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Diana Pharaoh Francis
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Diana Pharaoh Francis   Diana Pharaoh Francis is the author of the Path series (Path of Fate, Path of Honor, Path of Blood), Crosspointe series (The Cipher, The Black Ship, The Turning Tide, The Hollow Crown), and Bitter Night: A Horngate Witches Book. Path of Fate was nominated for the Mary Roberts Rinehart Award and Bitter Night was nominated for Romantic Timesí Best Urban Fantasy of 2009. Diana teaches at the University of Montana Western.

Buy Diana Pharaoh Francis's Books at the following locations: (downloadable audio books) (independent bookstores)
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This episode originally aired on 01/14/2010 with the following authors:
Note: The following interview has been transcribed from The Author Hour radio show. Please excuse any typos, spelling and gramatical errors.

Interview with Diana Pharaoh Francis

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Bonus Question(s) that Didn't Air on the Live Radio Show

Note that you can also listen to this while you read it.

Matthew Peterson: Let me ask you a quick bonus question.

Diana Pharaoh Francis: Okay.

Matthew Peterson: I know you teach at the University of Montana Western. You know, when I wrote my first book I was working a full time job and had a bunch of small kids crawling around; it was really difficult for me. And I found myself writing most of Paraworld Zero in like the wee hours of the night. How do you juggle your day job with your writing career?

Diana Pharaoh Francis: Iím not entirely sure. [laughs]

Matthew Peterson: [laughs]

Diana Pharaoh Francis: You know, I teach, so I have my summers off. So the summers obviously become a time when I write. And I try very much to prep my classes very well and stay on top of grading and etc. But in the end, I have learned to try to cram a lot of writing into small spaces. If I have an hour or a half an hour to just write and not worry too much about it. I do word wars, which are something that started out, as people in NaNoWriMo do them a lot.

Matthew Peterson: Oh, yeah.

Diana Pharaoh Francis: And theyíre where you go online and youíre with people in a chat room who are also writing, and you set a time--maybe itís 15 minutes, maybe itís a half an hour--and you write as fast as you can for that period of time. And you come back together, and everybody kind of reports on their word counts and talks a little bit, and then you go back and do it again. And it is highly motivating, shockingly so. I didnít expect it to be so motivating, but it is. And so I do that. And I, like you, sometimes itís the wee hours of the morning. And unfortunately that makes it hard to function the next day. [laughs]

Matthew Peterson: Yep.

Diana Pharaoh Francis: But, yeah, itís just kind of cramming it in around when I can. And just, you know, I try to set off time to be with the family thatís just theirs, so I donít feel so bad about stealing away time in other places. So itís a mad juggle; it really is. ĎCause right now Iím writing two books a year and working the day job, so it can be a struggle.

Matthew Peterson: Yeah. I know what youíre talking about. Iíve only been getting like one to four hours of sleep everyday for the past couple weeks.

Diana Pharaoh Francis: Ohhh!

Matthew Peterson: [laughs] Just getting this radio show off the ground and doing all the interviews and editing and websites, and Iím like, ďWell, one of these days Iím going to have to get back to . . . write my third book and get another agent and get another publisher and . . .Ē [laughs] Canít continue doing this forever.

Extra Material That was Cut from the Show Because of Time Constraints

Note that you can also listen to this while you read it (you'll need to fast forward past the bonus questions).

Matthew Peterson: The Bitter Night is an urban fantasy, isnít it?

Diana Pharaoh Francis: Yeah, well, I call it contemporary fantasy.

Matthew Peterson: Contemporary.

Diana Pharaoh Francis: ĎCause part of it takes place in a rural part of Montana.

Matthew Peterson: Yeah, yeah, as I said that I was like, ďEh, I think it is . . . ď

* * * * * * * * * *

Diana Pharaoh Francis: You know the first book, that how she comes to terms with that, but then the next two books look at kind of the change that brings to her life, and trying to figure out what she is and who sheís gonna be and then how to use her new powers at all. Because nobody really knows and sheís kind of stuck figuring it out on her own, and itís not very easy. So, yeah, she has some troubles and hopefully comes out reasonably triumphant. [laughs]

Matthew Peterson: Yeah.

* * * * * * * * * *

Diana Pharaoh Francis: They were sort of inspired a little bit by Dickens and my connection with Victorian literature.

* * * * * * * * * *

Diana Pharaoh Francis: And the first one, Cipher, is about Lucy Trenton, who is of royal birth, but because of a lawsuit, all of the royal money is tied up in Chancery, and so all the royals have to essentially work. So sheís a customs officer.

Matthew Peterson: Huh.

Diana Pharaoh Francis: But sheís got a problem. Sheís got a... In other words, she likes to collect illegal objects, and that gets her into some amount of trouble. And the second book, The Black Ship, is about a different character. His name is Thorn, and heís a pilot. And heís kind of an obnoxious guy. And he ends up in the middle of a very strange situation where heís kidnaped and forced to work on the only one of its kind, kind of a pirate ship. And he discovers some interesting things about that, that sort of shake the whole world upside down. And the third one, which is The Turning Tide, is different characters again, and thatís about Fairlie and Ryland and Shaye, and each one of them is kind of asked to do something that they donít want to do. And one of them does something pretty bad, and it betrays the others, and it leads to serious consequences for both Crosspointe and the other friends.

* * * * * * * * * *

Diana Pharaoh Francis: [referring to Bitter Night] Theyíre not going to blow up a volcano and bring on nuclear winter or hit the earth with a meteor. They want to keep a lot of things alive: animals and plants and all the magical creatures, but they want magic to come back to the world, and they have to get rid of humans to do that. So thereís a war coming.

* * * * * * * * * *

Diana Pharaoh Francis: So sheís kind of struggling with that and then she ends up in the middle of a battle.

Matthew Peterson: And sheís not human, is she?

Diana Pharaoh Francis: Well, she starts out human and . . .

Matthew Peterson: Starts out.

Diana Pharaoh Francis: 30 years ago she was human, but the witch turned her into something entirely different, something called a Shadow Blade. She can only come out at night: the sun kills her; reflected light off the moon can damage her. She has to eat enormous amounts of calories each day. It helps fuel the spells that create her. Sheís got extra speed, strength, hearing... she can open any magical lock. Each witch creates a kind of a little troop of Shadow Blades and a little troop of Sun Spears, who can only come out during the daytime, to protect her and guard the covenstead. And thereís a ritual number involved. Thereís 13 of each one.

* * * * * * * * * *

Matthew Peterson: Do you have plans for additional books in this series?

Diana Pharaoh Francis: Yeah, Iím working on the sequel right now. Itís called Crimson Wind, or at least thatís the working title. And Iím working on the sequel to that. By the end of this one I kind of destroy San Diego. And the rest of Californiaís gotta go too.

Matthew Peterson: Ahhh . . . [laughs]

Diana Pharaoh Francis: But not . . . it doesnít fall into the ocean. It doesnít disappear; it just gets radically different, magically different. Mount Shastaís got to erupt, but not quite with lava. So itíll be a little bit different. And all over the world things are happening: more tsunamis, more earthquakes, more wars starting to happen so that humanity is starting to be killed.

Matthew Peterson: So very apocalyptic, like you said.

Diana Pharaoh Francis: Yeah.

Matthew Peterson: Well, thatís something to look forward to. And that one just came out. Itís not a true story of course. [laughs]

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