In order to make sure her recognition won’t be posthumous, I’m delighted to welcome Karina Evans to Linda’s Book Bag today! Karina’s book Volcano is available in e-book and paperback here. Dealing as Volcano does with domestic violence I was fascinated by how Karina created her characters – even the abusive Paul – and luckily she agreed to tell me more about it.
It is the 22nd of July, 2001. Eloise Katherine Bennett, a devoted mother of two, has died after falling down the stairs at her home.
On the face of it, Eloise led an unenviable life. Her husband, Paul, was a violent bully, and her mother, Sandra, a control freak. Eloise and her children suffered at their uncompromising hands for many years.
Via flashbacks and through the voices of Eloise and those who have influenced her in life, we learn the truth behind her death.
Live. Love. Leave. Life. Death.
A story of vulnerability, in even the hardest of hearts.
Creating a Talking Point
A Guest Post by Karina Evans
I love reading. Not necessarily for escapism; I have CBeebies for that, but for emotion. I love a book that ties me up in knots, makes me feel, then spits me out. I was a little fed up with happy endings; life isn’t always like that and I wanted Volcano to feel as real as possible. I needed Volcano to have true perspective and I desperately wanted all my characters to speak and be heard, which is why I gave them all voices.
Domestic violence happens everywhere, every day. Behind closed doors. It isn’t always obvious. It’s a sneaky parasite and it eats lives, happiness and relationships. It was easy to choose to write from the perspective of Eloise (the wife) and Jessica (the daughter) because they were the characters a reader would naturally side with. Choosing to write from the perspective of Paul (the husband) was a little more difficult. I had to demonstrate that this awful man carried some positive traits, and that was tricky. The non-obvious needed to be vocalised – the little kindnesses that you wouldn’t expect him to have. The nuances and the variables. People are three-dimensional; even if they are rotten there are then two other facets to consider.
Each character has three main elements that I felt could only be portrayed through their thoughts: an element of control, an element of fear and an element of love. These elements make them multi-faceted, and I hope that the reader feels that they know them, even if the emotion they induce is negative. I want readers to shout at the book, to question the characters’ judgement, to beg (the wife) Eloise not to go back to Paul, yet understand why she does. I want domestic violence to be addressed in fiction, because that evil, sometimes misunderstood merry-go-round needs to be spoken about, shouted about.
The victim is not weak if she returns; she has very real, very legitimate reasons. The perpetrator does not carry a sign, nor does he scowl and beat up everyone in sight. The little girl is loved, deeply and desperately, but that doesn’t mean she escapes unhurt. There’s no harm in feeling sorry for Paul at times; like everyone he has good facets and vulnerabilities, but they don’t make him a good person.
Ultimately, Volcano is a novel about behaviour. About how we react to other people’s behaviour, depending on our emotional distance from them; about how friends and family react; about how strangers react; about how the reader reacts. Although you can’t see the characters’ faces, you can read their minds and their thoughts will (hopefully) frustrate, enlighten, anger and occasionally please. I wanted Volcano to be a talking point, to spark passion and debate, to feel real and raw. I very much hope that I managed to achieve this.
About Karina Evans
Karina Evans, born 1978 in East Sussex, doesn’t much like writing biographies in the third person. She will, however, do it this once. Author, writer, editor, social media manager, living by the sea, hoping that recognition won’t be posthumous.
You can follow Karina on Twitter.