What book should everybody read at least once?
The Bride Stripped Bare by Nikki Gemmell, though she wrote it as “Anonymous” when it was first published. She is one of my favourite authors and it was the first novels I read that had a second person narrator. It was a fascinating reading experience and the story challenged many norms facing women in their twenties and thirties. Interestingly, I didn’t really like the main character but I cared deeply about the story - that’s quite an accomplishment by the author!
What do you hope your obituary will day about you?
I would love it if it read something like this… “Frances M. Thompson was a successful author of many books and short stories. Her books made people smile, laugh and love life a little more”.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
The things I see, the people I meet and the stories I’m told. In fact many of the stories in Shy Feet are based on things I saw or heard myself. For example, The Road is Long was based around a story my friend in Australia told me about how she found a wallaby that had been hit by a car. And in See the Amalfi Coast (which is free on Kindle or Kobo) there is a scene where the two protagonist have an impromptu hotel that is actually closed for the season, and that happened to my family and I on a trip to the Amalfi Coast when I was seventeen - the taste of that delicious spaghetti has stayed with me for the longest time!
What is hardest – getting published, writing or marketing?
Without a doubt marketing. As it happens, I’ve not pitched my stories to an agent or publisher yet, so I can’t really comment on “getting published” but in the whole self-publishing process I went through I really struggled to understand how best to market and sell my book. I still do, to be honest!
What marketing works for you?
I’ve been quite surprised that direct marketing on my blog has worked quite well; two big sales peaks came when I published blog posts about my book. I find marketing easier when I’m doing something I enjoy, i.e. writing a blog post, sharing some beautiful photos that relate to one of my stories and I try to be more creative, for example, I’ve created playlists for people to listen to while they read my book. I also found selling signed copies of my book on my blog was more successful than I had thought. In fact, getting my book in print was so crucial to my sales; I’ve sold nearly as many print books as I have ebooks!
If you could study any subject at university what would you pick?
I’d love to study the history of fashion. There’s no link here to writing or publishing, it’s just something I’m very, very interested in. I’ve read a few books on it and I love learning how fashions over the decades have reflected social change and historical events.
Is there anyone you’d like to acknowledge and thank for their support?
I have to thank my partner for really being my back bone from the beginning of this journey into writing and publishing. He’s a man of science and really has little time for the arts - he doesn’t even read that often! - but he’s been my biggest source of support. From creating code to transform my manuscripts into ebooks to telling me to “keep the faith!” when I’m full of self-doubt, this journey would have been much harder without him. It looks like I’m going to have to write that robot post-apocalyptic science fiction story he wants just to say thank you!
Every writer has their own idea of what a successful career in writing is, what does success in writing look like to you?
Right now, I’m not sure. It felt like enough of a success to get a book ready for publishing but six months after that, I realise that a career in writing is best seen as a series of successes and so it’s time for me to work towards the next one. I certainly have some goals or ideas of success in mind for the future, I’d love for one of my books to break the Amazon Top 100 one day.
When you are not writing, how do you like to relax?
I love reading, of course, and I try to do at least ten minutes in the morning of each day, normally while eating breakfast. We don’t have a television but we do have Netflix so my boyfriend and I like to slowly work our way through a TV series or two during our free evenings. I also like to crochet and I’m teaching myself to knit – I find both so therapeutic to take my mind off everything!
Do you have any tips on how writers can relax?
It’s not immediately obvious as a relaxing activity, but I really believe in the power of exercise to help you stay focused and to also help you relax. When I’ve done at least twenty minutes of exercise a day, I feel like I deserve to relax so automatically I can slow down and not feel guilty for taking time for me. I also recommend switching notifications off your phone or leaving your phone in another room when you want to relax; it’s not healthy how much Smartphones make us instantly contactable.
What’s your favorite place in the entire world?
As a regular traveller and travel writer, I have too many to mention so I’ll go with something safe like Amsterdam, where we currently live. Aside from all the beautiful canals and architecture, I love this city for being a place where people can be themselves – whatever that may be – and I love how safe it is for children. Every summer you see kids drawing chalk on the pavements outside their houses, often unaccompanied. Sadly that doesn’t happen so much in London (where I’m from).
"This collection of stories is like a blanket woven from 100% wanderlust under which you can hide as Frances M. Thompson tucks you in with her words and keeps you warm with her descriptions of characters you'll love and places you can tell she knows by heart." Gesa Neitzel, www.bedouinwriter.com
Shy Feet: Short Stories Inspired by Travel is a collection of twelve quirky, charismatic and touching tales of travel.
The inquisitive Ruth tells the story of The Lost Children of Gatwick Airport and in Max's Holiday we learn what a seven-year-old boy considers a "proper holiday" to be. In The Flowers Sleep Tonight, we meet Thomas and Carly, two solo travellers whose paths keep crossing... because that's exactly what Thomas wants. A spontaneous plan to elope is revealed in The Runaways and Homes from Homes is about the lessons Patricia learns from the hotel bellboy she has a fling with. Oh, Henry is the story of how a dream holiday can mean two different things to two lovers and Katie's Maps is an offbeat love letter to a vast collection of maps. Extracts from a travel journal tell one woman's life story in All the Beaches are Made of Pebbles and find out what Australia and underpants have to do with Claudia wanting to leave her husband of forty years in The Road is Long.
From the unforgiving Australian Outback to the jagged beauty of the Amalfi Coast, along the pebbled beaches of Brighton & Hove and down the busy streets of late night Barcelona, this collection of short stories highlights how travel intersects and enriches all of our lives, often without us realising it...
"Shy Feet: Short Stories Inspired by Travel transports you to exotic locales without leaving your armchair and leaves you wanting more... Frances M. Thompson has a novel in her and I can't wait to read it." Nathalie Harris, www.acooknotmad.com
Genre – Short Stories, Contemporary Fiction
Rating – PG13
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