Please welcome speculative romance author Frances Pauli today. Also please make her feel welcome so leave her comments and questions.
Ashley: Why do you write speculative romance?
Frances: I enjoy both Science Fiction and Fantasy/Urban Fantasy settings, so I write in those areas. The Romance happens whether I intend it to or not, and I’ve decided not to fight it. Seriously, though, I love SpecRom. It’s what I enjoy reading. It’s what I fantasize about, dream about. I can’t think of any other stories I’d be comfortable writing.
Ashley: What type of non-romance fiction do you write? Please tell us about it.
Frances: When I do manage to write non-romance, it usually falls into the Science Fiction category. I’m not sure why it happens that way, except maybe that when I wax philosophical it often centers on a futuristic backdrop. They’re always short though. If I go on too long, the romance comes along. My characters just won’t behave past five thousand words or so.
Ashley: Are you aware of any themes that run through your stories? If so, what are they?
Frances: I'm big on soul mates. Not in an overly pointed way, but I like the idea that my hero and heroine are meant for each other. I have a lot of plots that center around memory as well. The past vs. the future, how we become who we are and how much choice we actually have in the process. I also like characters with integrity, even when they’re challenged.
Ashley: What would you like readers to take away from your stories?
Frances: I really hope that the story can take them away for awhile. I want readers to care about my characters, to relate to them and to enjoy participating in my worlds for a time. If they think about it afterwards, if it makes them go, “hmmmm.” then so much the better.
Ashley: What inspires your stories?
Frances: I dream the majority of them. The initial story seeds at least—or the characters, a fragment, something. Sometimes I’ll get an idea from real life, a quirky moment, an odd stranger, but I’ve always had a very rich dream life.
Ashley: Will you be attending any book or writing conferences this year? If yes, which ones? Where and when?
Frances: I’m attending the Spocon Science Fiction convention. I had a fantastic time there last year. They hold it in Spokane, Wa and I believe this year it’s on July 30th to Aug. 2nd.
Ashley: Do you have any other passions besides writing? If yes, what is it? Why?
Frances: I think I have too many. Before I focused on writing, I always had a difficult time picking one thing and sticking to it. At any given time I may be passionate about: painting, weaving, belly dance, wine and wine making, ukulele playing, puppets, tarantulas, crystals and rock-hounding, miniature pin-fires, poetry or any number of exotic creatures and pets.
Ashley: I was reading your blog and you said, "Which would be a bad idea in Seattle, where they KILL cute shoes on principle." Why is this? I've never been to Seattle, so I don't know the inside jokes but it sounds interesting. :)
Frances: I have to apologize for how snarky that comment sounded. I recently returned from Norwescon, and knowing full well what Seattle is like in April, (think drizzle, puddles, and lots of damp) I still chose to wear a pair of satin, beaded belly dance shoes. Needless to say after the first cross-walk full of standing water, they were toast.
Ashley: Please tell us what you learned at the Spocon (and cons in general).
Frances: I learned that there is nothing more valuable than a fan. Love them, treat them with care and never take them for granted.
Ashley: What is your favorite guilty pleasure?
Frances: I could never choose between chocolate and wine.
Ashley: Are you a cat or dog person? Do you have any pets and if so, please tell us about them.
Frances: I’ve been a lifelong cat person, but in the last few years I’ve taken to watching a lot of dog shows. Now I’m waiting impatiently for a Peruvian Inca Orchid puppy. I’m a convert, I suppose. I also keep tarantulas. I’ve trimmed the collection down to eight of them, and that pretty much tells you I’m insane, so I’d better not incriminate myself further.
Ashley: Please tell us about your most recent release and where we can purchase it.
Frances: Roarke is my most recent release. The story is Science Fiction Romance about a mercenary who wakes up from the “dead” to find her memory gone. While she pieces together her past and identity, she comes to terms with who she wants to be in the future, and equally importantly, who she wants to be with.
Ashley: Please give us your urls and your publisher’s url.
Frances: Roarke is available through Devine Destinies:
And on Amazon:
My homepage is at: http://francespauli.com
I write a blog at: http://francespauli.blogspot.com
And offer a free serial at: http://spaceslugserial.blogspot.com
The latter is a humorous space opera about a rather uptight xeno-biologist, her space harlot sister and all the trouble they can get into and, occasionally, out of.
Thank you very much for visiting with us today, Frances. I've so enjoyed having you with us today.
“I’m afraid we’ll have to brave a small crowd on the way out. News
of your…return has been hard to keep quiet.”
“I should imagine.” I smile congenially at him and allow myself to
be led from the room. The crowd doesn’t surprise me, though small is
an understatement. I’ve sensed them building outside all along. I
brace myself, grateful for the doctor’s arm, and we emerge onto a long
walkway. The floor drops away on both sides, and the spaces are filled
with craning faces. I’m torn between scanning the assembly for some
shred of recognition and shying from any contact with the eager
In the end, I dart sparing glances at random people. Nothing stirs any memory.
Halfway across the space I give up and choose to focus on the long
strips of blue-tinted lights that line the walls. I think that nothing
seems familiar here because this isn’t where I belong. Perhaps, I
think, this is a prison after all.
I hate to consider the doctor as a participant in my capture,
perhaps even directly responsible for removing my memory, but the
possibility can’t be ignored. It is, given the unbelievable
alternative that is their story, quite likely closer to the truth. Yet
I allow myself to be led toward another curving doorway. I have few
options, few options for now.
I concentrate, instead, on how playfully the blue light interacts
with the metal of my dress. The fabric flashes and shoots refracted
fire as I move in it. I let myself be mesmerized by the effect. The
door is near, and Doctor Williams slows as we approach it. My
irritation surges again. Another foreign hallway beyond this one?
Another unfamiliar room? Suddenly, I have no wish to continue
peaceably. I have no interest in allowing myself to be led to any
destination they’ve selected. I scan sideways from the door, searching
for a pathway of my own choosing, wherever it may lead.
I’m struck dumb by a familiar face. He stands back from the others,
aside from them, but near the door. Where I’m most likely to see him,
I decide. He leans against the gray wall and looks at the ceiling. The
strong muscle of his jaw tenses. Lines etch across his rugged face. My
chest lurches at the sight of him. I search for a name to assign to
the single familiar person in this crowded hall. The set shoulders and
staggered legs ring through my mind looking for something to cling to.
Exact memories, like the name I want to put to him, shy from my grip.
The feeling sweeps through me of something just on the tip of my
tongue, too elusive to pin down. I’m frantic to snare it, but it
dances out of reach. I realize that I’ve stopped walking.
His red hair crowns a complexion nowhere near pale. He shifts his
gaze downward slowly, with great intention, and meets my gaze. The
intensity in his eyes belies his casual pose. He knows me.
In an instant, I’m lifted from the room, my mind trapped in darkness
without a body to attach to. I drift without direction or purpose in a
sea of warmth. Softly, the singing whispers, return, return to me. The
persistent voice hovers near desperate, saturated with emotion. The
words pull me down.
I come back to myself. The doctor tugs gently at my arm. Concern
scrawls across his face. I see the question there. “I’m fine,” I say,
stepping in line with him once more. “Get me out of here, okay?” And
we pass through the second doorway together.
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