C.L. Bevill has been in the U.S. Army, cleaned floors, a graphic illustrator, a therapist, and a stay at home mother before she took up writing. She loves to write stories that explore the human mind, keep readers mystified and include just a dash of romance. As our author of the day, Bevill chats about her fascination with telepathy, Cajun culture and reveals how she thinks dreams serve us in life.
Please give us an introduction to what Veiled Eyes is about
Anna, an orphan, has undergone some bad luck and is traveling to New Orleans. Because she’s forced to hitchhike, she picks the wrong trucker to take a ride from. After the man kidnaps her, Anna discovers that she has a psychic link with a man she calls the Whistling Man. Her subsequent rescue introduces her to the world from which she came, to the enigmatic Lake People who dwell along a giant black lake, and to the mystery of what happened to Anna’s mother.
What fascinates you about telepathy and other psychic powers?
The idea that humans are capable of infinite creative outlets and are able to think and act in so many different ways is the basis of our fascination with psychic powers. The author enables the reader to be placed in a world that they likely wouldn’t have conceived of. As a fervent reader myself, it is something I always enjoy.
Your book contains a couple of mysteries and twists. Did you plan them out before you started writing or did some of them just "happen"?
I always plot out my books, however, my plot lines usually go to hell in a handbasket about six to ten chapters in when I think something like, “What if I…?” Some of the twists in Veiled Eyes were inspired by real events such as the ending, and I can’t spoil for the folks who haven’t read it.
Tell us more about the cover and how it came about.
I have a very cool artist who asked me what sprang to mind when I think about the novel. Gold eyes and a bayou like setting with huge cypress trees are the items I ticked off for him. Consequently, he came up with the cover, which I love.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
Writing is just the last of my careers. I spent time in the Army as an illustrator, I worked as a graphic artist, I worked as a psychotherapist after I got several degrees, and now I write.
Have you always known you wanted to be a writer? What inspired your debut?
I was inspired by Edgar Rice Burroughs, who wrote the Tarzan and John Carter series, among others, when I was about twelve or thirteen years old. I wrote several stories then, and then came back to writing when I was in my twenties. I took a side trip to go to college. There was an opportune time when my job went south because the contract folded and I decided I would give the writing a solid shot. I published with St. Martins and the book did okay. The reviews were good but sales were not, as does happen. When e-publishing started a few years later, I was ecstatic to jump on board.
Which of your characters has been the most challenging to write for?
Occasionally I worry that people will read about a character and think something like, “Oh, she’s never met a…” so I try to do a lot of research and I try to put myself in their shoes. I think villains are the most difficult because they’re bad people who want to do bad things, and I’m not like that. So it’s a stretch.
How do you think dreams serve us in life? How do you use dreams in your books and why?
I think dreams are our minds’ way of organizing our thoughts. Often when I need to think about my work, I use the last minutes before I fall asleep to brainstorm what I’m writing about. Sometimes I even dream about it.
Tell us more about Anna St. Thias' character. What makes her so special?
Anna is a strong female character who wants to know where she comes from like most of us do. She was abandoned shortly after birth so she had to go her own way, and it is in that strength that she finds her way through difficult and unique situations.
The Cajun culture features prominently in the book. Why?
Although I used the Cajun culture in the book I tried to make it obvious that they are and aren’t really Cajuns or Creoles. I love Louisiana but I don’t live there and I wanted the book to be fantastical in a mythic almost magical way.
Although your book contains romance, it is not the main focus of the book. Why did you take this approach?
I prefer a suspenseful book myself, but I also enjoy romance as a secondary plot. It was important that Anna “connect” with the Lake People, and her budding relationship with Gabriel was the way to do it.
Do you consider yourself a disciplined writer? Do you have a schedule that you stick to, or is it more in the moment?
I am a disciplined writer. When I’m writing I usually set myself a word count per day. Lately it’s 1500 words per day. I don’t do this all at once as I have many things to do as an independent author, but it’s usually 500 words in the morning, 500 words midmorning, and 500 words midafternoon. Early evening is when I review my work and make certain I’m on track.
What are you working on right now?
I have another series that I’m doing the 8th book on. The Bubba mystery novels are a little more well-known than the Lake People novels, and features a country fella who happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. These are humorous mysteries and have developed a good following.