fbpx

Please note, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Author Lorraine Evanoff Interview

Award-winning author Lorraine Evanoff’s highly addictive, suspenseful thrillers are perfect for fans of Erik Larson, Jack Slater and Kathy Reichs.

Former Hollywood finance exec Lorraine Evanoff uses classic mystery storytelling to spin complex tales of international finance with a sexy female heroine. Lorraine’s best-selling Louise Moscow Novels, FOLIAGE and the newly released PINOT NOIR, are high concept noir thrillers inspired by real-life banking scandals.

Lorraine held CFO positions in high tech companies during the dot-com era, and more recently in the film industry, notably as CFO of National Lampoon. She already has multiple IMDB credits to her name and now has a screenplay in development.

I had a great chat with Lorraine about her work in finance in the film industry and about writing the Louise Moscow Novels. Her latest, PINOT NOIR is a thriller inspired by the real-life banking scandals.

Connect with Jeffrey James Higgins: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Lorraine Evanoff’s Latest Book

Other Books by Lorraine Evanoff


Show Notes & Links

Other authors mentioned: David Kempf, Erik Larson

Fan of historical thrillers.

Lorraine’s IMDB page.

Transcript

Note: I use an automated transcribing software not a human and only do a light editing to the transcript, so if it’s choppy, that’s why.

Alan Petersen
Hey, everybody, this is Alan with Meet the Thriller Author podcast. Today, I am interviewing Lorraine Evanoff, who is an award winning author, a former Hollywood finance executive who now writes suspenseful thrillers and her best selling Louise Moscow novels include Foliage and Pinot Noir. The high concept noir thriller is inspired by real life banking scandals. I’m excited to talk to her about all that. Welcome to the podcast.

Lorraine Evanoff
Hello. Thank you.

Alan Petersen
Your background is so interesting. So you were like a finance person and now you write a suspenseful mysteries.

Lorraine Evanoff
Yes, I, I guess I attribute my career changes to my left handed Gemini or something every 10 years. I seem to have to want to try something new. So but it all they all interlinked though. So when I decided to write novels, I knew finance and I knew Europe and France. And so I kind of did these financial thrillers that based on real historic events. So, you know, banking scandals basically. And so, you know, just to kind of explain a little bit how I ended up being a novelist, I I also write screenplays and my husband, who’s a film producer, a pretty big film producer, he said, you know, your writing style is more suited for novels.

Speaker 3
And I think it’s because I give so much detailer that made sense to me. And so I did that. And then ironically, now I have a screenplay in development. It’s not related to Luis Moscow either, but it is a real story. So I do love historic and I do love true stories to crime.

Alan Petersen
Is there a big difference writing a novel versus a screenplay?

Lorraine Evanoff
Yes, absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. Screenplays to me are so tricky because there’s less room for creativity or whatever the word is. You know, it’s people are so rigid in Hollywood when they read a screenplay. There’s always so many opinions. So but novels that can kind of be more they can give you, there’s just so much more room to breathe than a novel. So. But screenplays. Yeah, that’s why you do tend to see, like, formulaic movies, because once you get that that formula down and works, you’re going to just keep doing that.

Speaker 3
But story is story. So as long as it’s a great story and as my husband says, a yellow brick road, follow the story and keep moving forward. You know that that pertains to all writing.

Alan Petersen
Yeah, that’s like the book Save the cat that I read has pretty good advice, but it’s very like like you said, very formulaic.

Lorraine Evanoff
Oh, really. I got to look that up is did you say save the cat?

Alan Petersen
Yes Save the cat. I can’t remember the guy’s name. It’s highly recommended. And now they have one save the cat for writing books too.

Lorraine Evanoff
So there’s a yellow brick road. You’re like, you have to save the cat, I assume.

Alan Petersen
Yeah, exactly. And you can have a whole bunch of dead people in your books but no animals.

Lorraine Evanoff
Exactly. I swear I still don’t have watched that movie Marley or whatever it was.

Speaker 2
My girlfriend who’s a novelist and you write, you’re a novelist too right? One of yours. But I haven’t sorry. I have this whole list that I’m working through. But, you know, on some of those Facebook groups, she’s like, should I kill the dog? And I know everybody is like, oh, do not kill the dog.

Alan Petersen
I have a friend who found out the hard way. In her thriller, a dog was killed and she got one star reviews on Amazon for it.

Speaker 2
I was checking out your background for for this interview. I was fascinated, fascinated with it because my wife’s an accountant, so I’ve always been curious. She’s a CPA. So whenever I see movies and I’m one of those nerds who likes to read the credits, I always saw of accountants or whatever on them. So that was. So you did, right?

