Wildfire Queries & Facts, The Windswept Edition…..

Wildfire Queries & Facts, The Windswept Edition…..

If you’ve read Windswept, my latest release with Bold Strokes Books that dropped October 1st, 2022….thank you!
It seems a few of you had some burning questions, so I compiled a few and answered them accompanied by a cigar, a gorgeous amber glass of Islay, and my comfiest curmudgeon hoodie.
Ready? Get in and buckle up…. we’re diving into Windswept!

“Hey Evans! What the hell with the random sex scene in the Libary of Scotland! What was that about?” 
~Sinéad Tinley, Galway, Ireland. 

Look, Sinéad, if you’re gonna hang out in the pages with me, you’ve gotta be braced for some random sizzle, and this one was one of the hottest, most intense scenes I’ve written. PS…In your DM, you went on to say how much you loved Sabine and Alden’s relationship, and that this was your favorite book of mine, so a million thanks there, and the next time I’m in Galway, I’ll shoot you a DM and we’ll get that drink.;)
On to the answer….
When we initially meet Sabine, she’s clearly an intelligent, talented woman who has her shit together, but she’d somehow become responsible for her addict mother’s life as well, and her shoulders were loaded, to say the least. She was exhausted. Tired of babysitting Celestine, tired of not recognizing her own damn life, and even more tired of having to be responsible for everything in her world.
Enter André, the smoldering dom Master Librarian who ushers her off the frozen street and into the library, and offers her a scotch from the decanter in her leather and lamplight office on the top floor, overlooking snowy Edinburgh. She’s careful and considered about consent, allows her time to breathe, but then gives Sabine what she really wants. The experience of being finally free to melt into a moment.
That scene was the first moment of Sabine’s real life. The one that was hers alone. The one she got to create.

Let me say this first, that I’m a fan, and I always will be. But why did Alden need to have top surgery present in her character? Why does this has to be a thing? I love how respectfully and lovingly you do butch, but the removal of her breasts really bothered me. 
~Elizabeth Henley, Hartfordshire, UK.

Elizabeth, I love hearing your viewpoints, and I’m forever grateful for the unique perspective you bring. Do you remember when you wrote me seven years ago  (by email back then) to comment on my description of Blackpool in London, my second novel? You were the only reader to recognize the Grand Ballroom and we had such a great conversation about it; I’m always happy to hear from you, and this is no exception.
But this is a hot button issue for a few people, and I get it. Let’s unpack this, shall we?

I know you’ve read the book, and I understand your hesitation with the top surgery aspect of Alden’s character. You’re in excellent company, it threw several readers for a loop. But what’s important to remember here is that (and this was mentioned only very briefly) her mother had experienced a breast cancer diagnosis fairly recently and she got tested for the BRCA Gene, which meant that depending on her circumstances, Alden was up to 85% more likely to die of breast cancer herself.
One of the options to reduce her risk was a double mastectomy, a choice thousands of women make every year, and she took it. Here’s the difference; instead of opting for reconstruction with implants, she made the brave choice to honor her sense of self and masculinity and just …. didn’t. Then chose to tattoo armor over the scars like a chest plate as a nod to the courage the journey required.
I think she dug deep, looked at the hand she was dealt, and decided to make her true self visible from the outside.
I’ll let everyone sit with that, but I think it was an incredibly brave choice. For her health and her mental health. May we all be that brave in the face of fear.

How hard is it to write in a Scottish dialect like that? You were spot on, but surely that can’t be easy?
Nan Barrett ~ Halifax, VA.

You are correct, it is not in the least easy, but I think what let me sink into it is how much I fell in love with the characters, especially the Wallace clan, and all of the beautiful messiness of their lives and dialect.
There’s a scene in the pub, the day Alden and Sabine meet, where Alden says that she’ll try to keep the Highland brogue to a minimum so that Sabine would have an outside chance of understanding her. That came from my own experience when I first went to Scotland; a local did the same for me, just to give me a chance to memorize the rhythm and cadence of the language for a bit before they hit me with the full force of the Highlands accent. It still swirls around me like a coastal downpour when I go back, but there’a a poetry to the language that just…. took up house in my soul.
You know what was more tricky than that? Learning how to format spoken and nonverbal ASL. Good Lord. 

