Today we're excited to chat with Jan Eldredge, author of Evangeline Of The Bayou.
Read on for more about Jan and her book!
Meet Jan Eldredge!
Jan was born and raised in the swampy state of Louisiana where as a child she would often sneak into her older brother’s room to read through his numerous monster magazines and scary comic books, and where she would also gaze at his collection of classic movie monster models like the Wolfman, Frankenstein’s Monster, and the Creature from the Black Lagoon.
In addition to her interest in cats, magic, and assorted eldritch things that go bump in the night, she enjoys researching bizarre superstitions, exploring old cemeteries, and visiting assorted theme parks. Halloween is her favorite holiday, but that probably goes without saying.
Jan now lives in the swampy state of Florida with her wonderful husband, three pleasant children, and four devious cats, in a house that just might be haunted.
Jan Eldredge writes spooky middle grade stories. Sometimes people mistakenly address her as Jan Eldritch, which is quite fine with her since eldritch is her favorite word. (Eldritch- adjective eerie; ghostly; supernatural; unearthly.)
EVANGELINE OF THE BAYOU, published by HarperCollins Balzer + Bray, is her debut middle grade novel.
Meet Evangeline Of The Bayou!
A standout middle grade adventure with a sassy, memorable heroine and a charming Southern feel, perfect for fans of Kate DiCamillo and Natalie Lloyd.
Twelve-year-old haunt huntress apprentice Evangeline Clement spends her days and nights studying the ways of folk magic, honing her monster-hunting skills while pursuing local bayou banshees and Johnny revenants.
With her animal familiar sure to make itself known any day now, the only thing left to do is prove to the council she has heart. Then she will finally be declared a true haunt huntress, worthy of following in the footsteps of her long line of female ancestors.
But when Evangeline and her grandmother are called to New Orleans to resolve an unusual case, she uncovers a secret that will shake her to the soles of her silver-tipped alligator-skin boots.
Set in the evocative Louisiana bayou and the vibrant streets of New Orleans, Evangeline’s is a tale of loyalty and determination, the powerful bonds of friendship and family, and the courage to trust your gut no matter how terrifying that might be.
YA Book Central
EVANGELINE OF THE BAYOU
By: Jan Eldredge
~ Author Interview Questions ~
YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
A few years ago I was browsing around in a small bookstore, and one of the items that caught my eye was a dictionary of superstitions. I started thumbing through it and was instantly spellbound. I’d always had a fascination with spooky creatures, so the pairing of superstitions and monsters felt like a perfect fit. Having been born and raised in Louisiana, my home state provided the ideal setting for the story of a spunky monster-hunting heroine like Evangeline.
YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?
Aside from the main character, Evangeline, I have to say I really adore Fader, Gran’s four-eared feline familiar. He has sass and attitude, and he gives Evangeline a hard time, but inside, he has a heart of gold.
YABC: Which came first, the title or the novel?
It was definitely the novel that came first. My original title for the book was SWAMP WITCH. I knew it would likely get changed, and I was okay with that. After a lot of back-and-forth brainstorming between my editor and me, it was actually the book’s illustrator, Joseph Kuefler, who suggested EVANGELINE OF THE BAYOU.
YABC: Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?
Learn to embrace the revision process! I used to feel a lot of resistance when it came to deleting or rewritng large chunks of my stories. It wasn’t because I thought my words were perfect; it was because I’d worked so long and so hard to get them out of my head and onto the page. But after doing my first major manuscript revision early in the agent-querying process, a revision where I ripped out the guts, moved things around, and then stitched it back up again, I learned to let go and accept that losing work was part of the process. However, I never throw away any deleted scenes. I store them in another folder just in case I can use them somewhere else.
YABC: What do you like most about the cover of the book?
Everything! Illustrator Joseph Kuefler did an outstanding job. I love his choice of colors. I love the subtle spookiness and the atmospheric feel of the swamp. And I love Evangeline, right down to the silver tips of her alligator-skin boots.
YABC: What’s up next for you?
I’m diligently at work writing the sequel to EVANGELINE OF THE BAYOU. It’s so much fun bringing back some of the characters from book one and adding fun, new, quirky characters to Evangeline’s world in book two.
YABC: Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Revising?
Many years ago when I started taking writing seriously, I thought drafting was the best part. It was fun to brainstorm and create new ideas. Now that I’ve written a few novels and short stories, I find revising to be more rewarding. My drafting process is an unorganized, sloppy mess, with words and ideas scribbled all over the place, but it’s during revision that I can see the story really starting to take shape.
YABC: What would you say is your superpower?
I wish I possessed superhuman strength or the ability to fly, but realistically I’d have to say I’m pretty good at reading people. As an introvert, I’ve always done a lot more listening and observing rather than speaking. I find human behavior fascinating.
Evangeline Of The Bayou
By: Jan Eldredge
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: May 1st, 2018