Time for an interview!
For my third round of questioning, I caught up with Evangeline Jennings, who is about to release her new novel, Riding in Cars with Girls.
Evangeline is yet another writer I met on Authonomy, but I know her more as the managing editor of the Pankhearst independent writers collective, the group through which I published Yuko Zen.
Never one to mince her words, I was eager to hear her answers to my random questions.
As I hoped, they kicked ass.
Here we go…
1. To start things off, tell us a little about your latest book.
Riding in Cars with Girls will be published on April 16th. It’s a full length and very noir crime fiction collection – 85,000 words – and it’s all my usual shit but with different names. Girls with guns, cars, and all kinds of issues, and a frequently wicked twist in every tale. Each of the six stories is named after a car. Four are set in America, two in Europe. So it pretty much reflects how I live my life. Apart from all the killing and vastly superior sex.
2. The thing I admire the most about your writing is your voice. Everything I read by you has protagonists that leap from the pages and smack you in the face. How do you go about writing such vivid characters?
If that’s true – and thank you – then it’s a combination of nature and hard work. All my characters – pretty much – are pieces of me. So their voice is one of my voices. But by the time you read it, it’s a version of me that has been edited, revised and generally picked apart at least a dozen times. Dolly famously said, it costs a lot of money to look this cheap. Well, it takes a lot of work to look this natural.
3. I know that there are writers out there who avoid using expletives. You are certainly not one of those! How do you feel about writers who say F bombs are not necessary in literature?
Fuck ’em if they can’t take a joke.
It must be noted, as I read that answer, I almost sprayed coffee all over my keyboard and monitor!
4. If Riding in Cars With Girls were to have a soundtrack, who would it be composed and/or performed by?
I have a habit of making mixtapes to accompany my books and I’m sure I’ll be doing that for Riding in Cars with Girls. But a whole new soundtrack, written and performed specifically for the book? There’s a temptation to say Portishead or Tricky, somebody like that. But none of them would work, so I’d go for Melissa Swingle (Trailer Bride, The Moaners) or David Lowery (Camper Van Beethoven, Cracker). They’re massive favourites of mine and both make music that’s steeped in America, albeit in different ways. I can’t think of anything better for my story Firebird than Melissa Swingle’s voice and, perhaps, her saw. Yes, she plays the saw. It’s a beautiful and eerie sound. Whereas David Lowery can sound positively English at times and so he would have the European stories covered as well. In an ideal world, they’d work together.
(Trailer Bride YouTube — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gibuGcpZF7A )
(Cracker YouTube — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WwnSNHLLNUI)
Some good choices in music there.
5. And if it were to be made into a film, who would you choose as director?
The obvious choice would be Quentin Tarantino – people often say my stories are Tarantinoesque – but that would be a mistake. The key to each of these stories is the relationship at its heart and those relationships are all between female characters. I think Riding in Cars with Girls requires a woman director. Someone like Agnieszka Holland who has directed episodes of The Wire, The Killing, and House of Cards. She’s also made a shitload of movies. And if she’s not available, then maybe Debra Granik. Winter’s Bone is still one of my very favourite things.
And excellent choices of directors!
6. What piece of writing are you most proud of so far?
Riding in Cars with Girls is the best thing I’ve done so far. If it wasn’t, I wouldn’t be publishing it. If you’re not getting better, you might as well give up. Other than that, I’m particularly proud of my last Kindle single, No Christmas. As much as anything else, it’s my punk rock version of The Handmaid’s Tale.
7. What novelty item would you like to see spawned from your writing?
Maybe a sex toy? Or a Cars And Girls Lego set?
How awesome would the Lego set be?
8. If you could recommend one book that everyone should read, what would it be?
Riding in Cars with Girls by Evangeline Jennings. I’ve heard really good things and she could use the money. Otherwise, failing that and bearing in mind the times we’re living in, the aforementioned Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. Beware the Commanders of the Faithful.
9. What motivates you to keep writing?
I usually say something flippant here about a Scottish Castle, but the truth is I write because I don’t know how to stop. I love crafting stories – it’s the only thing I do well – and I have way too many ideas and ambitions to stop. There are things I want to say.
I agree. But that Scottish Castle would be wonderful…
10. What next from Evangeline Jennings?
I’m working on a book with my BWFF Lucy Middlemass. It’s called First Girl On The Moon and it’s a different kind of YA collection. I’m contributing five interlinked stories and Lucy is writing four of her own. We’re about eighty percent done with the writing now and I reckon it’ll be out in June or maybe July.After that, I plan to focus on long fiction. I have four or five finished novels in the proverbial drawer and it’s time I started making them fit for human consumption. Also I have three or four brand new ideas, including a Gamesy-Throney kind of thing and a sort of steampunk espionage Victorian sex romp thing. Oh, and the obligatory far future post-apocalyptic dystopia thing.
My thanks to Evangeline for a cracking interview.
Ladies and Gents, do go and check out Riding in Cars with Girls. I sure will be.
Kindle version will be 99c/99p for the first two weeks!
Here comes the bio and links!
Born and raised in Liverpool where they invented both football and popular music, Evangeline Jennings now lives in Austin, Texas. The black sheep of her family, she comes from a long line of Californian beauty queens on her mother’s side. Evangeline gets her looks from her father. Mostly Evangeline writes stories about girls. She believes in equality, so she writes about that. She also writes about gender, sexuality, and violence against women. Her characters often seek bloody satisfaction. Sometimes they find it.
In her spare time, Evangeline is the managing editor of the Pankhearst independent writers collective