Author Spotlight with Wendy Francis
Wendy, when you are not writing, what do you like to do with your time?
Most days, I’m doing something with my five-year-old son, whether it’s playing street hockey, baseball in the front yard, or drawing pictures of animals (I always forget the neck for some reason). He’s an active little guy and keeps me busy. Like any writer, I also love to read, then read some more. Reading is still the great escape for me that it was when I first discovered new worlds in Harriet the Spy or The Island of the Blue Dolphins. I also like running, aka jogging. I used to run a fair bit but then stopped because of a knee injury. Recently, though, I’ve been trying to get back into it and hope that soon three miles won’t feel like twenty.
Could you tell us who some of your favorite authors are?
There are so many! I’ll read anything by Elizabeth Strout and Kent Haruf. They’re both masters at creating a sense of place and unforgettable characters. For sheer literary heft, no one can pack a wallop in a sentence like Pat Conroy does. But I also love fiction that features strong female characters, often with a sense of humor. For that, I turn to Elinor Lipman, Jennifer Weiner, Elin Hilderbrand, Nancy Thayer, and Emily Giffin. I guess you could say my literary tastes are all over the map, but that’s how I like it. I’ve just started J. Courtney Sullivan’s The Engagements, and I’m enthralled.
Do you have any #literary confessions?
Well, I’ve never read War and Peace, and I’ve read only parts of Anna Karenina. I always figured I’d pick up Tolstoy later in life when I was smarter.
Do you have a #literarycrush?
I’ve pretty much been in love with Nick from The Great Gatsby (not the movie Nick) since first reading the book in high school. He’s smart, decent, hails from the Midwest, but also has a certain vulnerability that appeals to my protective side. And I was completely charmed by those unassuming McPheron brothers in Kent Haruf’s Plainsong. They strike me as the type of men who would appreciate someone’s inviting them over for a proper dinner. As for real life literary crushes, I always thought I’d enjoy sharing a stiff Southern drink with Pat Conroy. His memoir, My Reading Life, is one of my favorites.
What are some of the books you look forward to reading in 2013?
My reading pile is high! Elin Hilderbrand’s new novel, Beautiful Day, is just out, so that will be in my beach bag. I’m also looking forward to Revenge Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger. Others on my list: Karen White’s The Time Between and Nancy Thayer’s Island Girls. And I’ve yet to read The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach: I’m told it’s not really about baseball, and I’m looking forward to it.
If you could be best friends with a character in a book, who would you pick? And why?
I really loved Hildy in Ann Leary’s The Good House, even if Hildy has a drinking problem she won’t admit to. Hildy is well-steeped in her New England town’s history and has a fabulous sense of humor matched by her compassion for her friends and family. I’ve no doubt that it would be a hoot to be her friend.
What is your idea of a perfect day?
A perfect day is one spent relaxing with my family, preferably somewhere near a beach. It would include swimming, goofing around with my son and step-kids, and reading. Ideally, it would also be topped off by a glass of wine and a late-night dinner with my husband. Nothing too out of the ordinary but spectacular nonetheless.
*Special thanks to Wendy Francis for agreeing to this Author Spotlight and revealing her #literaryconfessions and #literarycrush.