Interview with Marilyn J. Evans, author of Beloved Lives

26 Jan 2018

What can you tell us about your new release, Beloved Lives?

Beloved Lives is my reinvention of The Mummy as it was done by Universal studios in the 1930’s. I always loved those old horror films when I was a kid. When I saw The Hunger with Catherine Deneuve, Susan Saradon, and David Bowie in the 1980’s, I thought it was a brilliant reinvention of the vampire legend. I wanted someone to do the same for The Mummy. While I liked the reboots I’ve seen, I don’t think they captured the longing and tragedy of a love affair that has lasted centuries and the difficulty of someone trying to break with the past. That is what I was hoping to show in April’s struggle to let go of her past lives, and in her trying to decide between a new love, Mitch, and her old love, Dr. Weston. There is a cat, of course, because my cats insisted.

If Beloved Lives is turned into a movie, who would you pick to play April? 

Wow, that’s a tough one. She has to be short and very slender, but a bit athletic. Danielle Campbell at 5’3″ is about the right height, and I think she looks pretty right for the role. I love Selena Gomez, but she’s a little tall.

What or who inspired you to become an author?

I’ve always scribbled, and I’ve done a lot of technical writing, but I didn’t get serious about fiction until a few years ago. I’ve taken some great classes and attended some conferences that convinced me I might really be able to do this. And I read voraciously. Oddly, if you read a bad book, you often think, heck, I could do better than that.

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

In his wonderful book On Writing, Stephen King said he liked everything about the process. So far, I have too. I love coming up with the ideas, putting it into the computer (and sometimes on paper, yes, still), bouncing it off friends, rewriting. I was surprised to discover I really like the rewrites requested by the editor. It’s like solving a puzzle. How do I fix this without having to completely rewrite the whole thing? How do I make it consistent, logical, or whatever? I’m kind of new to the whole book promotion game, so I can’t tell yet if I’ll like that or not. But if I had to pick one thing, it might be when I’m stuck, and I walk around the park near my house and work out what to write next.

BAM. You’re a superhero. What’s your superpower?

I can eat anything I want and not get fat. Actually, when I was a kid, I swore no one I knew would go hungry or be without a place to sleep If I could help it. I’d like to be like the Celtic god, Dagda, and have a magic cauldron that feeds anyone who is hungry. Being able to keep everyone from cold and hunger would be a great superpower.

If you had an extra hour each day, how would you spend it?

That’s funny because I retired from the pharmaceutical and biologics industries last year (I was a regulatory auditor), so I have lots of extra hours these days. I spend my time riding horses, gardening, sewing and knitting, reading, cooking, and writing, of course. My best friend, one of the inspirations for Trish in Beloved Lives, has been retired for a while, and she is busier than she’s ever been in her life. I understand now how that happens. I think I would like to spend more time at the zoo and at museums, plays, and concerts. I’ll work on that.

What scene in Beloved Lives was your favorite to write?

Choosing my favorite child? I like some of the past life scenes, especially when April’s former self first meets the hermit. And the climax was pretty fun to write. Some scenes were harder to write than others. But the scenes with cats, well, I had expert help.

Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?

My favorite quote is from E. B. White: In matters concerning love and high explosives, one can never be certain of all the factors.

But my personal philosophy is, if you reject the idea that there is such a thing as evil and instead realize there is only illness, misunderstanding, and crossed purposes, you begin to understand that every bad thing can and should be cured, explained, solved.

Marilyn J. Evans is the author of the new book Beloved Lives

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