Saturday, March 17, 2012

Interview with Fran Orenstein

Thank you for doing this interview Fran and I would also like to remind readers that Sunday March 18 Fran and I will be doing a LIVE author chat with Lindsay Anne Kendal starting at 1pm EST. You can join us by clinking this link. Now Welcome Fran, lets's get started.

Would you like to tell us a little about yourself?
I grew up in New York city, Brooklyn and The Bronx specifically. It was a wonderful place for a child to grow up because the schools were terrific and there was so much culture available. I have had many roles in my life as daughter, student, wife, and mother, and have held many jobs. I was a single mother for a long time and am a proud grandmother of four.  After retiring from working for others, I decided it was time to be self-employed. The first was in the healing arts as a Reiki Master/Practioner, and now as a writer/author with my own company, Sunwriter, LLC.

What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life?
Raising children who are good, talented and smart, and who make the world a better place. The work I did for women and particularly creating The NJ Coalition on Women and Disabilities as a major change agent for everyone with disabilities in NJ, but specifically for women. The workshops and training I have done in gender equity and violence prevention that influenced others and enhanced opportunities for girls to achieve success as adults.

What inspired you to write?
My mother was a storyteller. I recall her stories of family lore, and the different spin she put on children’s fairy tales and stories. She was an inveterate reader and I grew up in libraries. I wrote my first poem around age eight after reading Bambi by Felix Salton. The book so moved me that I needed to express myself and chose to write a poem. That launched a lifetime of writing poetry and prose. I sent my first short story to a magazine when I was twelve. The strongest influence was my love of reading.

What authors influenced you as a writer?
It began as a child with authors like Felix Salton, (Bambi, etc.) Frances Hodgson Burnett (The Secret Garden), Laura Ingalls Wilder (The Little House on the Prairie series), moving on to Shakespeare and poets such as Robert Frost, Ray Bradbury, Daphne De Marier, Anya Seton, and today resides with Dean Koontz for his beautiful writing, Stephen King for his stories, Janet Evanovich and Christopher Moore for their humor, Ken Follett for his historical novels, and the myriad of other authors whose books I eagerly await every year, like Lee Child, Sharyn McCrumb, Kay Hooper, and of course the ones no longer here, like John MacDonald, Robert Parker, and John Creasy.

What is your favorite quote?
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I~I chose the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost.
I believe that following your own path leads you to exciting places others may never experience by following the crowd.

If you could jump in to a book, and live in that world, which would it be?
The World of Harry Potter. I would love to teach at Hogwarts, after all, I was born on Halloween.

What quality do you most value in yourself?
My wild imagination, the ability to actually place myself in the book as I write it, and the flexibility to go in another direction as my imagination takes flight.

What is at least one thing that every writer needs to have or do?
To understand language and structure, they must be a reader. 
To produce an excellent product, they must be willing to accept critiques and editing.
To be published, they must be confident in their writing, persistent in their pursuit of the gold ring, and have a boatload of patience.

Are your books different than your personal favorite books by other authors?
I write in a wide variety of themes, genres and ages. My favorite reading genres are mystery, political intrigue, courtroom drama and horror, but most of what I write does not fall into those categories. I also write for multiple ages and I wish I had the natural gift of humor in my writing.

What led you to writing in these genres?
I like writing for ‘tweens and teens. When I was a teen I loved historical novels and science fiction, and still do. As a kid I loved mysteries like The Bobbsey Twins and Nancy Drew. I always loved fantasy. Writing for kids in these genres is perfect. Now I’m writing for adults and stretching myself, because what I write is not what I generally choose to read, except with my book club, which has opened my eyes to other kinds of literature. However, having worked for so many years on women’s issues, I find that I enjoy writing for women. Also, poetry, my first love, is the writing I most enjoy.

What is your favorite part of the writing process?
Coming up with the idea, developing it, and creating and developing great characters who jump out of the pages.

Least favorite part of the writing process?
Getting into a routine of writing regularly. I tend to get sidetracked and before I realize it the day is gone.
Avoiding the danger of boredom, to which I am prone. That’s why I write such a variety of material.

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?
I reread what I recently wrote and edit it. That gives me the momentum to continue. I also know that the writer’s block will pass if I persist. 

What are you currently working on?
I have several projects going to keep me interested. I am collaborating with someone on the first novel in a woman’s series. Expanding some short stories in the horror genres to publish as an anthology, and I am compiling my poetry into a book for publication.

Can you tell us a bit about your most current book?
Gaia’s Gift was released in January by World Castle Publishing. It is a contemporary book for women, although men enjoy it, too. There are elements of the paranormal, ecology, and psychology. It is about a woman who loses everything she loves and suffers from survivor’s guilt. She leaves the world she knows and lives alone, until she receives a gift from the sea that plunges her into years of joy, but also deceit and lies. Just when she thinks it cannot continue a special man enters her life and she realizes that there might just be a chance for redemption. 

What is the message in your book? What are your readers’ reactions to it?
There is a message about caring for the earth and everything living on it. It also sends a message that problems can be solved and you must try before ending your existence. The reactions from readers have been very positive, including good reviews.
Have you acquired any good anecdotes surrounding this book? If so, could you share one?
I think the stock in tissues has gone up because everyone uses at least a box during the reading of the book. I’m smiling, but the book is also uplifting.

What would you most like readers to tell others about this book?
I would like them to think about and talk about the environment and relationships, particularly that love has many faces, including love between parent’s and children, love between humans and animals, love for the Earth (Gaia), and love between adults.

How can readers help you promote this book?
Tell everyone you know about it, give it as a gift to a friend or family member and enjoy the read.

Why do you write?
I write to fulfill a lifelong dream of seeing my work in print.
I write to leave a legacy. I write to hear my grandson say, “I’m so proud to have a Granny who’s a published author.” Then to hear my granddaughter say, “What are you writing next, Granny?”
I write to give pleasure, and hope that my writing will be a catalyst to healing the world; for every book has a subtle message.
I write because I enjoy it.

Where readers can find you?
Visit Fran’s World at, and my pages on Facebook and LinkedIn and other sites listed on my website.

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