Fran Baker has waited in vain for Vanity Fair to send her one of those Proust Questionnaires that run in the back of the magazine.
She hasn't waited idly, however. While keeping an eye on the mailbox, she's written sixteen novels, twelve of which have been translated into more than twenty languages, and a couple hundred articles, book reviews, author interviews and op-ed pieces. She's also conducted a number of writing workshops in the U.S. and in Canada, and she's spoken about writing for publication to local, national and international audiences. In 1998 she founded her own small press, Delphi Books, which today has thirteen print titles and ten eBooks.
Now, with apologies to Proust, she's devised her own questionnaire:
Where do you get off--oh, sorry. Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Kansas City, MO, and my prepaid burial lot is located there.
What makes you think anyone's interested--strike that. What made you want to become a writer?
I was always a reader, as was almost everyone in my family. I would finish a story or a book or the back of a cereal box (did I mention I read those in a pinch?), and my imagination would be in overdrive. What if she'd said this? What if he'd done that? One day I started writing my own stories. I didn't tell anyone what I was doing. Nor did I quit my day job. I just put the seat of my pants to the seat of my chair and I wrote ... and was both surprised and thrilled when I started selling.
Why did you name your small press Delphi Books?
It's named for the Oracle of Delphi, who was reputed to have been a woman over the age of 50.
You're over 50? Mmmh, you don't look a day--
Please note that neither the Oracle nor I are telling how far over.
Noted. Moving on now, what do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Cool, a real PQ kind of question.
We're waiting for your answer.
After all the years I've waited to be asked ... Patience. I don't have much, and I'm rapidly losing my small store.
You're the one who wanted to do this interview.
Let's try this. What do you do in your spare time?
I knit - mainly scarves and hats and mittens and afghans for family and friends and the occasional fan contest. And I bowl.
As do millions of other Americans.
How ... interesting.
For your information, I once beat 22,099 men and women to win the KCMO Mayor's Christmas Tree Tournament. That won me an all-expenses paid trip to Las Vegas. The last couple of years, I've won our Thanksgiving turkey.
I also read, but not in the genre in which I'm writing.
And not, I presume, while you're bowling.
Are we almost through here?
Can't happen soon enough. Getting back to writing, do you belong to any professional organizations?
I'm a member of the Authors Guild, Novelists, Inc., The Authors Studio, and Small Publishers Association of North America.
What are you working on now?
I just finished writing a romantic comedy called "Romeo, Romeo," and now I'm rewriting a suspense novel I've titled "Shark Bait." In the near future, I plan to co-author a nonfiction book.
If you could be a tree--
How Barbara Walters of you.
Let's end this on another PQ note.
What's your motto?
You want me to say something profound, right? Something memorable. So--
"Style is truth."