Christmas Awards 2011

Sunday, 20 May 2007

Interview with June Francis

This interview is with an author I have known for some years. June writes wonderful sagas and also lovely historical books. I feel lucky to have met June and to have a continuing friendship with her.

Tell us a little about yourself
I'm 65, have celebrated my ruby wedding anniversary and have three sons in their thirties. I was one of four children, two boys, older, and a younger sister. I grew up in Liverpool, passed the eleven plus and went on to be a cash clerk before becoming a writer. I'm a questioning, tolerant, bit of a sinner, Christian. My writing career started when I was tricked into becoming the church magazine editor and took off from there. I wrote articles for My Weekly before making the big jump to writing a novel. It took me two years of trying and rejection before I was accepted my Mills & Boon's Masquerade imprint in the eighties.
You'll learn more about me below.

What do you write?
I write family sagas set in Liverpool and Chester and also historical romance for Harlequin Mills&Boon.

Why do you write?
I wanted to write from school days but although I used to tell my sister bedtimes stories - we shared a double bed when we were kids - and made up stories for my sons when we were walking to the shops or going to the park, I never settled seriously into writing until I was forty. I write because I enjoy creating a world peopled with interesting characters with whom I can play God - up to a point - because just like real human beings they can suddenly take over and do what they want sometimes. I also write for the money - at one time it was to help pay the mortgage and to see my sons through university - but now it's so I can go out to lunch with friends and have more holidays with my husband. Our favourite place in the UK is the Lake District. Abroad it is Lindhos, Rhodes in the Greek Isles.
Unfortunately I don't earn a fortune but I live in hope and I get top PLR from the libraries.

What are you writing now?
I've almost finished an historical romance set in the 15th century called Enslaved By the Witch's Daughter. It's set in Cheshire, on a ship, France and Yorkshire.
My hero is a merchant adventurer called Jack and my heroine is a widow, Lady Anna Fenwick, who has been accused of being a witch. It's hard work but great fun.

What kind of clothes do you like to wear?
Urrgh! I spend most of my days in jeans, tracksters, t-shirt or jumper and walking socks at my desk but I do enjoy dressing up when I go out to the odd party or when on holiday. Then I'm prepared to wear what my husband likes, lacy, slinky tops, skirts or frocks. One of my favourite dresses is long, sleeveless and white with ultra modern small black patterns in it. I also enjoy fell walking and am happy in walking trousers, boots sweater and waterproofs.

Are you in love? Have you ever been?
I fell in love with my husband when I was sixteen and couldn't stop thinking about him which wasn't good for my GCEs exams. We still hold hands after almost forty three years of marriage.

Do you have a dream lover – and what does he look like?
I used to have a dream lover years ago when I was writing for HMB in the late eighties. It was a bad time in my life. My widowed mother and widowed mother-in-law both had dementia and my husband and I were completely stressed out.
This faceless man, who was probably one of my HMB heroes would come and sweep me off my feet. Generally the sea was in the background can imagine the rest.

What kind of comfort food do you like best?
Bacon and egg, fish and chips, orange cream filled chocolates or whisky cream ones.

What makes you laugh? Cry?
Sadly I don't laugh as easily these days as I used to but generally it's a sense of the ridiculous. Something completely daft where I'd say this couldn't happen but I still find funny. I don't like slapstick, or John Cleese's Silly Walk or Faulty Towers. Ronny Barker in Porridge I enjoyed and Morecambe and Wise. I don't find the
new comedians funny - The Office didn't make me laugh at all but perhaps that was because I couldn't relate to it these days.
Crying is easier. I was near to tears today when two characters in my book were saying farewell. I get upset when I read about young soldiers getting killed in Iraq. There's been several from Merseyside killed in the last year. I used to weep reading letters sent home from soldiers during the Great War.

What do you do to amuse yourself when not working?
I swim, walk, talk to friends, I go to church, and I watch a lot of telly with two of my sons, especially nature programmes and Have I Got News For You, as well as detective programmes, such as Morse, Poirot, etc. I also lunch with my sister
and I enjoy garden centres, listening to music and reading.

What is it in a man or woman that turns you on? The clean version please!
A certain smile.

What do you hate about life?
The certainty of suffering and death.

What do you hope to achieve in life and when will you know that you have been a success? I've had twenty two books published and that's more than I ever dreamed of so I'm happy about that but I'd love one of my adventure romances made into a film. If that was to happen then I'd be made up.

What are you going to write next?
A saga called Tilly's Story set in the early 1920s. I've written a one page synopsis and my deadline is 1st Jan 2008, so I've a lot to do once I finish the one I'm writing now.

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