Welcome to Author Wednesday. Today I’m happy to introduce you to my guest author interview with Francis Guenette, author of Disappearing in Plain Sight, modern fiction with a splash of romance. Francis told me that Disappearing in Plain Sight “shows the characters grappling with the realities of grief and desire only to discover that there are no easy choices–only shades of grey.“
Hello Francis. I’m so happy to be able to introduce you and your first novel. This is a very exciting time for you, I’m sure. I’m always curious about when authors first allow themselves to say, “I’m an author.” So how about you? When were you first able to call yourself a “writer” or “author?”
Being able to self-identify as a writer or author has definitely been a process for me. And like so many identities I’ve assumed over the years, it’s about becoming comfortable in a new skin. When my first novel had been rewritten several times and edited within an inch of its life, I tried saying the words–I’m a writer. That experiment was done with a limited audience and in a tentative voice. Selling numerous trade paperback books in our small, local market has boosted my confidence. As I plunge into the editing process on my second novel, the sequel to Disappearing in Plain Sight, my voice does rise above an embarrassed whisper when I declare myself a writer and a published author
I’m happy you pushed through that hurtle. I does become easier. Rachel Carson (Silent Spring) said she never chose a subject because as a writer, the subject chose her. Describe a time when a subject chose you.
Just recently, this experience happened for me in quite a vivid fashion. I happened to hear a CBC podcast that described a serious car pile-up outside of Toronto. Survivor guilt affected the people who had been lucky enough to live through that traumatic event. The next day we were invited to dinner with a couple who live nearby. They took us on a boat trip around a few coves at the end of our lake. We got to see, close up, a large mud slide that had come down the side of the mountain two years ago. A story chose me through the juxtaposition of these experiences. It goes like this: a young woman who had survived such an accident, who experienced severe survivor guilt and trauma, makes her way to a family cabin on a remote lake to recover. The slide will play a dramatic role, causing her to fall back on resources she thought she had lost.
I always recommend to writers to simply read the newspaper for ideas. It’s amazing when that happens. Do you set your books in the place you live?
I certainly do. I have found it easier to move characters around a setting I’m thoroughly familiar with, but I know the settings I choose are about more than expediency. I have been molded to a great degree by the place I live–a cabin on the shores of a lake, surrounded by trees and mountains, knowing that a bear could stroll by at any time. These conditions determine what kind of stories I want to tell.
That’s great. It’s also very peaceful and quiet, I assume. That helps me create. Do you have a favorite character that you created?
In Disappearing in Plain Sight, there is a middle-aged woman named Beulah. She and her partner, Bethany run an organic bakery. Beulah is one of my favorite characters to write. She’s got this in-your-face energy. She says what she thinks, and she’s the quintessential tough-as-nails on the outside and heart-of-gold on the inside kind of person. I often find myself chuckling out loud over my keyboard whenever I’m writing in her voice.
I sometimes think characters of mine are a way to write about the person I’d like to be. What is the best thing someone could say about this book?
The best thing that anyone could say about Disappearing in Plain Sight is that the book made he or she think in a new way. I want to challenge readers’ preconceived notions about how the world works. I want readers to finish a book that I’ve written with the conviction that life is, indeed, complicated. I am also partial to people telling me that my book made them cry. Knowing a reader was that invested in my characters and the story makes me want to cry.
I agree–that’s the best, Francis. I’m so happy to get to know you and wish you best-seller success with Disappearing in Plain Sight and its sequel. Please come back when the second novel is published.
About Francis Guenette: Francis has spent most of her life on the west coast of British Columbia. She lives with her husband and dog and finds inspiration for writing in the beauty and drama of their lake shore cabin and garden. She has a graduate degree in Counseling Psychology. She has worked as an educator, trauma counselor and researcher. Disappearing in Plain Sight is her first novel.
Links to books and social media sites