Crime pays for author

Tristan WheelerManjimup-Bridgetown Times
Bridgetown author Sarah Evans has assembled an extensive back catalogue over the past 30 years.
Camera IconBridgetown author Sarah Evans has assembled an extensive back catalogue over the past 30 years. Credit: Manjimup-Bridgetown Times

Bridgetown’s Sarah Evans is a prolific author, having regularly published since transitioning from a career in journalism to a career as an author.

Sarah’s fictional works tend to draw from her experiences working as a journalist in rural England and in the western suburbs in Perth.

“All the things you did as a journalist, the dead bodies and the gun runners and the goodness knows what, that all helped,” she said.

As well as providing Sarah with material for her books, her journalistic curiosity has helped her gather material from the people that she meets.

“Just about everyone has got something, that either someone has told me, or I have lived that life, or I’ve just taken something that’s happened to me, but then really expanded it,” Sarah explained.

“I just think that’s life, people tell you their stories, you ask people how they met and you listen to what people have going on, it’s so much fun.

“I meet so many people, that occasionally they find themselves in stories, they get changed.”

Bridgetown has also served as inspiration for Sarah’s writing — albeit in a fictionalised capacity — and despite its genteel nature, has also inspired some of her crime stories.

“Bridgetown appears in a lot of the stories, but it has a change of name, I tend to use this area quite a lot,” she said.

“I write a lot of rural crime, and I’ve won quite a lot of money with rural crime, so crime pays.

“There’s just so many interesting people here, so some of the crime books have been based on things that people have told me down here, or people I’ve met.”

Sarah said her attraction to writing stories was to help get the characters she conceived out into the world.

“I write because you’ve got to get the people out of your head, you have all these characters doing things and all this stuff going on,” she said

“That’s why I write a little bit of horror occasionally, because there are some things that I just have to get out and then its gone.”

Sarah said her love of figuring out human behaviour, whether in crime or romance, inspired her writing.

“I’m just fascinated why people do what they do and that’s with everything, not just with the crime,” she said.

“I’m just fascinated with how people act.”

Even when writing a story in a specific genre, Sarah said she liked to bring elements of other genres into the story, something that is challenging when she is writing a romance novel.

“I find it a bit frustrating, just doing a romance, there has to be more there than just the romance, I usually have other things going on, that’s why it’s probably taken me a while to get some of the romances out there, into the right publisher, because I don’t follow the rules,” she said.

“Women are reading romance because they want the escapism and they want the happy ending, so you’ve got to deliver that, sometimes an editor will say to me you’ve taken this out of the emotion, because you’ve played it for laughs.

“To me that’s how I play my life anyway, I don’t like to have a pressure cooker of emotion, I like to have the comedy going on, the humour going on as well.”

The pivotal moment of her career, according to Sarah, was winning the Family Circle Love Story writing competition in 1999.

“I won it, and it was worth $5000 and that paid off our mortgage, bought the piano, bought a new fridge, and made people take me seriously in writing,” she said.

“Suddenly I’d done something right, I wasn’t just going off and playing.”

For more information on Sarah’s books, visit sarah-evans-author.com.

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