A small-town girl from southern Oklahoma, Siren-exclusive author Gabrielle Evans believes in taking chances and pushing boundaries. Gabrielle’s best-selling series are driven by her belief that everyone has a happy ending waiting to happen, even if it’s found in a seemingly unconventional way. When she’s not busy writing her next anxiously awaited book, she’s living her own happily ever after, married to her high school sweetheart.
Q: When did you begin writing?
A: I’ve had an intense love affair with the written word from the womb. My brother is fourteen years older than me, and he would read to me before I was even born. Then he read me bedtime stories until the age of four when he taught me how to read them to him.
I wrote poetry and short stories throughout elementary school and junior high. Several of my poems have been published in a range of media from local newspapers to national collections.
Then in high school, I added essays, winning multiple contests and even snagging the grand prize in a scholarship competition for an in-depth essay on the topic of medically assisted suicide. Yes, I’ve always been a little morbid. Ha! I also wrote articles for the local newspaper as well as my school newspaper.
My first novella, Leap of Faith, was written in the summer of 2010. It took me approximately six months to complete the story, and the first draft was entirely handwritten since I didn’t even own a laptop at the time. Don’t worry. We’re not cave people. It was just too much hassle to fight three boys for the desktop computer. The book was published in January 2011 with Siren Publishing, and I haven’t looked back since.
Q: Why ManLove?
A: I love men in all their varying shapes and personalities. I’m a firm believer that love is blind to such things as gender, and I hope to convey that in my writing. As to why I chose to write my first book as an M/M, I’d have to say it chose me. I didn’t sit down and create Braxton and Xander. Not to put too fine of a point on it, but they created me.
The characters came to me one night in a dream, whispered in my ear, and said, “Let me tell you a story.” Thankfully, I listened. I was definitely a fan of the genre before becoming an author, and I have several friends and family in the GLBT community. So, it didn’t seem strange, but I definitely didn’t “decide” to write ManLove.
I don’t discriminate, however. If a female characters pops into my head and demands her story be told, I’m more than happy to tell it for her.
Q: Where do you get the ideas for your books?
A: I can be inspired by the subtlest of things—a couple holding hands on a park bench, a song, a quote, the news, or my dreams.
The Gods of Chaos series came to me from the opening thirty seconds of a movie. As a general rule, authors are highly observant people. We just tend to observe random things. That truck barreling down on me while I’m wandering the middle of the street? Nope, I didn’t see that. I was too busy creating a story in my head after watching the way the rain splashes against the puddles of water.
The world is a beautiful and interesting place with a story all its own, if we just take the time to notice it.
Q: How much time do you spend plotting your stories?
A: Honestly? Very little. I am not a plotter. I have extremely basic, one paragraph outlines to get from point A to point B. At one time, I felt I needed to be more organized and attempted to outline a story in detail. By the second chapter I was so far outside of my outline that I scrapped the entire thing.
Other than the understanding that my characters will fall in love and get their happily-ever-after, I never know what will happen from one moment to the next. Thankfully, I like it this way. The story is far more exciting when my characters surprise me, or the plot takes a turn I wasn’t expecting.
I consider myself more of a storyteller than a story creator. After all, these are really the characters’ stories to tell. I simply act as their voice.
Q: Do you write straight through, or do you revise as you go along?
A: It depends. If I’m having issues with a stubborn plotline, I’ll read from the beginning and make changes as I go. When I sit down to start a new writing day, I will read the last chapter I wrote to get back into the flow, and of course, I’ll make any necessary edits then.
Normally, however, I just write straight to the end before editing. It’s harder to see mistakes when a scene is so fresh in my mind. I know what it’s supposed to say, and therefore, tend to read it that way. I know what my characters are thinking and why they do certain things, but when the story is still too fresh, it’s more difficult to judge if I’ve accurately brought these understandings across on the page.
Q: Do you have a reoccurring theme in any of your series?
A: All of my books have one central theme: Everyone deserves a happy ending, no matter their past or personality. There’s someone out there for everyone. Qualities that one person may find annoying, or even crude, could be humorous and fun to another. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, as the saying goes.
The Gods of Chaos books do tend to focus on the theme of redemption. These aren’t exactly “bad” guys. They’re regular people who have succumbed to the temptations in life that we all face.
Q: How do you come up with the titles for your books?
A: It varies. Sometimes, I will hear or see something that sparks an idea for a title, and then the story flows from there. Other times, it’s a specific passage or phrase in a pivotal moment that sticks with me while I’m writing. Often times, it’s a title that encompasses the overall message of the story.
Oddly, I cannot even begin a book without a title. Ninety-eight percent of the time, I will end up changing it at least once before submission, but I need that “working” title to get started. If there’s nothing on the title page, it’s very distracting for me.
Q: Do you have a favorite character?
A: I get asked this a lot, and it’s so hard to answer. Choosing between my characters is like choosing between my children. They are all special to me in different ways for different reasons. Each one of them is, in some small part, a piece of me, a tiny fraction of my heart and soul.
If I had to choose, however, I would have to say the boys from Fatefully Yours. Yes, there are eight of them, but they are kind of a package deal. I spent so much time with them over the course of their journey, and they will always be special to me.
Q: Do you ever get writer’s block? If so, how do you kick-start your muse?
A: I don’t necessarily get writer’s block. The ideas are always there. It’s formulating these thoughts into coherent and cohesive sentences that can be problematic. If there is a lot going on in my personal life or I’m feeling overly stressed, it tends to muffle the muse. Once I tidy house and remove the outside distractions, things will start flowing again.
Trying to force the words when they aren’t there only makes the situation worse, adding to the stress and perpetuating the cycle. For me, it’s mostly about finding balance and knowing when to step away.