- Anna P.
Indie Support Sunday: Evie Alexander
Even if you haven’t read Evie’s books, you’ve definitely seen the covers featuring a redhead laying down in the grass while a man in a kilt stands over her? If that doesn’t entice you to read Evie’s debut series Kinloch, then I just need you to know that you are truly missing out. Set in the Scottish Highlands, the first two books follow Zoe and Rory as they navigate a complicated situation and fall in love. The third and fourth (coming January 2023) books feature characters we meet along the way and they’re going to be filled with even more shenanigans.
And that’s not all! Collaborating with fellow author Kelly Kay, Evie has also released a series of novellas titled Holiday Disasters and they happen at different big holidays including Valentine’s Day, Fourth of July and Christmas!
Evie’s Instagram features inspirational quotes, reviews for fellow indie authors and updates from her real life. You can tell that there’s so much of Evie’s humour and Britishisms woven into the stories she tells, making it that much more entertaining.
All of Evie’s books are available in Kindle Unlimited!
What inspired you to write—was it another author or books you read as you grew up?
As far back as I can remember, I was making up stories in my head and either acting them out, telling my parents, or, when I was old enough, writing them down. When I was about eight, my primary school teacher at the time, Mrs Hayward, bought me a blank notebook and said it was for writing down all my stories. My parents then printed a ‘book’ of them, along with poems, and I designed the cover. It was hugely important to have this support and I’m still in touch with Mrs Hayward to this day!
I also read voraciously as a child and the books I read played an important part in my life, even though they were not the kinds of stories I have grown up to write.
Why did you choose romance as the genre to write in?
When I was in my teens, I got into reading romance. I read Mills and Boon, as well as Jilly Cooper. I’d always loved writing and thought (mega LOLs) that it would be easy to write for Mills and Boon. I spent about a year in my late twenties, attempting to write category romance and it was a complete and utter failure. I am in awe of anyone who can do this as it is extremely difficult and I didn’t even remotely manage it.
For me, wanting to write romance, in particular romantic comedy was an absolute no brainer. It was as obvious as the sky being above our heads and the ground being beneath our feet. I love a happy ever after and don’t want to read or watch or listen to anything depressing, scary or angsty. I also love making people laugh and so writing romcoms was the perfect way to write books that put a smile on people’s faces, a spring in their step and joy in their hearts.
Why did you choose to self-publish instead of going the traditional route?
I know lots of traditionally published authors across multiple genres, and every single one has been bitterly disappointed by their treatment by literary agents and publishers. Some of them have been so scarred by their experiences that they are no longer writing. Others are now self-publishing. So the first reason I was wary of trying for a trad deal was because I didn’t want to have a similar experience.
Secondly, I’ve read a ton of traditionally published books, and a lot of them are diabolically awful and littered with errors, from continuity to spelling, grammar and punctuation. The covers can also be poor—particularly in the romance/women’s fiction world. I’m not saying that Indie pubbed books are perfect, however I would expect that a trad pubbed book would contain accomplished writing and be properly edited.
Thirdly, it’s the huge lack of control and transparency in the process, whether from the cover to the marketing. Again, I’ve seen my friends tearing their hair out over their trad pubbed books, and I’ve also seen them having to take on (and pay for) marketing that shouldn’t have to be their responsibility.
Fourthly, I didn’t want to put my life on hold waiting for an agent or publisher to reject me. I was persuaded to submit Highland Games to a literary agent and within a week they had requested the full manuscript. Despite them promising a decision would be made within six weeks, it took eight months for the rejection email to come through—complete with spelling mistakes.
I wanted to indie publish so I had complete control over the whole process and could bring out books faster than the traditional one a year. I’m not opposed to being traditionally published in the future, and have one standalone in mind that would be perfect for a trad deal. I also know that there are plenty of authors who love being trad pubbed and are very happy with their author careers. Indie publishing is extremely hard work and definitely not for everyone, but it suits me because I want to have control over all aspects of the process, from choosing my editor and cover designer, to managing the publishing and publicity.
What’s the best and worst part about being an indie author?
