Name Eva Scott
Where are you from
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I wish I could because it’s very exciting but am waiting for the go-ahead from my publisher first.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I began writing as soon as I could form letters with a pen. I had my first work published in my school year book when I was in Prep. It was a poem about the colour brown!
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When my Prep teacher suggested I might be a writer when I grew up. I thought to myself “I can do that” and I’ve never stopped writing since. The only thing that’s changed is the quality of my work (I hope).
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I was on maternity leave and I thought, if not now then when? So I got stuck into a 50,000 word novel which I submitted for that years Romance Writers of Australia Emerald Award. I came 4th. I was head hopping and tense dropping all over the place but it gave me the confidence to plough ahead and that particular book was published later that year by an American publishing house.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
A few people have mentioned that I write like I speak, that my spoken story telling rhythm is the same as my written. Other than that, I like to experiment and mix it up a bit.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
For once the title was an easy find. Red Dust for the landscape of central Australia and Dreaming for the Aboriginal art which forms an important element of the story.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Be true to yourself and don’t lose the core of who you are.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
The Yuendumu Aboriginal Art Centre – Warlukurlangu – is a real place with the most amazing artists. I can spend hours scrolling through their catalogue of paintings.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Yes. Elizabeth, the heroine, is made to change her education preference to suit her parents. I had a friend whose father made her do just that in exchange for paying her tuition fees. She had to give up arts for IT.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
I remember reading Isabel Allende’s House of Spirits and being fired up to write. She was such a huge influence on me, showing me there was room in the world for all styles of writing.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Neil Gaiman’s Anansi Boys. I love the way he draws his characters.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I’ve been so busy lately I’ve hardly had any time to read at all. But come December I’m going on a cruise and I intend to shop for new talent before I go. Can’t wait to discover someone new and exciting.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I’m just finishing up a new novel, Red Dust Dancer. It’s all about a country sea change and how you can reinvent yourself, even against the odds.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
I think my biggest support has come from my critique partner, Tea Cooper, who I found via the Romance Writers of Australia Critique Partner Program. I’d be lost without her and I rather think I’d still be struggling to find a publisher.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Absolutely. And I treat is as one. I plan the stages of progression and have career goals mapped out.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
My writing has improved a lot so there’s that. But also the length. I got a lot of feedback that it wasn’t long enough. Red Dust Dancer is twice as long as a result.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I come from a family of storytellers. My grandfather used to weave tales for me off the top of his head. Someone was always spinning a yarn. They still do! I’m the only one who has bothered to write them down and make some dosh out of them. Shh, don’t tell the others….
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
This is an extract from my upcoming novel Red Dust Dancer.
“Well, I’m not auditioning for the new show. You may as well know now.” Eilish, their red-haired Irish beauty, threw back a shot of tequila and motioned the bartender for another.
“Why ever not?” Janelle’s eyebrows threatened to hit the ceiling.
“Let’s see, my knees ache, my hips are so stiff I can barely get out of bed in the morning. Oh, and my neck has seized three times in the past nine months.” Eilish ticked off her ailments on her fingers. “I see my physio more often than I see my boyfriend. I’m done ladies.” She took her new shot from the bartender, giving him a little nod of acknowledgment. “I’m done.” She threw her tequila down the hatch, wincing as it hit the back of her throat.
“What about you?” Janelle turned the attention to Tamsin. No one was going to argue with Eilish. When a dancer’s time came there was nothing anyone could say to make things better.
“Might take some brush-up classes. I wonder if doing the same moves night after night hasn’t dulled my technique, you know?” She took a sip of her cassis and champagne.
“Great idea. I’ll join you. I want this job to last another few years then I’ll head home and open a dance school or something.” Janelle hadn’t noticed the lack of a proper answer.
Karl let out a hoot of laughter. “You? Dealing with all those middle-aged dance mums? I’d pay to see that.”
They all laughed. Janelle’s passionate temper was legendary. She’d be going three rounds with the mums before the week was out. Dance Mom Wrestling would be born.
Tamsin let the chatter and gossip wash over her. A steady throb in her back reminded her she had a massage booked for tomorrow before the show. She had to make an appointment with her podiatrist to tend to her gnarled, bunion-ated feet. A huge sigh escaped. Suddenly she longed to meet friends for dinner at a civilised time, or wake up early on a Sunday morning and take a walk along the Seine hand in hand with the one she loved. Only she didn’t have a loved one – not that kind of loved one anyway.
She wanted kids, wanted the kind of home she’d grown up in. Even if she’d found the love of her life here in Paris what would she do if she didn’t dance at the Moulin Rouge? Her employment options were limited. The question hung over her, pressing down on the base of her skull.
“I’m gonna go.” Tamsin stood up before she knew what she was doing. She had to get out of there, get some fresh air and think. Dawn wasn’t far away. She could stop at the bakery near her flat and fill her poor rumbling tummy. “See you tomorrow.”
She tumbled out of the bar and took a deep breath. The streets were largely empty in that strange luminous hour before sunrise. She didn’t have far to walk to the far from glamourous Quartier Pigalle. Filled with sex shops and adult shows its innate seediness earned it the nickname Pig Alley during the Second World War. Street cleaners swept the rubbish out of the gutters in the grey light – kebab wrappings and discarded cigarette butts and the stench of rotting rubbish. She wouldn’t miss it.
Some serious thinking was required and for that she’d need some serious pastries. The local baker had already thrown open his doors. The scent wafting from his shop intoxicating to the senses, and a hungry showgirl’s stomach. She pushed open the door and stepped in. She was going to miss this for sure. French patisseries should be standard fare everywhere in the world. The United Nations should it as a human rights resolution.
Selecting a chocolat du pain and a couple of croissants she resumed the walk to her apartment. A figure huddled in the disused doorway next to hers. Gustave. Of indistinguishable age, Gustave lived on the street and had done so for many years. He was a regular fixture and she worried about him if she didn’t see him for a few days.
“Bonjour!” she said with as much gusto as she could summon. Gustave grunted by way of reply. He was never a morning person.
“Hey! I’ve brought you something.” She held out the bag containing a croissant. There was no way she was giving up her chocolat du pain. Her generosity didn’t stretch that far. A gnarled, dirty hand shot out from underneath the grimy blanket and snatched the bag out of her fingers. He’d thank her for it later. She’d miss Gustave, even though he was a rotten conversationalist. He’d tolerated her bad French in the beginning and for that she would be forever grateful.
Tamsin emptied her mail box in the tiny foyer before climbing the six flights of stairs to her flat. Her knees and back ached. Exhausted, she flung open the door and dumped everything on the table. Food first, then sleep. She took a moment just to inhale the scent of her chocolat du pain before sinking her teeth into its crisp pastry, relishing the moment the chocolate filling burst on her tongue. Heaven. She most certainly would miss this.
As she savoured the pastry her eyes wandered to the pile of mail. A large, official looking envelope with an Australian postmark caught her attention. Brushing the pastry crumbs off her fingers she picked it up and tore it open. The return address on the envelope listed a solicitor, one she’d never heard of before. Unfolding the paper she scanned the document and nearly choked on her breakfast.
Dear Miss Cooper…beneficiary of your late Uncle’s estate… the farmhouse and one hundred and twenty acres of prime grazing land…please call to discuss at your earliest convenience…
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
The third quarter. The beginning is fun. The second quarter is exciting as you move to the central point. The end is, of course, the end and satisfying in itself. But that third quarter can be tough to keep the energy high and the plot tight.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I don’t have one favourite author. It changes all the time. I have love affairs with authors. Right now that’s Neil Gaiman. I’ve read two of his books in a row. But next month it might be someone else and I’ll read as much of what they’ve written as I can before moving on. I’m a bit of a tart that way.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
No. I have a young family so traveling for my writing is a luxury. I use good old Google and Google Earth. And I always find a subject matter expert, someone who has been there and done that so I’m sure the feel and the details are spot on.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
The great team at Harlequin Escape.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Waiting for my subject matter expert’s opinion. I had a prestigious Art Professor advise on my work. I was nervous until I got her approval. It was like waiting for exam results.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned a lot about Aboriginal Art and Central Australia, especially the Tanami Desert.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Everyone makes the same beginner mistakes. Everyone. Don’t be disheartened. Take whatever advice and feedback you can and keep polishing your work. And read. Read. Read. Read.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
My books all seem to have a theme of freedom, whether that’s freedom from ideas that have held you back or literal freedom as in The Last Gladiator. Being free to live your live on your terms seems to be an ongoing message in all of my books.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
No. Its lost to the mists of time.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Laugh: classic episodes of Graham Norton, cat videos and my husband.
Cry: the nightly news
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
Lucille Ball. She made it in a man’s world and she was as funny as hell.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
Am planning a cremation. No headstone. But maybe some nice memorial t-shirts and mixed tape of my fav dance tunes to remember me by.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
I love to cook for my beloveds. I like to take photos. I’m teaching my son the basics of photography. He has a good eye already and he’s only 4.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Reruns of Will & Grace, East Enders, Black List and Fargo are current favourites.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Music: 90s House music
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
If I wasn’t writing I’d be drinking.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Amazon Author Page http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00AGLKWZ6