This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Jennifer Collin will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on a tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.
Tell us a little about the series.
The Evans Trilogy revolves around three siblings raised by an emotionally detached single mother. The older sister, Charlotte is the responsible one, the one who took it upon herself, from the tender age of twelve, to take care of her younger sister and brother. Charlotte’s story, Set Me Free, is about her reclaiming the right to put herself first. She’s happily running an art gallery in an inner city suburb in Brisbane, Australia, when a developer comes knocking with the intent of demolishing everything she’s built up. With the fate of her gallery all but sealed, Charlotte is forced to look inside herself and figure out what is it that she really wants.
After Charlotte, there’s Emily, the lead character in Book 2 of the trilogy, Open My Eyes. Emily behaves a little more like an entitled youngest sibling than your classic middle child. She’s always let other people take care of her, marrying young and relying on Charlotte’s art gallery to ensure her career as an artist is successful. Emily’s journey is about learning to stand on her own two feet after her marriage falls apart and she finds herself homeless, jobless and pregnant to her sister’s best friend.
Finally there’s their little brother, Andy, the star of Book 3, Bring Me Back. Andy’s demons have driven him to make some regrettable life choices, like getting addicted to drugs. Andy’s story is about forgiving himself and reconnecting with the people who love him unconditionally.
The conflicts these siblings encounter are on the heavier side, but the books are light, injected with subtle humor all the way through. They’re quirky, romantic and most definitely end with a happily ever after. I call them Chick Lit with grit, which is a great way of communicating they’re quick, easy reads that touch on some series issues.
Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?
I write for people who are after a quick easy read that gives them a little buzz. I write for people who don’t mind raw language and the occasional descriptive sex scene. I write for people who like their female leads strong and capable, and their male leads warm and vulnerable.
You should read my books if you like all of the above. You should also read them if you need to escape your reality for a night. Come with me and I’ll take you to Australia to have a giggle and fall in love.
What were your goals and intentions in this series, and how well do you feel you achieved them?
The series is self-published and when the first book, Set Me Free was released, my expectations were low. Exceptionally low. I thought I would be doing well if 100 people purchased and read it. I also expected most of these readers would be Australian.
I couldn’t have been more wrong. Firstly, I’ve sold tens of thousands of copies, mostly to US and UK readers. And after all that, I’ve possibly only just reached that original target of 100 with my Australian audience. I suspect this is because the books were only available as ebooks for the longest time and Australians have been quite slow in taking up ebooks. Most people I talk to say they still prefer printed books. They’re also much more wary of self-published titles than US and UK readers.
How much research do you do?
Loads, most of which is internet-based as I don’t have the luxury of time to run around interviewing people and immersing myself in the local culture of distant cities or obscure country towns. The internet is a wonderful tool that lets me explore places in the middle of the night via Google Maps and Pinterest boards. I can conduct pseudo interviews by watching YouTube clips and TED talks. I can eavesdrop on conversations at the end of blog posts on specialist subjects. Like Tony Stark in the Avengers, I can become an expert in anything overnight. *not really, just kidding.
What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around?
The advantage of self-publishing is definitely the ability to retain control of your work. Self-publishing has allowed me to break the genre rules and release the mis-mashed kind of books I want like to read. It’s also given my full creative control over my covers. I’m very fussy about book covers and I wanted to be sure mine were a true reflection of what readers would find inside.
The only disadvantage I see from self-publishing is that you’re all on your own in terms of marketing and promotion. But I think many publishing house expect their authors to work just as hard at promotion and marketing as self-published authors these days.
Another advantage of being published is the support you receive from the other authors signed up with your publisher, who become your own special book family. I’ve been lucky enough to find this support in other ways, thanks to the internet and social media.
Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?
I read loads. And thanks to the support network I’ve found online, I’m discovering lots of new authors that I love. Some of these include Geralyn Corcillo, who writes the most refreshingly original romantic comedies, Whitney Dineen, who writes with the sharpest wit and Jennie Marts, who introduced me to cozy mysteries with her Page Turners series.
Do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books?
I can’t believe I’m saying this, but definitely ebooks. Like the rest of Australia, I resisted them for the longest time, believing my reading experience couldn’t be the same without the texture of the book in my hands, nor the smell of the freshly printed pages. But the convenience of ebooks has completely won me over. With ebooks you can instantly access whatever book you like. No matter what time of day, the bookstore is always open.
What book/s are you reading at present?
I’m reading medieval romances at the moment, as research for my next book. I’m having a lot of trouble finding ones in which the hero isn’t a complete jerk, so if you have any recommendations, please send them my way!
What is your favorite quote and why?
“You can never cross the ocean, until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore”, which has been attributed to Christopher Columbus, but is very similar to a quote from Andre Gide.
I like it because it reminds me that it’s important to be brave and take a leap of faith. The most exciting and rewarding things I’ve ever done have happened when I’ve taken that leap. I haven’t done it often enough.
Do you dream? Do you have any recurring dreams/nightmares?
I love dreaming. The one that recurs the most is one where I discover new, unknown and unused rooms in my house. I researched its meaning once and have come to believe it means I am not reaching my full potential, that there are untapped resources in my brain I need to engage. It’s become an early warning sign for me. Whenever I have this dream, I know I need to be brave and push myself to try something new.
Who is your favorite villain?
