Sunday, April 20, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Local author on same route with ‘Sylvia’s Secret’

SylviasSecretW

Meet the author

What: Scott Evans of Davis releases his new novel, “Sylvia’s Secret”

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Where: The Avid Reader, 617 Second St.

Local author Scott Evans may be heading down Interstate 5 as you read this, with ideas for his next book running through his head as he drives past a rolling agricultural landscape.

The stretch of highway between Stockton and Sacramento is where Evans’ fictional “literary murder mysteries,” as he describes them, have been born.

The last in Evans’ three-part series is “Sylvia’s Secret,” which will be release Friday with an event beginning at 7:30 p.m. at The Avid Reader, 617 Second St. in downtown Davis.

The novel furthers the ongoing narrative of Joe Conrad, a Davis resident and professor at a fictional Stockton college. The protagonist is summoned to investigate whether American poet and author Sylvia Plath’s suicide actually was a premeditated murder.

Suspicion falls upon Plath’s husband, British poet Ted Hughes, who profited off of Plath’s published works (such as “The Bell Jar”) after her death. Though the story is fiction, Evans based it on factual information from Plath’s journals.

Mirroring his main character, Evans lives in Davis and teaches at University of the Pacific in Stockton. He teaches a composition class, as well as a course on crime, punishment and justice in society.

Evans began writing six years ago when his lifelong aspirations collided with a series of events: his wife’s breast cancer diagnosis, budget cuts eliminating income he earned teaching at a community college, and turning 50.

“I realized that my time was running out, and I’d better get busy on this,” Evans said. “I’d been thinking about this in my head, during my drive between Stockton and Davis. It gave me a lot of time to think.”

That’s where the aforementioned commute-endowed imagination comes in. Evans explained that the hours he puts in on the road to and from his job are an opportune time for brainstorming:

“I actually have the plot for about seven or eight more books in mind, but I’ll need time to do them,” he said. “It all just sort of floods into my head as I drive, and then I need to sort it out later.”

Evans’ first novel, “Tragic Flaws,” was directly influenced by the highway’s setting, and even referenced some of the same locations he often passes by. His murderer was inspired by the I-5 Strangler, a real serial killer who preyed on women in the 1980s.

His second book in the series, “First Folio,” introduced the idea that one of history’s most influential writers — William Shakespeare — was a fraud. Evans did five years of research to collect enough context for the story.

He also spent more than a year studying Plath’s life and the circumstances of her death for “Sylvia’s Secret.”

It exposes a bitter marriage between the deceased novelist and Hughes, who abandoned Plath and two kids for a mistress whom he impregnated. That woman similarly committed suicide about six years later.

“He wasn’t a great guy,” he said. “A lot of people blame him sort of indirectly for Plath’s passing. This book looks at the actual circumstances surrounding her death.

“Interestingly enough, through my research I’ve discovered a real secret about those circumstances.”

Thus, the appropriately named book contains an often overlooked detail within. Whatever that secret may be is something that cannot be pried from Evans, at risk of spoiling the experience for readers.

Evans did, however, speak about his goals as an author, which are to continue melding autobiographical and historical information into fast-paced psychological thrillers.

“It gives people who may otherwise find that sort of thing not so appealing something to be interested in,” Evans said.

Evans also is interested in guiding those with hopes of becoming a writer themselves. To this end, he’s organizing a Creative Writing Conference on June 14-16 at Pacific. More information can be found at goo.gl/sDFHw.

And Evans’ advice to the aspiring mystery novelist in crafting a story? Much like his daily drive, it’s to “know the end before you get started.”

— Reach Brett Johnson at bjohnson@davisenterprise.net or 530-747-8052. Follow him on Twitter at @ReporterBrett

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Davis Enterprise does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

News

A springtime ritual

By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Tom Adams seeks Davis school board seat

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1

UCD admits record number; 4,284 from abroad

By Cory Golden | From Page: A1

 
Hub of activity: DHS newspaper keeps evolving

By Zoe Juanitas | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Holy fire ceremony draws thousands in Jerusalem

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

 
Sign up soon for spring cooking classes

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Robb Davis team to rally on Saturday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Tour renovated YCCC facility Thursday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Tour Davis Waldorf School on Wednesday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

The fifth annual Tour de Cluck is soon to be hatched

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Ortiz lawn signs available

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Quilters gear up for annual show

By Sebastian Onate | From Page: A4

 
Steadfast in their support

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A4 | Gallery

Yolo Hospice offers free grief workshops

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Sign up for Camp Kesem caterpillar crawl

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

League hosts a series of candidate forums

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
KDVS launches fund drive on Monday

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A5

Calling all Scrabble fans

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Hub webpage is seeing traffic increasing

By Zoe Juanitas | From Page: A8

Learn Chinese crafts at I-House

By Sebastian Onate | From Page: A16

 
Preschool open house set at Davis Waldorf

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16

Birch Lane celebrates its 50th anniversary

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16

 
Hotel/conference center info meeting set

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16

Lescroart welcomes all to book-launch party

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A16 | Gallery

 
DEVO set to serve up 14th annual Winkler Dinner

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16 | Gallery

.

Forum

Take ownership of your health

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5

 
Reliving the agony and ecstasy of spring

By Marion Franck | From Page: A7

 
Keep your baby safe

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

Rick McKee cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A12

 
Core values on campus

By Our View | From Page: A12

 
Road diet? No, city diet!

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12, 2 Comments

We’re reveling in our equality

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12

 
Vote no; it’s fiscally responsible

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12

Bill is an affront to UC Davis ag biotech and local farmers

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A13

 
Don’t want to sit in Fix 50 traffic? Consider alternatives

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A13, 1 Comment

 
.

Sports

Devils burn up the track

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
UCD softball shut out by Santa Barbara

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Aggie men shoot 9-under, lead own tourney

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Stars shine in Woody Wilson Classic

By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
UCD roundup: Aggie baseball swept away by Highlanders

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

A’s score 3 in ninth, rally past Astros 4-3

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
.

Features

.

Arts

.

Business

Yolo Federal Credit Union gets WISH funds

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

 
PG&E pays taxes, fees to county, cities

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9, 1 Comment

Will Davis get an Old Soul?

By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A9

 
Pediatricians, nurse practitioner hired at Woodland Healthcare

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9 | Gallery

Asian stocks mostly higher after mixed U.S. earnings

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
University Honda wins another President’s Award

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A14 | Gallery

Dutch Bros. raises $19,000 for girl with leukemia

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A14 | Gallery

 
Davis Roots will showcase its graduating startups

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A14

.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Comics: Sunday, April 20, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B8