TQ: Welcome to The Qwillery.
Francis: Thanks for having me. It’s a pleasure to be here
TQ: When and why did you start writing?
Francis: I started briefly in 2003. I was struck down with ME and desperately bored of daytime TV, and couldn’t afford many books. So I tried my hand at writing down some of the stories in my head. Sadly, the ME got worse and I had to give up for 3 years, but came back to it in 2007 and decided to do it properly.
TQ: What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
Francis: I have to have everything set out before I start. Tea has to be there, definitely! I can write almost anywhere though, I don’t need silence, although if my husband is watching a film in the same room…Also, I don’t stop during drafting. Instead I insert notes such as XXthis pub needs a nameXX or XXresearch guns! Could he hit that from here?XX and go back, search for XX and fix those later. First, I just need to get the story out, or I get bogged down and don’t get anywhere.
TQ: Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Francis: A pantser, definitely. I start with A Character in A Situation and go from there. I usually have an idea about tone or atmosphere, and perhaps a detail or two about the world. Everything else grows as I write it.
TQ: What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?
Francis: Not procrastinating for sure! I’m fine once I sit down and get the first couple of sentences out, but getting to that point…my husband says he can tell when I’m at a tricky section of the book, because I start doing housework with more zeal than usual.
TQ: Describe Fade to Black in 140 characters or less.
Francis: Fantasy noir – Bladerunner with mages instead of replicants. Dark and cynical, with a twisted kind of hope.
TQ: What inspired you to write Fade to Black?
Francis: Like most of my ideas, it wasn’t just one thing. A combo of wanting to write something different (for me anyway) – first person, male viewpoint. Add in a non fiction article I read, a random comment on a forum, various other influences and bang. It’s never just one inspiration for me – it’s when they all get together and mash up that it gets fun.
TQ: What sort of research did you do for Fade to Black?
Francis: Not much, to be fair, other than all the fiction I’d read previously – researching story if you will. I did a little into early guns and electricity, that’s about it.
TQ: Who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?
Francis: Rojan was the easiest. He just kind of fell out of me. It probably helps that we’re both cynical – me not so much as him, I’m glad to say! But it did mean I got to unleash my inner snark. Jake was perhaps the hardest. She’s a very self contained character, but underneath…she’s burning with injustice, not for her, but for the people she loves. At the same time, she’s desperate for approval from the Goddess she believes in utterly. She’s survived a lot, but what it’s left her is very messed up in the head.
TQ: Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in Fade to Black?
Francis: I think the scenes where Rojan meets Pasha and Jake, though any scene with Dendal in was hugely fun to write.
TQ: What's next?
Francis: Oh, I’ve got a couple of projects on the go, but nothing I can talk about yet! Possibly more stuff set in the same world…
TQ: Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.
Francis: Thank you!
About Fade to Black
Fade to Black
Rojan Dizon 1
Orbit, February 26, 2013
Trade Paperback and eBook, 384 pages
From the depths of a valley rises the city of Mahala
It's a city built upwards, not across - where streets are built upon streets, buildings upon buildings. A city that the Ministry rules from the sunlit summit, and where the forsaken lurk in the darkness of Under.
Rojan Dizon doesn't mind staying in the shadows, because he's got things to hide. Things like being a pain-mage, with the forbidden power to draw magic from pain. But he can't hide for ever.
Because when Rojan stumbles upon the secrets lurking in the depths of the Pit, the fate of Mahala will depend on him using his magic. And unlucky for Rojan - this is going to hurt.
The cover for Before the Fall (Rojan Dizon 2), which will be out in June:
Last to Rise (Rojan Dizon 3), the final novel in the trilogy, will be published in November 2013.
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