I’m loving a few TV villains at the moment. I love this new breed of brooding male leads who are awful people, but their writers and directors have made them complex enough that you feel a certain amount of sympathy for them. I find myself not just intrigued, but rooting for them. Examples include that womanizing alcoholic Don Draper from Mad Men, the violent and disturbed Tommy Shelby from Peaky Blinders, and Ragnar Lothbrok from Vikings, who’s also violent and doesn’t always think with his head, if you know what I mean.
Disastrous love life aside, Charlotte Evans is rather content with her life. Her quaint little art gallery is plodding along nicely, and her sister Emily’s artistic career is about to take off, thanks to her tireless promotion. She even gets to see her best friend every day and drink his delicious coffee in the café next door.
But when dastardly property developer Craig Carmichael comes along, threatening to demolish her gallery and take everything away, Charlotte has an unexpected fight on her hands. Not only is she battling to stop Craig’s development, she’s also struggling against the mysterious magnetic pull that has her on a collision course with Craig himself.
Craig Carmichael is fighting the Battle for Boundary Street on more than one front. The tenants of the building he wants to knock down are mounting a strong case against him and in a hot-headed moment he put his career on the line for a project that is threatening to fail. If the project doesn’t succeed he will lose everything, but for some reason he’s having trouble maintaining his focus.
As their worlds begin to unravel around them, anyone could win. It’s what they might lose that has Charlotte and Craig wondering what it is they really want.
Everything happens for a reason, they say. And sometimes the reason is you're stupid and make bad decisions. Sleeping with her sister's best friend is one of the dumbest things soon-to-be divorcee Emily Evans has ever done. But she's determined to put it behind her and move on. She's walked away from her cheating husband, managed to make a new friend, and found herself a real job and somewhere to live so she doesn't have to couch-surf any more. Everything should be falling into place but for one problem – there are some mistakes from which you can't move on.
Meanwhile, Ben Cameron is getting on with his life. After all, it's the only thing to do once your heart has been stomped on by the woman of your dreams. Expanding his business and getting cosy with the girl next door are proving welcome distractions. He's even happy to babysit his nephew, as long as he can to hand him back when he's done! And thankfully, Emily Evans, the woman with the heavy boots, is avoiding him like the plague.
But Emily can't avoid him forever, and when she drops a bombshell that turns Ben's world upside-down, suddenly, getting on with his life takes on a whole new meaning.
Andy Evans is on the move. For six long, lonely years, he’s been running from his past, leaving his family and his life as a drug-addicted rock star far behind. His latest move takes him to the sleepy seaside town of Oamaru, New Zealand, to sell cigar-box guitars to tourists. The only running he’ll need to do will be training for the half-marathon in nearby Dunedin. But when Andy sets eyes on Steampunk HQ, Oamaru's main tourist attraction, he realises his days of running might not be over, especially if a certain Steampunk fan from his past catches up with him.
Annie Martin is on the cusp of great success. Her career as a Steampunk academic is about to take off, as long as she can convince one disagreeable, New Zealand-based Professor to sign up to the anthology she’s putting together. Thankfully, Annie is a master at maintaining her poise and few people, no matter how nasty, can rattle her. Not any more. In fact, it’d been a good six years since anyone had gotten under her skin, after her best friend’s brother had vanished into thin air.
When Annie finds her future career on a collision course with her secret past, Andy Evans is the last person she expects to find tangled up in the mess. With a vengeful drug-dealer or two hot on his heels, and a vindictive academic determined to ruin her credibility, can Annie bring Andy back to his family before it’s too late? Annie and Andy are used to being alone, but if they don’t work together, there’ll be much more at stake than her livelihood and his sobriety.
Enjoy an excerpt from Set Me Free
The Evans Gallery was his last stop before he called it a day.
A little golden bell above the door tinkled daintily as he walked in. He noticed two things immediately: the intriguing painting on the wall to his right and the beguiling woman smiling lazily at him from behind a sleek-looking asymmetrical 1960s Danish-styled desk. Unsettled by the pair of slightly smoky grey eyes that came with the lazy smile, he moved directly toward the painting to take it in.
The canvas was large; it took up almost a quarter of the wall. The image was a view down a narrow alley corralled by stark grey skyscrapers that, thanks to the wash of the paint strokes, appeared to be crumbling. At the end of the alley, a small dog with a broken tail lay beside an old-fashioned dustbin, chewing a small, bright red ball.
‘Hi,’ welcomed the woman behind the counter. Her voice was as tired as her eyes and smile, but there was still something smouldering under the surface, like a combusting rain cloud. ‘Can I help you with anything in particular or would you just like to browse?’
‘Can you tell me anything about this piece?’ he asked, unwisely. She stood up to join him, swinging her hips as she walked, subtly but hypnotically. This might turn out to be the hardest conversation of them all; particularly given he was struggling to keep his eyes on her face and off those swinging hips. He looked up. Nope, no respite there.
About the Author:Jennifer Collin writes quirky, and sometimes gritty, love stories about ordinary people dealing with what life throws at them.
She lives in Brisbane, Australia, with her husband, two noisy children and a cantankerous cat.
She used to party, but now her idea of a good time is an uninterrupted sleep. These days, her characters do her partying for her, and she doesn't necessarily let them sleep.
Buy the books at Amazon.
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