Mary Anna Evans

MARY ANNA EVANS

When I met Mary Anna she was the vice president of an environmental engineering firm that hired me to do a little job for them. When she found out that I was a writer, she asked me to read a short story she had written. “What do you think, Bev?” Bev was stunned. Before I returned it to her, I remember writing on the envelope something like: “I feel about you like Salieri felt about Mozart. I have just enough talent to recognize yours. And this ticks me off big time.” I was frankly confused about why God had gifted this woman with beauty, brains … and huge talent, which she apparently used for writing engineering reports and the occasional short story for her own amusement … while I, arrogant and with an agent, couldn’t hold a candle to her secret ability. I was short sighted. Mary Anna was clearly a woman on the old proverbial “date with destiny,” and before too many years passed, she made the shift from large envelopes filled with secret stories to bookstore shelves filled with award-winning novels.

I get a huge kick out of her. She is our quintessential Southern Belle: a collision of contrasts. Her speech is soft, warm Tupelo honey, but her sense of humor is wicked sharp. She appears as fragile as fine porcelain, but she’s one of the strongest women on the planet, and as evidenced by her work, knows more than several creative ways to kill a man. (Gotta love that in a Belle!) And in addition to being a superior writer, best of all, she’s a wonderful, magical person.

Mary Anna has degrees in physics and engineering, but her heart is in the past. Her series character, Faye Longchamp, lives the exciting life of an archaeologist, and Mary Anna envies her a little. Her first novel Artifacts won the Benjamin Franklin award and was named by the Voice of Young America (VOYA) as an “Adult Mystery with Young Adult Appeal.” Her second novel Relics was an Independent Mystery Booksellers Association (IMBA) bestseller. Her third novel Effigies was named a Book Sense Notable Book.

For the incurably curious, Mary Anna’s first published work, her master’s thesis, was entitled A Modeling Study of the NH3-NO-O2 Reaction Under the Operating Conditions of a Fluidized Bed Combustor. Why did no one spot her talent at that very moment??? Are agents all over the country kicking themselves today???

Mary Anna’s interests include music, which has resulted in 7.5 feet of piano dominating her living room, and an arsenal of smaller musical instruments. Her loves for music and writing combined when she was asked to contribute a story and an original song for a book/CD anthology called A Merry Band of Murderers. She co-wrote and sang, “Land of the Flowers” for that project. Listen in admiration and join me in full-blown Salieri Syndrome … where we are forced to be at once amazed by over-the-top talents and incensed that the distribution of those talents was not more even. If this were anyone but Mary Anna, we would be forced collectively to take action of some sort.

Land of the Flowers

While Mary Anna’s novels are written with adults in mind, they have found an audience in schools, where they’re being used to teach non-literature subjects such as social studies, math, and science. The social studies link was no surprise to our Belle, since her protagonist is an archaeologist, but she swears that she never once purposely included math or science in her stories (and her readers have never once complained that the laws of physics operate properly in her books). Invite Mary Anna to speak by telephone to your book group or class: maryannaevans@yahoo.com

If you’re at the Anhinga Writers’ Studio Summer Workshops, look for Mary Anna. You’ll find her doing something astonishing. And do all you can to make friends with her. I would start by singing the chorus of “Land of the Flowers.” This will immediately endear you or alarm her. You’ll either have a friend for life or a restraining order filed against you by dark. No matter what happens, the day will be memorable.

Mary Anna Evans - Floodgates

The girl has a new book! Look for FLOODGATES in July 2009! Fans of Faye Longchamp, REJOICE!!! WHOOOO HOOOOOO!!!

Legend and romance drip from the lacy balconies of New Orleans as surely as Spanish moss drips from the branches of the city’s ancient oaks. In New Orleans, Faye Longchamp is happy just to get up in the morning and go to work. But centuries of tragedy shadow the city—wars, slavery, and a monumental flood that killed a thousand people and still threatens to wash all that history away.

Faye and her team of archaeologists, fighting to save New Orleans’ past, are horrified when a corpse surfaces that’s far too new to be an archaeological find. The police presume it’s just another dead body in a long, sad sequence of dead bodies left by Hurricane Katrina, until Faye shows them a truth that only an archaeologist could see: the debris piled on top of the dead woman is all wrong. It was no flood that killed her and covered her body.

Faye knows that this is not a drowning victim whose life was snuffed out by Katrina. Someone brought the woman, dead or alive, to this flooded-out house and left her dead body behind. Presumably, that someone killed her. Faye and her fiancé Joe Wolf Mantooth are drawn into the investigation by a detective who believes their professional expertise is critical to the case. They quickly learn that trouble swirled around the victim Shelly Broussard like winds around the still, quiet eye of a hurricane. Does Shelly’s heroic rescue work in the aftermath of Katrina hold the key to her death? Or does the sheaf of photos in her work files hold the answer? Will Faye and Joe be the next innocents engulfed in this deadly deception? Unexpected results! Never second-guess your hunches.