What is the hardest part of being an author?
Hands down, I find the first few weeks after a new book release the hardest part of the author life. It is as if I have tossed a newborn baby out on the sidewalk and now I wait for readers to notice and react. I am haunted by doubts and questions. Will readers value this story I have poured so much of myself into creating? Will they understand what motivates these characters that I have become so close to over the time taken to create this novel?
Can you give us a short synopsis of Maelstrom?
Maelstrom is a fast-paced thriller that unfolds over the course of one blistering hot week in August, 1976. The setting is the fictitious, American town of Haddon, which is held under the thumb of the brutal Sheriff Bert Calder. Main character, Myhetta, a young man of mixed heritage and a troubled background, has been charged by his adoptive father with the task of destroying Mayor Amos Thatcher. The man pulling the strings is Rafael Destino, the rich and powerful third Lord of Casa Destino – a sprawling estate that perches on a rise overlooking the Haddon valley. Rafael believes Thatcher is responsible for the death of his beloved sister, Serena. Much is at stake and a cruel game is set in motion that pits fathers against sons and draws the innocent as well as the guilty into a vortex of violence.
What inspired you to write this book?
The story behind writing Maelstrom is almost as interesting as the actual novel. When I was a child, I often heard the sound of my mother’s Remington manual typewriter well into the wee hours of the night. She was writing a book and the idea of that always fascinated me. It set my mother apart from the moms of my friends. My mother wrote all of her life and though she returned periodically to her book, I never heard of a finished version. Years after her death, I came into possession of a large box that contained over 2000 typewritten pages. This was her work on Maelstrom. It was a massive amount of material and much of it was first draft notes, ideas, false starts and alternate plot lines. I went through every page in a process of breaking the story down to its bare bones. Then the rebuilding began. In the end, the book became my own though haunting bits of dialogue and flashes of my mother’s wit and storytelling skill remain. I thought to be the ghostwriter of my mother’s book but in the end our roles were reversed. She became the ghost in the pages of my novel.
How many hours per day do you spend writing?
It varies. When I’m in the creative stage, I may spend ten to twelve hours per day on the work. It is hard to let go of the story at that point. Rewriting, editing, proofreading and formatting require a more paced approach and I slow down to a regular work day of six to eight hours for those tasks. Intense periods of writing work are interspersed with time off to garden, cook, travel and spend time with my children and grandchildren.
Name your top five favourite books.
My tastes are constantly evolving. Over the past weeks, I have been immersed in Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch novels. Connelly is a genius when it comes to creating a hero for the long haul and there is much to learn from his way of constantly developing Bosch’s character and keeping him fresh for readers. I enjoy the detail oriented writing of authors like Robert Harris (his latest novel, An Officer and a Spy is brilliant) and Dan Simmons (Terror – historical retelling of the Franklin expedition and The Crook Factory – the exploits of Ernest Hemingway in Cuba during World War II – would definitely hit my favorite list). I loved Game of Thrones – but who doesn’t? Hunger Games is a great series of novels that have been brought to the big screen with a good deal of authenticity. I also enjoy Philippa Gregory’s strong female characters in her historical Tudor period books. I read across many genres always looking for that one ingredient that means everything to me – character development.
What are you working on now?
I am in the storyboarding and planning stage for the fourth book in my Crater Lake Series. Set on the rugged west coast of Canada, the first three books have revolved around the lives of the adults and young people who live on the isolated shores of fictitious Crater Lake. As one reviewer has said, “… there is something for everyone. Love, sex, lust, greed, spirituality, sacrifice, death, murder, life … the list goes on and on.”
Author: Francis Guenette
Genre: Action / Thriller
A shot is fired into the still night air and a young woman dies on Suicide Ridge. A dangerous game has begun. Over the course of one blistering, hot week, winds of change sweep through an isolated valley in small town America.
Sheriff Bert Calder, with the help of Mayor Amos Thatcher, has held the town of Haddon under his thumb for twenty-five years. As things spin out of control, Calder works the angles, ensuring he can make the most of the upheaval that is to come.
Rafael Destino, facing his own mortality, races against time to gain control of the railroad – a lifeline essential to the town’s survival. His goal – to financially destroy Thatcher, the man he believes responsible for the death of his beloved sister. His tool – adopted son Myhetta. But how far down the road of revenge will Rafael push the young man who owes him everything?
Myhetta is poised on the edge of controlling Destino Enterprises, the job he has been groomed for. While money, power and influence are his to command, the past continues to torment him.
In a clash of powerful men, with fathers pitted against sons, no one will be left unscathed. Maelstrom is a page turner that speeds along like a runaway train.
Francis Guenette has spent all 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 off-grid, lakeshore cabin and garden. She has a graduate degree in Counselling Psychology. She has worked as an educator, trauma counsellor and researcher. She is the author of three books in the Crater Lake Series. Maelstrom is her fourth novel.
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/francisguenetteauthor/377139735716267
Twitter – https://twitter.com/FrancisGuenette
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