The Evans Trilogy
by: Jennifer Collin
Genre: Chick Lit
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.
Hi Jennifer. Welcome Read Your Writes Book Reviews. How are you?
Great! Thanks so much for having me, Kim. It’s lovely to be here. I adore your blog.
Thank you very much. You are a new to me author. Could you tell me what your books are like?
I call them Chick Lit with grit. They’re light, romantic comedies that flirt with the heavier side of life, subjects such as depression and drug addiction. They’re also a little on the sexy side and my characters let out the odd expletive.
Your Evans Trilogy is about three siblings. Could you tell me about Charlotte, Emily and Andy?
Having been raised by an emotionally-detached single mother, the Evans siblings are close. They regularly get annoyed with each other and tell each other off, but they’re also best friends and very protective of each other. Charlotte, being the oldest, is the mother figure, who’s been looking out for Emily and Andy since she was twelve years old. Emily, the middle child, has always taken advantage of Charlotte’s maternal instincts and has relied on her heavily over the years. Emily and Andy have a special bond, and when Andy gets himself into trouble, Emily conspires with him to hide his trouble from Charlotte.
The trilogy is about the three siblings finding their place in the world. In Set Me Free, Charlotte must learn it’s okay to set herself free from the responsibilities she’s taken on when it comes to her family. In Open My Eyes, Emily must learn how to be independent, as well as recognize all the good stuff right in front of her. In Bring Me Back, Andy needs to learn how to forgive himself, so he can come home again from his self-imposed exile.
From what I gather in Set Me Free, Charlotte's love life sucks, but everything else is good. That is until Craig Carmichael shows up. What's the attraction between them?
Craig is intelligent and well-intentioned, with a strong sense of honor and integrity. Charlotte sees that in him instantly, even though they’re fighting on different sides of the same battle. It’s confusing for her at first, he’s supposed to be the enemy, but the more he draws her in, the more she wants to understand what makes him tick. He’s attracted to her because she’s his intellectual equal, and she’s fiercely protective of those around her, not just her family, but her friends and neighbors as well.
I have to admit, book two, Open My Eyes, is the book which caught my attention. For some reason, I'm drawn to Emily. What surprised you about her and her story the most?
At the end of Set Me Free, I knew I had to write Emily’s story, but I didn’t know where she would take me in Open My Eyes. Emily has been a controversial character. At the end of Set Me Free, her world has been turned upside down and she’s had a huge falling out with Charlotte. In Open My Eyes she’s lost and confused, having never had to stand on her own two feet before. She’s an emotional wreck, prone to poor judgment and some readers have found her frustrating because of this. I didn’t expect her to be so sad and lost when I started Open My Eyes, but in hindsight, given everything she’s dealing with, I don’t know how she could have been anything else. She’s not a quitter, though, and that’s what I love about her. Even at her lowest moments, she never gives up.
Open My Eyes also introduces Annie, who becomes Emily’s rock. Annie won’t let Emily drown in self-pity and the bond of friendship that grows between these two is solid. The novel is as much about the importance of female friendships as it is a love story.
Bring Me Back seems to have a suspense element the other books do not. Why did you decide to add this new dynamic to the trilogy?
Thanks to his former drug addiction, Andy’s past is pretty shady. I didn’t really decide to add the suspense as a new dynamic to the trilogy, Andy simply took me there. Bring Me Back picks up six years after the end of Open My Eyes. It tells the story of how Andy rights his past wrongs and there are some bad people in Andy’s past.
Are the books standalones or do they need to be read in order?
They can be read as standalones, but it's best to read them in order to get the full picture and understand the family dynamics.
What do you hope readers will take away the books?
I hope at the end of Set Me Free, they’ll want to know what happens to Emily, and at the end of Open My Eyes, they’ll want to know what happens to Andy. At the end of the Bring Me Back, I hope they’ll feel satisfied with the way the series has ended.
I also hope they get a bit of a giggle out of the books, or the occasional small smile at least. I hope they enjoy my strong and determined female characters and my occasionally vulnerable male leads.
Thank you so much for joining me and answering some questions. Is there anything you would like to add?
I should probably note that because I’m Australian I write in British English. We Australians also speak a little differently to our American friends, and there are some nuances in my sentence structures that can throw some readers. As a fellow Australian author recently declared, I can spell, I’m just Australian!
And thanks again for having me, Kim. It’s such a pleasure to be on your blog!
Eventually, the midwife turned her magnificently fake smile on her.
‘Hi,’ Emily croaked, and then cleared her throat with an indelicate ahem. ‘I’m Emily, and I’m 28 weeks,’ she said.
‘And are you here alone today, Emily?’ asked the midwife, going straight for the elephant in the room.
It took Emily a little by surprise. ‘I’m … my …’
‘Her partner is late,’ said Ben, from the door of Clinic Room B. He made his way around the tables, and dropped himself into the chair next to her.
Emily’s brain switched off, and she forgot about everyone else in the room. She stared at him, wanting to poke him, or pinch herself to see if he was real. And if he was, so help her, she wanted to kiss him.
She drank him in. He’d cut his hair – his hair was cropped short, ponytail gone. She wanted to touch it, to feel the bristle of the strands between her fingers. The texture might prove he was really there. She couldn’t stop herself from staring.
‘Sorry, honey,’ Ben said loudly, kissing her on her temple. An audible sigh rustled through the room, reminding Emily they weren’t alone.
‘Play along,’ he whispered into her ear, before sitting back in his chair, snatching her hand in his and introducing himself. She noticed he was wearing a pair of denim jeans and a chocolate brown T-shirt, which fit snugly across his chest. She could count on one hand the number of times she’d seen him in anything other than black.
He turned to her again. ‘Close your mouth,’ he whispered.
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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.
Places to find Jennifer Collin:
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