What’s your favorite meal?
Pizza and prosecco! And unbelievably there’s a restaurant in Amsterdam (De Pizzabakker) that specialises in those very things. I always have to explain to people that isn’t the reason we moved here. Well, it’s not the only reason!
What color represents your personality the most?
Great question. I would say pink, because it comes in many different shades and some are soft and sweet, while others are bold and brassy. I have many different sides to my personality and pink seems to capture all of these.
What writing are you most proud of?
Without a doubt my first collection of short stories, Shy Feet: Short Stories Inspired by Travel, is the writing I am most proud of. It’s very pure, insofar as it doesn’t fall into any specific sub-genre and I didn’t write it thinking about how well it would sell. I just wrote it from the deepest, warmest part of my heart and I think that’s why so many important-to-me themes are interwoven in the stories - childhood, love, loss, family, regret, freedom.
Location and life experiences can really influence writing, tell us where you grew up and where you now live?
Location is so closely connected to writing fiction for me. I love stories that give voices to a place. I’ve read so many books that create main characters out of a city or town and I’d love to be able to do the same one day. In fact, my next book is a collection of short stories set in London, which is where I lived for most of my teenage and adult life, not including time “up north” in Yorkshire for university. I still think London is the most multi-faceted city in the world and I have loved setting different stories in its many different corners. However, I actually left London in October 2011 because I wanted to travel and somehow two years later I ended up now living in Amsterdam, another city I have fallen in love with. I’m already planning a collection of stories about Amsterdam!
Do you plan to publish more books?
Yes, absolutely. I’m editing a collection of short stories about London and I’m planning a collection about Amsterdam. I am also halfway through the first draft of a novel, which I’m finding very different from writing short fiction - there’s so much more planning, thought and plot-tracking required. I hope to have at least two of these books published in 2014.
What else do you do to make money, other than write? It is rare today for writers to be full time…
I have many different jobs! I freelance as copywriter and researcher, and I also earn some (small amounts of) money as a blogger and travel writer. As a copywriter, I work with brands, companies or professional individuals to write great content for their blogs, websites, brochures or other materials. Research is what I used to do before I went freelance and I basically provide open source research support to a small number of clients I have worked with previously. The blogging and travel writing is very sporadic and could never pay all of the bills, but it does give me some great opportunities to travel. For example in the last few weeks alone I’ve been to Norway and Dubai for travel writing jobs.
How do you write – laptop, pen, paper, in bed, at a desk?
I have a small desk and a laptop, connected to a monitor and keyboard. Writing as much as I do, moving away from just a laptop and to a better set-up, has helped a great amount to improve both my posture and my output. I have a cork pinboard hanging on the wall above my monitor where I have some of my favourite photos and quotes on display, including a postcard with four pretty portrait photographs of Anne Frank which always move me when I look at them.
Tell us about your new book? What’s it about and why did you write it?
Shy Feet: Short Stories Inspired by Travel is a collection of short fiction inspired by different types of travel. All the stories are completely fictional, but I’d be lying if I said that the places, the people and some of the experiences are directly influenced by my own travels. There are twelve stories in the collection and they are all very different, yet have at their core similar themes: travel, love, loss, companionship, the lessons we learn on the many different journeys we embark on. I would also say that many of the characters are a little quirky - like we all are deep down - and I really enjoyed writing narratives that are from so many different viewpoints; old, young, male, female, happy and sad.
How do you feel about self-publishing?
I feel very passionate about self-publishing, which is still something of a surprise to me seeing as I only really embarked on it myself because I thought getting a collection of short stories traditionally published would be too hard. The more I’ve learned about self-publishing - or author publishing as some like to call it - the more I realise that there is no shame in it whatsoever, in fact, the opposite is true. If you successfully publish a book that is as widely (or more widely) appreciated as a traditionally published work, then you should feel incredibly proud.
For me, there are two truly wonderful things about self-publishing. Firstly, there is so much creative freedom to write want you want, when you want and how you want. Of course, it’s not as simple as it sounds and you still have to be savvy about the business side of things, but ultimately indie authors can create their own brand, one that is true to their own vision and one that has all the time in the world to grow and prosper. Secondly, I feel like indie authors are much more in touch with their readers, or at least they are leading the way on how authors should be better connected with the people who buy and enjoy their books. As both an author and a reader, I enjoy this dynamic very, very much.
Of course, there are downsides to the growth of self-publishing - for authors and readers - but in my opinion they are so minor and insignificant compared to the huge strides and achievements that are being made. I’m very proud to be part of a community that is actively changing the publishing industry, for the better.
How often do you write? And when do you write?
I try to write everyday but I’ll come clean and say it doesn’t always happen. Because I write in my “day job” as a freelance copywriter and blogger, I do have days when I have a lot of work on and the thought of tapping out another 1000 words after a 10-hour day of writing or editing just makes me feel too exhausted. Sometimes when I have days like that I just have to walk away and relax so I can recharge my batteries for the next day, but other times I do just battle through it. With this in mind, I usually get most of my writing done at the end of the day, after dinner or in the late afternoon. I also write a lot on Sundays.
As I start to take my fiction writing more seriously I’m considering switching my schedule around so that I begin the day with my writing or editing as I’m much more of a morning person, but I just have to be careful to keep up with my freelance work because that’s what pays the bills. Ah, the realities of a wannabe author!
What genre of books do you adore?
I love contemporary fiction; these are the classics of our time. I enjoy any modern fiction that breaks the mould either by its writing style, the way it’s structured or simply its subject matter. I also love well-written memoirs or biographies; these are my favourite kind of non-fiction books. On a simpler level, as a reader, I love any kind of fiction - old, new, genre or not - that holds your attention from the beginning to the end and leaves you a little breathless after you’ve read the last word.
"This collection of stories is like a blanket woven from 100% wanderlust under which you can hide as Frances M. Thompson tucks you in with her words and keeps you warm with her descriptions of characters you'll love and places you can tell she knows by heart." Gesa Neitzel, www.bedouinwriter.com
Shy Feet: Short Stories Inspired by Travel is a collection of twelve quirky, charismatic and touching tales of travel.
The inquisitive Ruth tells the story of The Lost Children of Gatwick Airport and in Max's Holiday we learn what a seven-year-old boy considers a "proper holiday" to be. In The Flowers Sleep Tonight, we meet Thomas and Carly, two solo travellers whose paths keep crossing... because that's exactly what Thomas wants. A spontaneous plan to elope is revealed in The Runaways and Homes from Homes is about the lessons Patricia learns from the hotel bellboy she has a fling with. Oh, Henry is the story of how a dream holiday can mean two different things to two lovers and Katie's Maps is an offbeat love letter to a vast collection of maps. Extracts from a travel journal tell one woman's life story in All the Beaches are Made of Pebbles and find out what Australia and underpants have to do with Claudia wanting to leave her husband of forty years in The Road is Long.
From the unforgiving Australian Outback to the jagged beauty of the Amalfi Coast, along the pebbled beaches of Brighton & Hove and down the busy streets of late night Barcelona, this collection of short stories highlights how travel intersects and enriches all of our lives, often without us realising it...
"Shy Feet: Short Stories Inspired by Travel transports you to exotic locales without leaving your armchair and leaves you wanting more... Frances M. Thompson has a novel in her and I can't wait to read it." Nathalie Harris, www.acooknotmad.com
Genre – Short Stories, Contemporary Fiction
Rating – PG13
More details about the author