Interview with M. Frances

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in rural King County in Washington State where teachers in the schools I attended either supported my accelerated literary curve or resented it. I was quick to spot flaws in adults who demanded unquestioning obedience and looked for every opportunity to play psychological games with them. I brought by 2nd grade teacher to tears, my 3rd grade teacher had a nervous breakdown, and in the middle of a P.T.A. meeting, my 4th grade teacher (a militant man), leapt up and shouted at my mother, "Do you know what your daughter did?" His complaint; I'd completed one of his pop quizzes, made sure he'd known it was finished, but when the papers were turned in I turned in a blank sheet with only my name on it. He tried to bully me into turning in my completed work, but I calmly assured him I'd chosen not to do the work. The level of his rage over such a trivial thing fascinated me. My kindergarten teacher was grandmotherly, my 1st grade teacher, Miss Toussant, taught me to read and write, my 5th grade teacher was young, and humorous, and my 6th grade teacher, Robert Snider, encouraged me to read and write. I was behaviorally good for them; my grades were exemplary for everyone. In the middle of 7th grade we moved and I became acquainted with "urban" schools and students. I resented the world and the world suffered for it, but I did make a few friends. High school was a series of amusing, sitcom worthy events made meaningful by the presence of Mr. William Longwell, a superlative teacher and man of words. If I could clone Miss Toussant, Mr. Snider, and Mr. Longwell, and set them in schools everywhere, we'd have smarter and happier kids and young adults. The frustration and pessimism I felt when encountering the urban educational attitude of slowing everyone down so that no one is "left behind" colors my work to this day.
When did you first start writing?
Literally, in First Grade. My mother read to me a great deal hen I was little, but when my 1st grade teacher taught me the alchemy of letters and words--they felt to me the way music feels to musicians. I began to write poems in 1st grade, short stories in 2nd grade, and by the time I was in 6th grade my class would act out my plays. This doesn't mean I was good then or now, but I was enthusiastic.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My most recent book, High School Sociopath, came to mind when I was telling a friend about one of the weird, but true, stories that happened when I was in high school. She was laughing and said I should write a book about my high school days in, apparently, an insane asylum. I knew one book would never be enough for that much madness, and there were names and places to be changed to protect the "innocent." So, High School Sociopath was born as a planned series of modified real life experiences.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
A publishing house liked one of my horror books, but a nasty divorce delayed my acceptance of their offer, and by the time I got back to them they had a new editor who invited me to begin the submissions process all over again. Immortal Syn received a favorable response from another company, but during the time they were considering it, they relocated. Apparently I, and many other things, were misplaced in the move. I thought I'd try bringing my stories directly to the public to see what happens.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
It's provided an easy-to-use platform from which to launch my books, and I've actually sold books. Quite frankly, it's made me a published, professional author and given me the incentive to write more. (I haven't quite my day job yet, but I'm happy.)
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Putting pen to paper and creating a world. Yes, I still write a great deal with my current favorite pen, a Pentel EnerGel, but I admit my computer is more convenient for large projects. I write even when no one is reading what I write because that's what I am, a writer.
What do your fans mean to you?
Even when no one is reading, I'm still writing, but when someone likes what I've written--it's a strange feeling. I'm flattered, pleased, and embarrassed simultaneously. We've all shared stories around a campfire, and it's that kind of feeling--enjoyment shared is enjoyment multiplied. Fans make it fun.
What are you working on next?
Even though Immortal Syn hasn't been out long, I've already been asked if there's a second book coming--and there is. Immortal Syn: Blood White Roses will pit Thorne Templeton and his Regulators against ImmSyn yet again.
Who are your favorite authors?
How much time do you have? Seriously. Okay, I'll probably miss someone in the list, but here goes. Ray Bradbury, Stephen King, Clifford D. Simak, Frederic Brown, Agatha Christie, Dashiell Hammett, Anne McCaffrey, Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, Patricia A. McKillip, James Patterson, Edgar Allan Poe, Ramsey Campbell, Peter Straub, Charles L. Grant, Greg Bear, Phillip K. Dick, John Saul, Ursula K. Le Guin, Larry Niven, Douglas Adams, Harlan Ellison, Daphne du Maurier... That's just off the top of my head. There are more, many more.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
There's always something new to read, new to write, new to see, new to hear. Let's go! We're burning daylight!
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Le's not count work. I enjoy reading, horseback riding, hiking. I like to explore ghost towns, visit haunted locations, explore old graveyards, and urbex. I'm quite often thinking about what I'll be writing later.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Not exactly, I was probably 7 years old, but I think it involved my pony, my dog, and my cat going on some adventure in the pasture at my house. I'm sure they all lived happily ever after.
What is your writing process?
I always have my pen and a notepad with me, just in case I'm inspired at the drop of a hat, but when I'm at home I like to put on quiet music (nothing with lyrics, just music) that fits the mood of what I'm writing, lock the door, open a bag of Doritos and a can of Diet Pepsi--and heaven help anyone who interrupts me.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I don't recall the title, but it was about a small bird, a wren, I think. What made it amazing to me was that it was a little story my mother read to me many times and at that moment I realized how she'd done it. For a six-year-old it was like unlocking the da Vinci Code. It was like having this secret world revealed. I didn't know the word for what I felt at the time was, but I do now--I felt empowered.
How do you approach cover design?
Cautiously, like it might bite. Seriously, I think about the main points of the story then try to think of a simple, eye catching way to present them.
Describe your desk
Cluttered, but I know where everything is.
Published 2014-02-11.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Wellspring
Price: Free! Words: 53,290. Language: English. Published: December 9, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Fantasy, Fiction » Erotica » Action/Adventure
A vacation on mystical Atlantis where her stunted magical powers barred access is a dream come true for Yule Fiori! But why was Magus Prosser Teomond so determined to have her accompany him, particularly when the politics of magic seemed to be the last thing on his mind? Destiny and desire clash on sun soaked beaches and in lush jungles as Yule unravels the mystery of her life.
Stars In Thrall
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 87,310. Language: English. Published: November 17, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Space opera
Time and space conquered, Earth is invited to join the Galaxy, but at what price? Each planet entering the Galactic Union must agree to forfeit a percentage of its ancestors to the thriving slave market. Sattyn of Earth, known as the Trader who built her reputation on her word, is betrayed and must submit to enslavement or fight for her place in a merciless Galaxy.
Remember Love
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 55,580. Language: English. Published: October 30, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Suspense
A midnight ride robbed Bay of her memories. Who can she trust when she can't remember her past? Will the man who loves her help her to recall their love before the danger she fled catches up and destroys them both?