Stephanie Jaye Evans is a fifth generation Texan. She’s the great granddaughter of a circuit riding minister and the daughter of a trail-blazing Church of Christ Minister. She has attended The University of Houston, Texas A&M, and Abilene Christian University. She received her Master of Liberal Arts from Rice University. Her Masters capstone project, a mystery novel set in Sugar Land, Texas, won the William F. Deeck-Malice Domestic Grant for Unpublished Writers, an international grant from the organization that awards the Agatha. That book became Faithful Unto Death (June 2012--Berkley Prime Crime) earned a Library Journal starred review and Debut of the Month, it was a Houston Chronicle Ultimate 2012 Summer Book List pick and an Agatha nominee for Best First Novel.
Safe From Harm (March 2013--Berkley Prime Crime) is the second book in the Sugar Land Mystery Series. Kirkus Reviews wrote "As charming and wry as Evans’ bright debut (Faithful Unto Death, 2012), filled with reasons to own dogs, love your children and your wife, and have faith" and from Criminal Element, "Evans is capable of achingly beautiful prose; at times, her writing is so lush and vivid that you just want to sit and stare at the pictures it paints in your mind."
After twenty-three years in Sugar Land, Texas, where she regularly won yard of the month, Stephanie now lives in the historic Heights district of Houston. She shares a home with a geophysicist, a pug, and her son’s dingo puppy who digs up her garden. She and her husband have seven children.
Read Stephanie's Interview Below:
At what age did you start writing?
I’ve always been a storyteller—I’m the daughter of a preacher and a teacher, and the best of these are always storytellers. I started writing in elementary school, continued through college and had some stuff published, won some contests. Then I got married and had three boys in four years. Having boys was like being dropped in the mission field without a calling. The writing went on hold for years. BUT! I’m back.
Patty Campbell talks about the germ for a piece of writing being like the sand in the oyster. What is your grain of sand? Do you begin with character or setting or something else?
I begin with a bit of story overheard, a snatch of conversation. You know, I call myself a storyteller, but we are all storytellers. And if you ask someone for a story, they will give you one. Always.
Do you outline before you write or just dive in?
I’m a head first writer. With this third book, I was required to turn in a detailed synopsis—hard, hard, hard. Finally, my husband handed me a glass of wine, sat down at the computer, and said, tell me the story. Then I could do it.
Why do you write for Young Adults or Children or Adult (whichever is pertinent)?
I write Y/A and adult. I’m published in adult. I read omnivorously, Children, Y/A, Adult—and that’s because a good story is a good story.
Who is your favorite character you have written or read about?
Oh, that’s impossible. A favorite? Ask me which of my sons I love best—can’t be done. BUT—here’s a few: Sydney Carton, Scout Finch, Harry Potter, Hemingway’s Old Man, Liesel from The Book Thief, Armand Gamache, the House in the Haunting of Hill House…
As to the characters I write—I love them all. I even like my murderers.
What is one thing you would like your readers to know about you?
It’s never too late to live your dream. I became a published writer long after everyone thought I had given it up. Oh—and also that I write under my full name, Stephanie Jaye Evans, because if you go to stephanieevans.com, you get an adult entertainment site.
In high school, where did you fall? (Prom Queen/King, Gamer Geek, Brainy/Book Nerd, Jock, Shy/Quiet Scholar, Skate Rat, Stoner, Class Clown, etc.)
Book Nerd—you’ll have to take off the “brainy” qualifier. I still struggle with algebra.
Do you have a pet (pets)? Tell us about it (them) and how they help/hinder your writing.
Tommy Lee Jones is my seven-year-old pug and I love him ridiculously. He keeps me grounded and makes me smile and gets me out of the house when I’ve been glued to the computer too long.
What books or authors have most influenced your writing most?
A hundred years ago, my grandmother told me to be careful what I read, because I was a sponge, and that nothing that goes in can ever completely go out. And she was right. So my writing is influenced by every book that has ever touched me and made me care what happened next.
It’s the dawn of the zombie apocalypse, what 3 things are a must to take with you when you flee your home for refuge from the undead hordes??
Flee? Flee? Hey—I’m from Texas. I’m gonna stay and fight.
Meet Stephanie Jaye Evans
at the 2014 Montgomery County Book Festival
on February 15th
at Lone Star College - Montgomery.