Linda Shepherd and Eva Marie Everson interview

» Posted on Aug 22, 2007 in Blog | Comments Off on Linda Shepherd and Eva Marie Everson interview

1. What made you start writing?

Linda: I’ve always written, even as a child. At twelve I wrote my first book. It was a mystery because I never wrote the ending.

Still, I never believed I could be a writer because I was such a poor speller and spell check, much less personal computers had yet to be invented. (Yes I’m that old.)

In fact, one of my first writing jobs was for a company that invented a word processor. What a breakthrough that was for me.

I worked as a technical writer for five years but after my first child was born, I decided to become a stay-at-home mom. But the funny thing was I couldn’t stop writing and when I finally attended the Colorado Christian Writer’s Conference; I begin to meet the editors who eventually gave me bylines and book contracts.

Eva Marie: I’m not sure anything “made” me start writing. I’ve written my whole life. I can remember holding a crayon to paper and just knowing that “something” was trying to spill out of me. In 1997, after taking a long walk one morning, I came home and began writing an idea that had come to me while walking. That “idea” became the second chapter of my third published work. My first book was published about two years later.

2. How long have you been writing? When did you sell your first book?

Eva Marie: I wrote a book about marriage proposals, a beautiful love story filled with love stories, traditions and scriptures, poems and such titled True Love; Engaging Stories of Real Life Proposals. (Barbour/Promise Press). This came about after my daughter asked how her father had proposed to me. I was stunned we’d never shared that story with her! I went to the CBA International convention in 1999 and began to pitch my idea. Nine days later, I received a call from an editor at Promise Press, offering a contract. Everything evolved from there!

Linda: I worked with the young people at my church and became alarmed when individual teens made life-changing mistakes. I cried out to the Lord and said, “Someone needs to write a book that will help these kids.”

I felt his still small voice in my heart, “I want you to write such a book.”

So I did. That book, Ryan’s Trials, a devotional novel for boys, came out in 1993, from Nelson. It was followed by Kara’s Quest, a devotional novel for girls.

3. How do you handle rejections?

Linda: Only rejected writers get published. The more rejections you have under your belt, the more bylines you’ll eventually earn. Rejection is part of the writing process.

Eva Marie: How do I handle what?

4. Why do you write?

Eva Marie: I write because I am a writer. I write professionally because God opened a door and I plunged through it.

Linda: I don’t have a choice. I have more words and ideas than I can spend on my family without driving them crazy. Plus, I know I’m called to write. Every year I spend time in concentrated prayer, listening for God’s direction.

5. What would you be doing with your free time if you weren’t writing?

Linda: I would be a full-time nonprofit president.

Eva: Hmmmm…I haven’t had “free time” in a while. I live near the beach, so I’d be at the beach a lot. Shopping. Coffee with my friends. I’m also a full-time wife and custodial grandmother, so…there’s always stuff to do!

6. What are you working on right now?

Eva: Linda and I are working on another “Pot Luck” book together (I’ll let her tell you about that) and I am also working on a contracted novel “Heels on Wood, Soles on Carpet,” (working title) a southern novel I’m very excited about.

Linda: Eva and I are working on the fifth Potluck book, tentatively titled, The Potluck Caters a New York Minute. I’m also working on a solo novel entitled Star Bright as well as a couple of nonfiction projects on prayer and lifestyle worship.

7. Do you put yourself into your books/characters?

Linda: Not on purpose! As Eva and I both write three characters each, I think we can safely say no one character is exactly like either one of us, though some may share certain personality traits and experiences.

Eva Marie: All the time, but not fully and completely.

8. Tell us about the book you have out right now.

Eva Marie & Linda: The Potluck Club Takes the Cake takes our six friends on adventures involving planning a wedding, a mountain avalanche and juicy family secrets. As Evangeline’s wedding day draws near, Lisa Leann’s matchmaking ways threaten to cause trouble in more than one relationship. Will the Potluck Club be able to put aside their differences and help each other survive the storms of life and love?

9. Do you have any advice for other writers?

Linda: I like to prethink my scenes by concentrating on what ‘could’ happen. I think about everything; the characters, the setting and plot points. Then, I wait until I can ‘see’ a snapshot of the scene in my mind’s eye. What happens next is like a mad dash as my mind races, my fingers fly and I type, unencumbered by editing worries. The words blur before me as the scene seems to write itself.