Lorraine Evanoff
Yeah, I’m a film controller. A lot of times they film credit as controller, which is like the highest level accountant, meaning basically when you when you make a movie, usually the film company creates these single purpose entities. So every film is its own company and then you consolidate them into the film company. So you’re you’re basically on that level I. And mostly on that level of film control the accounting controller, which is another accounting term or position like director of finance or C, c, p m sorry, CFO, chief financial officer, it’s like another title controller and usually on a bigger corporate level.

Speaker 3
So any anyway, you consolidate those financial statements into the main company. So that’s where I would fit in. But sometimes I do the actual hands on accounting of the film, which is its own world. The software for a film accounting is its own thing and it’s a I see the film union for crew. Basically there is one for accounting and it’s a whole very interesting accounting system. Has she has your wife been interested in doing some film accounting?

Alan Petersen
No, she’s she works for one of the four. Well, it was a big four. Big five. Now remember.

Lorraine Evanoff
Wow. Yeah. Now they’re down to, I think, two or three.

Speaker 2
So she has the public accounting side is good for her, but I yeah. I mean, I always wanted to stay if you’re going to do accounting, which I think is a great career move because you always have work and because it’s fun to make things add up. I think I think it’s fascinating. But I like to be in a world that’s a little more got some creativity. Ironically, now I write about banking. So like I avoided working for banking, but in film or I worked in Silicon Valley for a long time, which I thought was interesting.

Speaker 2
So doing pre-IPO accounting for the lot of the startups during the 90s and the late 90s and stuff, that was a really fun time. So I imagine she deals with some of that up there in San Francisco.

Alan Petersen
Were you here for the for the bubble?

Speaker 3
I was it was a blast. It was a huge it was better than I didn’t do the traditional college where, you know, you were like partying frat house type college. I just kind of put myself through college and got it over with. But the Silicon Valley days of the dotcom era were like my. Frat party. Oh, my gosh, it was a really great time, and then it literally first almost overnight and everybody just kind of flew back to their hometowns and we picked up and moved on.

Alan Petersen
Yeah, it’s kind of crazy, like now with the whole pandemic, the same thing, like a lot of the people just left the city because, you know, the now working from home. So it’s so expensive here that we just left.

Lorraine Evanoff
Yes. So, like, we can work anywhere now. So it changed L.A. to it’s those are some of the really great benefits of this where the traffic finally I’ve been saying for years that it should be a law that companies allow people to work from home once a week that would change traffic everywhere. And then here we are. They finally are, you know, looks like it looks like they’re incorporating that, like a lot of companies are saying, you know, maybe we’ll get back to normal two or three days a week or something.

Speaker 3
Yeah, why not? So accountants can work anywhere. Really?

Alan Petersen
Oh, yeah. Same thing. Like here in the Silicon Valley in San Francisco Bay Area over the top, all the tech people can work anywhere. And so tell me about the Louise Moscow.. So she’s an investment banker. So can you tell us a little bit about the character in this book?

Lorraine Evanoff
Oh, yeah. So she’s a brainiac who’s constantly wanting to make connections. It’s just the way her mind works. And so she started out in the first novel where she ends up getting this gig at the you’re too young to remember this, but Balkhi the bank cutting out international whatever. In parallel, the branch in Paris was kind of the main branch in the eighties and nineties. And then it it was an international third World Bank, but it became a big bank.

Speaker 3
And so anyway, so Louise gets a job there. And she was an investment banker in at JP Morgan in New York or whatever. And so she ended up getting recruited to this branch in Paris, and that’s how I positioned her. And so then the bank ends up and this is a true story. The bank ends up being just basically a massive Ponzi scheme. And she, including black networks, thuggery and murder and things like that. And that’s all true story stuff.

Speaker 3
So, you know, you have to have a female, this sleuth, basically, she becomes kind of investigator on behalf of the FBI and the CIA and had to kind of infiltrate. She was already positioned to be an informant for the CIA within the company. And so she basically goes from there to finally implicating evidence. And it’s really brilliant. She can do everything from finance to algorithms, software type things. And I don’t want to give away too much.

Speaker 2
But the spoilers and as I said in the 80s, first novel ends with the Berlin Wall coming down. So what is it? Ninety, eighty, nine ninety. And then it’s so they seem to be going every ten years. So then 10 years later, is this other banking scandal or a murder based on Edmands? And that’s a real life murder of this Monte Carlo based banker, which was a huge scandal. And I remember nobody was ever really satisfied with how that murder was solved.

Speaker 2
It was way too sketchy. There was way too much pressure. I don’t know how much you follow all this stuff, but like Bill Browder wrote Red Notice, amazing book. He’s the one who did who basically got the Magnitsky Act and acted in America to law. I don’t know how much of this do you all follow. But so his partner in Russia, his initial at his founding partner was Edmund Safra. And so I find all this out later.

