Chicago native Lorraine Evanoff lived in France for years and now works in film finance. We discussed by email her debut novel, “Foliage.”
This is a fast-paced, plot-driven suspense novel. Did you write it with a view that it could make a film?
I didn’t consciously write my novel with the view of it becoming a film. Since I worked in the film industry for so long, it’s possible that my writing style is just naturally geared that way. Interestingly, the original opening of the novel was different, with a more gradual setup, but after a few edits, I decided to jump right into the action. It seemed more exciting that way.
Why did you decide to make your protagonist a female investment banker? Is there much of you in the character?
When I started writing I kept getting the advice: “Write what you know.” For over twenty years my career has been in finance, including working with many investment bankers in Silicon Valley and film finance. So creating a background story in banking seemed like a good fit for my main character.
The book opens in Pakistan and is very international. How did you conduct your research?
When I lived in Paris, several of my close friends worked at the BCCI Paris branch. When the bottom fell out, they lost their jobs and it was a really big deal. When I decided to write my novel around that scandal and began to dig deeper, I realized how complicated the story was and I needed to conduct more research beyond what I learned from my friends. The opening scene of my book was my invention, but was loosely based an event mentioned in a book called “The Outlaw Bank: A Wild Ride into the Secret Heart of BCCI,” written by journalists Jonathan Beaty and S.C. Gwynne. I found more helpful facts in the “Report to the Committee on Foreign Relations, United States Senate,” by Senator John Kerry and Senator Hank Brown. (Toni Nealie)
By Lorraine Evanoff
Mosaic Design Book Publishers, 264 pages, $17.95
Toni Nealie is the Literary Editor of Newcity and the author of the essay collection “The Miles Between Me.” A Pushcart Prize nominee, her essays have appeared in Guernica Magazine, Rust Belt: Chicago, The Rumpus, The Offing, Essay Daily, Chicago Quarterly Review, Hobart, Entropy and elsewhere. She worked in magazine journalism, politics and PR in her native New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Singapore and now edits, writes and teaches in Chicago. Find her at toninealie.com and on Twitter @tnealie. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.