Intro What’s your name, what do you write, where can readers find you on social media?
My pen name is Evangeline Kelly and I write Christian Romance books. Readers can find my facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/EvangelineKellyAuthor
@Evangelinebooks on Twiter
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- What inspired your book?
I write contemporary romance, and as I brainstormed different ideas, I liked the idea of writing a modern-day story with Beauty and the Beast themes. It’s not a retelling per say, but it definitely has correlations to the fairytale.
- What is the book about?
The Unwanted Assistant is about a billionaire who stopped living life after a tragic accident that killed his family and left him with scars. He used his wealth as a shield so he didn’t have to interact with people or face his emotional pain and guilt. After receiving an ultimatum, he hired college student, Ivy Wolfe as an assistant. With insecurities of her own, Ivy found working for a self-absorbed recluse much harder than she anticipated. Both Ivy and Sawyer didn’t count on falling in love or being forced out of their comfort zones.
- What are the characters like?
Sawyer Drake is a complex man in that he uses a gruff attitude and rude behavior to push Ivy away, yet at the same time, his conscience won’t allow him to do that for long. He did his best to keep Ivy at arm’s distance, but she slowly gets under his skin until he comes to the realization that she’d lit up his entire world, and he was in deeper than he anticipated. Ivy Wolfe left California with a broken heart and moved to Alabama to attend college. She wanted a new beginning with no drama. Except, working with Sawyer brought way more drama than she expected. Both characters have insecurities they have to overcome in order to be together. Both have a strong faith in God, but they have to learn to trust Him with their futures.
- Who should pick up your book and why?
Anyone who likes character-driven romances with a hero and heroine who have to face inner conflict in order to find their happily ever after will like this book. I’ve been told by readers who received advanced reader copies that the story made them laugh and cry, and they rooted for the characters from the very beginning.
- Name one book that affected the way you write?
Susan May Warren’s book, The Story Equation was instrumental in helping me develop deep, three-dimensional characters who make the story come alive with their dreams and ideas.
- If you could only write in one genre for the rest of your life what would it be and why?
As a reader I enjoy many different genres, but I would be happy writing Christian Romance for the rest of my life because I love writing about how two people come together under challenging circumstances. As a Christian, I enjoy weaving faith into these storylines and seeing how God teaches His people to lean on him in difficult times.
- What’s a favorite moment you’ve had with a fan/someone who’s read your work?
I had a reader email me and share that one of my books helped distract her during a very difficult period (a family member was dying) and she appreciated having it at a very desperate time in her life. Receiving emails like that makes all the long hours and hard work worth it.
- Favorite quote from your own work?
Favorite quote from The Unwanted Assistant: I laughed at the absurdity of the situation. If someone had told me a year ago, I’d be standing in a southern-style mansion in the good ol’ state of Alabama, getting paid for doing nothing while putting up with a snarky man, wearing combat boots of all things, I’d have said that person was crazy. Yet here I stood.
- What was the writing process like for The Unwanted Assistant? Are you a planner, pantser, or somewhere in between?
I spent a lot of time with outlining and character development for this book, but I still veered off from the outline at times. Once I start writing, the story can have a life of its own. When that happens, I just go with it and see where it leads. New ideas will often come to me as the story progresses, brick by brick. But overall, I stuck to the overall plan of my outline.
- How is The Unwanted Assistant different from other Beauty and the Beast stories?
This story is different in that it’s not a fantasy or fairytale, and it doesn’t stick to the same plot from the original Beauty and the Beast. It has similar themes and elements that fall into the realism of modern day life.
- Do you find there are central themes or elements that are unique to your books?
As a Christian I like to weave my faith in God into the storylines of my books. Characters have a Christian worldview and learn to rely on the Lord for guidance. One theme that comes up over and over in my books are characters that have to deal with bullying. I didn’t plan it that way, but maybe I just like seeing the underdog rise above horrible circumstances.
- Have you had any other careers and how have they affected your writing?
I worked with foster kids as a social worker for nearly twenty years, and the job definitely affected my perspective and understanding of human suffering. So many of the kids I worked with had resilience and perseverance and a will to go on. I’ve witnessed kids in horrible circumstances overcome situations that would make even the strongest person wither. My hope is that I can use my background to write about characters that overcome.
- Traditional or Self-publishing? Why?
I’ve chosen to self-publish because it gives me more control over my books and marketing. Networking within the Indie community is also a lot of fun and I’ve learned a lot from other Indie authors.
- What do you believe is your main purpose/motivation as a writer?
I’ve seen the fallout of broken hearts that have never been mended. There are so many people in the world who feel alone and afraid. My desire is to reach the person with a broken heart and bring them encouragement and joy. The power of a strong story can go a long way to bringing someone hope.
Thank you, Evangeline! The Unwanted Assistant is available now and you can say hi to Evangeline on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/EvangelineKellyAuthor on Twitter @Evangelinebooks, on her website: https://www.bookschristianromance.com and on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38609326-the-unwanted-assistant. The Unwanted Assistant is available NOW on Amazon!
As always, keep making magic, word weavers!
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