Interview with Michael A. Franco

What motivated you to become an indie author?
I have loved writing (and reading) ever since I was a little boy. The power of the word to create new worlds to explore, to see a blank sheet of paper in front of me and imagine all the possibilities as it asks me 'where do you want to go--what do you want to say?'
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords has given me the ability to make my writing accessible to a broader audience. I have no idea whether there is an audience awaiting, who this will appeal to, but I hope it's you.

Still, if the audience is only my immediate family, so be it. I accomplished what I set about to do--preserving the lives of those I loved.

This process has also added a sort of permanence to my work, knowing that it will remain after my short time on this earth is done.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Trying to convey a setting, mood, feeling, and understanding of what is occurring and re-create in you--how it affected me;seeing the humor, as my father did, in the world around me.
What are you working on next?
I have just published a children's book entitled, "DUST MITES Nature's Garbage Collectors." It is available in ebook form through Smashwords, as well as in paperback form through CreateSpace and Amazon.com

Depending on the success of "Were You Born Stupid?...", I may undertake a sequel on the Franco family which shows the next generation coming on the scene.

I also have another children's book I'm working on about children using their imagination!
Who are your favorite authors?
I must admit I was blown away when I read Frank McCourt's "Angela's Ashes." I was inspired to write this book after I read his work.

Other authors whose writing I enjoy include John Steinbeck, Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, Lewis Carroll, Robert Frost, Bodie Thoene, James Michener, Ray Bradbury, and also Stephen King.

And of course, I cannot neglect my favorite book, the Bible, written by The Word.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Life is not for the faint of heart: it is sometimes brutal, but there is so much beauty if only you look and behold.

I enjoy taking in this beauty of God's creation and believe He, too, has a sense of humor when I look at some of the things He's put my family and me through.

I enjoy the process of creation through individual effort, imagination, and satisfaction with the final product.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
One of the first stories I ever wrote is mentioned in this book, "Born Stupid", entitled "My Father, the Janitor."

I also wrote another short story when I was in elementary school, 5th grade. It was a spy story, complete with a few characters. I don't remember what title I gave it, but remember my teacher told me I mustn't plagiarize from magazines or books.
I'm not sure she ever believed I wrote it by myself.
What do your fans mean to you?
Anyone who can relate to these stories is offered a very personal glimpse into my family, and growing up in much simpler times. As such, I feel close to people who understand and relate. Without you as my reader, of course, my message is void and goes unsaid.
I'd like to encourage anyone who will to post a review of my book, what you thought of it. Thank you for your support.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Mostly working at my job, in a Paralegal capacity.

When not at work, I enjoy plunking myself down in front of my Gulbransen piano and drifting away as I play classical music (usually very badly) for my own personal enjoyment.

I'm looking forward to retirement where I can continue writing and develop my artistic abilities in the area of sketching and painting, something I wanted to do since a child.
What is your writing process?
I usually brainstorm what I might say, then organize it into an outline, then flesh it out and embellish it.

Once I get to writing, inspiration and memories awaken me in the middle of the night. I jot down the sudden thoughts on a notepad I have by the bed and drift off to asleep again.

After many revisions, I feel it's safe to move on.

Some of the stories in this book, I have previously had published in 'Reminisce' magazine.
What do you read for pleasure?
I love anything by James Michener, the Bodie Thoene series "The Zion Covenant", Stephen King's books, as well as watching mystery stories made into movies or television by Alfred Hitchcock.
How do you approach cover design?
I tried to design my own cover but it proved inadequate. I finally turned to a competent professional in Laura Shinn, who does cover design for a living.

http://www.laurashinn.yolasite.com

Thanks to her, I feel I have an eye-catching cover which invites the reader in.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico, first in the south valley and then in the north valley. Albuquerque has a unique culture with Anglos, Hispanics, and Native Americans living side by side. It is a relatively laid-back atmosphere, most of the time.
When did you first start writing?
Ever since I first learned to write. My grandfather (my father's father) who abandoned his family early on (I am told) was a writer.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I just published a children's book about Dust Mites. Available through www.createspace.com (paperback version), Smashwords.com (ebook version), and at amazon.com (Kindle and paperback version).
I am fascinated by biology and especially about these little creatures who quietly go about their work, nearly invisible to our eye.
And you'll never guess what they love to eat?
Published 2015-12-03.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Squirmy Horsehair Worms: A Zombie-creating Parasite
Series: Strange Little Creatures. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 1,790. Language: English. Published: September 11, 2017. Categories: Nonfiction » Science and Nature » Biology, Nonfiction » Children's Books » Curiosities & Wonders
The horsehair worm is swallowed in larval form by an insect host. As the worm grows and matures inside the insect, the insect host seems to surrender its will to the worm. Three months later, the host, almost zombie-like, is compelled to seek out water. When the insect enters the water, the mature horsehair worm emerges from the host’s body wall---as a writhing, knotting, mass of hair-like worm.
Jerusalem Crickets, the Child of the Earth
Series: Strange Little Creatures. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 1,720. Language: English. Published: June 12, 2017. Categories: Nonfiction » Science and Nature » Life Sciences / Zoology / Entomology, Nonfiction » Children's Books » Reference
This relative of the cricket has been called ‘Woh-tzi-Neh’ by native Americans, which translates as "skull insect" or “old, bald-headed man.” Jerusalem Crickets attract attention because they’re large insects, and have a round, almost human-looking, baldhead: almost like a little baby face with a cricket body!
The Huge, Empty Box
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 1,480. Language: English. Published: February 16, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Imagination & Play, Fiction » Children’s books » Activity Books
Misty and Tyler were so bored!--until father brought them something left over from work. Guess what it was and what they made it into?
DUST MITES Nature’s Garbage Collectors
Series: Strange Little Creatures. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 1,970. Language: English. Published: November 18, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Children's Books » Science & Nature / Biology
Dust mites are tiny, almost microscopic little creatures that live in things where you spend lots of time-- like your bed, your pillow, on the comfy couch, and the shaggy rug. They are always hungry, but you’ll never guess what they hunger for, and what they munch on all the time?
Were You Born Stupid? Tales of an Hispanic-American Family
Price: $6.99 USD. Words: 95,290. Language: English. Published: August 2, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Biography » Personal memoir, Nonfiction » Entertainment » Humor and satire
“Were you born stupid?” is a phrase I often heard my father ask me as the eldest of his seven children. This memoir is of what now seems an enchanted childhood, written through a boy’s eyes, set in the 1950’s through 70’s, growing up in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA. It relates the trials and triumphs of a large Hispanic family, a life abundantly joyful, at times brutal, ever hopeful.