Please Welcome Author R J Francis!
R J is a fellow member of SciFan Society! So that makes this a very special Author! *wink*
AL- Tell us a bit about your book’s characters.
RJ- “The Orphan’s Secret” has four main characters. In that regard, it’s more of a “Breakfast Club” or “Goonies” (oops, I’m dating myself). If you make me choose one over the others I will resist…
Prince Jaimin is a sometimes melancholy, disaffected seventeen year old. He’s amazingly handsome and in fine physical shape, with longish curly dark hair. He’s fond of archery, collecting gems, the colors blue and green, and spending entire days in the Arran forest with his best friend Nastasha.
Nastasha is an elegant seventeen-year-old beauty, with impossibly long light blonde hair that her servants tie up in all manner of fancy braids. The daughter of a general, Nastasha has plenty of social connections, but she is a complete geek at heart. She’s infatuated with learning (and Jaimin). One of her hobbies is potion-making, for which her circle of friends serves reluctantly, and yet time and again, as her test subjects.
Elaina is another girl genius, this time a farmer, slightly older and taller than Jaimin and Nastasha. An expert mechanic and a gourmet chef, Elaina crafts the finest artisan dairy products in the kingdom in a factory she built herself. She is muscular from all her farm work. She has an exotic beauty about her—especially her eyes—and she’s captured the hearts of all the boys at the market. Although she will have none of them. She’s too busy.
Alessa, a lovely woman approaching her mid-thirties, is Elaina’s private tutor. She is unmarried and lives alone in a comfortable house in the woods. She avoids the city, as she hates crowds. She’s tough, streetwise, and sarcastic, which you wouldn’t expect from a loner like her. But she wasn’t always a loner…
All of these characters have many more secrets you will uncover as the story unfolds.
AL- Wow, nice, you make them all sound so enticing. Natasha sounds like she could be a Rapunzel. Goonies….. I am not saying a word….we might be the same age….shhhhhhh. *quickly changing subject* What is your favorite personality trait of your main character?
RJ- For main character I would pick Elaina, and I would pick her innocence as my favorite personality trait. Elaina has never, and could never, tell a lie. She cannot be sarcastic, and she would not manipulate anyone. She is as straightforward and honest as a person can be. Sometimes this comes across as naïveté, but in this story, it’s power.
AL- Ok, so I am inviting your main character to dinner. What should I make?
RJ-You would be better off giving up and having Elaina cook for you. She’s a master chef, after all, and when she sees your amazing kitchen she’s going to be so curious she will probably kick you out to the living room while she prepares your feast.
AL- Fine by me, I like to be fed with no work involved. No mushrooms, please. While we wait for dinner, please share a few favorite lines or one paragraph.
Nastasha wore a low-cut blue velvet gown with white lace trim and detailed white embroidery. Her earrings were elliptical diamonds in settings of white gold, from which strands of miniscule diamonds dangled, giving the impression of snow falling from a cloud. Her rope necklace of white gold matched her eight woven-gold armlets, four on each arm.
“That’s perfect,” Nastasha said of Elaina’s outfit. “What do you think?”
“It’s lovely,” Elaina said. “I’ve never worn a dress before.”
“Keep it. All of it. Take it home with you.”
Elaina tried to object, but Nastasha insisted, saying she had so many nice things, and that these were perfect for Elaina. “We were created with great beauty,” Nastasha said. “We must strive to look our best at all times. It’s a gift we give to others.”
AL- Authors all work at a different pace, tell us, how long did it take you to write this book?
RJ – Eight years
AL- Wow, that is an act of love right there. I bet you got very familiar with your characters in those years.Tell us about your cover art and how it pertains to your story.
RJ- Elaina, as she learns the truth about who she is and what her destiny is, has many reasons to stare out at the sea and reflect on things. The cover image portrays that scene and mood perfectly. It’s not even a scene from the book, but you know it happened. The color purple has significance as well, but I can’t get into that much here. You’ll just have to read.
AL- Oh, now that has got us all intrigued. Besides your mysterious answers, why do you think readers choose this book to read?
RJ- My book stands out because it’s not trying to fit into a genre, or meet anyone’s expectations. It is what it is. I’m not a big reader of fiction; so you can be certain this novel is reflecting more my keen observations of the world than things I have read in other works.
I am, however, a grammar geek and lover of language as an art form. I’ve been told that my detailed descriptions set “The Orphan’s Secret” apart—especially descriptions of the characters, down to how their skin smells after a kiss, the subtle changes in their heart’s motion when something bothers them, and how their earrings are put together. And the rest of their clothing, their fancy multi-course meals, and their environment are all delicately and carefully described. Through immersive, realistic dialogue, and scene after scene with the same cast, we get to really know, like, and remember the characters. The plot moves along, but it doesn’t overpower the details. And I don’t pull punches in describing blood, death, or the horrors of war.
Another aspect of the book which I believe is different is that it introduces a new cosmology or religion of sorts. It also is liberally sprinkled with science, technology and critical inquiry for the students and the geeks in all of us.
AL- Sounds like you put a lot of love into your book. Is there an underlying theme in your book?
RJ- We cannot hide. In fact, we are most powerful when all our defenses fall and our thoughts are laid bare. This is because when we are most honest with ourselves and others we are closest to the will of the divine spirit. And in the divine spirit’s will is true power.
Throughout the Principality series there is an underlying theme of social action and working toward the greater good. This is also a key theme of the series’ web site, Celmarea.com, where Principality fans can become part of a magical race of “islanders” and do actual good works for the world, earning ranks on the web site as they following a path of enlightenment. (Trust me, this ties in with the novel).
AL- Thank you for that delightful introduction to your book and characters. I am sure readers have their curiosity aroused by your descriptions.
If you want read the book or find out more about R J Francis check out the links below
Amazon link to purchase “The Orphan’s Secret”: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LOWET7W
Available on Kindle and in paperback.
Official Web site: http://celmarea.com (join us and do actual good works for the world!)
And check out a free mini-story about Elaina when she was three years old: http://celmarea.com/1-that-day. It’s cute but intense.