Speaker 2
Now, after I already wrote Pinot Noir that this stuff is all interrelated with Russia. And it’s fascinating in my new novel that I’m actually on the rewrite of. So I hope to release in October. It just all ties it all together. It’s just so crazy. The world of finance, as you can see, if you follow the all of this that’s going on in the news, it’s just all so interrelated and so fascinating to me. So it’s been pretty and.

Speaker 2
When I first released foliage, I was nervous because it was everybody had forgotten that story. It involves real people, everybody from Joe Biden to John Kerry to the CIA, everything. And then I was nervous about releasing it. And then literally the Panama Papers came out that two months after I released it, like in January, twenty fifteen or whatever that was. And and so then it was like mainstream information. And then Pinot Noir I released and then right after that, and that has a sex trafficking ring.

Speaker 2
And then the Jeffrey Epstein stuff came out literally like right after that. And so it’s all been really interesting timing for me to do these financial thrillers.

Alan Petersen
Well, yeah, this is like. Yeah, like that Nostradamus.

Lorraine Evanoff
I mean, I get nervous, but now I’m kind of emboldened. I think this it all comes together in a really cool and I always have a little bit of mysticism because I do think it’s all interconnected, like fascinating with ancient times and the fascination of corruption and money and all of that is so interrelated. It’s so human. So that’s where what’s and what’s your process like?

Alan Petersen
You’d like to do a lot of preparing beforehand. You outline or you just start writing from the seat of your pants?

Lorraine Evanoff
Yeah, I do the for this book three, I passed it and the that was because my books are really heavily researched and they both both the first two took four years to finish and this time I was like, that’s it, I’m pantsing. And I had a goal from August 20, 20 and I had almost just released the last book. By then I said by December I’m going to have ninety thousand words. And so I did it. I just was like a thousand words a day, writing, writing, writing.

Speaker 3
And I the research provides an outline kind of and then the research actually takes you in directions. That is amazing. It’s just it’s so incredible where you find yourself going. So this time I passed it. The other times I knew the basic outline of the story. And then I just kind of went from I did kind of have a framework. But this time I, I really just wanted it all down on paper and then but it’s interesting because time frames tend to make their own framework as well or outline.

Speaker 3
So it always kind of works out that way. But yeah, it’s it’s interesting and that the the the whole pandemic craziness of the last year plus plus year, the change your process at all or that.

Speaker 3
Oh, it actually helps somewhat because I have a day job. I’m still the director of finance of a film company and we actually we’re a film distribution company and we actually buy the movies for airlines. So like when you see a movie on an airplane, that’s likely our company. We do the international airlines that only so we were there’s like three in the whole world. We were one of them. And we were we had know really saying I want to say like 20 movies a year to the airlines at least.

Speaker 3
Plus all of our back movies are back library. And so imagine doing royalty statements for 20 movies at any given time or, you know, and so it was a lot of work. And then we literally the airline industry was decimated by this. And we are down to basically starting over again, which, you know, was kind of good. I’m still busy, but nowhere near what I was. So that I think allowed me to do the pantsing in that sense, you know, just like really focus writing a thousand words a day plus my day job plus all the other stuff I do, which is a lot.

Alan Petersen
And what do you do you use to write your books, what kind of software is it word or something else?

Lorraine Evanoff
I use Word, what do you use?

Alan Petersen
I started with word and then Google Docs, but I’ve been using Scrivener. It’s just easier for for me because I’m not that linear. So with Scrivner it’s easy used to drag folders around, chapters around.

Lorraine Evanoff
So yes, I’ve never done that. And, you know, it’s because I think the way my brain works, it’s just constantly reorganizing in my brain. And I feel like using what they call note cards or whatever. Like you’re saying, that almost trips me up or something. But like, for example, right now I’m also writing somehow I don’t know how the. But I somehow became one of the community writers for the Palmer report, and so like once a week I’m doing a five hundred word news article for the Palmer report, and you’re taking really complex stories and making them five hundred words.

Speaker 3
So I think my brain just became really good at that. It all kind of works together. I think, you know, as you must know, you become more fluent in writing or whatever, the lack of a better word.

Alan Petersen
Did you always want to be a writer?

Lorraine Evanoff
You know, it’s such an interesting question because, no, I never thought I would be a writer. And I never I never thought I would be an accountant either. I never knew what I was going to be. I wasn’t one of those people when I was little who knew I was going to do this. I, I ended up being I just wanted to be practical. So I was going for an accounting degree and I ended up getting a degree in French.

