Friday, April 24, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

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

By
From page A4 | May 21, 2013 |

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 [email protected] or 530-747-8052. Follow him on Twitter at @ReporterBrett

Comments

comments

.

News

New design submitted for conference center

By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Water and power have a troubling interdependency

By New York Times News Service | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Bob Dunning: Fairness is an afterthought for them

By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2

Los Angeles march to commemorate Armenian killings

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Hostage deaths a reminder of risk of ‘deadly mistakes’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Walkers head out three times weekly

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4Comments are off for this post

 
Got bikes? Donate ‘em!

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Need a new best friend?

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

Beginning tai chi classes start May 5

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
College Night set April 30 at DHS

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

School board hears report on health services

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A5

 
Tour of co-ops precedes Sacramento conference

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

Mamajowali will perform at benefit house concert

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6 | Gallery

 
Explorit: Celebrate International Astronomy Day

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

Learn basics of composting in Woodland

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

 
Winkler Dinner raises funds for enology, viticulture activities

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8 | Gallery

Raptor Center welcomes visitors at May 2 open house

By Trina Wood | From Page: A8 | Gallery

 
Take a peek at region’s past at Tremont Mite Society’s social

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8 | Gallery

BeerFest expands to include cider

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

 
Mapping where human action is causing earthquakes

By New York Times News Service | From Page: A9

Hummingbird health: Appreciating the little things

By Kat Kerlin | From Page: A12 | Gallery

 
.

Forum

The fight for gender pay equity

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4

 
Thanks for supporting the arts

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

 
Bike Swap another success

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

Drink is a tasteless insult

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

 
Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: B4

It’s a depressing beat

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
.

Sports

Rare DHS track loss still full of highlights

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
Lehner talks about the UCD student-athlete experience

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

Reeling Blue Devils stop skid against Sheldon

By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Aggie Spring Game environment will up the gridiron fun factor

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
DYSA roundup: Lester, Osborne lead Storm over Dixon

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

Lady Demons’ fundraiser a smash hit

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Pro baseball roundup: River Cats lose their fourth straight

By Staff and wire reports | From Page: B12

.

Features

.

Arts

 
‘Ex Machina': The perils of playing God

By Derrick Bang | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
Ceramicist works will be featured at The Artery

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11 | Gallery

.

Business

Chamber expands Korean sister-city opportunities

By Felicia Alvarez | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Car Care: Tips for buying your first ATV

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B6

Subaru goes rear-wheel drive with sporty BRZ coupe

By Ann M. Job | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
.

Obituaries

Whitney Joy Engler

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Valente Forrest Dolcini

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Comics: Friday, April 24, 2015

By Creator | From Page: B5