An interview with Evette Davis from The Write Stuff series:
Evette Davis is the author of 48 States and Woman King and Dark Horse, the first two installments of the Dark Horse Trilogy. When she’s not writing novels, Davis dispenses advice to some of the country’s largest corporations, non-profits and institutions as a consultant and co-owner of BergDavis Public Affairs, an award-winning 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 Davis founded Flesh & Bone, an independent publishing imprint. In 2015 Dark Horse garnered an honorable mention at the San Francisco Book Festival. In 2017, Friends of the San Francisco Public Library named Davis a Library Laureate. Her work has also been published in the San Francisco Chronicle and Book Country. In 2021, 48 States was named a runner-up in the San Francisco Writers Conference Writers Contest. Evette splits her time between San Francisco and Sun Valley, Idaho, with her husband, daughter and dog. For more information, visit www.evettedavis.com, her Instagram and Facebook pages, or follow her on Twitter @SFEvette.
When people ask what do you do, you tell them…?
Gosh, it’s a long answer because for the last two decades, I’ve co-run a very successful PR firm in San Francisco; founded Flesh & Bone, my publishing imprint; published (almost) three novels; and written five. I’ve also been married for nearly thirty years and helped raise an amazing daughter who’s about to start college. Once I answer the question, people usually ask me if I sleep.
What’s your biggest struggle—work or otherwise?
Finding time to be creative.
If someone said I want to do what you do, what advice would you have for them?
Stop! Go back and find a way to be lazy. Sit on the couch, and binge Netflix while you still can. Just kidding. I frequently talk with independent writers about how to assemble a team to be successful.
What’s been most important to your writing: education or the real world? Why?
If you could give advice to your 15-year-old self, what would it be?
Life is a marathon, not a sprint. Slow down.
Do you consider yourself successful? Why?
Now is an excellent time to ask this question. I do, but not for the reasons I would have said a few years ago. I consider myself successful because I’m living the life I want, surrounded by the people I want in my life, and am able to express myself both professionally and creatively. What a gift. It reminds me of a scene in the movie Fried Green Tomatoes when Kathy Bates hits the car belonging to a set of women who have been taunting her about being younger and faster. She said, “Yeah, well, I have more insurance.”
Why do you get up every morning?
To have adventures and solve problems, but not always in that order.
Do you have a favorite ancestor? What is his/her/their story?
My grandmother – my mother’s mother. My mom converted to Judaism to marry my father. Her family is from Michigan by way of Tennessee. My father was a NY Jew by way of Poland. They met in Los Angeles, where I was born and grew up. Although my grandmother came from a different era and was culturally very different, she welcomed us into her family. She always had a menorah in the window, and a Christmas Tree in the living room, and I admired her ability to be open to new things. She was deeply religious but always very kind and loving. We could use more of that in the world right now. She died just after my daughter was born, but I was lucky to visit her.
What’s wrong with society today?
We’ve lost the capacity to listen to opposing points of view with an open mind.
Where do you go to find sanctuary?
Books. A close second is Golden Gate Park; I live around the corner.
What is your fondest memory?
I have many.
What would you like to see happen in your lifetime?
Peace in Israel. Meaningful progress on global warming. The demise of Twitter.
What is art? Is it necessary? Why?
I define art as a form of self-expression that demands engagement. Art is necessary because it captures moments, provokes responses, and asks profound questions.
What is the relationship between your identity and your desires? Perhaps related, perhaps not: why is sex (un)important to you?
My identity is directly connected to my desire to create, use my imagination, and have sex.
What’s your relationship to clothes? Or: describe the shoes you’re currently wearing.
I like clothing, but I have a uniform of mostly black jeans and t-shirts punctuated by various boots (cowboy, ankle & knee) and HOKA sneakers.
What are you working on right now? Or: what kind of work would you like to do?
My novel 48 States, a dystopian thriller, will be published on June 21, 2022. I’m also finishing a second draft of the third book in my urban fantasy series the Dark Horse Trilogy. The last book in the series is slated for publication in early 2023. The working title is Death Wish, but it could change.
If there were one thing about the Bay Area that you would change, what would it be?
It would be 72 degrees all year long, with no fog. And houses would be much less expensive.
A night on the town: what does that mean to you?
It usually means dinner and a movie, but I’ve been known to go to a club or a bar. It could also include a concert. I love live music.
Have you ever seen a ghost? Or: what’s the strangest thing you’ve ever seen?
I’ve felt the presence of ghosts and spirits all my life. I recently felt my father hanging around for a few days after he passed away in April 2021. I felt him again at his memorial service this past April. I know he was glad we all got together to say goodbye.
What’s the most important life lesson you’ve learned? Or: what was your last moment of awe?
Listen more than you speak. When I was younger, my father gave me that advice, and he was right.
What can you do with 50 words? 50 dollars?
I think I could do more with 50 words than with 50 dollars these days – unless I was giving the money to the San Francisco Food Bank – they could probably feed a lot of people. Fifty words would probably be enough to write a brief bio.
What are some of your favorite smells?
Jasmine, roses, vanilla.
What are you unable to live without?
Pencils and notebooks.
If you got an all-expenses-paid life experience of your choice, what would it be?
College for the sake of learning, rather than to prepare to get a job.
If you could live in your ideal society, what would your average day be like?
My ideal society involves half the country waking up from their conspiracy-induced coma to participate in this world as well-informed, educated citizens who understand the need for equity and diversity in society. My ideal day involves getting up early to drink coffee and read the news, walking 4-6 miles, and then writing for several hours. Then I would walk another two miles, cook or go out to dinner and enjoy good wine and conversation. Then I would go to bed and start all over again. As long as I’m writing, I know I will be fine.