The best part is the control. The worst part is the amount of work it takes to learn the three facets of getting a book out there: writing, publishing and marketing. Even with help, each one is more than a full time job.
Do you write full time or is this something you do on the side? And would you want to write full time?
This depends on what you class as full time. I work seven days a week, for at least ten hours every day, often more. This time is split between the entire author process and another job that funds the author process. I also have a team of people I employ to help me.
Other than writing, what is something you enjoy and are really good at?
If not romance/subgenres of romance, what genre would you like to write in?
Ooh! Love this question! Probably literary fiction so I’d be taken seriously by all the muppets who look down on romance books.
What are some of your all time favourite books—ones that you recommend to people or can reread multiple times?
Miss Buncle’s Book by D E Stevenson. Thief of Time by Terry Pratchett. Pretty much any of Lisa Kleypas’s regency novels. However, what I recommend to others depends on what kind of person they are and what floats their boat.
What are your top 5 tips or pieces of advice for aspiring authors?
Assume that whatever you write first (and second, and third) is going to be absolute crap.
Don’t write about your personal life story. It’s messy and boring to anyone who isn’t you.
Get beta readers you don’t know personally to critique your work and pay for a professional editor.
Read as much as possible, preferably in the general genre in which you’re writing.
Be true to yourself. Don’t try to copy a style or another author. It’s okay if you’re different, just spend the time to work out who you are as a writer.
Can you briefly tell me about your books?
I write laugh-out-loud steamy romantic comedies with a very British sense of humour. My first series is set in the Highlands of Scotland and has a cabin, a castle, and a Hollywood megastar making a bonkers sequel to Braveheart.
Of your book(s), who is your favourite character?
Charlie Hamilton from Kissing Games. At the moment he is my ultimate book boyfriend. I love all my heroes and heroines, but he is just the BEST!
What inspired your published stories? How and when did you come up with these stories and plots?
Oh god this is such a long and complex answer!!!!! So much of what I write is based on truth. Zoe’s cabin in Highland Games is based on my friend Zoe’s cabin that she built from wood, straw and mud. Rory and Charlie are based on several special forces guys I know. Some of the mental and physical health conditions the characters have are based on me and my family/friends. Almost everything in my books has a grain (or a granary) of truth about it.
How much of yourself do you put into these characters?
Tons. Mainly the swearing. Most of the characters have a little bit of me in them but none of them are totally like me as they’re amazing and I’m too much of a fuckwit most of the time.
When you write these stories, what are you hoping your readers will feel?
I want my readers to feel happy, horny, and that they are perfect just the way they are and deserve to be loved unconditionally.
What is a story/stories that you really want to tell?
I’d love to tell some true life stories from my friends and family but I can’t as they would know I’ve done it and readers would think the stories were too far fetched—truth is stranger than fiction... I’d also love to write an alien romance but I don’t know if I’ll ever have the time.
What’s next on the bookshelf for you? Anything you can tell us about a future project?
I’m about to start a new series (Foxbrooke) set in Somerset where I live. It’s about a bonkers aristocratic family.
What are your most and least favourite tropes?
My favourite tropes are enemies to lovers and fake dating. My least favourite are secret baby, (female) virgin trope, and anything where the MMC is an alphahole and acts like a complete twat for 99% of the book.
What are some tropes you want to write in the future?
Fake dating, workplace romance, and all the fabulous ones from alien romance—fated mates, abduction etc.
What are some topics (sensitive and otherwise) that you think should exist more in romance?
Male virgins, female CEOs, men cooking, being the primary caregiver, and anything that reverses the dominant gender tropes and stereotypes.
What is your favourite thing about the romance genre?
The happy ever after!
THIS OR THAT
Ebooks or audiobooks
Historical romance or romantic suspense BOTH!
Single or Dual POV
Standalones or series
Music or silence while writing
Plotter, pantser or plantser
Tea or coffee
Cold or warm weather
Morning person or night owl
Illustrated cover or photo cover (for my books. I love photo covers for others)
You can find Evie on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. Also, sign up for her newsletter and stay updated on all things Kinloch and beyond!