Hello everyone! Today I want to to welcome to the blog, Bil and Bon Franks! They're wonderful writers and lovely people, and I just know you'll all get along very well!
RUNNING OVER RAINBOWS
HIDDEN BY THE ROSE: http://museituppublishing.com/bookstore2/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage.tpl&product_id=640&categor
Marion: Welcome to the blog, you two! Tell us a little about yourselves.
We are Bil and Bon Franks, authors of a four-book saga we call “Twilight of Magic.” Marion’s covers are shown on this blog, along with buy links for the first two, the ones that have been published.
Bil: I hail from a town called Holbrook, a score or so miles from Boston. I joined the AF as soon as I graduated high school and rose to the lofty rank of Technical Sergeant. For fifteen of my twenty years I was a small-arms instructor. After retirement, Bon and I moved to the area near Austin, Texas so I could use my GI Bill to attend UT Austin, home of the Texas Longhorns. My greatest pleasures are reading Fantasy (mostly dark fantasy and some humorous) and being an armchair athlete . . . notably martial arts, football and golf.
Bon: I am a country girl, born and raised in a small town in Nevada. I attended the Univ. of So. Calif., where I earned a few degrees in English and Comparative Literature. My several careers have taken me from the classroom to the marketing/promotion end of the newspaper biz, to the car lots of new and used vehicles, to the garden centers of a big-box store. My biggest enjoyment, until I began to write seriously, was my yard (landscaping, growing roses). Now I get a tremendous pleasure in creating stories for young and adult readers too.
Marion: What was the first book you ever read that really blew your mind, that you couldn’t stop thinking about after you’d finished?
Bil: I think it was The Mysterious Island by Jules Verne. It was his version of the Swiss Family Robinson, with the surprise twist *SPOILER ALERT* that Capt. Nemo—yes the Nemo—was the benefactor of the castaways.
Bon: I can’t recall the first one. But I remember being blown away by Watership Down by Richard Adams. In a sense (now, looking back on it), that ingenious book may have inspired Jay Feather and the dwarf clans deep in their underground enclaves in our book Children of the Dust.
Marion: How do you start thinking about a book? Is it the characters that first pop to mind, or the setting, or the plot? Where do you usually start?
Bil: Characters always drive the story. Others may start with a story and then invent certain cast members, but not me.
Marion: If you could invite five writers, living or dead, to dinner, who would they be?
Bil: I would rather that writers spent their time writing. Therefore, authors would not be top of my list as dinner guests. But highly skilled amateur dinner guests (and yes, I suppose secondarily writers) like Dorothy Parker would make the cut.
Bon: I’d love to chat with Geoff Chaucer, Bill Shakespeare, Emily Dickinson, Seamus Heaney and Michael Chabon. Notice these names are pretty skewed to the poetical. Even when my fave writers are not poets per se, they write sheer poetry.
Marion: When was the last time you just had to write, and what inspired that feeling?
Bon: The last time was a few days ago, when our computer crashed. I suppose because I couldn’t write, I just had to! I should note that the only way I can seem to write is from my brain to my fingers to the keyboard. I long ago lost any ability to write longhand. Too slow!
Marion: Oh, I know how that is. As soon as I don't have any way to write or sketch, I start itching to it! What is your absolute favorite sentence--just one sentence--from your book? Why?
Bon: From Running Over Rainbows: Bending to the ground, I placed the little spray of flowers next to his grave. It would soon break apart in the moving air, petal by petal, as natural as the wind itself.
Here, the elderly Aunt Marrie has gone to the grave of her long-dead husband to leave a memorial. But true to her nature, the flower she places there is a sprig of wildflower, its beauty and meaning embodied in its very transience.
Marion: What one scene do you think you spent the most time editing? What was it about it that you couldn’t seem to get right?
Bon and Bil: The final chapter of Where Wild Ponies Ran . . . We re-wrote that several times. It had to contain Caylith’s farewell to a loving friend, as well as her welcoming of a new one. It had to shut the door on the past, greet the present and hint at the future. But it could not give away Caylith’s choice. Because her choice was to be the beginning of a whole new series of books, and the reader had to be left on the threshold, wondering, along with Caylith.
Marion: What’s the one thing you wish you were good at, but just can’t seem to master?
Bon: Gawd, I’d give about anything to be able to sing. But I’m tone deaf. From a very early age, I sang along with all my parents’ records. Also when very young, I memorized dozens of different operatic arias from my dad’s albums and sang them endlessly. Baritone? Tenor? No problem! To this day, I’ll get on a singing jag and go through twenty different arias, from Carmen to Rigoletto, any voice range at all. And never, ever in tune.
Marion: Again, I'm right there with you. I so wish I could sing well, but I keep trying even knowing I can't. *G* What’s your favorite book title?
Bil: Of another writer, Stranger in a Strange Land. A title from a play within a play, Romeo and Ethel the Pirate’s Daughter (from the movie “Shakespeare in Love,” itself from the play written by Tom Stoppard). And, from our own books, my favorite would be Hidden by the Rose, because of its martial arts innuendo.
Bon: Mine is Where Wild Ponies Ran. The phrase is spoken by Caylith. She’s expressing her grief that her first love interest has left, taking the ponies with him. But the wild ponies come to stand for Caylith herself—her wild nature, her unbridled spirit—and the place they run is Ireland, her untamed new home.
Marion: What project are you currently working on?
Bil and Bon: We’re toying with some stories that will delve into the “faerie” nature of the little people in Ireland. Of course, Jay Feather, scion of the Feather Clan of dwarves, will figure prominently. Bon wants to write a book about St. Patrick that includes the character Benignus, supposedly a young man taken in by Patrick and later made a saint, who had a singing voice like an angel. Bil is sketching some ideas now on a ‘tween-teen book about the grandson of Marco Polo . . . how he took the discoveries of his grandfather to drive the Renaissance.
Marion: Oh, they all sound fun! And you two sound busy. *nods* What did your “favorite” rejection letter say?
Bon: I can almost quote it. The lit agent expressed her despair that our query letter had been in their spam file for almost a year . . . The pub thought it had great merit . . . Did we still want them to consider it? We wrote back that the book had already been signed—along with three of its companions—by MuseItUp Publishing, thank you very much!
Marion: Is there a writer whose style or talent you envy? What is it about their writing that draws you in?
Bil: Roger Zelazny gives enough information about his cast to draw you in, without over- explaining.
Bon: For a contemporary author, I choose the versatile Diane Nelson/Nya Rawlyns/Kennedy Streath. I am drawn by her ability to write poetry while writing prose. Her sentences often take flight like butterflies, or sometimes like guided missiles, loaded sometimes with beauty, often with metaphor, always with poetic nuance.
Marion: Wow, guys! You both have such wonderful perspectives. It's been great having you here, and I can't wait to see what you two come up with next! Any parting words?
Marion Sipe, we want folks to know what a gem you are. You have the ability somehow to “see” the spirit of a book and put it into a cover. All four of “The Twilight of Magic” series covers are a sheer delight. It would be very difficult for us to choose a favorite, because each one of them tells a story all by itself and compels the viewer to read the story.
Thanks for letting us be your guests today. We enjoyed this a lot!
Marion: Aw! You guys are too sweet! Thank you! And thanks for coming to share with us today! Readers, you can win a FREE copy of the first book in this wonderful series just by commenting and leaving your email! And you can find Bil and Bon on the web in the following places:
Children of the Dust and
Where Wild Ponies Ran from MuseItUp in 2013