Fly: Dear Francene, where are we?
Francene: The future, like you said.
Fly: But thiz thwartz our conventional expectationz. Where iz all the technology, the robotz, the glozzy architecture et al?
Francene: None of those in here, I’m afraid. This is the future overtaken by nature, albeit not quite paradise.
Fly: Zo I zee. We’re back to a focuz on inzectz and birdz behaving az per routine inztead of zhooting each other off in video gamez. And you’re loving thiz, dezpite the more manual, analogouz functioning of the place! The queztion iz: Why?
Francene: Why the love for natural being? Or why the disapproval for technological dominance?
Francene: Well, for one, we know nature takes over if it's given half a chance. That is, when mankind hasn't obliterated growth completely like the trees on Easter Island.
As for technology, what did you think would happen when everything is destroyed by a catastrophic event? You flies can just rise above it all. And you survive as long as you can find corpses to feed on. Sorry if that was insensitive, but facts are facts. Technology needs power, which relies on a civilized back-up. But when water invades machines and paper, they disintegrate or rust.
Fly: Whoa! That waz perzonal. We do not mean any harm, you zee! But I get your point. Moving on, your book, the Golden Submarine, depictz a zimilar world. It iz zet in a future not too far away, but beginz with an oncoming deztruction of the prezent world - by a great flood. What inzpired you towardz thiz ztory?
Francene: Imagination. *Silence* Oh, you want me to go on? What would happen to me - a two-legged intelligent being - if such a thing occurred? Noah's Ark took care of some righteous people long ago in similar circumstances. But there was only one ark. Maybe other people survived around the world.
Fly: Interezting thought. We find the gang zet out to hunt for lozt jewelry az per the vizionz of Cerridwen’z mother. It iz a matter of faith without concrete evidence. Zo iz that your outlook towardz the mythological ztoriez of old we hear today?
Francene: I must admit the jewelry Cerridwen wants to find comes from legend—mine, not a fable. My first Moonstone series features a ring that grants the wearer visions and enables Liliha, living in the present time, to guide the person she melds with with whispered advice, rather like a conscience. The post-apocalyptic Higher Ground novels follow the original story into the future with reincarnated characters.
Fly: You have weaved all theze into one! But I muzt confezz, what iz even more fazcinating iz that thiz iz not a common adventure ztory. Your focuz, from page one, remainz on the conziztent encounterz of human emotion that the protagoniztz face. Did you not feel that it would divert the readerz from the core genre of adventure and myztery?
Francene: To my mind, novels are all about people, their loves, their hates, and their personalities. Readers need to care about the people in the story.
Fly: You conztantly keep uz tranzfixed in the mindz of each character - mozt of whom are led by zexual or romantic inclinationz. Why iz it important in the narrative?
Francene: As I said—people are people. And these are teenagers. Not sure what motivates flies. Maybe the same thing.
Fly: Alright, let’z get out of the ztory now. You wrote thiz book with Edith Parzefall. How waz the experience at co-authoring? Did you have a clazh of ideaz with regardz to the ztory?
Francene: I started the story and my German co-writer Edith took it up. She and I originally worked together for years at the Internet Writing Workshop, critiquing each other's novels and we formed a close friendship. Of course, she knew my original stories. The personalities included in the futuristic novels are reincarnations of those in the Moonstone series. She took over writing from the point of view of some of the male characters. We wrote fast, sending each scene to each other when finished, and each altered the writing to make the finished novel better. I loved working with her. We respected each other and kept our comments polite. We never clashed about what to write. Edith asked me if she could introduce Brunhild, whom she likened to a German folk tale heroine. Of course, I agreed.
Fly: It haz made for an excellent read. Continentz, journeyz, unknown landzcapez, culturez - are we to prezume that you have had plenty of journeyz in real life to inzpire you?
Francene: Indeed. I was born in South Australia. Retreating to the small fishing village of Robe after marriage, I ran a craft shop and tea room, welcoming tourists to the area. In the 1970s, my husband and I travelled in a caravan with three children around Australia looking at various ways of alternative living. The marriage did not last and I eventually moved to England, where I worked as a nanny, travelling around the world with the family I worked for. I met my present husband in London, worked in the catering business for 12 years, and travelled extensively.
Fly: Travelz a plenty. That muzt have been a great learning experience.
