Monday, 25 February 2013

Featured Author: Bil and Bon Franks


A warm welcome to husband and wife writing team, Bil and Bon Franks, who are starting off my new series on books for children, tweens, and young adults. Each Monday, I hope to feature an author talking about the inspiration that led to writing specific novels for these age groups. So please pull up a chair and enjoy the introduction to an interesting character and story set in the first century.

RUNNING OVER RAINBOWS...The Rest of the Story
Can a saint be the inspiration for a whole group of non-religious stories? In our case, the venerable St. Patrick became the driving force behind two different series, a total of seven books. The first four are YA-adult historical fantasies, and this first series is called “The Twilight of Magic.”

It was early December of 2010. Not long after an iMac hit our home, my husband Bil looked up from his reading of some fantasy novel—which is usually where I’ll find him—and remarked how strange it is that no writer of fantasy has ever included St. Patrick. We got to brainstorming and came up with what turned out to be a unique idea:

What if a young girl, soon after meeting St. Patrick in the Britannia of around 430 AD, had to leave home? What if the young priest of her church, too, was called away by the pontiff to a ministry in far-off Hibernia (Ireland)?  What story could we spin to bring them back together in Ireland, and to tell a few chapters right out of history... all the while weaving some magic also?
 

So the story of a 15-year-old named Caylith was born. The first book, RUNNING OVER RAINBOWS, begins in ancient Lincoln, then called Lindum, a Roman province. Here the spoiled tomboy is forced by her mother to stay six months with an elderly aunt to learn how to become a proper young lady. That book leaves Caylith traveling back to the area of Deva Victrix (modern Liverpool), returning to her ancestral villa and to the arms of her adoring mother Claudia. Except that fate steps in and deals a devastating blow. In the next book, HIDDEN BY THE ROSE, she returns to find her old home destroyed, her mother killed or captured, and herself a target of the very Duke of Deva who has planned the whole affair.

Without going into details about every book, we want to let you know that the first of the sagas has recently debuted from MuseItUp Publishing. It is an exploration of how a teenage girl and her elderly aunt can reconcile their conflicts and understand each other, through the spirited nature of a wild mountain pony.

This first book is a backstory, really, an introduction to a young, self-absorbed girl. But Caylith somehow has the character and the grit to survive great evil, to save both the magical realm of Faerie and the real world of Britannia, and to bring pilgrims from the danger of post-Roman invasion to the safety and enlightenment of St. Patrick’s Ireland. All that, and more, we tell in our four sagas.

Bil is a retired USAF man who spent most of his Air Force career as a small arms instructor. He has been active in several martial arts, and his bailiwick is fantasy, both dark and comedic. He can switch from Rob Thurman to Fritz Lieber at the drop of a paperback.
Bon is a small-town denizen from Nevada who received a few degrees from the University of Southern California. She has spent many years as a teacher, a marketing manager, and even a used car salesperson deep in the woods of Germany. Under a pen name, she has written several romance novels, both historical and contemporary.

Running Over Rainbows is available from MuseItUpPublishing, Amazon US, and Amazon UK
You can find out more about Bil and Bon Franks books on their blog, The Twilight of Magic.

25 comments:

  1. Dear Rosemary,

    Bil and I are thrilled to see that you'v spotlighted us today. Thank you very much! We hope that readers from 'tween to twilight years will enjoy this first book.

    We're eager to answer any comments your readers may leave. ~Bil & Bon

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  2. Hi Bil and Bon - great to see you here. Thanks for taking part!

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  3. A fascinating interview, Bil and Bon. I love the sound of Running Over Rainbows and am intrigued by the thought of a husband and wife writing team. I wish you every success and thanks to Rosemary for the post.

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  4. Dear Joanna,

    Thanks very much for coming over today. We're grateful that you seem intrigued by our book. Yes, our husband and wife team is one that definitely had its, um, peaks and valleys. But we found that two brains are often better than one! And we still love each other—maybe even more.

