by Sandra Murphy
& Eveyln David
This week we have a review of Gone Fishing in Lottawatah by Evelyn David aka Marian Borden and Rhonda Dossett, and a guest post from “Evelyn” about writing as a team. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win an ebook copy of Gone Fishing in Lottawatah, and a link to purchase it from Amazon.
Gone Fishing in Lottawatah: Brianna Sullivan Mysteries by Evelyn David
Review by Sandra Murphy
Brianna and Cooper haven’t been married long but are already expecting their first child. Neither one feels ready—in fact, panic is near the surface at all times. Brianna’s boss, Doc, has gone fishing with Hank, a retired cop and current crime scene investigator. Brianna is sent to bring them back to civilization. With only a vague idea of where their secret fishing spot is, she’s on her own to track them down.
That’s the start of a whirlwind tale of humorous suspense that involves escaped convicts, a manicurist with black and teal hair extensions, dead bodies, hysterical family members, a bulldog named Leon, a snarky mother-in-law, a size zero mother, a kidnapping, and a craving for chocolate donuts. Brianna is certainly one of a kind in a town that doesn’t quite know what to do with her but tries to be accepting because Cooper’s the Chief of Police.
While some people might think Brianna is over-involved with the search for the kidnap victim and escaped convicts, that would just be because they don’t know she can talk to ghosts. Sometimes it’s helpful, sometimes the ghosts talk in riddles or go off topic. None of them seem to have much staying power and often fade away at a crucial point in the conversation.
Lottawatah is a place where the beauty shop stays open until midnight on Tuesdays. The late hours were off to a slow start because the women in town had to get their Mark Harmon fix on NCIS. Once Candy, the shop owner, caught on to that, the purchase of a 60” television had her appointment book filled every week. That should give you a taste of what life in Lattawatah is like.
This is a long running series but the first I’ve read. It’s hard to combine humor, suspense, some flashbacks, and still keep a fast pace going, but Evelyn David has managed to pull it off. I had to go start-to-finish in one sitting. It’s always a good thing when a reader is torn between finding out who did it and not wanting the book to end.
Evelyn David is the pen name for Marian Edelman Borden and Rhonda Dossett. Marian lives in New York while Rhonda is in Oklahoma, the setting for Lottawatah. Their co-writing is done via the internet; surprisingly, even after fourteen books, the two have never met in person.
With a teaser ending, readers will want more—and fast.
By Evelyn David
Paul Auster, author and film director, once wrote, “writing is a solitary business.” Generally speaking, that’s true. But for Evelyn David, the old proverb, “two heads are better than one” fits much better. Evelyn David is the pseudonym for mystery writers Marian Borden and Rhonda Dossett.
We’re not the first mystery collaborators. Ellery Queen was the pen name of two American cousins, Daniel Nathan who became known as Frederic Dannay, and Manford Lepofsky who took the name Manfred Bennington Lee. James Patterson routinely writes with a co-author. But what makes our collaboration a little quirky is that, until we finished the first manuscript, we had never spoken by telephone, and 12 years, two mystery series, two standalones, and countless short stories later, we still haven’t met.
Marian lives in New York and writes nonfiction books for her day job. She has 12 of them to her credit. Rhonda lives in Muskogee, OK and is the Coal Program Director for the State of Oklahoma. The standing joke is that Marian wouldn’t know a coal mine if she fell down a shaft.
We met on an internet writers’ forum, each posting our own work. At one point, Marian suggested we try writing a story together. Now the advantage of the internet is that the feedback is immediate. You post the story and in the next few hours, you have all these people from all over the world telling you how much they liked it. It was wonderful for the ego, but not much preparation for the real world of publishing.
But because Marian writes for a living, she suggested we try to sell our work. And, for no good reason, said that we shouldn’t talk to each other until we had sold something.
All the collaboration was done via email. We would “talk” through a scene; one of us would say, “I’ll start.” The scenes would go back and forth so many times that we couldn’t tell you who wrote what. We were sending out short stories and working on “Murder Off the Books,” our first full-length mystery, at the same time. We had dozens of our stories politely, but ultimately rejected. Our spirits were low and finally, one Sunday morning, when we had finished the first draft of the mystery and were laboriously emailing each other with details like, “I think there should be a semi-colon instead of a comma,” suddenly Marian typed, “Send me your phone number.” Rhonda wrote back her number but said to wait a minute while she combed her hair.
In an ending too trite for any book we’d write, the next day we sold our first story.
Here are three reasons our collaboration works. First, neither one of us has much of an ego; there are no diva moments. Second, and this is critical in the writing business, we both have a good sense of humor. Given the amount of rejection in publishing, if you can’t laugh about it, you’re better off finding another profession. And lastly, we share a similar work ethic. Neither of us stands on ceremony. We each just do whatever needs to be done and don’t worry about the credit.
As 2019 shows up on our calendars we look back, reminiscing about how our partnership began and the many trials along the way. For example, minutes before Rhonda attended her first library talk and book signing, she realized our publisher had sent a box of another author’s novel! In that instance being able to call Marian for moral support, a laugh, and confirmation that “the show must go on,” made all the difference. Sharing the bad times as well as the joy, makes our writing possible.
You can learn more about the pair of writers on their website!
To enter to win an ebook copy of Gone Fishing in Lottawatah, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “fishing,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen January 26, 2019. U.S. residents only. If entering via comment please include your email address. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.
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