The Physicists’ Daughter is by Mary Anna Evans, who is touring at present with Lori’s Great Escapes tours. Ad don’t miss the Giveaway that’s part of the tour!
And the reason why you think you’ve seen this post before? I reviewed the book last weekend! I thought I’d probably do it later in the summer. But I found a gap, and this hit the spot nicely.
Before anything else, check out last Saturday’s review so you know all about the book.
Today I’m pleased to welcome the author, Mary Anna Evans to the blog.
First – the bio…
Mary Anna Evans is the author of The Physicists’ Daughter, the first in her series of WWII-era historical suspense novels featuring Rosie-the-Riveter-turned-codebreaker Justine Byrne. Her thirteen Faye Longchamp archaeological mysteries have received recognition including the Benjamin Franklin Award, a Will Rogers Medallion Award Gold Medal, the Oklahoma Book Award, and three Florida Book Awards bronze medals.
She is an associate professor at the University of Oklahoma, where she teaches fiction and nonfiction writing, including mystery and suspense writing. Her work has appeared in publications including Plots with Guns, The Atlantic, Florida Heat Wave, Dallas Morning News, and The Louisville Review. Her scholarship on crime fiction, which centers on Agatha Christie’s evolving approach over her long career to the ways women experienced justice in the twentieth century, has appeared in the Bloomsbury Handbook to Agatha Christie (coming September 22, 2022), which she co-edited, and in Clues: A Journal of Detection. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Rutgers-Camden, and she is a licensed Professional Engineer. She is at work on the second Justine Byrne novel, The Physicists’ Enigma.
Welcome, Mary Anna
So, what’s the stuff that isn’t in your formal bio
I’m a lifelong reader who always dreamed of writing books. It’s hard for me to believe that next year will mark the twentieth anniversary of the publication of my first novel, Artifacts. I’m also a mother of three young adults who are all devoted readers, which makes me happier than I can say. My husband and I live in Oklahoma, where I teach fiction and nonfiction writing at the University of Oklahoma.
What made you pick mystery writing as a career?
I’ve always read anything my hand landed on, so I’ve also written in many genres, including mystery, literary, thriller, fantasy, science fiction, and nonfiction. It just happened that the book that found a publisher was a mystery. I love the creative puzzle at the heart of a mystery, so since then I’ve chosen to stay mostly in that genre, although I did go back to graduate school to study literary fiction and nonfiction. I graduated with a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing in 2015. Spending a concentrated amount of time on honing my skills made a huge impact on my writing and my writing process.
What types of books do you like to read?
I read whatever’s in front of me, including the cereal box at breakfast and the shampoo bottle in the shower. I do read a lot of mysteries, just to keep an eye on my field. Right now, I’m reading everything Agatha Christie wrote, because I’m editing, along with Dr. J.C. Bernthal, a reference book on her work. If you want to gain a good understanding of how a mystery ticks, you could do worse than studying the work of Agatha Christie!
When you are not writing, what do you like to do?
For fun, I enjoy cooking, playing the piano, traveling, and spending time with my family. We all enjoy playing board games or, when we’re far apart, playing the electronic versions of board games online. My husband and I enjoy watching books and movies together.
Tell us about The Physicists’ Daughter, and how it came to be.
I pitched this book as Rosie-the-Riveter-meets-Bletchley-Park. It’s personal to me because, before I was a writer, I was a physics major. I have a B.S. in engineering physics and an M.S. in chemical engineering. There’s always a little science buried in my work–my Faye Longchamp archaeological mysteries are about an archaeologist and I’ve written a thriller, Wounded Earth, about an environmental scientist—but this book really celebrates the history of science, particularly women’s achievements in science. The Physicists’ Daughter is set during World War II, which has been called “The Physicists’ War,” because of the importance of developments like radar, jet airplanes, codebreaking equipment, and the atomic bomb.
In this book, I put my heroine Justine Byrne, the daughter of two physicists, in a New Orleans munitions factory in a Rosie-the-Riveter-type job. Because of the science her parents taught her, she can tell that she and her coworkers are being lied to by their bosses. Even worse, their work is being sabotaged. She can’t trust anybody around her, so she’s forced to use her specialized knowledge to find the spy who’s hiding in plain sight. As I like to say, the Nazis are no match for the physicists’ daughter.
Well, you have probably seen that I liked it! Tell us about your other books.
There are thirteen books in my Faye Longchamp archaeological mystery series, which explore little-known corners of American history and feature a smart, gutsy female protagonist. My thriller, Wounded Earth, follows the cat-and-mouse game between an environmental scientist and a man who is stalking her, threatening the daughter she gave up for adoption. And I’ve written many short stories and essays, as well.
What’s next for your writing? Are you working on a new story?
I’m nearly finished with the sequel to The Physicists’ Daughter, which currently has the working title of The Physicists’ Code. In it, Justine is working with a group of codecrackers in Washington, D.C.
Ooh, I must add it to my TBR 🙂 You teach writing, but can you spare any free advice for other authors?
Write what you love. If you aren’t in love with the story, your readers won’t be. If I had to boil down all my writing advice to four words, they would be “Make them feel something.”
Anything else you want readers to know?
I am so grateful to my readers. They have made my almost-twenty-year career as a novelist possible. Thank you!