Guest Author Interview
Every few weeks I post a guest author interview on my blog where we get a little peak into an author's life! This week we're chatting with Riana Everly, author of the Miss Mary Investigates Mystery Series. Have a question for Riana? Don't be afraid to leave a comment!
Riana Everly was born in South Africa, but has called Canada home since she was eight years old. She has a Master’s degree in Medieval Studies and is trained as a classical musician, specialising in Baroque and early Classical music.
She first encountered Jane Austen when her father handed her a copy of Emma at age 11, and has never looked back.
Riana now lives in Toronto with her family. When she is not writing, she can often be found playing string quartets with friends, biking around the beautiful province of Ontario with her husband, trying to improve her photography, thinking about what to make for dinner, and, of course, reading!
1. How long does it take you to write a full novel? AND...what's a typical writing day look like for you?
I can write the first draft of a full novel in a month, but that's just the beginning. I don't trust myself, so I let things sit. And sit and sit and sit. And months later, I'll dust the cobwebs off the file and start to edit. So it can take years between the first word and the published novel. I started Death of a Clergyman in 2017, and it only saw the light of day in September of 2020.
A typical writing day involves a lot of coffee and a lot of procrastinating. First there's coffee. Then my email. Then a bagel. More coffee. Oh, look, Facebook! Despite my best intentions, I don't usually start writing or editing until after lunch, and even then, I find I only get into a rhythm later on in the afternoon - exactly when it's time to think about feeding my family. It's amazing anything gets done!
2. Beside's writing, what are you most passionate about?
My first passion was music, and it still is. I studied music at university and while I don't perform professionally that much these days, I do love getting together with friends to make music. My house looks a bit like an instrument factory exploded. We have a violin, a viola, two cellos, a clarinet, a flute, a piano, various things you hit, a few more you blow into... It can get rather noisy around here at time.
3. If you could travel to any location to write a novel, where would you go and why?
Give me a moment while I pack my bags.
A little story: Last year we had a trip planned to Italy and Greece. Shortly before we were to leave, I became very ill and had to forego the holiday, although I insisted on sending my family without me. But how I ached to be there. Then a friend suggested, half as a joke, renting a flat in Tuscany for six weeks and just going by myself, and I have been obsessed with that idea ever since. Six weeks surrounded by rolling hills and vineyards and Renaissance buildings - what a perfect place to write a novel!
Alas, we cannot travel now, but when the world is safe once more, I might just see if I can make that dream come true. Now, should I take the black sandals or the blue ones?
4. What's the latest show you binge watched?
I have to confess I'm not a huge television-watcher, but my husband and children are. Right now, they are in the middle of a binge-watch of Midsomer Murders, and I sit at my computer tapping away, listing to all the rather nasty things that go on in those quaint English villages.
5. Tell us something most people don't know about you!
I don't have too many deep, dark secrets, but here is something not too many folks know. I started off studying medicine. I was a very strong science student and began my university studies in medical science, thinking music was no way to make a living. But I hated it.
Eventually I decided that I did not want to spend my life wondering "what if," and I left medical school to pursue my music. At no point during this time did I ever imagine I would be a writer. Writing was something I did when I had time to amuse myself. I might make a better living as a doctor, but I can't imagine I would be nearly as fulfilled as I am now. It just was not for me.
A word from Riana!
Often readers are curious about my interest in Jane Austen and Austenesque fiction. I've always loved Austen's beautiful writing and the fantasy world of the Regency era that we've created in our collective imagination. I had read all of her completed novels when a friend once lent me a copy of a continuation of another work called The Watsons.
Thinking back, this was my first exposure to what might be termed Jane Austen Fan Fiction. It opened a whole world to me - a world where we aren't limited by what an author put on the page. I began to dabble, and I found a niche that I really enjoyed. Of course, I've always loved mysteries in every form, from cozies to hard-boiled. And one day I realized I could indulge my love for both genres. And that's how the Miss Mary Investigates series was born.
Miss Mary Investigates Mystery Series
A Jane Austen-inspired mystery: When Elizabeth Bennet is accused of murder, her sister Mary insists on saving her. Now if only Mr. Darcy hadn't hired that irritating investigator from London!
Thank you, Riana, for joining us today and sharing a little bit of your writing process and a behind the scenes peek at your personal life 🙂
Don't forget, you can ask Riana a question in the comments (I'll make sure she sees it) and of course shoot on over to her website where you'll learn more about her books.