Beneath the Covers Past

Evelyn Rogers Interview
Review: The Loner Book
A Legend In Her Own Time
An Interview with Evelyn Rogers
By Suzie Housley
August 2001

Evelyn, a true southerner  was born in Alabama and raised in Texas. Her writing career began immediately after college covering criminal trials and the government section in a West Texas newspaper.She then became a teacher and librarian  for 25 years in various  middle schools.

During the past eight years of her educational career she became interested in romance writing. She collaborated with Kathryn Davenport on several books. They combined their maiden names to become Keller Graves. They published 5 books for the Zebra/Heartfire line.

In 1989, Evelyn went out on her own with Midnight Sins. A year later she quit teaching to write full time.  Her upcoming novel, "THE LONER" will be the 11th book with publisher Leisure/Lovespell. Evelyn has been married for 43 years. Her husband is a retied newspaper man. She credits him with helping with a good bit of her research, She has two
grown children and four grandchildren.

Suzie Housley:  How long have you been writing? How many books have you published? 

Evelyn Rogers:  I started writing in 1983.  My first book came out in 1987.  I am now working on #30.

Suzie Housley:  Considering all your books, are there any you look back upon and wish you'd written them differently? 

Evelyn Rogers:  That's like asking if I would raise my children differently.  All I can say is that in both cases, I did the best I could.  Once a book is published, I don't go back and reread it again...too painful.

Suzie Housley:  How long does it take you to research and write a book? How much of your life is given over to your writing? Do you do a lot of reading (for pleasure as opposed to research)?

Evelyn Rogers:   I allow about six months per book, at least a third of that for the planning, two-thirds for the actual writing.  When I'm on a deadline, much of my life, 7 days a week, as long each day as I can stand it, is devoted to writing.  But I do see my family as often as I can.  My husband is retired and helps me by cooking and grocery shopping.  Needless to say, every book, whether so stated or not, is dedicated to him.  As for reading, I can't stop.  Breaks during the day, bedtime, sometimes periods when I'm stuck, reading is essential for these times.

Suzie Housley:  Your writing covers many different genres in the romance field. Do you have a favorite to write? Do you find any one harder than the other to plot, write, etc.?

Evelyn Rogers:  I've written many Westerns and I do love them, but I truly enjoy writing two other distinctly different kinds of books:  humorous contemporary (GOLDEN MAN, SECOND OPINION) and Gothic (DEVIL IN THE DARK and my current work in progress, THE GROTTO).  No one genre is more difficult than the others, or any easier.

Suzie Housley:  Your cover art is stunning, my personal favorite is DEVIL IN THE DARK, could you tell us more about it? 

Evelyn Rogers:  The artist that everyone wants - or at least used to - is Pino. DEVIL IN THE DARK is my 1st Pino cover.  Instead of the full moon that's on the cover, I had asked for a castle on a hill, a typical part of a Gothic cover and accurate for this particular book.  Oh, well.  The cover did turn out beautifully.

Suzie Housley:  When I see your name on a book I know I can expect the best quality story ever from a master storyteller.  Your family must be very proud of you being a writer.  How do you schedule time for writing between your family?

Evelyn Rogers:  My family (husband, a son and daughter and their spouses, 4 grandsons, 2 each for son and daughter) is wonderfully supportive.  They allow me the time, so of course, I am always there if they need me, and sometimes if they don't.  It's a balancing act.  They are my equilibrium and, if it doesn't sound too corny to say so, they have my heart....especially those four boys.

Suzie Housley:  You certainly do such a wonderful job in keeping the reading spellbound, how do you go about developing your characters and plots? 

Evelyn Rogers:  You are very kind in the manner these questions are phrased.  I always start out with a central character with a problem in a particular setting, hero or heroine, then come up with a character in opposition, giving me the conflict for the love story.  I flesh them out, along with secondary characters, as I work on the plot.  Mix into this a world of research, which always gives me plot points, and somehow I end up with a story.  It's a complex procedure, everything dependent on everything else, but at the heart of everything are the two central characters.  I work from a synopsis.  I like to know where I'm starting and where I'm ending, with some key highs and lows in between.  How I get to those points is not clear in my mind until I'm actually at the computer.

Suzie Housley:  Of all the books you have published, who has been your favorite hero so far, and why?  Favorite heroine?  Why?

Evelyn Rogers:  Tough question.  Hero?  That would probably be Gideon Blackthorne,
the Devil Duke in DEVIL IN THE DARK, because his is such a complicated situation and his reaction to it so human, at least that's what I strove for.  Heroine?  A long time ago I wrote a book called ANGEL.  The heroine, named Angel, was gentle and loving, yet she was one of the toughest, most determined characters I have ever created.  She was and is dear to my

Suzie Housley:  Do you find certain themes cropping up in your writing? What do you hope your readers will come away with after reading your stories?

