Tell us about you:
How long have you been writing?
I wrote my first poem at age eight, inspired by the novel Bambi. At twelve I submitted a short story to McCalls magazine about a girl who could not afford a white graduation dress and how she finally got one.
How did you get started? Tell us about your journey to publishing.
My journey has spanned many years and included working on the school newspaper, writing and publishing academically, working as a magazine editor/writer, writing professionally including political speeches, legislation, brochures, newsletters, and research papers presented at conferences nationally and internationally. Finally, visions of retirement appeared at the end of the tunnel and I began to write fiction, primarily for ‘tweens and teens. This segued in novels for adults and award-winning -poetry for children and adults. My award-winning short stories have appeared in various anthologies. I have had agents and editors, but after the economy crashed, I turned to independent publishers to make life easier and to insure that my many books would all be published in multiple formats.
Tell us about your book(s). What inspired you to write it/them?
My first book, Fat Girls From Outer Space is a ‘tween novel for girls (and boys) between 10 and 14. Its theme is self-image (in this case obesity), bullying, navigating seventh grade, and the fickle world of friendship. Inspired by my own childhood experiences and that of two friends, I wove a fictional story of one girl’s journey through the treacherous waters of childhood obesity and her realization that she has talent and brains to outsmart the bullies and conquer her own poor image. (Sleepytown Press)
The next two ‘tween novels for ages 8-13, are a two-book mystery series featuring a continuing character who is strange and sometimes otherworldly. Who is this weird kid that only other kids can see and who appears out of nowhere and knows things he shouldn’t? A character who helps Willie figure out what lurks in the cellar in The Mystery Under Third Base, and Alex prove he did not murder his hated math teacher in The Mystery of the Green Goblin. I put my favorite genre, mystery together with a wonderful age group, ‘tweens as the inspiration for these books. (Sleepytown Press)
The Book of Mysteries is a YA fantasy trilogy in one volume for ages 11-17+, featuring two adventurous boys from New York City who find a disappearing bookstore, a weird bookseller and a magical book. They are transported by magic into the stories where they must fulfill a dangerous quest before they can return to the bookstore: that is if it is still there. Tyler and Zack must battle a dragon and unmask a wizard in The Wizard’s Revenge, fight marauding enchanted gargoyles and a witch in The Gargoyles of Gothica, and in The Centaurs of Spyr, they must convince the Centaurs to stop a war between Griffons and Hippogriffs to save the world of humans. The inspiration came from my love of fantasy adventure. (World Castle Publishing)
In The Calling of The Flute, an historical romance, takes place in 1898 in Lithuania. Hannah rejects the traditions of her Jewish heritage and loses the love of her life. Facing attacks by Russian Cossacks and the conscription of her young brothers by the Tzar’s army, Hannah embarks on a harrowing journey to the other side of the world to save the boys and find a new life for herself. Will the itinerate flute player, Eli, whom she meets along the way be able to replace her first love, and give her the happiness and life she craves? Readers from 10 to adult will appreciate the young woman’s search for her own identity and the freedom to chose her own future. I was inspired to write this book based on family stories about my grandparents. (Sleepytown Press)
A novel for women, Gaia’s Gift tells the story of Rachel who loses everything she cherishes in a boating accident off the Southwest Florida coast. Consumed with survivor’s guilt and grief, Rachel, an herbalist who believes in protecting a living Earth, turns her back on the world and retreats to a secluded island. There she plans to live out her life in isolation with only her cat for company, until a sudden storm sends her a gift from the sea. Rachel makes a choice and realizes that there is sometimes a terrible price to pay for our decisions. Will the man who finally enters her life bring her love or destruction? A novel of love on many different levels, Gaia’s Gift has paranormal overtones as the spirits of the past watch and wait for the outcome. This book idea came from my granddaughter, Rachel, at age nine, and adapted into an adult novel. (World Castle Publishing)
Reflections is a book of over 100 poems that follows a woman’s path through six decades of life from childhood to the early elder years. The book is my memoir in poetry, but it is also “everywoman’s story” because so much is universal. (Sleepytown Press)
Coming in a few weeks, One Amber Too Many is a chapter book for emerging readers ages 6/7 – 9/10 about a nine-year-old girl who plots to get rid of her future young stepmother. Every plan backfires until Gillian realizes that this Amber is probably here to stay. Filled with pathos and humor, the book will relate to children touched by families separated by divorce or death, and the issue of a step-parent invading their lives. Inspired by the children I have known who experienced divorce and subsequent significant others in their parent’s lives, I felt it was a current theme in too many children’s lives. (World Castle Publishing)
What inspires you to write? Do you have a particular song or mood that carries you through?
