Stepping into the Author Spotlight today is Evonne Wareham whose latest novel, Masquerade on the Riviera, is published by ChocLit today. Congratulations Evonne. This is the fourth is Evonne’s Riviera series although all can be read as standalone novels as they focus on different characters. I’ve read the second in the series and you can read my review here: A Wedding on the Riviera
First of all, would you tell my blog readers a little about yourself?
Hello. It’s good to be here. Thank you so much for the invitation. Now – what can I tell you about myself that’s interesting? Well – most important – I write romantic suspense – more crime and dead bodies than your regular romance. I don’t like the winter, the cold and the short days, so I tend to chose to write about glamorous, sunny locations – escapist holiday reading. I live now on the South Wales coast, after many years in London. Wales is home, but I still love London, especially the theatre and the museums, so I sneak back whenever I can. I’m a perpetual student – I enjoy research and learning new things, which is how I came to complete a PhD a couple of years ago as a very mature student. I drink too much tea, have a weakness for ice-cream and hate washing up.
What inspired you to start writing?
I’ve written stories ever since I can remember, but it took me a long time to actually get published. It was a lengthy apprenticeship when I tried all kinds of genres from regency romance to family sagas. They all had an element of crime in them and when I finally stumbled across American authors who write romantic suspense – Nora Roberts, Karen Rose, Jayne Ann Krentz – it was a light bulb moment. I decided to see if I could write a European version, and found that I could. Finally!
Tell me about your journey to publication
As I mentioned, I’ve been writing for a long time, but have only been published for ten years. Getting that first contract had been a dream for a very long time. I had some success with writing competitions in America, which gave me confidence, but it still took while to get the break. Once I did, my debut novel won the Joan Hessayan Award from the Romantic Novelists’ Association. That long apprenticeship and the things I learned along the way paid off. Then in 2022 I was a nominee for the Romantic Novelists’ Association Jackie Collins Romantic Thriller award for the third ‘Riviera’ book, A Villa in Portofino, which was another dream that I never expected to achieve.
In a nutshell, what is your book about?
Masquerade on the Riviera is the 4th book in the ‘Rivera’ series. The books are linked, but can all be read as standalones. The first book Summer in San Remo is more of a rom-com, but I’ve been steadily sneaking in more and more mayhem as the series progresses. This one starts on the English Riviera and ends in Monaco with a cursed Egyptian necklace, a robbery, some mysterious deaths and an unfolding romance along the way.
How did you come up with the title for your book?
It was always going to be ‘Masquerade’ as the book ends with a glittering masked ball. I enjoyed creating that. The title also reflects other elements in the story too. My heroine, Maisie, is a detective, and her job often involves going undercover and assuming another identity. That is what she is doing when she meets Elliot, the hero, which causes some initial confusion. There are also a number of other people in the book who are not what they seem. I hope the reader will have fun figuring out who the villains are.
How did you celebrate publication day?
I’m not sure it will be on publication day, but there will definitely be a celebration in Cardiff with members of the Cariad Chapter of the Romantic Novelists’ Association. They are my ‘tribe’ and the support and friendship of the members is recognised in the acknowledgements at the front of the book. There will be cake.
Do you have a work in progress just now?
I have some possibilities bubbling away, but I haven’t started writing anything yet. I’m in the fun part – research and auditioning ideas. The hard work comes later.
What one book would you recommend to a friend and why?
Almost anything by Jayne Ann Krentz (she has three pen names) but particularly her ‘Harmony’ series which is set in the future on a distant planet. Almost all her books feature characters with some sort of paranormal ability and the big attraction from this series are the dust bunnies, very cute, but very fierce when necessary. Guild Boss and Sweetwater and the Witch are her two most recent ones.
What are you reading just now?
I’m binge reading regency romances – the essence of escapism – Louise Allen, Elizabeth Hoyt, Lisa Kleypas.
If you were on Desert Island Discs, what one book would you take with you?
A thesaurus – because a writer always needs words.
Is there a book you’d love to see made into a film?
I think any of the books by another of my favourite authors, Karen Rose, would make great romantic thrillers, perhaps Die for Me, which has a really gruesome serial killer. They are big books though, with huge casts as well as a hot central love story, so it would be a complicated job. It would also be good to see the romantic suspense books written by Mary Stewart in the 1950s and 60s brought to the screen – maybe for TV – kept in period with the historical settings, the clothes and the cars. I think I’d choose one with a Greek setting. The Moonspinners is my favourite, but that has actually been filmed, although it was a long time ago, so maybe This Rough Magic?
How can people follow you or connect with you on social media?
And finally, if you could be a character in any book you have read, who would it be and why?
Possibly a minor character from Louise Penny’s Three Pines books, because the village she has created seems like wonderful place to live – aside from the crime, of course. Unfortunately minor characters do so often end up as the corpse in the case!
About the Book
From Egyptian treasures on the English Riviera to a mystery in glamorous Monaco …
Renowned Egyptologist Dr Elliott Elwood is slightly puzzled when he’s invited to Torquay to take part in a bizarre bidding war for a well-known artefact collection. But, of course, he couldn’t pass up the chance to view the ‘Cleopatra Necklace’ – an infamous piece from the collection, rumoured to be cursed.
However, Elliott’s weekend away with his fellow bidders, including the strangely familiar Maisie Norris – if that is her real name – ends up involving far more than afternoon tea and historical chit-chat.
Cunning thievery and clever games abound in the days and weeks that follow, eventually culminating in a glitzy but potentially perilous masked ball on the Côte d’Azur. Will Elliott find an element of truth in the Necklace’s notorious reputation, or could his growing connection with the mysterious Maisie bring him all the luck he needs?
Book 4 in the Riviera series.
Kindle UK: https://bit.ly/3H785xv
Apple UK: https://bit.ly/3H9cJLm