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‘Never Let You Go’ author to appear at Mystery Lovers Bookshop in Oakmont | TribLIVE.com
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‘Never Let You Go’ author to appear at Mystery Lovers Bookshop in Oakmont

Rege Behe
| Sunday, March 19, 2017 9:00 p.m

Chevy Stevens has no formal writing education beyond high school. When she decided to try to write a novel a little more than 10 years ago, Stevens decided to go all in: She quit her job, mortgaged her house and devoted all her time to her dream job.

“I didn’t have children or a husband then,” says Stevens, who appears March 22 at Mystery Lovers Bookshop in Oakmont to promote her new novel, “Never Let You Go” (St. Martins). “I had nobody to worry about but myself.”

That gambit paid off for the Vancouver Island native. “Never Let You Go” is her sixth novel, and most of her previous books have been New York Times bestsellers. Stevens was working in sales and real estate when she decided the career change was in order.

“I wasn’t happy as a real estate agent,” Stevens says. “I felt like I wasn’t living my real life. I felt like I was supposed to be a writer.”

An email to a trusted aunt came back with a message of hope: It’s never too late. At first Stevens took her time, jotting down ideas. At a real estate open house, one of those ideas took root and would eventually become her first novel, “Still Missing.”

But to get the book finished was a long and arduous process.

“I had no idea what I was doing,” Stevens says. “I had no education about how to craft a novel or what was a three-act structure. I wasn’t even using quotations or paragraphs. I was just writing it like a diary entry.”

Her perseverance paid off, as did hiring a freelance editor to hone the story. Because she never went to college, most of Stevens’ characters have blue-collar jobs. Those lives, often unexamined in popular crime and mystery novels, have allowed her to carve out a unique niche.

“I couldn’t write about a lawyer because that’s not my roots,” Stevens says. “It’s extraordinary things happening to regular people, that’s where my strength is, people we all recognize and see every day that we know and understand.”

In “Never Let You Go,” the protagonist, Lindsey Nash, is a housecleaner who escapes an abusive relationship. When her husband Andrew is sent to jail for another crime, Lindsey moves away with her daughter, Sophie. But years later, when her daughter is on the cusp of going to college, Lindsey’s home is invaded. A new boyfriend is threatened, and someone is following Sophie. Chaos ensues, and Lindsey’s life is once again a mix of dread and terror.

Stevens was the victim of a stalker once, although her experience was not quite as harrowing as portrayed in the book

He ex-boyfriend “started driving by places where I was at, showed up where I worked one day,” she says. “It’s funny, with all the interviews I’ve been doing, I forgot about my own experience. I’ve been talking about Lindsey and I forgot that happened to me. I guess it was just so long ago and it was nipped in the bud quickly.

“But I remember that feeling of invasion,” Stevens adds. “You’ve said no, but the other person doesn’t agree. It was terrifying, but it stopped there. But for many women, it doesn’t stop there.”

Rege Behe is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

Categories: Books
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