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 eighteen 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. Plus, she's edited one non-fiction book with another non-fiction book in the works. 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.
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.
Where do you get your ideas?
I honestly don't know. Sometimes a title will come to me. Other times, a first line that begs for expansion. I've even had last lines pop into my head. The only book I've written that I saw from beginning to end was Once A Warrior. I never say that this or that book is my favorite. But I knew Once A Warrior was special, and I still consider that book a gift.
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, afghans, and baby blankets for family and friends. I also walk a couple miles a day. 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. A number 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 and Novelists, Inc.
What are you working on now?
I'm finishing a Regency Romance titled "Miss Priss and the Pirate," and I've released one of my Silhouette Desires, "On Love's Own Terms," as an ebook. I've got another contemporary romance half-done, and I'm also planning to release the first two Silhouette Desires written as Judith Baker in ebook format. I will soon be rewriting a trilogy of romantic suspense novels. In the near future, I plan to edit another nonfiction book.
Most writers I know always try to have one ready to release, one that needs to be finished, and one in the plotting stage.
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--
"You can't rewrite until you write."