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.
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.
You can find out more about Bil and Bon Franks books on their blog, The Twilight of Magic.