Meet Featured Author Evette Davis
Evette Davis is the author of 48 States as well as the “Dark Horse” trilogy, including Woman King and Dark Horse. The final installment will be published in 2023. Davis also co-owns BergDavis Public Affairs, a San Francisco-based public affairs firm. Before establishing her firm, Davis worked in Washington as a press secretary for a member of Congress and as a reporter for daily newspapers in the San Francisco Bay Area.
In 2014, she founded Flesh & Bone, an independent publishing imprint. In 2015, Dark Horse received honors at the San Francisco Book Festival. In 2017, Friends of the San Francisco Public Library named Davis a Library Laureate. Her work has been published in the San Francisco Chronicle and Book Country. In 2021, 48 States was honored in the San Francisco Writers Conference Writers Contest. Davis splits her time between San Francisco and Sun Valley, Idaho, with her husband, daughter, and their American Labrador retriever.
For more information, visit evettedavis.com, or follow her on Pinterest (@evettedavis399), Instagram (@evettedavis.author), Twitter (@SFEvette), Facebook (@evette1364) and Goodreads (@evettesf).
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Evette Davis: I fell in love with words at an early age. I was a voracious reader and spent most of my time at the public library. By late elementary school, I’d gotten the bug to be a journalist. In college, I wrote plays, poetry, and a ton of creative writing for my coursework, but I really wanted to be a newspaper journalist. I was in my late 30s – just after my daughter was born – when I decided to try writing a novel. I’m a late bloomer when it comes to being a novelist.
What is your book about?
Evette Davis: The easy description is that 48 States is about a maniacal CEO who tries to overthrow the government. The longer, more nuanced description is that 48 States is a dystopian novel about the dangers of extremism and the power of love and forgiveness.
Why did you want to write this book?
Evette Davis: This is my fifth novel. All of my work, in one way or another, examines the dangers of political extremism. The kernel of 48 States came in a convoluted way. I interviewed a panel of female veteran authors for a literary festival at the San Francisco Main Library, around the same time I was reading about the explosion of fracking in the United States. National Geographic published a feature about people who moved to North Dakota to work. One of those highlighted was a mother who left her family behind to drive a haul truck in Williston, ND, because the pay was so much better. I’d also been reading about Japanese Internment camps and had been surprised to know that the entire effort to relocate Japanese Americans had been done by Executive Order without congressional approval. If you put all that in the blender of my imagination, you get 48 States.
What was the most difficult part about writing the book? The most rewarding?
Evette Davis: For 48 States, the central plot is about River, a woman trying to figure out who she wants to be after years of tragedy, and Finn, the man she finds standing in the middle of the road, who disrupts her plans. I had a clear vision for the two of them from the beginning. What was tricky and changed over time was the villains and their motivations. Previous versions included more than one aggressor, including foreign terrorists on US soil. Ultimately, I decided to keep it simple, and of course, the world changed. Red was also a constant part of the book. He’s over the top for a reason, but his outlandish actions drive the book’s drama, and they are plausible. But the plot for 48 States is much more intricate than Red. It’s a series of two-person relationships that each evolve (or devolve) until the six converge.
I like writing dialogue. I want to be a fly on the wall, imagine the discussion, and try to draw the reader in. River and Elizabeth are my favorite characters. I’m interested in female characters who live in a constant state of evolution. Women are rarely recognized for how much change they endure: girl to woman, woman to wife/partner, or wife to mother (or caregiver). Our bodies change profoundly, yet we survive, evolve, and shoulder great responsibility. We’re marvelous creatures, and I like to develop strong female characters who embody that conflict and thoughtfulness in my books.
What do you hope other people will take away from reading your book?
Evette Davis: First and foremost, I hope they enjoy the story. A good book should transport you away for a bit. I also hope they can connect with the characters and their experiences. 48 States is a meditation on the dangers of extremism, but at its core, it’s about people trying to learn to love and forgive themselves, which is something we can all relate to.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Evette Davis: Slow down and enjoy the moment.
How long did it take to write your book?
Evette Davis: Five years.
What was the biggest challenge in writing your book?
Evette Davis: The hardest part was finding the time between running my business and raising a family to write. Another challenge was that my father’s dementia worsened, and I had to stop writing for a time and care for him and his personal affairs.
What does literary success look like to you?
Evette Davis: On the one hand, I try to tell myself that success is being able to complete a novel. It’s not easy, but then I also want a much larger reading audience and to see my books converted to must-watch streaming television shows.
What’s the best writing advice you ever received?
Evette Davis: Everyone needs an editor.
What do you know now that you wish you’d known at the beginning of your writing journey?
Evette Davis: Good writing takes time. Be patient with yourself.
What do you do when you are not writing?
Evette Davis: I like to walk, hike, travel, cook for friends, and ride my e-bike around San Francisco.
What’s next for you?
Evette Davis: I have another novel coming out, the final installment of my Dark Horse urban fantasy trilogy. Beyond that, I have enough ideas to keep me busy for another 10-15 years, including a romance series, a spinoff of my trilogy involving a security firm run by supernatural beings, and a few stand-alone novels.
How can our readers get a copy of your book?
Evette Davis: 48 States is available online from all the usual sources as a paper book and an e-book. Your readers can also check in with their local bookstore. If they don’t have it, they should be able to order a copy. I’m also available on some library apps like Hoopla.
What is the best way for our readers to connect with you?
Follow me on social media, or sign up for my newsletter on my website .