MEET THE FASCINATING AND FABULOUS BARBARA FRANCIS, THE AUTHOR OF THE FANTASTIC SHADOW'S WAY
MEET BARBARA FRANCIS, A FASCINATING WOMAN WITH A RICH HISTORY, A GREAT IMAGINATION. SHE IS A TALENTED WRITER, AND BRINGS THE READER INTO THE WORLD SHE HAS CREATED LIKE ONLY A MASTERFUL AUTHOR CAN DO.
SHADOW'S WAY IS A STUNNINGLY CRAFTED SOUTHERN GOTHIC MYSTERY. I CAN HARDLY WAIT FOR HER NEXT BOOK. Barbara Frances has plenty of stories and a life spent acquiring them. Growing up Catholic on a small Texas farm, her childhood ambition was to become a nun. In ninth grade she entered a boarding school in Our Lady of the Lake Convent as an aspirant, the first of several steps before taking vows. On graduation, however, she passed up the nun’s habit for a college degree in English and Theatre Arts. Her professors were aghast when she declined a PhD program in order to become a stewardess, but Barbara never looked back. “In the Sixties, a stewardess was a glamorous occupation.” Her career highlights include dating a very gentlemanly Chuck Berry and “opening the bar” for a planeload of underage privates on their way to Vietnam. Marriage, children, school teaching and divorce distracted her from storytelling, but one summer she and a friend coauthored a screenplay. “I never had such fun! I come from a family of storytellers. Relatives would come over and after dinner everyone would tell tales. Sometimes they were even true.” The next summer Barbara wrote a screenplay solo. Contest recognition, an agent and three optioned scripts followed but, weary of fickle producers and endless rewrites, she turned to novels. Shadow’s Way is her third book. Her first, Lottie’s Adventure, is aimed at young readers. Her second, Like I Used To Dance, is a family saga set in 1950’s rural Texas. Barbara’s fans can be thankful she passed up convent life for one of stories and storytelling. She and her husband Bill live in Austin, Texas.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? In my mid-forties, when my girlfriend told me I needed to write because I had a vivid imagination and loved to analyze people. Earlier, as a middle school theater arts teacher,, I was writing plays for my students because I couldn’t find anything that was age-appropriate and I had a student tell me, “Miss, you’re a genius. You should do this for a living.” However, I didn’t start writing until I retired from teaching. Not enough hours in the day to do both.
How long does it take you to write a book? Depends on the book and the frame of mind I’m in. Sometimes the muse is slow and sometimes she goes so fast I can hardly keep up with her. My first book took about a year, more or less. My second took about two years, more or less. And my third book took about a year. The one I’m working on now is taking eons, it seems like. The muse has been on vacation on the other side of the world.
What is your work schedule like when you're writing? It depends on my mood. As I get older, I hate schedules more and more. Lived by the bell for too many years. So some days I write 2- 3 hours; others 30 minutes to 45 to an hour. And some I don’t go near the computer or my office.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk? I want everyone to LOVE my writing, very unrealistic.
How do your books get published? I’m living with a publisher, but not “in sin.”
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books? There’s life and then there’s imagination. I drink from both fountains.
When did you write your first book and how old were you? In my mid-to-late 40’s. I’d rather not be specific and I’d rather not say what year that was.
What do you like to do when you're not writing? I love to decorate/beautify my home, my garden, myself. I love to cook as long as it’s not day in and day out. I love to be with my husband and friends and be silly and wise and amazing.
What does your family think of your writing? My husband and son love my writing. My daughter is embarrassed by some of the things I write. She doesn’t like to think that her mother knows anything about sex, much less describe the act.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books? That maybe I have a talent!!!!!
How many books have you written? Which is your favorite? I’m on my 4th, so that makes 3 I’ve completed. They’re all my children and I love them the same and like a good mother, I don’t have favorites.
Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they? Not really, except don’t be afraid to follow your instincts and listen to your muse no matter how crazy she may be.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say? Fortunately, I do and the ones I hear from really enjoy my writing. I’ll send some of the reviews.
Do you like to create books for adults? yes
What do you think makes a good story? Interesting, multi-layered people living their lives, no matter how conventional or unconventional that may be.
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up? Get the hell out of the small hell-hole town I was in.
Any books in the works? Yes, the title is Silent Crossing.
What are your plans for the future? To live through this pandemic and the trump administration.
Marta Moran Bishop is an award-winning author, poet. A radio show host and one of the team for Owl and Pussycat promotions.