Today’s Writers On Reading Blog Interview is with Canadian author Francis Guernette. Francis has spent most of her life on the west coast of British Columbia. She lives with her husband and finds inspiration for writing in the beauty and drama of their lakeshore cabin and garden. She has a graduate degree in Counselling Psychology from the University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. She has worked as an educator, trauma counsellor and researcher.
The Light Never Lies is her second novel.
Francis has the most amazing view from her deck which obviously inspires her writing.
As circumstances spiral out of control, Lisa-Marie is desperate to return to Crater Lake. The young girl’s resolve is strengthened when she learns that Justin Roberts is headed there for a summer job at the local sawmill. Her sudden appearance causes turmoil. The mere sight of Lisa-Marie upsets the relationship Liam Collins has with trauma counsellor, Izzy Montgomery. All he wants to do is love Izzy, putter in the garden and mind the chickens. Bethany struggles with her own issues as Beulah hits a brick wall in her efforts to keep the organic bakery and her own life running smoothly. A native elder and a young boy who possesses a rare gift show up seeking family. A mystery writer arrives to rent the guest cabin and a former client returns looking for Izzy’s help. Life is never dull for those who live on the secluded shores of Crater Lake.
Set against the backdrop of Northern Vancouver Island, The Light Never Lies is a story of heartbreaking need and desperate measures. People grapple with the loss of cherished ideals to discover that love comes through the unique family ties they create as they go.
And now lets’ find out about Francis’ reading habits …
1. Which books do you most vividly remember from your childhood?
I remember my little brother reading The Gingerbread Man to me over and over – he was six and just learning to read and I was the older sister forced to listen. “Run, run as fast as you can. Can’t catch me, I’m the gingerbread man.” Believe me, I wanted to run! To this day, I remember the names of the animals in the Tarzan of the Apes series – Numa the lion, Manu the monkey, and Histah the snake. My mom read us several of these books as bedtime stories – obviously she chose her own favourite reading material.
2. Who are your two most favourite fictional book characters? Tell us what you love about each of them.
Gandalf in Tolkein’s, Lord of the Rings – though it is hard to think of him now without seeing Sir Ian McKellan’s depiction. Gandalf embodies the wisdom of countless ages with the humility of one who is always just starting out.
Calum MacDonald in Alistair MacLeod’s book, No Great Mischief. We see him mostly as the adult he became – a down-and-out alcoholic, living out his last days in a skid row Toronto room. But MacLeod manages, in only a few brief passages, to make Calum one of the most memorably heroic characters I’ve ever encountered.
3. Who is your favourite literary villain? Why?
Raistlan in the DragonLance books by Weiss and Hickman – he starts out as a red wizard, one who spans the balance of good and evil but eventually he leans towards the dark side and ultimately returns to balance. He is the quintessential, complicated bad-guy and a character who taught me that in good writing – bad guys aren’t all bad and good guys aren’t all good.
4. If you could invite any five writers to a cosy dinner party who would you ask and why?
My cosy dinner would be a who’s-who of Canadian women writers, living and past. Mavis Gallant, recently deceased at 92, a short story master would be present because I have so many questions about how to manage that genre. Margaret Laurence, who created the fictional community of Manawaka to house her wonderful stories, would have a place of honour. I want to ask her about the manner in which she connected all her books back to this community. Margaret Atwood would be invited, simply so I can listen to her wonderful voice and hear her laugh. Eden Robinson, a west coast writer, would drop by. I want to her to tell me how she injects such a mystical quality into her writing. Elizabeth Hay would round out the group. Her writing manages to move through time frames and diverse settings with an ease that I admire. I’ll get her talking about that, for sure.
5. What book has made you laugh out loud?
A book by Terry Fallis, entitled The Best Laid Plans (recently made into a CBC TV series) about a young man who attempts to leave politics and take up a university teaching position only to find himself drawn back, through a hilarious set of circumstances, into the political arena. This book had me wiping tears of laughter from my eyes.
6. What book, or scene from a book, has made you cry?
I cried at the end of The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway. I won’t even attempt to explain – the book must be read and savoured and no doubt, you too, will cry and understand.
7. Is there a genre of book you’d never read? Why?
I’ve never read erotica. Sex scenes that don’t stay in the white spaces of a book bore me.
8. What are the top three books in your TBR pile?
Luminaries – The Man Booker Prize winner for 2013 – by Eleanor Catton
The Orenda – A Giller Prize longlist pick and a Governor General’s Literary Award finalist – by Joseph Boyden
419 – The Giller prize winner for 2012 – by Will Ferguson
Connect with Francis:
Francis blogs over at http://disappearinginplainsight.com and maintains a Facebook author page. Please stop by and say hello.