Thursday, June 14, 2007

An Interview with...June Francis

Medieval Historical and acclaimed saga writer, June Franic is English, was a war baby, used to work as a cash clerk, has been married forty-three years this month, and has three grown-up sons. She started seriously writing for publication at the age of 40 and has had twenty-one novels published and her twenty-second and twenty-third will be out this year.

We are delighted that she has taken time out of her bvusy schedule to speak about her latest North American release --Rowan's Revenge. It is available as both as print and e-book versions from e-harlequin.

Although many writers know they want to be a writer from an early age, was there something in particular that made you decide to pursue your dream?

We got a new vicar at our church and his wife did some writing for a religious programme on local radio. I told her about my dream and she encouraged me by involving me in writing for and editing the church magazine. The next move was her encouraging me to join the local writers’ group. My husband was also willing to let me have a go

How long after you first started submitting did it take for you to have your first book accepted?

It took two years but I had two books accepted at the same time by M&B Masquerade imprint. I just kept rewriting them.

What attracts you to your time period?
I’d had a dream after watching a children’s programme set in a castle. So I decided to write an historical set during the Barons’ Wars in the time of Henry III. It was a period I didn’t know at all and I knew I’d enjoy doing the research. My next one was set a little later during the reign of Edward I and mostly set in North Wales and Cheshire. I’ve crept up over the years but can say I still enjoy writing books set in the Middle Ages. My latest books are set in the fifteenth century. I do like my heroes and heroines to have an adventure and I just enjoy the intrigue, the religious background and the wild places where there can be ancient stones - I also like the clothes.

Writers often use photos of movie or tv stars for inspiration, who has been the inspiration for some of your heroes?
I don’t use photos for inspiration but I do have a weakness for dark curly hair and blue eyes. When I was a teenager I had a pash on Tony Curtis in ‘The Thief of Baghdad”. I also liked Richard Todd in the Elizabethan movie “The Sword and the Rose”. He was also in “Rob Roy” but is probably most famous for playing the war hero, Guy Gibson in “The Dambusters” Don’t get me started on the voice of Richard Burton in “The Robe” or Robert Taylor’s sword play in “Quentin Durward” More recently, well about twenty years ago - there was Robert Powell playing Jesus. My husband believes he’s the real one who helps me with my love interest.

When you are not writing what do you do?
Very little housework. I cook, swim, walk, watch television with my sons or husband - depending what’s on. I listen to music and occasionally lunch with my sister or writing friends and go on holiday with my husband. But I spend more time writing than doing anything else, including sleeping.

Can you tell us about your future books?
I am not a planner. I think no further than the next one or two. My next book out is ‘Tamed by the Barbarian’ and after that ‘Enslaved by the Witch’s Daughter‘ which is set in 1475. My hero, Jack, is a merchant adventurer, who has spent six years as a slave in Arabia. He’s a scarred man, physically, emotionally. My heroine, Lady Anna is a widow and is accused of being a witch like her mother. I also write sagas for another publisher and these are much longer than my hmb. I have just finished one of them set towards the end of the Great War and its aftermath. My next saga I’ll be starting soon and it’ll be set in the early twenties and called Tilly’s Story. I haven’t thought up the plot for my next HMB, but it could be set just after the Battle of Bosworth, beginning of the Tudor period. I just might have a French heroine and English hero - or as I’m going to Perthshire in Scotland for a few days in July with my sister, I just might have a Norse-Scottish hero and English heroine and the period could be early than 15th century.

What does your writing cave look like? It an alcove in our bedroom and gets terrible untidy. I have a map of Chester on the wall behind my chair and a family tree of the houses of York and Nevill in front of my desk. I like to have pictures round me and a few ornaments and a stuffed cat, Bagpuss on my monitor.

What is the worst thing about being a writer?
Not being able to go out in the sunshine when one’s got a deadline. There’s also that the job is hard work for not really a lot of pay and people believing it’s either a doddle or you earn six figure sums. I wish.

What is the biggest challenge you face when you are writing a book? The beginning, middle or end?

Having just finished a book - I’d say the end. I kept rewriting that last chapter but my agent had read it and says that she loves a happy ending. It went off to my editor, Suzy, yesterday, so fingers crossed I’ve got the ending right.

Many thanks June. And remember Rowan's Revenge is currently avaialble in the US. Tamed by the Barbarian will be a September 07 release for Mills and Boon Historical.

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