What is a prequel teaser?

If you’ve never heard a prequel teaser before, don’t worry. I made it up. Defiant a prequel because it takes place just before book one begins. At only four chapters long, it introduces you to the characters and the story, and it gives you an idea of what’s about to come, but it doesn’t wrap up at the end the way a novel does. Instead it ends on a cliffhanger, which is also called a teaser. Although Defiant takes place before book one in terms of linear time, you can read the books in any order.

Soundtracks for Books

 

Ok, my mind is blown. Seriously. I’ve just discovered booktrack.com – a site where you can read books while listening to the soundtracks for those books. So, it’s like watching a movie, only you’re reading.

If you haven’t heard of them yet, then you must – MUST – check them out. It’s cool. Really cool.

And it’s free.

I’ll say that again because it’s important. It’s FREE. Oh, and it’s really easy to use.

If you’re a teacher you should know that booktrack.com has a special membership for you and your students. It’s called booktrackclassroom.com and kids can add their own soundtracks to stories they’ve written. Like many of the other educational resources you’ve used, booktrackclassroom is a closed network, so you have full control of its content which is shared within the classroom only. Students’ work will not be made public.

I will absolutely be making soundtracks for my books, starting with the prequel teaser, Defiant. I can hardly wait to get started!

Once you try booktrack.com let me know what you think of it by leaving a comment below, or by emailing me at valerie@valeriefrancis.ca .

Happy reading (and listening)!

 

11-Year-Olds Who Rock the Rock!

 

Well, well, well … move over Barbara Walters and J.K. Rowling!

Today I am very proud to introduce 11-year-olds Avery Hearty and Stella Heald, both from Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada.

Stella recently completed work on her first novel, and in honour of Literacy Day (which is today, btw) I thought it would be fun to celebrate her accomplishments with a video interview. My daughter, Avery, was keen to take on the role of journalist and ask the questions.

Now, there’s not much more for me to do here except join Barbara and J.K. on the sidelines and let these two up-and-comers through. Take it away ladies!

 

Tenacious or Stubborn?

In the past week, three friends (lovingly) referred to me as stubborn. I (stubbornly) disagreed, saying that I was instead, tenacious – which of course led to a debate as to whether the two words actually mean the same thing.

The New Oxford American Dictionary and Merriam-Webster both list the words as synonyms of each other. Pfft. What do they know? I propose that there is a rather important and distinct difference between the two. Since I spend my days searching for exactly the right word to convey my meaning (a Sisyphean task if there ever was one), I figured this warranted a blog post.

To be stubborn, is to dig one’s heels in and refuse to move. When we say that a person is stubborn, we mean that he refuses to do something, or change his mind about something. So, stubbornness is characterized by a lack of action.

However, tenacity (in my humble opinion) implies the exact opposite. When we say that a person is tenacious, we mean that he is going after something with single-minded determination.

So while I stubbornly refuse to eat Turr (no matter how many times my father offers it to me), I am pursuing my career as an author with tenacity (actively finding solutions to each of the obstacles I encounter).

Have I convinced you? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below! :)

Now, for having humoured me and my little rant, I reward you with this: The History of English, in Ten Minutes (it’s pretty funny!) Enjoy!

What Authors can Learn from Movies

 

[dropcap][/dropcap]For Christmas, Santa brought me and my kids the Lord of the Rings box set…twelve hours of film plus an additional fourteen hours of DVD extras. I had no intention of watching it all—I mean really, I don’t watch twenty-six hours of television in a year let alone a week—but I couldn’t help myself. I was hooked! In fact, I think I liked the extras better than the movies.

Obviously I’ve read the trilogy and as an author of children’s fantasy fiction, I’ve long been inspired by Tolkien. But what caught my attention this time around was the way the production team approached the characters and the world.

When I was in grade school, my English teachers had me write character sketches and setting descriptions which I thought were completely useless exercises because I never understood why I was doing them. Little did I know then that they would become the main building blocks of my career. Even so, my characters exist in my head alone, not on film. I don’t need to provide every detail of every item of clothing because I couldn’t—and shouldn’t—spend time in my novels describing them. It would weigh down the stories and slow the pace.

But for the Lord of the Rings movies, the production team had no choice but to develop these kinds of details. Designers spent months studying each group of characters considering what their clothes, hair, weaponry and architecture would look like based on where and how they lived, their culture, their history and their beliefs. And the movies are richer for their effort. No one would ever confuse Gimli (dwarf) for Legolas (elf) because everything about the dwarf culture is harsh, angular and utilitarian whereas the elfen culture is refined, flowing and graceful–and of course there’s also a massive height difference.

So what’s the lesson here for authors? If we aren’t going to give the reader minute detail, why do we need to develop it?

Simple.

Knowing these details enables us to bring our characters and settings to life. It becomes more like writing about people we’ve met and places we’ve visited which in turn, creates more enticing stories for our readers.

And that’s what this job is all about.

Prequel Novella, Coming April 2015

 

Well, hello there! Long time, no see. :)

You’re probably wondering what happened to me. You see, since my last post I was captured by trolls and forced to live under a bridge and … no? Not buying it eh?

Well actually, what happened was my computer crashed and … hmm, not going for that one either, are you?

Would you believe the dog ate my blog posts?

Ok, ok … the truth is that since I last spoke to you in September, I’ve been beavering away in the background getting ready for the publication of my novel in October, 2015.

You needn’t roll your eyes at me. That’s actually what I’ve been doing. Cover art is in development, book trailers are in the works, I’m redesigning my website (yes, again) and the list goes on and on!

But the most exciting news is that I’ve been writing a prequel novella, entitled Defiant for publication on April 22, 2015. This will be a little teaser to help whet your appetite for the full-length book in the Fall. It takes place in the days leading up to chapter one of book one and will introduce you to the character that started it all – Clancy Donovan!

Stay tuned!

 

Publication News

 

And so, a quick update for those of you who have been asking about the progress of my book and when it may be published. (And a sincere thank you for being interested! :) )

Although I’ve been quiet on that front publicly as of late, a lot has been happening behind the scenes. I still can’t go into too much detail, but if all goes well Book One of my series, The Nature Knights, will be published Fall 2015.

I’m bursting to tell you more so as soon as I can start to reveal details, I will! For now, I’d better get back to the writing. There are eight more full length novels in the series, plus a novella – and they won’t write themselves.

One thing’s for sure … I’ll never complain of boredom.

Interview with Paul Butler (Part 1)

Award-winning Newfoundland author, Paul Butler is about to release his latest novel entitled The Good Doctor. While the book might centre around Sir Wilfred Grenfell, it isn’t a biography. In fact, what Paul has written is a rather thought-provoking twist on the generally accepted image of this iconic character from Newfoundland and Labrador’s history.