It’s my stop on the blog tour for Malia Zaidi’s The Golden Hour blog tour today and I’m delighted to welcome Malia to shine the spotlight on her leading lady.
Good morning, Malia!
Please introduce the character in terms of job, relationships, family etc. …
Lady Evelyn Carlisle is a British detective in the 1920s. The first few books in the series took her to Greece, France and England, and in the newest addition to the series, she takes her sleuthing skills to Scotland. Evelyn is an orphan and was raised by her Aunt Agnes, who joins her on the journey to Scotland, where her other aunt and family are in a spot of trouble. The journey away from London comes at the right time for Evelyn. She needs space to think whether she is ready to marry Daniel, the man at her side since the first book in the series. Evelyn is eager to hold on to her independence and isn’t sure she can reconcile that with the idea of marriage. The question is, will she change her mind?
When did you create her?
The idea for Lady Evelyn, the protagonist and sleuth of The Golden Hour and previous books in the series came to me well before I actually began to write the books. I was traveling in Greece and reading a lot of historical fiction at the time. The idea of a well-to-do lady detective came to me, and the setting for the first book (A Poisonous Journey) was right outside my window.
Did you write the book to accommodate Evelyn or Evelyn to accommodate the book?
That’s a great question. I am a very character-driven reader, and I suspect I am a character-driven writer as well. The characters that play major roles in the books have become very real to me, and sometimes I change something I had initially planned, because I feel it doesn’t work for that particular person. Sometimes I’m almost surprised I will never get to meet Evelyn or her friends, they feel so real to me after spending so much time with them in my head and on the computer screen.
What do you like most about your characters?
I try to make them seem as real and human as I can. No character is perfect, but I try to give even the villains dimension. It’s a pet peeve of mine when I read books and the people are flat or everything is black and white, that’s not how life is and not how people are.
What do you like least about them?
That’s a good question! I think when you write a series, you can fall into the trap of characters holding you hostage to the personalities you created for them, if that makes sense. But when I feel that is the case, I either decide that person may simply not be so important to the story anymore, or I realize I need to make some changes and rewrite certain parts. For the most part, I have a fondness for my characters.
Do they ever have any similarities with anyone real?
There isn’t anyone specific on whom the characters are modelled, but I’m a fairly observant person and I am sure characteristics of people I know have crept into the characters’ personalities. I have certainly injected some of my own thoughts and mannerisms into my protagonist, Lady Evelyn. I write in the first person, so writing through her eyes feels very personal.
What are your plans for them?
I plan to continue the series. I can’t give away what will happen next, but if you’ve been reading the series from the start, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed by the way their stories develop in subsequent books!
Would you be friends in real life?
I think I would! In fact, as I mentioned earlier, I often wish I could meet some of them. They have become very real to me throughout the years of writing them and reading and re-reading (and re-reading, and re-reading…) their stories.
Thank you so much for this, Malia, Evelyn sounds great!
Bookworms, if you think so too and you’d like to find out more, here’s the blurb …
BookBaby; 1 edition (26 Mar. 2019)
Lady Evelyn Carlisle has barely arrived in London when familial duty calls her away again. Her cousin Gemma is desperate for help with her ailing mother before her imminent wedding, which Evelyn knew nothing about! Aunt Agnes in tow, she journeys to Scotland, expecting to find Malmo Manor in turmoil. To her surprise, her Scottish family has been keeping far more secrets than the troubled state of their matriarch. Adding to the tension in the house a neighbor has opened his home, Elderbrooke Park, as a retreat for artistic veterans of the Great War. This development does not sit well with everyone in the community. Is the suspicion towards the residents a catalyst for murder? A tragedy at Elderbrooke Park’s May Day celebration awakens Evelyn’s sleuthing instinct, which is strengthened when the story of another unsolved death emerges, connected to her own family. What she uncovers on her quest to expose the truth will change several lives forever, including her own.
With the shadow of history looming over her, Evelyn must trust in her instinct and ability to comb through the past to understand the present, before the murderer can stop her and tragedy strikes again.
Huge thanks to Emma Welton at damppebbles for my spot on the tour!
You can get your copy now:
About the author …
Malia Zaidi is the author of the Lady Evelyn Mysteries. She studied at the University of Pittsburgh and at the University of Oxford. Having grown up in Germany, she currently lives in Washington DC, though through her love of reading, she resides vicariously (if temporarily) in countries around the world.