Monday, October 29, 2012
FEATURED AUTHOR: Harmony Evans
Harmony Evans is no stranger to the writing world.
When she was in college, two of her poems were published in her college literary journal and her writing professor urged her to “continue writing…no matter what happens in your life.” Of course, she didn’t listen and instead decided to shuck the muse for married life and corporate strife.
For many years, writing compelling and informative web content, press releases and sales collateral for various dot-bombs, junk mailers and crazy ad agencies gave her a reason to get up in the morning…and climb into bed with a satisfied smile at night. And hey, she was living in New York City. Life couldn’t get any better.
Or so she thought…until one day, while tossing out photos of her ex-husband, she unearthed her old poems and her professor’s advice. Two years later, a notebook of ideas and a firm belief in happy endings beget a dozen storylines and a new dream….to write sexy, emotional, contemporary love stories for women who love romance.
A former jazz and classical pianist, she is currently a single mom with an overactive imagination who is still searching for her own “happily-ever-after”.
Cara Williams has three days to teach Alex Dovington, an illiterate, world-famous jazz saxophonist how to read, or she’ll lose a donation that will prevent the Harlem literacy center she owns from shutting its doors forever. Someone Alex has become a successful musician without knowing how to read. But his secret could be revealed sooner vs. later. While he was on a European tour, his record company arranged book readings at local schools. They don’t know he can’t read. Neither do his fans. If anyone finds out he’s illiterate, it could ruin his reputation and kill his career. A high-school dropout, learning to read is frightening for Alex. It’s up to Cara to help him achieve his goal. Although he has a reputation as being a “player”, it’s really a persona on his part to prevent anyone from getting too close. He may want a woman in his bed, but his heart is his own. As the lines between teacher and student begin to blur and intense attraction blossoms into love, Alex and Cara must look deep within themselves to discover the most important lesson of all is learning how to forgive.
How did you start out your writing career?
I was a latch-key kid and when I came home from school, I’d sit at the piano and compose songs. I always wrote lyrics to those songs and I guess that’s how I started writing. I have notebooks filled with song lyrics that will likely never see the light of day. Although if you read LESSON IN ROMANCE, you might just find one of them in there!
Writing lyrics brought me a lot of peace and comfort. In college, I took a poetry class and ended up getting my poems published in the college literary journal which was pretty cool. My professor told me to never stop writing, but of course, life got in the way, and I did stop writing – anything – for a number of years.
So “Lesson In Romance” started out as a challenge to myself: could I write, edit and complete a full-length romance novel? Ten years later…here I am!
What did you hope to accomplish with this book?
I hope to open up a lot of eyes to the issue of illiteracy. And I’ll tell you why. The ability to read is something many of us take for granted. Especially those of us who love to read. I think we just assume that most people can do it. Illiteracy was something I hadn’t really thought about until one day I was sitting at work, on a break, and listening to jazz and reading. And suddenly I was struck with the horrifying notion of what would I do if I couldn’t read. And the idea for LESSON IN ROMANCE spawned from there.
What did you learn about yourself in terms of your strong points and weak points while writing your manuscript?
I think my strong points are that I always try to drive the story forward, while creating characters that I hope my readers can relate too. The secret to doing this is that I try to make every word count. Both in terms of the story and the characters. However, there’s a downside to this approach, which on some days I consider one of my weaker points in terms of writing, and that’s perfectionism. Why? Because perfectionism takes time. And I wish I had more of it!
What was your biggest obstacle in regards to getting published? How did you overcome it?
I would say dealing with rejection, but everyone who wants to get published deals with that. For me, it was keeping the momentum going, after I’d be rejected. To overcome it, I learned to just keep writing. To keep approaching agents and publishers. One day and with one call, my persistence and incurable perfectionism paid off.
What is the best lesson you have learned from another writer?
The real writing comes in the re-writing. That’s so true. I really hate writing a first draft, or what I call a “first dump”. I find that now it’s easier for me to simply jot down an outline for a chapter and the scenes, and start word-building from there. So rather than worry about getting everything dumped on paper and then trying to rewrite it, I just start to write and if what I’m writing doesn’t carry the story forward, then I stop, and try another approach.
Five questions about books:
One book that you have read more than once.
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
One book you loved as a child
Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Suess
One book that made you laugh
The Stand by Stephen King
One book that made you cry
Separate Beds by LaVryle Spencer
One book you wish you'd written
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
Anything you'd like to say to the readers of SORMAG?
Be authentic to yourself and your dreams. No matter what they are and no matter how long it takes – never give up!
How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)
I love to hear from readers. Contact me via my website at http://www.harmonyevans.com
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