G.P. Francis is a British-born, Canadian-resident writer, publisher and environmental scientist. His current works in print include a short thriller entitled “Vigi-Santees,” published in Fringeworks’ anthology, “Ain’t No Sanity Clause,” and the innovative and insightful cyberpunk novel, “Primed.”
What inspires you to write?
Friends and family members who ask me when the sequel is coming out ‘inspire’ (aka ‘guilt-trip’) me into turning off the TV and getting back to it. However, the reason I started writing for publication in the first place was to turn a negative in to a positive: there was a point when both my wife and I were chronically ill. Neither of us were able to work or do anything much beyond try to recover. The frustration of inactivity was really the fuel that drove me back to the keyboard in the first place, as I have enjoyed writing stories since I was about six years old. It seemed like the only pastime I was able to participate in (without suffering excruciating pain) that resulted in me producing anything of value or meaning. I tried knitting, but it’s not really my thing…. So, honestly, the biggest inspirations to write: illness; pain; frustration. Weird answer, maybe, but I’m one of those upbeat people who looks for the silver-lining around every cloud, and tries to never lose sight of hope that a negative situation can be turned around by an effort of personal determination, no matter how hopeless it seems.
Tell us about your writing process.
Most of my story ideas come from dreams; every so often, I wake up after a particularly vivid dream and grab my notepad, scribbling down as much as I can recall before the memory inevitably fades. Later, when I read my notes, OCCASIONALLY they make sense, et voila, a story is born. I draft a rough plot outline, then it’s just a case of dedicating the time to type it up, flesh it out into something resembling a story. Realistically, that means staying well away from the TV, at least until the first draft is finished.
The book title and character names are all up in the air, at this point, usually. Any name can change at any point prior to final publication. My first novel, “Primed,” had a different working title until I was three quarters of the way through the first draft, when inspiration struck.
I work on Word, which has enough features and ease of use elements to produce a professional manuscript, and is also indicated as the preferred format for uploading to Amazon and Smashwords. But that doesn’t happen until the first draft has been edited. Then proof read and edited again by an independent reviewer. Then edited again. Then sent out to beta readers. Aaaand then edited again….
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I would have to say I listen, rather than talk to, my characters. When I’m typing dialogue I try to ‘channel’ the character, allow them to say what they would say according to the nature I’d set out for them, rather than have my own personality influence it, but there is only so much I can do to avoid that. I’m not one of those writers that describes my characters as ‘part of myself’: usually, they’re based on people I know, or amalgamations of people, but it’s fair to say that, to a certain point, those characters are limited in terms of independence from my own personality to the extent that I’m able to imagine myself as a different person. Fortunately, I have a great imagination!
What advice would you give other writers?
None, unless asked! It’s such a personal process: what works for one person may not do so for another. The only universal advice applicable is that, if you feel like you want to write creatively then do it. Do it because you want to, not because you want to impress anyone, or become rich, or famous. Write, first and foremost, to please yourself. And then maybe one other person, at the most. Then forget about trying to please anyone else, which will make it a whole lot easier to handle rejection letters from publishers and negative reviews from readers.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
After having a short story published by Fringeworks, and getting a good idea of the involvement required from new authors to promote their own material, I did a LOT of research and asked fellow authors their opinions about self-publishing versus traditional publishing. I had my first draft manuscript for Primed formatted to send to EDGE, as it happens, but shortly before completing it I realized that for very little extra effort and no additional expense I could publish my novel myself, and retain rights and creative control over the story that would be lost through a publishing contract. The only benefits to a new author I could see, by going the route of traditional publishing, were editing, cover design and the acquisition of reputable reviews. Most publishers still expect unknown authors to undertake all promotional efforts themselves, which is really where the majority of the work lies, once a manuscript is finished.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think the future will continue to see a decline in the publishing industry, and a rise in the prestige of self-published novels. Right now, there’s still a stigma attached to self-publishing based on the fact that quality control over a finished book can be pretty lax compared to those tempered by a publishing company. However, a diligent writer can still produce a comparable-quality finished product without resorting to a publisher. Until publishers come up with another service they can offer that writers can’t (or can’t easily/affordably) obtain independently, they’re going to find themselves going the way of video-rental and bricks-and-mortar book stores. The internet is changing how people access goods and services. A lot of businesses are finding they need to evolve to survive the changing environment. Publishers are not exempt.
What do you use?
Professional Editor, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?
Speculative and Science Fiction, Thrillers, Fantasy
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print
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