Today, I’m joined by Diana Pharaoh Francis, who happens to be one of my favorite authors. We’ve also become friends, which has given me a chance to bring some interview questions to the table I don’t often get to ask–simply because I don’t (usually) know the author well enough. Onward, to the interview!
Thanks for joining me on my blog today, Diana. Lots of bloggers enjoy talking to authors about their writing style, their influences, and fiction. We’ll do that—a bit, but later.
Trillian: What is your day-to-day life like? What sort of things do you enjoy when you aren’t writing your books?
Reading, digging in the dirt, playing with rocks, and tangling yarn, and providing adequate service to the corgi boys.
Trillian: You have pet dogs. Tell us about them! And so we can maintain the illusion this interview has something to do with writing, do your dogs affect your books? If so, how?
Two corgis, Voodoo and Viggo, and as I said, I am servant to them. My husband likes to say that they are so spoiled they have maggots crawling on them. Personally, I don’t see it. Voodoo lays under my desk when I write and when I go into my office, he bounces around like I’ve made the Best! Choice! Ever! Viggo is more slothful and lays at the end of the desk and wonders aloud why I don’t spend more time petting him, and shouldn’t I go sit on the couch where he could be on my lap and oh, by the way, he’s hungry.
I have an idea that I want to put a pushy dog into a book soon. I’m just not sure when or in what book. Maybe a demon dog. Hmmmm.
Trillian: You love crows. Why do you love them? Have crows played a part in your writing?
I love all the crow family and their snarky relatives—magpies, ravens, jays. I like that their smart, mouthy, opinionated, and pushy. I love the studies on crows that show how smart they are and how well they remember people. They have such personality, too. I watched two crows chase a hawk away recently. They kept dogging it for miles. They weren’t content just to get rid of it, they wanted it to know it should never come back. What’s not to love about them?
Trillian: I love your Path books. What inspired you to write them? I guess there won’t be any more of them in that same world, will there? A girl can dream… right?
I’ve thought about returning to the world with some stories, but at this point, I don’t that I ever will actually do it. I really liked Reisil because she got to be Chosen and said no. I mean, who does that? Who gets to be selected by the powers that be for a special honor and ability, and then says, no thanks, I’m good. She also wasn’t particularly powerful or amazing. She’s pretty normal. She’s smart, though, and she’s loyal. I wanted to tell a story about how a girl could be chosen, and eventually come to accept her new role, and see what she made of it. What’s funny is that the first book I meant to stand alone. But then, after it was done, I kept wondering about something.
I’m a huge Babylon 5 fan, and there’s this episode called, “What ever happened to Mr. Garibaldi?” He’s a character who goes strangely missing and shows up again and this episode shows what happened. In my mind, after Fate was done, I kept thinking, whatever did the wizards do at Mysane Kosk? Then the answers hit and the books practically wrote themselves.
Trillian: Unbeknownst to the audience, we share a love of shiny rocks. What rocks are your favorite and why? Has your interest in gemstones affected your writing?
There you go with favorites. Like I don’t love and covet them all! I have a really cool piece of chalcedony geode that I dug myself. It’s a donut, with the chalcedony inside. (Chalcedony fluoresces under black light, btw). I also have a really neat cark red carnelian sphere on my desk with white quartz running through it light lightning. I love the flash of labradorite, too. Oh! I have some great tigereye runestones that I sometimes use for writing ideas.
I love the idea of these treasures in the earth and when you dig them, you hardly know what they are, most of the time, because they are just dirty rocks. I think that idea comes into my writing—that notion of not judging the book by the cover, as it were, because there may be amazing treasure inside. I have a little bowl of polished rocks I’ll play with when I’m feeling stupid and the words won’t come, and that sort of tactile fidgeting usually helps jumpstart me.
Trillian: We both love books. What types of books are your favorite? Who is your favorite author? What’s your favorite book?
I have no favorite author or book, to be honest. Too many choices. I love Jane Austen, particularly Persuasion. I love Dickens and Faulkner and Hardy’s poetry and Tennyson and Yeats. I love reading fun regency romances, magical cozies and mysteries, urban fantasy and paranormal romance—really all forms of fantasy. Some of my go-to writers are Patti Briggs, Carol Berg, Ilona Andrews, Laura Griffith, and Jaimie Lee Moyer.
Trillian: Are there any social issues you specifically address when you write your books? If there are, what are they and why do you include them in your fiction?
Not really. I mean, obviously issues will come up as characters interact. I don’t generally set about dealing with social issues, though my Crosspointe books do revolve around colonization and how that continues to play out over time. But really, any social issue that crops up usually comes out of a character’s situation and life.
Trillian: You have been sent into the future and you can bring one person (living or dead) and one object with you. This individual and your object will showcase Earth in the ‘modern’ era. Who/what do you bring with you and why?
Well isn’t that a ridiculously difficult question. The answer probably shouldn’t be Rush Limbaugh and a Big Mac, should it? Okay, showcase earth in the modern era. Whatever showcase and modern means. I think I’d go with, Jon Stewart and a surveillance camera. The latter because this modern earth seems to be all about watching and seeing and knowing and yet not doing a whole lot. And Jon Stewart because he captures a lot of the best of us, plus he would give a lot of perspective on our world today.
Thanks for having me today! Though now I want to ask you that last question and see what you would answer. So . . . go ahead!
Trillian: Well played, Diana. Well played. For my object, I would send a pair of my t-rex earrings. Why? Because as a society, we’re fascinated by weird stuff with little use that shows our personal style. That, plus I’d like to watch them try to figure out why the hell anyone would send a pair of t-rex earrings to the future. (My ‘useful’ object, if I had to send one, would be a tablet with wikipedia in its entirety downloaded to it. I’d write “Don’t Panic” on the cover.)
As for my individual, I would send Patrick Stewart. He’s one of the classiest celebrities I know, charming, sophisticated, and representative of what so many of us wish to be. While he’s famous, he’s the type of man who carries himself like a normal person–a normal person so many admire.
A recovering academic, Diana Pharaoh Francis writes books of a fantastical, adventurous, and often romantic nature.
She’s owned by two corgis, spends much of her time herding children, and likes rocks, geocaching, knotting up yarn, and has a thing for 1800s England, especially the Victorians.