Speaker 3
And then I ended up moving to Paris for seven years because of that. And then I ended up being in the film industry in Paris, and then I ended up going full circle back to Finance and Silicon Valley. And I ended up being recruited back to Hollywood because I had a pre IPO finance background and ended up back in film, so it was just so funny how things work out. But and then I the whole time, I guess because I was I had a French degree, somehow I knew I would go back or I would go into writing, but it was never a plan.

Speaker 3
And I’ve been reading this interesting author, David Kempf. He does kind of horror and which isn’t really my genre, but he ever since he brought out that writers are egomaniacs or some kind of thing like that, I never thought of it that way. But because I guess, you know, you have to be somehow self-centered or something to want to write. I don’t know. I never thought of it that way. I, I feel that writers, people who were writers from the beginning who who aspired to be writers, they kind of have maybe a self-loathing or treacherous, tortured and masochistic and all of that.

Speaker 3
Absolutely. But I feel like they feel like they’re doing it as like a self centered or and, you know, when I was an actress that one of my other careers, I hated being an actress because I felt like it was so self-absorbed. And in the end, I’ve gone full circle and I feel like, you know, you’re doing a really important service. You’re giving yourself for people to see these stories. It really illustrated. And and in the end, I do appreciate so much actors and obviously I appreciate writers.

Speaker 3
I think it’s such I think it’s the most important thing there is keeping a record of the world, you know, writing and even acting.

Alan Petersen
Where you a fan of the genre as a reader of the sort of historical mysteries and thrillers?

Lorraine Evanoff
Yeah, I’ve always been attracted to historical fiction for sure. That’s my favorite, but thrillers too. So thrillers and like, you know, I love murder, she wrote.

Speaker 3
For some reason I because maybe the way my brain works, I love making connections that I, I like historical fiction aspect of it.

Alan Petersen
And so you say you have you’re working on a third book. Is that the is that Louise Voskuhl book the way it is.

Lorraine Evanoff
Yeah. And it is really it really brings everything together. I’m pretty excited about it, but I’ll keep you posted. I think it does look like it’ll be out by October. So you know how that works with the cover and the editing and the fun stuff. Yeah, that’s the thing. You finished the book, right, in the book, and then you just turn around the whole process over. Yeah.

Speaker 3
Marketing alone.

Alan Petersen
Oh, yeah, that’s crazy.

Lorraine Evanoff
And just the title I’ve been so tortured by the title. The other two I think and I knew right away almost or the title for Foliage kind of jumped out. My editor got it out of the book actually because it was the code word, you know, and it made sense. And then Pinot Noir, I knew I was going to call it Pinot Noir because I loved film noir and I loved I wanted it to be about wine, burgundy, France.

Speaker 3
So it just kind of made sense at this one. I’m really tortured about the title as.

Alan Petersen
And so before I let you go, I always like to ask my guest because I have aspiring writers. I listen to the podcast. Any advice for them?

Lorraine Evanoff
I hate to be a cliche, but it is just right now and it it is discipline. It’s dedication. And if you really, really believe in it, then then then just do it and also have a story that that’s kind of something that’s been in your mind all your life or something. You have something really strong as a story, as a basis for it, because that’ll give you the fuel to keep going.

Alan Petersen
Yeah, I like that. Yeah. So true because it’s everyone has an idea that you’ve been kicking around for years.

Lorraine Evanoff
Yeah. Yeah. And you let it go, take you where you, you know, it’s amazing where your brain will take you if you let it. It’s incredible. I’m sure you’ve had that experience. That’s I hear that a lot by authors. How do I know what I’m going to write until I write it. I don’t have enough money.

Alan Petersen
And so what’s the best place for people to find you is it your website?

Lorraine Evanoff
Oh, actually, yes. Just lorraineevanoff.com. Keep it simple. I think Amazon is the easiest at this point for everything.

Alan Petersen
All right. Well, thank you so much for being on the podcast. I had a lot of fun talking to you.

Lorraine Evanoff
Have a blessed Memorial Day. And thank you so much for getting this together.

About the Author
I write thriller and crime fiction novels and host the Meet the Thriller Author podcast where I interview authors of mystery, thriller, and suspense books.

1 comment on “MTTA 157: Lorraine Evanoff

  1. Wonderful chatting with you Alan! What a great interview.

    Also, I finally read your novel, She’s Gone: A Vigilante Justice Thriller (A Pete Maddox Thriller Book 2), which was brilliant. I’m looking forward to circling back to Book 1 and finishing with Book 3!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join the Thrilling Reads Newsletter

Thrillers, Mysteries, Crime Fiction, All Things Killer!

Get a weekly fix of reviews, interviews, upcoming releases, giveaways, and more to satisfy your dark side.

Thank you for signing up. Please check your email to confirm your subscription.