Evelyn Rogers:   Themes:  Fidelity, sacrifice, the power of love.  I hope readers come away with an understanding of these three themes, a satisfied feeling that all is well, that they have spent their reading time in a worthwhile pursuit.  Where applicable, I also hope they got a few laughs.

Suzie Housley:  Please tell us how you developed the idea for THE LONER and share a bit about how the story was created.

Evelyn Rogers:  THE LONER is a very special book, the fourth in a series called SECRET FIRES, each book written by a different author.  Two years ago Elaine Barbieri (THE WILD ONE, Feb. 01); Bobbi Smith (THE HALF-BREED, April 01); Constance O'Banyon (THE AGREEMENT, June 01) and I got together in Toronto during the Romantic Times conference and plotted out the series about a Western family torn apart by greed, infidelity, lies, misunderstandings--all the good stuff of melodrama.  We each took a different sibling - Elaine the youngest son, Bobbi the bastard half-breed, Constance the fiesty daughter, and me the oldest and strongest.  The father is a true rascal, but the real villain is the wicked stepmother.  Each book tells a separate love story, of course, and each character has his/her own secrets.  I get to settle the last of the secrets, see that villains are suitably dispensed with, the family once again united.

The series thus far is doing very well, one book picked up by Doubleday, another on the NY Times bestseller list.  I have great hopes THE LONER will do as well.

BONUS:  For each book a reader buys, she can get a free one.  See my website or a copy of one of the series for details. (Click Here for Details)

Suzie Housley:  Your novels are like a jigsaw puzzle in that each piece fits together so that everything impacts the whole. For instance, in DEVIL IN THE DARK, Gideon Blackthorne character is so tormented. Is this something you consciously develop before you start writing?

Evelyn Rogers:  Plot comes out of character.  What happens in DEVIL IN THE DARK is because Gideon is the man he is, made so by of his tormented past.  I came up with the torment first, then his reaction to it and to the heroine, who pretty much messes everything up
for a while then settles it all.

 Suzie Housley: This year I had the pleasure to read/review both your latest books.  They succeeded in taking a hold of my heart, and refused to let go until I was done. What tips can you share for such emotional, gripping, page-turning suspense?

Evelyn Rogers:  Hardest question here.  I try to put in surprises, plot twists, events
or situations that shake the reader and yet, upon reflection, are totally believable.  It's also important to make the problems, the conflicts these make-believe people face gut-wrenching, calling for sacrifices we lesser mortals could never face.  Maybe one of them, or two, but these people have to face their problems one after another until the sun shines, the birds
sing, and all is happiness.

Suzie Housley:  What future goals have you set for yourself?

Evelyn Rogers:  Right now I want to finish the book I'm working on, another Gothic,
this one set in 1860s Tuscany.  Called THE GROTTO, it features an American contessa, newly widowed and left destitute by her no-good conte husband, and a (what else?) dark, mysterious man who comes to her villa on the Mediterranean and threatens everything she holds dear.  It's scheduled for publication next May.  After that, I truly don't know.  I've got a humorous contemporary I've been working on off and on.  I really like to vary what I write.  And I hope readers do not mind.

Suzie Housley:  How can fans contact you?

Please send an SASE to me at :

8039 Callaghan Rd
PMB 102
San Antonio, TX, 78230, 

or e-mail me through my website:

THE LONER by Evelyn Rogers
Secret Fires Series

Reviewed by  Suzie Housley
Leisure – August  2001 -Paperback
ISBN: 0-8439-4880-9 
$5.99 US
Historical Romance

In Evelyn Roger’s THE LONER, readers will find a highly descriptive tale, which will quickly transport them back to the exciting life and times, which only existed in the Old West.  This poignant tale is overflowing with sizzling excitement, passion, and turmoil, which will remain in your memory long after you turn the last page.

As his name suggests, Stone McBride’s heart has been hardened against the cruel injustices fate has unmercifully dealt to him.  Living his life as a Gambler, he is unprepared when word arrives informing him his father is on his deathbed, and has summoned for him to return to the Circle M to claim his inheritance.  To ignore his father’s request, would force him to forfeit his share of the ranch to his resentful brother, sister, and manipulative stepmother.  Upon his return to the town of Sidewinder, he is unprepared when he sees his former fiancée, Annie Chapin.  Will he be able to live with himself knowing he alone caused the pain, which is present in her eyes?

Four years ago, Annabelle ‘Annie’ Chapin, gave her heart and soul to Stone McBride.  What she received in return was enough heartache to last a lifetime.  Still suffering from her last encounter with Stone, she is shocked to learn she still has feelings for the man who cruelly broke her heart.  Will she have the power this time to chisel away the hard exterior surrounding his cold heart?

Evelyn Rogers masterfully crafts stories where the characters are so real they seem to leap off the pages.  Stone and Annie are two memorable characters, who finally realize when they are able to trust in the power of love, only it alone would be able to heal and erase the pain of their past.

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