Fran Cannon Slayton is part of the “Class of 2K9” authors who have donated a “Basket of MG Books” for the Bridget Zinn Auction. Her debut book, When the Whistle Blows, sounds like an interesting coming-of -age story set in the 1940’s.
I interviewed Fran recently to learn more about her.
How long have you been writing/ illustrating?
I’ve been seriously pursuing my writing career since 2005 (4 years). I started writing my first attempt at a novel in 1991 (18 years ago). But I’ve enjoyed writing my whole life long!
When you aren’t illustrating/writing, what might we find you doing?
Trying to keep seedlings alive long enough to finally plant them in our garden, singing in the shower, rehab-ing my shoulder at the gym, going on a retreat, reading, or getting ready for my summer book tour.
Who influenced you as a writer/illustrator?
Madeleine L’Engle. I loved A Wrinkle in Time and Walking on Water.
What is your current project?
Well, my debut novel, When the Whistle Blows is getting ready to come out on June 11th, which is exciting. I’m currently writing my next novel, tentatively titled Ship’s Boy, which is a fantasy about a girl who wants to be a pirate.
What books are on your nightstand?
Road to Tater Hill by Edith Hemingway, My Life in Pink and Green by Lisa Greenwald, Crash Into Me by Albert Borris, Shrinking Violet by Danielle Joseph, and Compassion by Henri Nouwin.
Where do you find inspiration?
In my dreams, my family, and from my reflections on some of the struggles I’ve faced in my own life. I also sometimes get ideas from noticing things about random people and places.
What was your favorite book as a child? As a teen? As an adult? Any particular genre stand out?
My favorite books as a child were A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle, Sounder by William H. Armstrong, and Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor.
As a teen it was probably Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, and as an adult it is To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.
I tend to go for books that hit me in the gut or present a new way of looking at the world.
Favorite time of the day to work?
I do my best work in the middle morning. I like writing best at night though!
Chocolate: white, dark, or milk?
Milk, without a doubt. With hazelnut. Mmmm!
Coffee or tea or —?
I feel the need to rhyme with “me” here, but I can’t. Decaf soy lattes.
Dance: Funky chicken or the tango?
The Funky Tango!
Thanks, Fran. I am looking forward to reading your book when it arrives on June 11. If you want to bid on the 2K9 Basket of MG Books, visit here.