Nanaimo author’s new book inspired by murder case
Chevy Stevens was in her early 30s when she decided to take a chance on something new.
“There was no other time to take that kind of chance in my life,” Stevens said.
At the time, Stevens was a real estate agent in Nanaimo, but had grown tired of her career and decided to become a writer.
“I wasn’t happy doing what I was doing so there is no loss,” Stevens said.
It wasn’t long after leaving the real estate game that Stevens released her first novel, Still Missing. The novel would go on to become a New York Times bestseller.
“Sometimes it didn’t almost feel real,” Stevens said about making the bestseller list. “My publisher [St. Martin’s Press] flew me to New York and you dream about something like that for so long and then it when it actually happens it is kind of surreal.”
Stevens, who has also released two other books, Always Watching and Never Knowing, will release her newest book, That Night today (June 17).
“It’s the story about a young teenage couple who had a terrible thing happen to them,” Stevens explained about her newest thriller. “It’s about their story of coming back to each other and finding themselves.”
The 370-page novel, which is published by St. Martin’s Press in the United States and Raincoast Books in Canada, primarily takes place in Campbell River and centres around Toni Murphy and her boyfriend Ryan Walker, who were convicted and sent to prison for murdering Murphy’s sister.
On Saturday (June 21) Stevens, a winner of the International Thriller Writers Award for Best First Novel, will be hosting a book signing at Chapters.
The idea to write That Night began when Stevens was inspired by an episode of NBC’s Dateline, where they featured a story on an American inmate in Montana who was convicted of murdering his ex-girlfriend’s sister in 1979, despite evidence that pointed towards a group of jealous girls as being the killers.
“This is the only book I’ve ever written that had the spark from a real situation,” Stevens said. “I just remember watching it. I never watched it again or revisited the case or anything because I never want to take too much from someone else’s story. It was more just this idea that these other girls had killed this girl.”
While writing That Night, Stevens spent countless hours watching various crime shows and researching other criminal cases. She also spent plenty of time consulting with various legal sources, which didn’t always happen when she would have liked.
“It was challenging for awhile,” Stevens said. “I was getting worried that I wouldn’t find any sources. I couldn’t move forward until I talked to people sometimes. So I had to work on different pieces.”
Stevens added that it was tricky to incorporate Canadian laws in a book which is being published in the United States.
That Night is Stevens’s first book that includes a true romance between two characters.
“I really loved their [Ryan and Toni] love connection and it was the first book I had done where I was able to do a real romance and I liked that,” Stevens said. “I was also pregnant when I was writing this book so it was a really good stage in my life. I was really happy and I had lots of feel-good hormones and lots of energy.”
Stevens is currently working on her next book.
“It will come out in 2015. I don’t reveal the title or anything. What I can tell you is it is about three sisters who escape one nightmare and basically land up in a bigger one,” Stevens explained.
Chevy Stevens will be at Chapters at the Woodgrove Centre on 6670 Mary Ellen Dr. on Saturday at 2 p.m. For more information and to purchase That Night, please visit www.chevystevens.com.