The food! The gorgeous, sensual and unforgettable food in this book! I’m in love. When are we getting a cookbook with the recipes from every book? Have you ever trained as a chef? Also, can you tell us what dish stands out for you in all nine of your novels? 
Harriet Garwin ~ Tacoma WA.

First of all, thank you, Harriet! I get a lot of letters about the sensuality I weave into the food in my books and I consider it such an honor, but no, I’m about as far from a chef as it is possible to get. But I adore food, I seek out local treasures when I travel, and a lot of my own memories are intertwined with beautiful food and the art of cooking. I do have quite a bit of experience with wine and viniculture, but food… not so much.;)

As standout food memories in each book?  Hmmmm….. Let me know what you think about these:

McCall ~ The grilled Halloumi and bruschetta Sarah made for Sam the first evening they spent together.
London ~ It’s a tie. The Chicken Tikka Marsala Bronwyn made for Jaq in her flat, and that beautiful, silky white wine cream sauce for the pasta in Blackpool.
Innis Harbor ~ This one is easy. The feast of Persian dishes Amir’s aunties made for them on their first meal together. Do you remember at the end of the meal, Amir chooses a sugared rose petal from the saucer on the table and leans over to place it on Loch’s tongue? Swoon. 
Last First Kiss ~ I think for me it’s the garlic and Vino Bianco sauce Alessia’s mother poured over the fresh, briny mussels in those white, earthenware bowls. The steam rising from the bread still hot from the oven , and the conversation about slow, intentional food that happened around that table.
Laying of Hands ~ Remember the intense scents of the seaside seafood market and the creamy, bright peppery flavors of the Portugese dishes when Grace visits Adel’s home in Mystic? That.
Wild Wales ~ Ah…. This book is close to my heart, and I spent almost two months in Wales memorizing aromas, sifting through sharply beautiful combinations of flavor….but it’s the tiny pop-up bookshop in the town market, the one with the loaves of homemade bread and pastieries inspired by classic novels…. that’s what holds my heart.
Return To McCall ~ I think for me, in this novel, the Cuban influence from both Alex and Sarah working together with food lives in my memory…. but it’s the cookie magic that wins. The cookie jar in Sarah’s kitchen that she fills with buttery pecan sandies, decadent double chocolate chip bars, and love. And Moxie, who stood on the stairs and told Sarah that when she was little, as she got shuttled around to foster home after foster home, she’d thought that cookie jars were magic. That she used to drag a chair over to the counter every day to see if the cookies had arrived. And they never did. It was always empty.
I remember how she pulled that paper bag Sam had given her with the cookies out of her pocket as she was standing on the staircase. She told them how she lost hope when she figured out the cookie jar wasn’t magic, that a person had to make them and put the cookies in it. She just knew that if she had to trust another person, well….that would never happen for her. But somehow, in Sam and Sarah’s house, they were always there. Every time she looked.
That was the moment Sarah knew she wanted to adopt Moxie.
Windswept ~ Hands down that Guinness stew after Sabine had almost frozen to death in the train station, when Gwen took to fussing over her, wrapping her hands with a scarf around the hot water bottle to ward off the frostbite, and Morgan dropped a striped paper straw in her whiskey so she could still drink with no hands.
“Welcome to Scotland, lass, where we have an answer for everything. And that answer is whiskey.”
Undercurrent ~ I can’t say much without giving it away, but the haunted saffron Paella. Just trust me.

Undercurrent will be available July 2nd, 2024, and the rest of my titles will be available soon in new editions at Bold Strokes Books. And, as always, you are the most important part of my writing….. thank you from the bottom of my heart. It’s a privilege to write for you.

2 Replies to “Wildfire Queries & Facts, The Windswept Edition…..”

  1. I loved Windswept which the first one of yours that I read. Looking forward to your new one later this year.