Q: Why did you decide to use the pen name Parker Francis?
A: Pen names or pseudonyms have been around for a long time. Think about Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) or Dr. Seuss (Theodor Geisel) or the author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll, whose given name was Charles Lutwidge Dodgson. History aside, there are several reasons why authors decide to use a pen name. Sometimes a famous author wants to tackle a different genre or simply see how readers respond to their work under a different name. That’s what Stephen King did when he published five novels as Richard Bachman in the 70s and 80s, challenging the idea that authors should only publish one book per year. Other authors switch names to get a fresh start, perhaps because their last book didn’t sell. In my case, I had written three adventure/fantasy novels with a cat as the main character, and these Windrusher novels had a large audience of younger readers. When I decided to write mystery/thrillers, which came with darker plots, violence, and even some sex, I didn’t want any confusion, particularly with parents of my younger readers. So, Parker Francis was born, and the name came with ties to both my wife’s family and mine. That made it a good choice.
Q: What are you working on now?
A: After completing The Last Beach Boy, I’ve returned to a few other projects that I’d put aside while working on Bobby Solano’s biography. I’ve worked intermittently on a stand-alone novel set in the near future, and a noirish novella set in 1970. I’m also revising and republishing book two and three in the Windrusher series and will combine the three adventures into one Kindle volume.
Q: Will you ever write another Windrusher book?
A: In Charles Dickens’s Pickwick Papers he wrote, Nothing is impossible, anything can happen, as in Mary said Tom would never call her again, but I told her, “Never say never.” So, I should never say I won’t ever write another Windrusher book, but it’s not in my top ten list at the present. But I’ve heard nothing is impossible.
Q: Are you a pantser or a plotter?
A: Supposedly, writers fall into two distinct categories: you have those who come up with an idea and start writing. They are the so-called pantser, people who write by the seat of their pants. Stephen King falls into this camp. On the other side are the plotters or outliners. These folks work out their entire story scene by scene or chapter by chapter. James Patterson and Jeffrey Deaver are devoted outliners. The outline serves as a roadmap, and I always tell beginning writers to outline their story in advance. That’s the way I started with the Windrusher books, covering the major plot points in each chapter in about a paragraph. As I kept writing, my outlines became shorter and less detailed, so today I consider myself more of a hybrid plotter and pantser.
Q: What is your process when working with your biography clients?
A: I’ve had the privilege of working with some incredible people who’ve achieved great success. As I tell each of them at the outset of our joint project: this is their life story, and our work together is truly a collaborative process. It involves hours of interviews with the client, and often with family members, friends, and former co-workers, if applicable. My services include the additional research necessary to add context to the narrative, the transcription of the interviews, writing and revising until the client is satisfied. I also offer them the option of publication through Windrusher Hall Press and add it to Amazon for retail sales if their intention is to seek a wider audience, although many of my past clients want their life story saved solely for family and friends. I’ve worked with WW II veterans, commercial real estate agents, economists, retired police officers, musicians, and more. My job is to listen, to capture their voice as well as their memories, and craft a compelling narrative for the reader.
Q: How long does it take to write a biography?
A: Typically, eight to ten months, but sometimes it may take a little longer depending on the project.
Q: Why would someone want their biography written?
A: Too often, people pass away, and the details of their lives are lost forever. Each person is unique and preserving and sharing their life story is as much a gift to themselves as it is to their family. Capturing these memories in a book is a way of leaving a literary legacy and becoming a part of history. Some people find the process of putting some of the unhappier times of their lives on paper to be therapeutic and cathartic. On the other hand, it can be a rewarding experience to re-live the pleasant events of your life. Some of my older clients have used our interviews to dig deep into their memory vaults, helping to keep their brains active and contributing to their overall well-being.
Q: Do you offer other services for people who may have written their own book?
A: Although most of the books published by Windrusher Hall Press have been of my creation, I have assisted several people who approached me with a manuscript they wanted published. In both cases it turned into another collaborative process in which I was able to help them expand the length and scope of the book, adding writing and editing services along with publication. Windrusher Hall Press will remain the primary publishing imprint for books by Victor DiGenti and Parker Francis, however, there may be opportunities for others in the future although writers today have many other publishing options to consider.