Percolating Ideas

img_3522Reading and writing are my passions and my escapes.  Catch me at home on any weekend afternoon when the housework is done, or on a weeknight when my boys are abed, and I will either be curled up on my couch with a book (kitties on my lap of course!) or tap tap tapping away on my laptop at the dining room table with another idea I need to get out of my head and onto the screen.

I read ravenously.  I think my local library thinks I am a little crazy with the different types of books I borrow: a little bit of historic romance, some mystery, and a lot of research on clothes, people and events of the 19th century.   My mind is constantly going and I can’t help but discover something I want to learn more about… so down the tunnel I go!

The Mid Hudson Library system, to which I belong, has this awesome service that allows you to search all of their member libraries for the books you want through their website and they will ship them to your local library – for free!  I add a disclaimer here that if you utilize this service, especially as much as I do, be sure to donate some money to your local library to support it.

I am also a big fan of Goodreads.  If you aren’t familiar, it’s a website where you catalog, rate and review the books you’ve read, get book recommendations based on what you’ve cataloged, connect with friends to see what they are reading and follow favorite authors, which may or may not lead to giveaways or sneak peeks at new stories! Goodreads is like a wonderful meander off a well-trodden path that leads somewhere unexpected – I’ve been introduced to the worlds of a number of authors that I would not have otherwise known about.  If you are a Goodreads fan too, find my profile and connect with me!

When I am not reading, I am writing, researching and otherwise getting lost in the details of the worlds I am creating.  I try to stay as true to the time period as possible, so I am always asking questions and researching to learn more.  My biggest personal challenge is clinging too closely to the details and not allow myself a bit of creative freedom in my stories – hmmm.. maybe a 2018 New Years Resolution in the making?

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The Beginning

When I decided to pursue my dream of melding Hudson River history and fictional romance, I never realized how overwhelming it was to put myself “out there” to my future fans.  Writing for me has always been second nature, but when I started to think about creating a full length novel, I have to admit that it overwhelmed me for quite a while.  I know I am not alone in my fears as I work on my first to-be-published story, so I created this blog to introduce myself and share my journey of writing with you.  

My real name is Yvette Temple, but I write under the pseudonym of Evelina Wood.  I am an aspiring romance author from the Hudson Valley, in New York who is also a single mom raising two teenage sons and working full time as an Assistant Vice President at a local bank.  I have an Associates Degree in Business Administration and a Bachelors in Leadership and Organizational Communication.  I grew up along the Hudson River among the opulent Guilded Age mansions of the Vanderbilts, Roosevelts, Astors and Livingstons and this proximity fed my love of history and fantasies of life at the turn of the 20th century.  

I was blessed to have several teachers along the way who encouraged that love of local history: Mr. Vinck, my history teacher in seventh grade, Ms. Troccia, who taught Hudson River History in eleventh grade and Marilyn Holst, who was my mentor the summer after I graduated from high school.  I was hired that summer as a tour guide for Staatsburgh State Historic Site, the seasonal Beaux Arts mansion of Ruth Livingston and Ogden Mills.  Working at Mills Mansion (as we called it back then) became my favorite summer of young adulthood: I had the freedom to roam the mansion and explore rooms that the public never got to see: all 65 rooms and 14 bathrooms from the attics all the way down to the furnace room below the basement.  I felt a kinship to Ruth Livingston Mills when I was at Staatsburgh as we were both the same height: barely 5 feet tall.  Tourists always got a kick out of my comparison to her when I would illustrate that she was a tiny lady who became one of the best hostesses in New York Society at the turn of the last century.

Marilyn taught me the ins and out of New York Society, the feuds between old and new wealth, the families of Mrs. Astor’s 400 and how they entertained and lived, and I also got to learn a bit about long term historic conservation as the mansion was in constant preservation and maintenance mode.  I soon discovered that Staatsburgh was my muse and the dream of writing a historical novel set in the Hudson Valley during Guilded Age was born.