Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Interview with novelist S.J. Francis

Today’s special guest is novelist S. J. Francis and we’re focused on the debut novel, Shattered Lies. During S. J.'s virtual book tour, 2 lucky people will win an autographed copy of the novel. Details for how to enter for a chance to win are below.

S. J. Francis is a freelance writer with over three hundred publication credits, a University Lecturer with doctorates in English literature, Mass Communications, and Law, and most recently, a novelist. S. J. writes for many publications, as well as regularly contributing to the local newspaper. S. J.’s background also encompasses working as a television producer. A frequent traveler, S. J. has resided in thirteen states and three countries. A confirmed bibliophile, when not writing S. J. can be found reading a good book, or spending time in the outdoors.

Welcome, S. J. Please tell us about your current release.
Shattered Lies is labeled by the publisher as women’s fiction/mainstream. For me, it is also contemporary, family saga, epic. Shattered Lies focuses on a family and the aftermath of what happens when long buried secrets and lies surface.

Kate Thayer has a good life as a veterinarian, running the family horse farm—until she uncovers an act of unimaginable treachery by those she trusted most and learns that everything she knew about herself was a lie. Her paternal grandmother, the woman who raised her, is behind a number of devastating secrets Kate is compelled to discover. But the deeper she digs, the more betrayal she finds, changing her life in ways she could have never foreseen.

What inspired you to write this book?
I have more ideas in my head to write than I could ever possibly write. The idea for Shattered Lies came to me in July 1999. I didn’t aspire to write a book back then, but hoped to do so one day. Life just kept getting in the way. There was no inspiration for Shattered Lies. It was just an idea, a one line sentence I came up with. What if? Shattered Lies was always going to be set down south. I just never knew where until I moved to Mississippi. When I moved there, Shattered Lies basically wrote itself. I always believed that people are all basically the same. Good and bad. No matter where people are, despite sex, color, religion, what have you, when it is all said and done, we’re really all the same. What if I pushed that question into a “perfect Southern family”?

Excerpt from Shattered Lies:

She knew that bigotry existed, but she had never experienced it quite like this before…

 Kate couldn’t say anything for a moment. She was just too astonished. “Wh—what? Excuse me? What you did you say?”
 The other boy with brown hair spoke, “Sorry, miss.” He giggled too. “You have to excuse my friend. He’s a little drunk.”
 “How old are you two?”
 They didn’t look older than eighteen, and had acne breakouts on their cheeks, but she knew better than anyone that looks could be deceiving.
 “We’re old enough,” the rude one said.
 Sam returned just as the rude one spoke again and pointed, “Hey look, it’s the Jolly Giant Nigger.”
 Kate shot to her feet so that she was between Sam and them.
 A porter was with Sam. “Is there a problem, miss?”
 “Yes,” she said without facing him. “We’d like to change our seat.”
 “Of course, Sam asked too. We have another place for you over here, if you both come with me.”
 Kate moved to leave. The two young men said nothing, which was a good thing. She swore she could feel her blood boiling in her veins. If they said one more thing…
 Sam stood aside to let her exit and then she heard the young man. “Goodbye now, Uncle Tom.” Giggling. “Enjoy your meal, Uncle Tom, so nice to see you.” More giggling. “Dumb nigg—”
 He didn’t have a chance to finish. Kate snatched the water glass from the table, threw the water at him, slammed the empty glass down hard on the table directly in front of him, and glared into his eyes. “You disgust me! It’s people like you who have turned this world into shit!”

What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m working on a novel about friendships and family in Hollywood. Again, secrets and lies play a major role. I also have a draft for a sequel to that one.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I was in high school, I was complaining to a close friend of mine how many story ideas I had in my head and what I should do with them. She suggested I begin writing them down and sending them out for publication. At that time I didn’t consider myself a fan of writing, though, I always had a gift for doing so. I thrived on it. After a few seconds, I realized she was right. I had to write. That was when I decided I was a writer.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
For me, I’d say I write full time since I write any chance I get. I also lecture at my University in English, Creative Writing and Law. No matter what I’m doing, showering or walking my dogs, I’m always in some way writing in my head. For me, I don’t find time to write, I make the time. Whether it is just a sentence or a paragraph, I write it down.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I can’t write in silence. I find that I need some kind of background noise to keep me writing. I watch TV or listen to music, usually music that somehow feels like the piece I am writing about. This might distract other writers, but for me it keeps the ideas flowing. In fact, I don’t think I’d be able to write without this background accompaniment.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to do everything. Of course, that wasn’t realistic. I loved writing in school, though at the time, I didn’t know it. When teachers assigned book reports or papers to write, while other children were lamenting about it, I went right to work on it. I “aced” all my English classes. It was only natural that I’d become a writer since I decided there was too much math and science involved to become my first career choice of being a veterinarian.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I hope readers will take the time to read Shattered Lies, whether you borrow it from a library, a friend or purchase your own copy. I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it. In Shattered Lies, the reader should expect an awakening of the senses, high-charged emotion, controversial language and thoughts.

My blog tour is just beginning and will run into January 2016. To find out more on where to find me on the internet, or about Shattered Lies, please check out my website for updates.

Also: In celebration of the launch of my debut novel, Shattered Lies, I’m launching a giveaway on my website in which I will award two (2) readers a personally autographed printed copy of Shattered Lies. All you have to do is contact me on my website using “giveaway” in the subject line. Tell me your name and mailing address and how I should autograph the book should you win. On December 12, 2015, I will pull two names from those that contacted me and send them a printed copy of the book. All you have to do is read and enjoy and pass it along to other readers. Good luck!!

Go to my website for more information and my blog tour schedule.

Other ways to connect with me on social media include:

Pre-order purchase links for Kindle | Black Opal Books | Smashwords

Thank you, S. J.


SJ Francis said...

Thank you, Lisa for hosting me! Fantastic interview! Loved doing it!
Cheers! S.J. Francis

authorlindathorne said...

I'm reading the book now and I can tell you, I'd read it straight through if I didn't have a busy day job. It's hard to put down. There is so much happening in every page.
I enjoyed reading this interview. I can see some that's yet to come just from the excerpt. Good job.

Carole Avila said...

Thanks for posting this lovely interview of SJ. I read Shattered Lies and found it filled with plot twists and startling revelations about the characters. I wish her all the success in her writing endeavors.
~Carole Avila, Author

Anncye Placey said...

I just finished reading Shattered Lies and loved it. It was a fabulous book. I couldn't put it down. I read it all in just one day and can't wait to leave a review for it.
Great success to you, S.J. Francis

SJ Francis said...

Thanks, Linda, Carole and Annyce for stopping by. I loved your comments. Really appreciated them too.
Thanks again, Lisa for hosting me!
Have a fantastic weekend everyone!
S.J. Francis