Thursday, June 14, 2012

Interview with mystery authors behind name Evelyn David

Today, the authors behind the pseudonym Evelyn David are here to talk about their novel, Zoned for Murder.

The author of Murder Off the Books, Murder Takes the Cake, Zoned for Murder, The Brianna Sullivan Mysteries e-book series and numerous short stories, Evelyn David is the pseudonym for Marian Edelman Borden and Rhonda Dossett.

Marian lives in New York and is the author of eleven nonfiction books on a wide variety of topics ranging from veterans benefits to playgroups for toddlers! For more information on these books, please visit her web site at

Rhonda lives in Muskogee, Oklahoma, is the director of the coal program for the state, and in her spare time enjoys imagining and writing funny, scary mysteries. Marian and Rhonda write their mystery series via the internet. While many fans who attend mystery conventions have now chatted with both halves of Evelyn David, Marian and Rhonda have yet to meet in person. 

Welcome Marian and Rhonda, aka Marilyn David. Please tell us about your current release, Zoned for Murder – Book 1.
Former Newsweek reporter Maggie Brooks has two kids, a dead husband, a mortgage to pay, and a lot of competition when she tries to get back into the shrinking newspaper business. Landing a job with a local paper, she's bored to tears covering bake sales and Little League games. But when a developer tries to build an outlet mall in a neighboring town, what starts out as potentially a great clip for her resume, suddenly turns dangerous and ugly. Someone will do anything to block the mall's construction. Dirty money, nasty politics, and shady land deals abound as Maggie pursues the scoop that might jumpstart her career. When murder is added to the mix, she realizes that meeting her deadline might be the last thing she ever does. Read Maggie's byline as she rebuilds her career, dips her toes into a shark-filled dating pool, and investigates a small New York town Zoned for Murder. Amazon Buy link -

What inspired you to write this book?
The underlying premise of this story was based on a controversy that swirled around the proposed development of a Big Box store near Marian's hometown. The law discussed in Zoned for Murder was actually drafted, but met the legal challenges covered in this story. Feelings, both pro and con about building this type of store, were so strong that it triggered the questions that lurk in the minds of most mystery writers: How far would someone go if pushed?; What motivates murder – love, money, power?; How well do we really know our friends?

What exciting story are you working on next? 
We're working on the 9th volume of the Brianna Sullivan Mysteries series. The working title is A Dark and Stormy Night in Lottawatah. Brianna Sullivan, a reluctant psychic who planned to travel the U.S. in her motor home, gets stuck in a small town in Oklahoma when she runs out of gas money. Lottawatah has 1452 living residents and just about that same amount in transit. There also seem to be an unusual number of murders much like that small town in Maine – Cabot Cove. Brianna solves mysteries with her English bulldog sidekick, helps ghosts find the outbound bus, and romances the local police detective. In volume 9, Brianna's new fiancĂ©, police detective Cooper Jackson is accused of murder.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Marian: I think I always knew I wanted to be a story teller. For as long as I can remember, imagining adventures, people, dialogue, was how I got through long car rides, boring classes, and "lights out, go to sleep" instructions from parents. My professional career has always included writing, always on nonfiction topics. But the siren call of writing a mystery was finally too hard to ignore. So I wrote one—which went absolutely nowhere. I began posting short stories on a writers' forum – and "met" Rhonda (in virtual terms since we literally have never met in person)…and thus began the story of Evelyn David.

Rhonda:  I love books, television, movies but I never cared for cartoons. I craved drama and the interaction of "real" people. I can remember watching old black and white movies before I started grade school. Who would want to watch Boris and Natasha when they could be watching Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn? But as much as I loved the plotlines, I always rewrote the endings in my head. I wanted the story to go on beyond the shot of the cowboy riding his horse into the sunset. Shane came back. Scarlet and Rhett lived happily ever after in a new "better than before" complete with new drapes plantation. No one ever died. I still want the same thing. About ten years ago, I began moving the rewrites from the imaginary screen running in my mind to the computer screen in front of me.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like?  If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?

Marian:  I write nonfiction books for my "day job." I write mysteries in between projects, as well as early in the morning (I'm the early riser of this writing duo; Rhonda is the night owl). Finding time to write is also complicated by the marketing/promotion demands placed on all authors. There's always a tweet to be sent, a Facebook post to be composed, a blog to be written – and while those are all important and often enjoyable, they also take away time from the actual process of writing a new mystery. Finding a balance is critical – and we're working on it.

Rhonda:  I have a full-time job that pays the bills. I'm the director of the coal program for the State of Oklahoma. I have a biology degree and have spent most of my adult life working in environmental science fields. I write at night and on the weekends.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Marian: I do my best "writing" during my daily walk. I figure out plot holes, devise devilish red herrings, and compose snappy dialogue. My best hope is to get back in time for me to remember it all – and to not get so absorbed by the "writing" that I ignore oncoming traffic!

Rhonda: I do my best fiction writing after 9 p.m., when it's dark outside, the characters show up to play. I also need Pepsi One and Strawberry Twizzlers for plotting energy.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Marian: I wanted to be an actress. I think writing is part of the same career path – imagining and creating characters and their lives.

Rhonda:  An oceanographer – my grandparents watched a lot of Jacque Cousteau specials and I watched with them. I loved swimming. Seemed like a great way to make a living. Of course growing up in Oklahoma, I never saw the ocean until I was out of high school.  But I had a good imagination.

Anything else you'd like the readers to know?
Please check out Evelyn David's website at and blog – The Stiletto Gang - for information about Evelyn David's appearance schedule and writing projects.

The Brianna Sullivan Mysteries include: I Try Not to Drive Past Cemeteries, The Dog Days of Summer in LottawatahThe Holiday Spirit(s) of Lottawatah, Undying Love in Lottawatah, A Haunting in Lottawatah, Lottawatah Twister, Missing in Lottawatah and Good Grief in Lottawatah. All e-reader formats of these books are available.

Evelyn David has also written an e-book collection of short romantic stories - Love Lessons.

Thanks for being here today, ladies, to talk about Evelyn David and her/your writing projects.


Kait said...

Hi Evelyn David. I would like to know how you come up with your titles. My book ZONED FOR MURDER, was published in December 2011. I was quite surprised when I began to get alerts for the title, but by a different author! Kait Carson

Evelyn David said...

Hi Kait, Thanks for leaving a comment. Our titles are based on our books' contents - Zoned for Murder's central theme involves city zoning laws. We started this book about ten years ago, but had been working on other books before finishing it. It's always interesting to find that others have the same ideas for titles - I suppose since titles can't be copywrited, the only real surprise is when a title hasn't been used before. Good luck with your book.


Lisa Haselton said...

It takes a lot of work to find compatible critique partners, I just love that you've both been able to create a new identity and write novels together. That's a special relationship, but it must be inspiring and motivating to have someone to share the writing pain with. :)