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. Shattered Lies was released by Black Opal Books on Oct. 24th, 2015 and is available at all on-line retailers and independent booksellers.
“In celebration of the launch of my debut novel, I’m offering a free book giveaway. To all those who leave a comment during my blog tour at my website, you will automatically be entered into a drawing to win a personally autographed paperback copy of my debut novel, 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 at my website and drop me a line with “Giveaway” in subject line at:
Be sure to leave a valid, working email address in case you win. 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 time to request your mailing address to send you the printed copy of Shattered Lies.
Tell us about this book:
SJ: Shattered Lies is a book about a family and the aftermath of what happens when long buried secrets and lies surface. It may be labeled by the publisher as women’s fiction/mainstream, but for me, it is also a contemporary, family saga, an epic that can be read and enjoyed by anyone alike.
Kate Thayer wants to know the truth, but some secrets are better left alone….
She has a good life as a veterinarian, running the family horse farm—until she uncovers an act of unimaginable treachery by those she trusted most and learns that everything she knew about herself was a lie. Her paternal grandmother, the woman who raised her, is behind a number of devastating secrets Kate is compelled to discover. But the deeper she digs, the more betrayal she finds, changing her life in ways she could have never foreseen.
Who did you write your book for?
SJ: Simple. For everyone that enjoys reading. For everyone that reads this blog post. For everyone that enjoys a great story that will cause them to think, feel and wonder.
Is there a central message in the book?
SJ: Not intentionally. No. I always believed that people are all basically the same. Good and bad. No matter where people are, who we 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”? In the end, love covers a multitude of sins. In the end, it’s all about family.
If you had to choose, what would you say is the single most important idea you’re sharing in your book that is really going to add value to the reader’s life?
SJ: To remind everyone that each and every one is important. No one is better than anyone else. When all is said and done, we’re all basically the same.
There are two sides to every story and in this novel, the reader will see two sides to a long standing family argument that reflects society’s beliefs. What happens to Kate Thayer in Shattered Lies can happen to anyone. We’re all different, unique, and we should each appreciate that fact without basing it simply on what we see. No matter how bad your life is, someone else’s life might be worse.
If you could compare this book with any book out there we might already be familiar with, which book would it
be and why?
SJ: Interesting question, Linda and I wish I could answer that. I tried to find other books to compare mine with and so far, I haven’t been able to.
Tell us about the central characters in the book?
SJ: There’s Kate the veterinarian and her grandmother Katherine.
Tell us your most rewarding experience since publishing your work?
SJ: I just received a book review from someone that is following me on my blog tour. She read my book and posted an in-depth review. Her entire family read and enjoyed it, even her two teenage children. Her mother who isn’t easily impressed gave me an A+. I never had a follower before. I was, am very honored and flattered beyond words.
If someone wrote a book about your life, what would the title be?
SJ: Caution: Expect the unexpected.
How would you describe your writing style?
SJ: I’m a pantser. I’ve tried being a plotter. I’ve tried planning. I’ve used notebooks, charts, index cards even writing software. None of them worked for me. I would wind up getting distracted, bored, or frustrated trying to plot or plan when all I wanted to do was begin the story. For me, I have to put the story down first, and then let it evolve from there. After the draft is done, I go back and fine tune everything, adding details from research as necessary.
Who influenced your writing the most?
SJ: Every writer I’ve read has had an influence somehow on my writing, including the guest authors I’ve hosted on my writing blog, but the biggest influence was an author who helped me regain my passion for writing when I thought I had lost it. When I needed encouragement the most, the late, great Jackie Collins told me, “Keep your writing passion on fore.” She was a fantastic story teller. She was an inspiration. She had a passion for writing that was contagious and will be sorely missed. If not for her, I don’t think I would have written Shattered Lies.
Are your characters pure fiction, or did you draw from people you know?
SJ: I never write about real people, not a chance, but my characters, some of them are a composite of the many people I’ve encountered in my life. Others are pure fiction. I’ve always enjoyed observing people. I still do. That helps with my character creation.
Are you more of a character artist or a plot-driven writer?
SJ: I’d have to say that for me, my characters come first. Once they’re “breathing with life” they tell their own story.
Other than selling your book, what do you hope to accomplish with it?
SJ: Easy question. I’d like to have touched someone and hope that something I wrote somehow made someone think, perhaps act on someone else’s behalf, especially a harmless, innocent animal, or kept a writer writing when they felt like quitting. My goal is to write twenty novels and donating part of my proceeds from each book to a cause that is close to my heart. That is where I’d like to see myself.
For Shattered Lies, I will donate ten percent of the book’s sales to the Polycystic Kidney Foundation in order to help the fight against this insidious disease that strikes both children and adults. Polycystic Kidney disease causes kidney failure in a great many patients and plays a role in Shattered Lies. For more information about this insidious disease: http://www.pkdcure.org
Who should buy this book?
SJ: The good thing about Shattered Lies is that it could be read and enjoyed by anyone. It may be labeled women’s fiction/mainstream/family saga, but that is just a label placed on it by the publisher. As the incoming reviews attest, anyone can read and enjoy it.
Want to read a book unlike any other? Want to read a book that will pull at your heart strings? Want to read a book that will keep you turning the pages? Shattered Lies is for you. In Shattered Lies, the reader can expect an awakening of the senses, high-charged emotion, controversial language, and thoughts.
Where can readers find you and your book?
SJ: Shattered Lies is currently available for sale at on-line retailers and indie booksellers. If you can’t find it at your local bookstore, ask them if they can order it for you. For those in Mississippi, it can also be found at the B. S. Ricks Memorial Library in Yazoo City in the Adult fiction section.
Feel free to contact me by phone or email with any questions. I look forward to speaking with you soon.
My Black Opal Books Author Page: