A warm welcome to this week’s Spotlight Author, Lillian Francis.
Tell us a little about yourself.
Hi, I’m Lillian Francis. I’ve been writing gay romance for several years, my first novel was published in 2012, and considering that was 5 years ago (!!!) my back list is small. Yes, I’m a painfully slow writer.
I concentrate mainly on contemporary stories, but I do have several historicals in my huge WIP folder just waiting for the time to be written and researched—you know, when I manage to clone myself.
I’m British, a massive comic book geek, and I like Marmite. Surely there’s nothing else you need to know…
What are you working on at present? Would you like to share a snippet?
With less than 12 weeks until Christmas my muse has decided that I want to write a Christmas story. I don’t even have enough to provide a snippet, so watch this space to see if I even get close. If not Christmas 2018 will be sorted!
Is there a book you wish you had written?
There are a couple, actually. Eleventh Hour by Elin Gregory. The Spectred Isle by KJ Charles. (Confession time, I just typed aisle and that is a whole different story about a haunting in a supermarket. “Clean-up crew to aisle 4. Ectoplasm ejaculation. You’ll need the supermop.”) And my first ever m/m read, Snowball in Hell by Josh Lanyon. And maybe this explains why I have so many historicals in my WIP folder but I’ve never actually come to finish and publish them. Because these are the titles I hold myself up against and I find myself lacking.
Do you have any genres you prefer reading, and if so what are they?
These days I’m mostly about gay romance in some form or another. I always loved historical and mystery stories in my teens and twenties, so to find these with gay characters and relationships that don’t end in tragedy is like catnip to me. As for non-m/m reads I tend to stick to historical fiction these days. Or non-fiction. Oh, and comic books, of course.
Are any of your characters based on you or people you know?
Mal from Resistance. Mal (Malik) is a Pakistani Muslim, born and raised in West London. Gay but also attempting to be true to his religion as he perceives it. When you write a character that is not a part of your personal culture or heritage then you need to be mindful of what you have them say and how they present themselves. And the best way to do that is to base them on a real person. Or in this case two real people that I’m happy to call my friends; both Muslims, one gay, one straight, one who eats bacon and drinks alcohol by the bucket, one who won’t touch anything unless it’s Halal, but will partake in the occasional tipple. Luckily, they also didn’t mind me fact-checking, or questioning their beliefs and how they applied Islam to their everyday lives and how that often required a compromise. Mal is one of the characters I’m most proud of.
Do you have a favourite character and/or book you’ve written? Who, what and why?
I have a particular soft spot for Tyaan from Theory Unproven. I’ve no idea why, out of all my characters, he makes my heart ache, but he does. Oh, and Shawn from Just Hanging Out, because he has a past that is barely hinted at in the book and that I might just write one of these days.
Are you a panster or a plotter?
This one is easy. I’m a pantser. I have a vague idea of setting, an even vaguer idea on plot, and possibly one or two scenes (normally from the middle of the story) and then I write around it. To start with my characters rarely have any names or characteristics, I let them flesh themselves out.
Do you write often? Do you have a schedule?
I wish. I generally get to write for an hour to a couple of hours in the morning before I go to the evil day job.
What are your writing and personal goals for 2017 and beyond?
I have a short story, Barefoot, that is being packaged for re-release. It was originally in the Dreamspinner Taste of Honey anthology. This is my only guaranteed release for the rest of 2017. If the Christmas story gets written I will self publish that in December. For 2018 my main goals are to publish my first historical, Under the Radar, and write the 3rd novel in my Village Love series, which will be Trevor’s story. I intend to get all of my backlist in paperback before next year’s UK Meet, and I’m also toying with the idea of possibly publishing one of my backlist in audio.
Are you obsessed with stationery? And if so, what and why?
There are people not obsessed with stationery? Notepads and pens. Any pens, all pens. I have more Sharpies than I know what to do with. But Fountain Pens, I salivate over Fountain Pens. (They are such an obsession that I have to capitalise them.)
If you could choose any superpower or magical ability, what would it be and why? What would you do with it?
Cloning, with a shared consciousness. So I could write all these WIPs.
Thank you for sharing with us today.
Lillian Francis is a self-confessed geek who likes nothing more than settling down with a comic or a good book, except maybe writing. Given a notepad, pen, her Kindle, and an infinite supply of chocolate Hobnobs and she can lose herself for weeks. Romance was never her reading matter of choice, so it came as a great surprise to all concerned, including herself, to discover a romance was exactly what she’d written, and not the rollicking spy adventure or cosy murder mystery she always assumed she’d write.
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