S. J. Francis is a freelance writer with over three hundred publication credits, a University Lecturer with doctorates in English, Mass Communications and Law, and most recently, a novelist. Francis writes for many publications, as well as regularly contributing to the local newspaper. Francis’ background also encompasses working as a television producer. A frequent traveler, Francis has resided in thirteen states and three countries. A confirmed bibliophile, when not writing Francis can be found reading a good book, or spending time in the outdoors. Francis currently lives in Mississippi, where a major part of Shattered Lies takes place—but grew up in New York City, where the latter portion occurs—and has a great respect and fondness for both places, and considers the world a notebook full of endless ideas. Francis’ first novel, Shattered Lies is a women’s fiction/mainstream/family saga novel. The family dynamic is a never ending source of ideas and Shattered Lies is no exception. As in all the stories Francis writes, in the end, it’s all about family. Future projects include a sequel to Shattered Lies and a novel about the dynamic relationships in Hollywood.
Interview with S.J. Francis, Author of Shattered Lies
by Linda Thorne
I understand that when you’re not lecturing or writing, you enjoy reading a book while sipping a glass of wine. I have a few variations of red in my wine rack and some chardonnay lightly chilled. Would you like a glass of wine while I ask you some questions? If so, what is your preference?
SJ: I’ll have a glass of chardonnay, please, Linda.
I am so fascinated by your travels, your three doctorate degrees, your college lecturing. With this type of background and the fact that you grew up in New York City, I’m perplexed about how you came to live in Mississippi. Can you tell us about how that happened?
SJ: I found Mississippi quite by accident when I was looking for a place to set Shattered Lies. I love traveling. I’ve lived in so many beautiful cities, small and large. I always had a fascination with the South. Most people may head to Florida, but I’ve never been like most people.
Mississippi is a very beautiful state, but not many know that. It is mostly rural. The wildlife is abundant. The sunshine is a constant. Winters are milder than anything I’ve ever experienced. It hasn’t yet been inundated by the Northern commercialism that plagues so many other states. It’s my type of place. There’s a laid-back, easy-going atmosphere that at first to a former New Yorker is maddening, but after a while, it grows on one. It grew on me.
You must’ve been writing a long time to have publishing credits galore, but yet Shattered Lies is your first novel. Something had to have inspired you to write it. Will you share that with us?
SJ: I have more ideas in my head to write than I could ever possibly write. The idea for Shattered Lies came to me in July 1999. I didn’t aspire to write a book back then, but hoped to do so one day. Life just kept getting in the way. There was no inspiration for Shattered Lies. It was just an idea, a one line sentence I came up with, a what if. Shattered Lies was always going to be set down south. I just never knew where until I moved to Mississippi. When I moved there, Shattered Lies basically wrote itself. I always believed that people are all basically the same. Good and bad. No matter where people are, despite sex, color, religion, what have you, when it is all said and done, we’re really all the same. What if I pushed that question into a “perfect Southern family”?
Please tell us about your lead character, how you came to create her and why you think she is the right choice to take your story line from the beginning to the end?
SJ: As with the rest of Shattered Lies, choosing Kate happened on its own accord. She was the first character that came to mind. She was the character that the book was about. It was a natural choice. The end result would never have worked with another character.
Will there be a sequel to Shattered Lies? If not, do you plan to publish more novels and if so, what is your motivation for either the sequel or other novels?
SJ: Yes, Linda, there is a stand-alone sequel to Shattered Lies. In fact, I already have a first draft. When I finished Shattered Lies, the characters kept talking. They had more to say. I had no choice but to continue the story. The same is for my work in progress, which is a story about friendships and family in Hollywood. I also have a draft for a sequel to that one.
I’m a writer. I have to write. Before it was short stories and articles. Now, it is books.
I understand you’re an avid reader. Are there certain authors you favor, or do you read across the board?
SJ: I read everything and anything I can get my hands on. I’m a bibliophile since childhood when I used to take a dozen books out of the library at a time, and yes I read every one. There are so many authors I enjoy reading, but my favorites have to be Jackie Collins, John Grisham, Heather Neff, Charles Dickens , John Steinbeck and Toni Morrison.
Thank you S.J. Francis. I’ve truly enjoyed this interview and feel certain others who join us will too. Would you like me to top off that glass of wine?
SYNOPSIS: Kate Thayer has a good life as a veterinarian running the family farm until she confronts an act of unimaginable treachery by those she trusted the most. Her paternal grandmother, Katherine, the woman that raised her is behind a series of secrets she is compelled to follow. Colored employees, headed by matriarch, Maddy are actually her mother’s family. Her mother died in childbirth and despondent, her father shot himself. Worse yet, neither set of grandparents wanted a mixed raced baby, though Katherine kept her because she was “white”. Faced with these revelations, she discovers she has a twin sister and goes off to New York City in hopes of meeting her. Once there, Astrid spurns her.
The next day, Kate awakens in her hotel and collapses. She’s rushed to the hospital. Upon being notify, the two grandmothers fly separately to New York City on the same flight.
Astrid finds the journal that Kate left behind in her apartment and has to speak with her only to find that Kate was rushed to the hospital. Once there, Astrid confronts “her family”. Each grandmother blames the other for what has happened. The family learns that Kate has a hereditary disease. In a riding accident two years before, Kate was left a widow and hospitalized. As a result of emotional and physical pain, Kate developed an addiction to the painkillers. Can it be related? As expected, emotions run high. What happens next? What is to come from all of this? Does Kate die? Does her family come together for her, or fall apart? The truth is revealed within the pages as Shattered Lies comes to a head.
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Book Giveaway for Shattered Lies by S.J. Francis
In celebration of the launch of my debut novel, Shattered Lies, I’m offering a giveaway. To all those who leave a comment during my tour from October 17th to December 10th 2015, at my website, you will automatically be entered into a drawing to win a personally autographed printed copy of Shattered Lies. Two copies are available, giving two of you a chance to win. To keep up with my stops on my blog tour, please visit my website.
Just leave a comment during at my website with “Giveaway” in the subject line along with a valid e-mail address at: http://www.sjfranciswriter.com
Good luck and thanks so much for stopping by. It’s always my pleasure to connect with other authors and readers.
FYI: The drawing will take place at the end of my blog tour on Saturday, December 12, 2015. I will contact the winner at their email address at that to request your mailing address to send you the printed copy of Shattered Lies.