CEM got a chance to speak with Westmoreland-born bestselling author, Crystal Evans, who made her debut in 2013 with the publication of a book titled "Mama Brown's Family: A True Jamaican Story."
Tell us about yourself?
My name is Crystal Evans. I am from Westmoreland, Jamaica. I am a past student of the Manning School. I am a single parent with three children.
I am currently the Managing Director of a global remote work company. I am an eight-time bestselling Kindle author who enjoys writing, books, good food, good times, socializing, and traveling anywhere.
What inspired you to start writing?
Growing up, I often felt misunderstood, especially when I did literature based on the themes explored by my literature teachers. I came to the conclusion that writers were able to shape opinions and change worldviews with a book. I started to read, and during high school I became a voracious reader. I also developed a love for wordplay, and writing evolved into both my platform and my therapy. Writing has helped me cope with some of life's traumas, and what began as a hobby quickly grew into a movement. I discovered my tribe.
When did you start writing?
I started writing when I was fourteen years old, but I have no idea where those stories are now. I officially published my first book at twenty with the help of a Canadian by the name of Francesca Tisot.
What’s your inspiration behind your books?
People and the complexities of human interaction, I can never fully understand why people are the way they are or do the things they do. When I put it on paper, people can relate, and even I get to see aspects of myself in my alter ego/heroines that need work.
How do you come up with the titles to your books?
I wanted books that were Jamaican-centric, if there is such a word. The titles are catchy and the stories are relatable and enjoyable reads. You learn a lot from them too.
How do you develop your plot and characters?
I am going to be honest. Stories come easily and naturally to me. I once knew a man for two weeks and ended up writing a five-series book about him. I only spoke with him occasionally for two weeks. All I need is a character for my muse to use as a template to develop a story around this person.
Do you have a favorite character that you have written, if so, why?
My favorite character is Saf, but I also like Jason. Saf are unresolved parts of myself, and I get to explore these parts, situations, and contexts in my books. Jason is the man of my dreams, despite his feistiness and verbal abuse. He is the type of man who lights up my world.
I'm still looking for a man. Maybe Dwayne from my previous series comes close, but no one can do it like Jason. Tall, Dark, and Bad has spent over a year in the Kindle Top 100 thanks to Jason. I adore Yakima as well. She reminds me of my younger self, only worse.
How many books have your written and what’s your favorite?
I have written twenty-two books . My favorites are the "Tall Dark and Bad Series", "The Fairy Tale Complex", which comes out this month, "Yakima, The Bunna Man Trilogy", "Every Man Deserves a Good Jacket," and "Nuh Luck Wid Man."
What did you learn when writing these books?
I have learned that my life is not as unique as I think it is. There are people out there who are living or have lived similar lives.
Have you ever gotten writer’s block?
Yes? I have unfinished stories that I can’t go further with, part two of books that I can’t finish, and fans have been asking for a part two.
Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
Well Jacket, Bunna Man, and Tall Dark and Bad are interconnected; The Fairy Tale Complex... this is my alter ego Saf and her friends' journeys. They are connected somewhat.
How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
My first publication was disappointing, but I bounced back and tried again in 2015 and achieved some success, and have been at it since then.
If you didn’t write, what would you do for work?
I wanted to become a doctor. I was actually accepted to medical school. I still have the brochures, booklets, and letters, but I didn’t have the funds to go.
What do you ho