Then, once I have something on paper, I put on my editor’s hat. I call my editing process ‘ironing.’ While I ‘iron,’ I try to smooth out all grammar mistakes, typos and missing scene details.

For me, the ironing process is much more work than the actual writing process. But writing in these steps is much easier than trying to write and edit at the same time. Otherwise the process becomes bogged down and my creativity is stymied.

My advice is to get something on paper and then and only then should you worry about the details.

Eva Marie: Sometimes you’ll find yourself writing for a paycheck. We’ve all been there. Those are the days you wish you could go back to the days when you wrote just for the fun or inspiration of it. Recently, I had to take some time off (not long…just took some time of prayer and meditation) to try to figure out my “writing calling.” Linda said to me, “Eva, when you write our “Goldie” character (who is southern), you really do your best writing.” That was the Lord confirming what He was stirring in my heart. “Write what you know…and know what you write.” I know southern people. I am one of ’em! I know the south with all its excentricities. While I continue to love writing the “Pot Luck” books, I feel I am finally coming into my “writing place.” I have Linda (and God) to thank for that!

10. How important is faith in your books?

Eva Marie: Very important. In fiction, it should be indirect. In nonfiction or in the articles I write for, for example, it must be more direct. I can’t breathe without my faith. My writing, I think, reflects that.

Linda: I direct a nonprofit ministry called Right to the Heart ( I want everything that I do to count for the Kingdom. So, if I can’t write about faith, why write at all?

11. What themes do you like to write about?

Linda: I love secrets and I love writing about the very secrets many women try to hide. I find that fiction is a great way to gossip in a way that will help both the writers and the readers.

Eva Marie: I always seem to have the “cost of sin” tied in with “purpose in life” somehow in my stories. And dreams. Somebody dreams a dream at some point in the book. It’s not on purpose. It just happens.

12. What is your favorite book you’ve written and why?

Eva Marie: I’d have to say the one I haven’t written yet. I love them all, but I’m always striving to do better…to make the next one better than the last one.

Linda: I’ve written over twenty books and I love each one for individual reasons. My favorites are my devotional novel for women, Tangled Heart ( as well as the books in The Potluck Club. My favorite Potluck Club book is always the one Eva and I have just finished, which in this case is The Potluck Caters A Secret Recipe, due out the summer of 08.

13. Do you have trouble coming up with a writer’s tip every day? That is amazing by the way!

Linda: This must be Eva’s question.

Eva Marie: (laughing out loud) That’s on the front page of my website: and comes compliments of Terry Whalin! So, that’s TERRY’s question! 🙂

14. What is your writing schedule like?

Eva Marie: I am just now learning to STOP writing at the “end of the day.” It’s so easy to get up and start writing and then just write (or work related to writing) without taking a break until I fall into the bed (or on the floor) LONG after the rest of the world has stopped. But God is showing me to REST…not just one day a week, but at the end of the work day.

Linda: I spend hours writing every day, whether it’s emails, interview questions, or book chapters.

15. Tell us about the Baghdad Prayer Patrol. What is it? How did it get started?

Eva Marie: I’m not sure how it got started, but I encourage you to check it out. Whether you are for the war or not, our young men and women in uniform need our prayers, especially those in Baghdad. You can go to my website’s homepage ( and click on the link. From there you can sign up. You will then receive an email once a day with a prayer and a photo, updates, etc. It takes ONE MINUTE a day to support our troops with our prayers.

16. You write non-fiction and fiction. Which is easier for you and why?

Linda: I love writing both fiction and nonfiction. Fiction is a blast because you get to create, populate and control a world, something you could never do in real life. But nonfiction is great because you get to go deep into a topic that interests you. For example, I’ve gone deep into the lifestyle worship book I’m writing and that has changed my life.

Eva Marie: When I’m writing fiction, I think writing nonfiction is easier. When I am writing nonfiction, I think writing fiction is easier. It’s a matter of, “Oh, fiction is SO much easier than this…all this research and fact finding and trying to sound interesting.” and “Oh, nonfiction is SO much easier than this…all this research and fact finding and trying to sound interesting….”