My Work, Philosophy, and Family
"Perhaps no place in any community is so totally democratic as the town library. The only entrance requirement is interest." Lady Bird Johnson
I have a reputation for being a research junkie and in my house, that means tiptoeing around boxes (my style of file cabinets) in my office, stacks of “very important” papers, and teetering towers of reference books that don’t fit into my floor-to-ceiling bookcases. Despite my predilection for research, I have managed to publish 26 nonfiction books, and many others are still waiting to find that perfect home.
Sometimes, I like to head to the open space behind my house with my "writing buddies," Willa and Scout (my golden retrievers), a pair of binoculars or my camera. While hiking, I like to think about my books. Many of my ideas come together after one of these "explores."
These ideas have led me further afield to national parks, monuments, and wildlife refuges. I’ve been to libraries across the country, to museums and historical sites to examine vintage hand-written letters (imagine that in this digital age!), journals, articles, and archival images. Every box, every file, every piece of yellowed paper says “read me – read me” and of course, that’s what I love to do! Mining for nuggets of information in a library or at home is often more fun than writing the actual book.
The typical mess when I'm researching a subject.
My story is that I grew up in La Jolla, California, where I picnicked and camped in the nearby mountains and deserts, and spent endless hours at the beach, enjoying what is still my favorite sport: body surfing in the chilly Pacific Ocean. I was a Girl Scout, a bicyclist and a tennis player, studied French, belonged to the American Field Service, raised roses, loved my Cocker Spaniel, Mike, lugged home bags of library books every week, and read late into the night under my bed with a flashlight. And yes, I’ve been wearing glasses since the fourth grade!
I received a degree from the University of California at Davis in English Literature and American History and Literature.
My husband, Bill, and I live in Northern California. We own a small house in Borrego Springs, California, where we take pleasure in the surrounding Anza–Borrego Desert during the winter months. Wherever I am—at my desert desk or in my Northern California office—all I need is paper, pencil, and Internet service, to give me the tools and freedom to write.
I have visited Yosemite National Park dozens of times. It is one of my favorite places in the world.
My family is an integral part of who I am. My husband and I have two grown sons. Mark lives in Truckee, California with his wife Stacy, and our grandchildren: Justin, Collin, and Zoe. Mark is a Captain with the Truckee Fire Department. Our younger son Dan currently is living in New York City and working for S&P Global.
My father, Hal G. Evarts, made his living writing westerns, plus adventure novels for young adults. My mother, Dorothea, was an artist and teacher.
Hal G. Evarts, Sr., my paternal grandfather wrote popular western and adventure novels in the 1920s and 1930s, as well as stories for the Saturday Evening Post and other magazines. My other grandfather, Clinton Gilbert Abbott, was an ornithologist and the director of the San Diego Natural History Museum in California.
I have two brothers and both of them live in California. Bill is a professional photographer and writer with a particular interest in Baja California. John and his wife, Margie Popper, founded
a publishing company that produces award-winning natural history and gardening books.
My father visiting a school in the San Diego, California area to talk with students about his books.
After a morning or day of writing, I find time to tend to my vegetable garden, to plant succulents and native, drought-resistant plants for dry California, or check in on my chickens.
I love to read, go to concerts and plays, and visit the many and varied museums in the San Francisco Bay Area. Walking somewhere everyday is another one of my passions.
I'm involved in therapy dog programs at our local library and at Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation. Willa, Scout, and Oreo, trained therapy dogs, have kids read to them at various public libraries and schools in my county in what are called "Paws to Read" sessions. These programs help children improve their reading skills while they learn about dogs. Working with emerging readers is an awesome extension of being a writer. Oreo and I also visit Alzheimer patients, schools, and participate in other outreach events in our area.
With my dogs. Oreo, in my lap, is a miniature poodle mix. Scout, sitting, and Willa are golden retrievers.