it into a paranormal romcom. I also have ideas for a contemporary romcom. I’ll decide later after I finish my intended books for this year.
FSF: Sounds like an amazing year. Can you recommend some indie fantasy or science fiction to our audience that you’ve read recently?
ER: I feel Monica Enderle Pierce’s Glass and Iron series is not getting enough attention. I love it. I want to get more people to read it. The most recent indie fantasy I’ve read is JC Kang’s Thorn of the Night Blossom. I’m really looking forward to his Quantum Cultivation, a Xianxia/Cyberpunk novel that’s coming out next month!
FSF: Finally I like to end all of my interviews with this question. What one piece of advice can you offer to new and aspiring authors?
ER: I’m not experienced enough to give much advice yet, but I’d say join all the author groups, especially 20booksto50k on Facebook. Ask as many questions as possible and learn as much as you can before you publish your first book. I regretted not doing that. If you have the funds, and you want your writing journey to be as smooth and successful as possible, hire a reputable book coach.
FSF: Thanks for being here. It was great talking to you.
ER: Thank you for your time!