Central Oregon is one of my favorite places in the world. There’s something about the landscape that resonates with my soul. The main road from Eagle Crest in Redmond (where we lived for a while) to Bend is nothing but green pastures of grazing cattle and well groomed horses, clustered on the sloping hills of many sprawling ranches. There is the stunning Cascade Mountain Range for a backdrop and perfect weather for each season, as if God planned to retire there when creating it.
Some of the most interesting and gifted people I have met live in Central Oregon. One of them is an industrious businesswoman, and writer soon to be author, named Eva Hulett. She lives in SunRiver resort. I travel to the area several times each year for family holidays and the Writer’s Guild Harvest Festival in Bend, where I have been privileged to help judge their writing contest and speak at their meeting. It’s my favorite place to give a workshop because the people are so welcoming and kind.
Recently I asked Eva some questions about her soon to be released debut novel Elidad which in my opinion is a great read! I can’t wait for that second book in her trilogy! Here are her thoughtful and fascinating answers which make me love her all the more as an empowered businesswoman, mother, writer, and friend.
How long have you been writing? Was this a birth thing where you wrote before you spoke or an epiphany much later in life?
I’ve always loved writing. In third grade I wrote my first ‘book.’ It was 3 chapters and couldn’t have been more than 20 pages long. My teacher was so proud of me that she let me go to the computer lab to type up my story. This was a huge honor because our computer lab had only one computer in it. You had to have a special project and a teacher recommendation to use it. I remember inserting my square floppy disk and the excitement I felt when booting up the computer to write. That feeling paled in comparison to the emotions stirred in me while pressing a rectangular button and hearing a clunking sound as the floppy disk ejected right into my waiting hand. I carried that floppy disk around like my own Velveteen Rabbit.
I went through a skater/gothic phase and my writing went dark. Beatnik Night at my local coffee shop solidified my love for poetry and angry writing. My love of the craft took off and I wrote constantly. It was the perfect escape for an angry teenager, but then my writing went quiet as I became a workaholic at the age of 16. I never looked back until I turned 26. In 2007 we bought our first business and because of the downturn in the economy, I couldn’t afford employees. I worked from open to close 7 days a week and had only a few customers. One afternoon I made the decision to stop watching TV all day for lack of customers, so I borrowed a laptop from my father and began to write Elidad.
When did you decide you wanted to be a published author – was it a sudden craving or a slow burn that finally ignited?
After my third-grade adventure in the computer lab I wanted to be an author. It was all I dreamt about. But alas, as I got older and fell out of writing to begin working, the dream fizzled out. Once I began writing Elidad, I thought it inconceivable that it would ever be published. I didn’t think I would even let anyone read it and I certainly didn’t believe anyone might enjoy it.
What type of businesses do you have and how do you stay focused on your writing while maintaining a day job?
Filing a copyright as an author was the 6th business I’ve started. My husband and I bought Hot Lava Baking & Coffee Co. in Sunriver Resort almost 9 years ago. We also own a cafe and have operated that for 5 years. We started Three Rivers Pool & Spa last year and are just beginning to build that business. We are very busy in the summer (being in a resort) so I don’t get any writing done in the summer months. My husband and I usually work over a hundred days straight and anywhere from 10-16 hour days. The rest of the year I focus on my writing as much as life will allow.
If I get a scene in my head and I need to get it on paper, I’ve been known to put headphones in and crank up some music and tune out my family. Since our family is so busy, there are many nights I don’t allow the TV on. I will turn on classical music, jazz, or another choice – but without words. We call it the ‘Spa Lounge’ and the rule is you can do anything creative. Art, color, read, write, et., but absolutely no TV. You’d be surprised at how much gets accomplished at home when the TV is off.
Where did you grow up and how or what in your childhood has influenced your writing?
I grew up in McMinnville, OR. I lived in the same house for 13 years. When I dream about being home, it’s the house I grew up in. I come from a family of archery hunters. On my first camping trip, I was a week old (in January). We always missed the first week of school because we were in the woods. Being in the woods with no technology, before everyone had a cell phone, we used our imaginations. Playing games and making up characters really set the groundwork for my writing. When we sat around the campfire at night, Mom would read to us. She read everything: A Wrinkle in Time, The Great Brain Series, The Chronicles of Narnia and Dragonriders of Pern – the list goes on. I think growing up in a time without an abundance of technology forced us to use our imaginations. I always dreamt of building my own world.
Where did you get the idea for this book and what other books can we look forward to?
I had a nightmare about 10 years ago. I woke up thinking it would make a great plot for a story and that I should write it down. I made a few notes the next morning and told myself I should write about it. Of course I never did. Months passed and I thought of the dream from time to time. It was so vivid, and always in the back of my mind. It took a few years for my life to slow down before I turned those notes into a first chapter, which eventually became Elidad.
I have a solid rough draft of my sequel started (about 20 chapters). Dominion: Sword of Justice Book 2 is better than I ever dreamed. I’m really excited to share this story with everyone. I can see the growth in my writing and I’m proud of how far I’ve come. You can find the first chapter of Dominion in the back of Elidad Sword of Justice Book 1. At this point, my goal is to complete a trilogy. After that, I may want to do some prequels but I don’t want to get too crazy with my goals.
What other interests do you have and what activities are you involved with besides writing?
My husband and I hike, camp and fish. We are avid archery hunters. It’s what I grew up doing and it’s how we provide food for our family with organic, free range meat. We spend a lot of time enjoying the woods that surround us here in Oregon. It’s a nice reset after serving people every day in a resort town. We love to travel and usually end up in Mexico. Our favorite places are little no name towns with dirt floor restaurants, where no one’s chasing you around and trying to sell you something.
Eva Hulett was born and raised in Oregon where she and her family enjoy the outdoors, hiking, camping, and hunting. She currently lives in Sunriver, Oregon with her husband Jim, daughter Taylor, and feisty Labrador, Jager. Eva and her husband have been sole proprietors of two businesses in Sunriver resort since 2008. She is a member of the Central Oregon Writers Guild and is published in the 2015 Harvest Writing Winners Collection. Her debut novel Elidad will be released February 1st by Winter Goose Publishing.
Follow Eva at EvaHulett.com