I write because it’s second nature to me. I’ve always read and always written, words are part of me, it’s as easy as breathing.
Who is your favorite character and why?
I don’t have one particular favorite character, because my reading as well as my writing is so eclectic. If I were forced to choose, I would say Scout Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird, because she questioned and thought about the answers. I also love Jack Reacher in Lee Child’s novels. He’s the hero figure who is good and wants to help, but always seems to get into trouble for his deeds. I think Grandma Mazur in the Janet Evanovich series is a terrific, feisty senior lady who seems so oblivious to the havoc she causes. Besides who wouldn’t love someone whose hobby is going to funerals and creating a scene. She’s a laugh-out-loud character.
What made you decide to write a book?
It just seemed to be the final chapter of a lifetime of writing.
Who are the writers that inspire you the most?
Robert Frost and William Shakespeare for poetry. Dean Koontz for his beautiful writing and metaphors. JK Rowling for her outstanding characters, vocabulary and scenes in the Harry Potter series. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle for bestowing on us the world of Sherlock Holmes. And onward…there are so many, where to even begin.
Where do you get your inspiration?
Sometimes inspiration comes from other people, but most of the time it just shows up in my brain and takes hold.
Women’s History Month Questions:
Who are your favorite women authors and how do they inspire you as a writer?
I have a long list of contemporary women mystery writers who write character-driven novels of female heroes, which I love. Harper Lee for painting the children just right in To Kill a Mockingbird. Margaret Mitchell for the classic Gone With The Wind. Maya Angelou, poet and writer supreme. JK Rowling, someone to aspire to when writing for children.
Tell us about the women who have shaped your world., whether it be a family member, teacher, friend, or celebrity.
Jeannette Steigman, my ninth grade English teacher at Jordan L. Mott/ JHS 256 in the Bronx, NY who gave us all an amazing foundation in grammar and writing. She was a kind, caring woman who really listened to kids. She made the classroom a safe place for us all to learn and express ourselves.
Eleanor Roosevelt, an amazing First Lady and a woman in her own right, who made the world a better place. I first heard her speak at the United Nations in New York on a sixth grade class trip, and she has had a profound impact on me since then. She was a woman who overcame a learning disability, loss of her parents at a young impressionable age, and dealt with other personal and familial issues, to become a strong First Lady and speaker, despite her disability. After the death of her husband President Franklin Roosevelt, she came into her own as an advocate for women in the workplace, racial equality, and human rights.
All the women in the suffragist movement who overcame extraordinary adversity and worked tirelessly for 80+ years, most of whom never lived to see women vote.
My grandmothers who undertook harrowing journeys to find a new life in America. If it were not for their pioneering to an unknown world over 100 years ago, I, my children and grandchildren would not be here today. So thank you Bella Gitterman and Pauline Chall for your indomitable spirits. Rest in Peace.
What is the one writing tip you want to pass on to others?
Keep writing and get those words down on paper, you can always rewrite and rewrite and rewrite. Keep the faith. You have the ideas, let the words flow and believe in yourself. Don’t let the vagaries of the publishing world get you down. There are a lot of ebook and indy publishers out there who are looking for authors. In any of the arts, a minute number make it to the top, but that doesn’t mean your work can’t be published and read. Keep learning from workshops, conferences and writing groups, but most of all get the words down.
Just for fun
Are you a night owl or early bird? What time of the day works best for your muse?
I am definitely an early bird when I write, but my muse works best at night.
If you were an animal what would you be and why?
I would be an eagle, soaring above the world, unaffected by the petty things below, unless it’s furry and moves on four legs.
Favorites: color, food, season, music, movies, books.
Color: yellow, Food: chocolate, Season: Fall, Music: Bluegrass, classical, jazz, Movies: adventure, fantasy, Books: mystery, intrigue, horror, courtroom drama, police procedurals
Thanks so much for joining us this week, Fran! If you would like to win a free E-book copy of Gaia’s Gift by following this link:a Rafflecopter giveaway
Website – www.franorenstein.weebly.com
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