Caroline McCall is one half of the duo that make up Irish sensation Evie Hunter. I hope you enjoy reading her interview as much as i did. For Eileen Gormleys answers to the same questions click HERE.
Who is Evie Hunter?
Evie Hunter is writer of romantic fiction and erotica who lives in Dublin. Her life is much more exciting than ours. While Eileen and I are stuck at the laptop, Evie goes to wild parties, lounges around in lingerie and generally has a wild time with handsome cover models.
How did you come up with the name Evie Hunter?
Penguin asked us for a pen name. I came up with Evie Elliott and Eileen chose Helen Hunter – so they took half of each suggestion.
Is it difficult to write a book by collaboration?
It can be and to be honest, I don’t think it’s something that everyone can do. You need to be in tune with each other and it helps if you have the same taste in books. Working with another writer requires discipline and openness as well as the ability to get along well. Eileen and I have arguments, but usually only about the characters.
Before we start a new book, we agree the main outline and as we write, we have chapter by chapter plot meeting so that neither of us goes off on a tangent. But that doesn’t always work because sometimes creativity takes over. Your characters develop a mind of their own and you just have to go with it.
Occasionally, a secondary character really springs to life and wants to take over the book. If that happens, we rein them in and promise them a story of their own if they behave.
We also split the research. Eileen takes care of most of the physical research. I like doing the visuals: what the characters look like; what they wear and where they live.
Evie Hunter has a Pinterest page for each book. We use the page like a storyboard while we are writing and then ‘release’ a version of the board for our readers.
Reader Advisory: do not open Evie’s Pinterest pages while you’re in the office.
Was there a structure as to the direction the story would take?
Always. Eileen and I have written two full length novels and two novellas in the past ten months. With an extremely tight writing schedule, every word counts. We simply don’t have time for major rewrites at the end.
Our writing is planned to allow for editing and making sure that the copy as clean as possible before we submit to our publisher.
Were either of you ever surprised by the direction the other had taken the character?
Oh yes! Especially when writing the dialogue for the characters. We use yahoo for that and write dialogue at each other. In that way, the characters conversations remain fresh and sharp. I love seeing the expression on Eileen’s face when my character says something really outrageous to hers.
Were you excited to read what had happened since you last had the story when your turn had come back around?
It’s always fun to open up the latest version and see what the other one has been up to – especially when you’ve done something horrible to them in the last scene.
While working together, we write alternate scenes with split POV (point of view). I write the female character and Eileen writes the male and when we’re writing the sex scenes, there is a tendency to try and out naughty each other.
You ladies certainly seem to know your stuff when it comes to self-defence and weapons, how much research did you have to do?
We are very hands on when it comes to research. Our action scenes are tightly choreographed and we try to write what is accurate and physically possible. Eileen did the lion’s share of the weapons research. (She’s quite bloodthirsty!)
We owe a great deal of thanks to the wonderfully handsome sexy guys who bared all about guns, fighting and shooting people. A special thanks to Dave Hodson of Mircat Manufacturing, who advised us about archery for the house party scene.
What was your favourite part of the story?
That’s a difficult one because we had so much fun writing Summer. I love the fetish club scene where Summer gets into trouble and Flynn tracks her down. And the last scene between them, because it’s sexy and romantic.
Is this the end of the line for all characters in the story or did I possibly see a hint of another story between Andy and Sinead?
Good catch! And no, it’s not the end. Andy and Sinead will have their own stories. Both characters will appear in the next book – The Pleasures of Autumn – which is currently underway.
Sinead comes across as the uptight bossy cousin in The Pleasures of Summer, but in Autumn, readers will see a whole new side of her. As for Andy – mmmmmm. Let’s just say that we’re dying to get our hands on him. (laughs) Flynn’s boss, Niall Moore, will also be making a return appearance. Niall is about to find out that he’s not always in charge.
Did you ever imagine when you signed up for a creative writing course, that it might bring you to this point?
Never! Well, maybe not never, but I honestly didn’t think I’d see the word bestseller associated with my name.
Writing is something you have to do because you love it and you are utterly passionate about it – and not because you want success.
Why do you think women have become more open about wanting to read erotic stories in the last couple of years?
It’s a trend which has been happening for at least a decade. It’s no secret that women love reading hot romance, but the advent of the e-reader has made it more readily available. In the past Eileen and I have written for American publisher Ellora’s Cave. They sold less than fifty books in the first month they were in business. Twelve years later, they have sales of 190,000 books per month.
Do you have a motto that you live by?
Never give up!
The Pleasures of Winter sold more than 50,000 copies, were you surprised at all by its success?
Eileen and I are passionate about romance and erotica. We’re both avid readers and we write what we would like to read ourselves.
It’s wonderful that other readers feel the same about out book and we hope they enjoy Summer just as much.
What advice would you give other people who would love to start writing?
Write. Write every day. Join a writers group and get feedback on your work. Strive to improve by accepting criticism and reading other writers and most important of all finish it.
Get that first draft down – you can’t edit nothing!
What is the best advice you were ever given (any topic)?
Learn how to chop your own sticks!
That one is courtesy of my Dad. (laughs) Poor Dad – imagine the trauma of having six daughters (and one son). That, and would ye all ever elope and leave me in peace were two of his favourite expressions.
We were brought up to be strong, independent women. He is also a great reader and I inherited my love of books from him.
Do you get nervous as you are approaching release day?
Yes. There is a heart-stopping moment when the publisher tells you that the books have arrived from the printers. You go to the office to pick them up and there it is – your baby.
It’s ready to go out into the world and you hope that people will love it as much as you do. But yes, it is a nerve wracking time. It’s also pretty hard to launch one book while you’re in the middle of writing another.