Hello fellow bookworms and page turners. Today’s post, is an interview with the lovely Diana Pharaoh Francis. I am very thankful to her for giving me the opportunity to interview her for my blog.
Diana Pharaoh Francisis a very successful writer of fantasy with several amazing series including: The Horngate Witches series, The Crosspointe Chronicles, and The Path trilogy and her most recent series The Diamond City Magic series.
But that’s enough from me, let’s hear from the Diana herself… so bring on the quizzie questions!.
Please introduce yourself to our readers, and tell us you tell us a little about your early writing experiences?
My name is Diana Pharaoh Francis, and yes, that middle name is real and not made-up. Weirdly enough, it’s of British origin, not Egyptian. Which totally makes sense when you look at my picture. Obviously anything but Egyptian. I’d fry like an egg in the Egyptian sun.
My early writing experiences didn’t really involve a lot writing. I did some, but mostly I did a lot of storytelling. I consider myself a storyteller now, more than anything else. I love getting acquainted with my characters and exploring their lives and accompanying them on their journeys. I didn’t start actively writing fiction until my twenties, and then I published a few stories. My natural writing length is longer, so I wrote a novel, then a second one, then a third one. The first two were practice. The third was Path of Fate, my first novel.
When you are writing do you have any specific methods to remain inspired, and deal with writers block when/if it occurs?
A big one is to just get in front of the computer and write. But sometimes the story doesn’t want to come. I try to write quickly to stay ahead of all those demons that say I’m not good enough and chew at my confidence. I listen to music, I read, I walk, and most of all, I try to engage with my characters. To really dig in and sink into the world. Once there, my imagination usually grabs me and starts to run with me. I also have to fight distractions at that point. Twitter, Facebook, blogging . . . I have to stay focused on writing or I’ll lose that fragile connection and have to start all over sinking into the story.
Since releasing your latest novel “Edge of Dreams” earlier this year, have you taken a break, or are you looking to move in a different direction, before cracking on with the series?
What’s this thing you call a break? No, I have several contracts and so I’ve been working on the third book in the Diamond City Magic series. It’s coming along well and I’m having a ball. After that, I need to write a fourth one, then another in my Crosspointe series, two more in my Horngate Witches series, and some side projects I’m working on. With the kids home for the summer, I’m slowing down. I think I need a few more days in a week. Can anyone do that for me? Please?
Where do you draw your inspiration in order to write strong and interesting female lead characters, do you do this by building them on real life experiences?
I just like strong women characters. I love Ripley in the Aliens movies, and Sara in The Terminator. I loved Elizabeth Bennett in Price and Prejudice, and the many amazing women characters throughout literature, history, and the world.
I do draw on real experience, insomuch as I’m acquainted with some amazing people and I will borrow from them. And like all writers, I’m a magpie. I watch everything and collect all the little details I might be able to use later. I don’t use wholesale people I know. First, it’s hard to turn them into characters, and second, I don’t need to get sued.
As a reader of Fantasy I love immersing myself in a new world that is different to our own. Obviously as a storyteller this takes a great deal of time, effort and not to mention research. what is your approach to world building? and do you keep a journal or sketchbook, as part of this process?
I do keep notes and wikis on my own worlds, and I keep notebooks and notes on my computer. Jay Lake, who has tragically passed now, said of his writing process that he could keep his world and the details in his head for about three months. So he wrote fast to capture it. I have found the same true for me. I write as fast as I can. Of course with a series, that means I have to have those notes, and reread the old books. I love when readers talk to me about my books so I can remember things that they hooked into that I might not have paid enough attention to.
I do a lot of research on all my world building. I dig into the details of a place or a job to really understand how it works so the details will feel real. For instance, I’ve recently been researching how to breach a wall with explosives. I’ve learned all sorts of things about what would be the best option, and how, given the reinforcement of the building. I asked military demolitions experts, watched videos of military and law enforcement breaches, read up on explosives, and learned all I could. Because of that, I could make the scene vivid and real. Hopefully I’ll be able to use more of that information in another book. Even if I don’t, it’s totally worth it.
If you could bring one of your novels to the silver screen, which one would it be, and who would play the lead character?
I think I’d like to see Bitter Night made into a movie. With modern CGI, the apocalyptic magic would be amazing. I also would love to see these characters come to life on the big screen. For Max, the lead, I would have her played by Tricia Helfer. I think she’d capture Max’s intensity, her passion, her anger, and her skills.
Do you think that the illustrated cover plays an important part in the book buying process?
Oh yes. We judge books by their covers. I’ve been fortunate to have good covers, but some have not. Basically a cover intrigues, makes you want to know more and find out what’s happening in the illustrated scene. Some writers have such wonderful fans that only their name on the cover will do the trick, rather than an illustration—Stephen King, Nora Roberts, and so on. For people who haven’t read my books, who don’t know if they like my writing, the cover might help them pick me out of the vast choices before them. I certainly hope so.
And finally what are you reading at the moment?
I just started a mystery. It’s called Island of Lost Girls by Jennifer McMahon. In the very beginning, somebody dressed as a white rabbit kidnaps a little girl. What a hook, right? It’s not a comedy. So far it’s pretty good.
If you wish to find out more about Diana , you can follow her on Twitter, and have a look at both the her Official Website, all of which are listed below.
Until next time, read more books..