    ~Bil and Bon Franks

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  5. Delightful feature, Rosemary. A story set in such an ancient era is sure to be packed with historical details. Great way to painlessly educate kids and fire their imaginations. Good luck with this wonderful series, Bil and Bon.

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  6. I finally bought your book! Took me a while because I paid for summer fiddling camp and Paypal wouldn't let me through. I can't wait to read it. We unicorn writers have to stick together. I'll post a review for you as soon as possible.

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  7. First to Pat . . .

    Thank you a milllion for your support. Yes, the era is truly a compelling one (and an important one). We too hope that kids will get interested in what in the world the Romans and the Brits were doing back then, and what St. Patrick had to do with the preservation of the old learning...and how a cheeky young tomboy could have helped save all of them!

    Best to you! Bil and Bon

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  8. Great inspiration for a series of blogs, Rosemary, and delightful to meet Bil and Bon. with a new generation growing up fast, it's good to read about the next lot of writers for them. Anne

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  9. And to you, Suzanne,

    Wow, you really weren't kidding about the unicorns! I hope you won''t be too let down when you find that the unicorn has morphed into a wild mountain pony. But Caylith, like you, is a believer.

    Your kindness is more than appreciated. We're waltzing on the ceiling right now with what you've said, and thanks a bazillion. ~Bil and Bon

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  11. This comment is for Anne, whose comment sneaked in while we were writing one to Suzanne:

    Dear Anne,

    We don't think of ourselves as the "next generation" of writers so much as the NOW generation—writers who are desperate to get our kids back into history and folklore and magic and the pure fun of being kids now, before they become cynical and old in their beliefs.

    We are buoyed up by your comments, and we feel deeply complimented. Thank you!

    ~Bil and Bon Franks

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  12. Many thanks for popping over here, Joanna!

    Hi Pat - thanks for leaving a comment. I absolutely agree this is a great way to learn about history!

    Hi Suzanne - thanks for your comment. Enjoy the book!

    Hello Anne - many thanks for your comment. It's good to know what's being published today.

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  13. Super interview, Rosemary, Bill and Bon! Muse is a great publisher for YA and this series sounds a perfect blend of history, adventure, coming of age and fantasy.

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  14. Hi Lindsay - many thanks for your comment!

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  15. Good morning, Lindsay,

    We're thrilled you stopped by, taking time out to say such nice things about our book. We only hope the character and her friends will continue to entertain for a long time to come.

    We want to wish you continued success with your own superb writing and your many books, both for MIU and other publishers. ~Bil and Bon

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  16. This sounds marvelous. I like fantasy that has a base in reality.

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    1. Hi, Julie,

      Thanks! These books are definitely grounded in history, with a nod to folklore and fairy tales. We hope you'll become a fan of Caylith and her peeps. :~)

      ~Bil and Bon

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  17. Sounds like a great story! I love reading about that period in history - will look out for these!

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    1. Dear Christina,

      Oh, you've about made our day! Thanks! We got really caught up in that time of St. Patrick, when the Romans were fleeing but St. Patrick and his followers were making sure that learning survived the invasions of Europe and Britannia.

      The four books will be pubbed every two months, from January through July. We appreciate your interest.

      All best, Bil and Bon

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  18. Hi Christina - many thanks for coming over to comment. Lovely to see you.

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  19. Hi Julie - great to see you here! Thanks for commenting.

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  20. Many thanks again to Bil and Bon Franks for gracing the Flights of Imagination blog with their presence. And thank you to all who commented.

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  21. Romy, dear,

    This has honestly been a wonderful experience. We're grateful to each and every person who responded to our writing experience. And we're especially gtrateful to you for inviting us to this marvelous blogsite. Considering your fabulous book SUMMER OF THE EAGLE, it's very appropriately named, and the art is esoecially apt and provocative.

    xx ~Bil and Bon

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  22. Love the name of this book. Sounds like an interesting story

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  23. Thank you, Vikki. The story is as old as time: youth vs. old age. What made it special is that each character ended up respecting the other. What really is the difference, after all, between a unicorn and a white pony?

    Erin O'Quinn, aks Bon Franks

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