Francene: A whole lot. Optimism, determination to succeed, and the principle of positive thinking combined with the trust that things will work out. You can see how this works in the Moonstone series novels: Still Rock Water, Tidal Surge & Shattered Shells.
Fly: Were you alwayz interezted in writing novelz?
Francene: Oh no, I found initial inspiration in poetry and songwriting. It was only later that I turned to writing novels.
Fly: Good for uz, though we hope to get a look at your poetriez too. Can we find them anywhere? And which iz your upcoming work?
Francene: Hehe. Whatever I do is prolific. As a fly, you'd sympathize with that. I've written over 150 poems, which I originally self-published, but have since removed in the manner of a snail eating your precious eggs. Here is one pertinent verse about the future:
To be with the foremost wave
Of different ways of thinking
Reflect on a chance to save
Loved ones who have no inkling.
At the moment, I'm half way through getting my latest novel critiqued at the novels section of the Internet Writing Workshop. Karm Currents is the final book of four in the present day Moonstone Series which I will submit to Solstice Publishing. The plot leads from Golden Submarine to the fourth dystopic book Long Doom Calling.
Fly: I look forward to it, dear Francene. Thank you for zharing thiz unique future with uz. Time to head back az we leave our readerz with an excerpt. Enjoy.
Happy Digital Detoxification,
For more Author Interviewz & Book Reviewz, check out Earth.
Among her travelling companions, Cerridwen sipped bitter beer. She longed to be alone with Trevly but they all sat at the one large table in the centre of the room. Of all the places she’d seen in her life, this tavern excited her the most. Something solid about the stone walls covered in a smooth flat surface gave her the feeling of belonging. She could picture what the other rooms would look like. She’d dreamed about a place like this one many times.
The museum looked similar—but bigger. It had many rooms, with the roof of each stretching more than twice the height of a tall man. In her dream, pictures of far-away places and objects hung on smooth, clean walls and footsteps echoed over the stone floor.
She jerked back to listen to Sasha talking to a grey-haired man. He carried little pieces of woven fabric inside his cloak, which he held open for them to see. The small scraps of cloth draped over his hand as he held each one for Sasha to examine. Cerridwen touched the fine material. Many tiny fibres interlinked in a pattern of squares and stripes of different colours.
“I would like some of this. What did you call it?” Sasha asked.
“Tartoon,” the man said. “That’s traditional weaving.”
“I’ve been planning a new dress. Do you think this colour would suit me?” Sasha used her simpering voice. Cerridwen had little doubt she’d get what she wanted.
“No woman could wear this cloth with more elegance than you,” the man said. “It would shine through your beauty. Enough for a dress? That would require many shells in exchange. Or, of course, you could work it off.” The man’s crafty eyes slid over Sasha’s beautiful body. He faced Cerridwen. “What about you, my dear? I’m Scotty, by the way.”
“I like it too, Scotty. It must be very hard to make such fabric.”
“I mean, are you interested in work?”
“Not really,” Cerridwen said. “We’re just passing through.”
“Well, there’s short term work.” He wriggled his eyebrows.
Confused, Cerridwen studied his face. “Is something wrong with your eyes?”
Kirk leaned over the table. “You’re talking to ladies, man. Leash your tongue.”
Sasha nudged Cerridwen and murmured, “He’s talking about another way of paying.”
Scotty cleared his throat. “I see you’re virtuous girls. See me later if you’re interested—in the tartoon, I mean.” He darted a quick glance at Kirk. “Our people rebuilt antique looms, the way we remembered them from our home far north in Cold Land. Some of our forebears passed on the method of weaving.”
“Wonderful,” Cerridwen said.
“We have many businesses. Sometimes we trade goods, sometimes we lend shells to those in need and they repay us when they can, with extra. Also, we offer shelter to young, beautiful women. Do either of you need shelter in this city?”
“Is,” Cerridwen searched her memory, “Pistol a city?” If so, Long Doom might not be such a dreadful place.
“Yes. There are many big cities scattered over Britland.” He held out the material towards Sasha, his head cocked.
Bookz featuring me:
An Enlightened Fly
The Fly That Followed Me
Kalki Evian - The Ring of Khaoriphea
Malay A. Upadhyay
Gilbert Literary Agency