NYTimes Bestselling Author Francis Ray Swims with the Mermaids

I am absolutely thrilled to have one of the legends in contemporary romance joining us today at the Waterworld Mermaids’ pond. So please spend a few minutes learning more about her, or if you’re already a fan, asking her questions about her upcoming releases. And if you’re very good, she may share a bit more about the ingredients that have helped her remain at the top of your game for 45 titles! So, ladies and gents, NYTimes and USA Today Bestselling Author, Francis Ray.

She is a native Texan and lives in Dallas. A graduate of Texas Woman’s University, she was nominated for Texas Woman’s University Distinguished Alumni Award.  She gave the winter commencement address winter 2010.  Ms. Ray’s titles consistently make bestseller’s lists such as Blackboard and Essence Magazine. INCOGNITO, her sixth title, was the first made-for-TV movie for BET. She has written forty-five titles to date. Awards include Romantic Times Career Achievement, EMMA, The Golden Pen, The Atlantic Choice, Borders 2008 Romance Award for Bestselling Multicultural Romance and Written Magazine 2010 Book of the Year.

Her latest release is A SEDUCTIVE KISS with a January 31, 2012 release date!! She is currently working on AFTER THE DAWN, the third book in a new mainstream series. Her publisher is St. Martin’s Press, and her editor is Monique Patterson, Senior Editor. Since March 2010 her agent has been Holly Root with the Waxman Literary Agency. She has been writing since the early 90’s.

THE TURNING POINT, her first mainstream, was a finalist for the prestigious HOLT Medallion Award. At the release event for THE TURNING POINT in May 2001, she established The Turning Point Legal Fund to assist women of domestic violence to help restructure their lives.

Three ‘KISS” books will continue the Grayson Friends series – A SEDUCTIVE KISS – January 31, WITH JUST A KISS – February 28, and A DANGEROUS KISS – June 26, 2012. WHEN TOMORROW COMES, a mainstream, will be in stores June 5, followed by another mainstream as yet untitled in January 2013.

Q.  What’s the best-kept secret about your writing process?

Francis said: I don’t have a secret. Wish I did. It might make this process easier.

Q.  What character have you written or are writing that keeps you up at night – just one, please:)?

Francis said: Lilly Crawford in TROUBLE DON’T LAST ALWAYS was probably one of the most difficult characters to write because of her transformation from being a victim of domestic abuse to a strong survivor.

Q.  What real person, television or fictional character has had the greatest influence on your writing style and why?

Francis said: Dwight Swain’s Techniques of the Selling Writer probably influenced me the most in my writing because the book and meeting Mr. Swain gave me a greater understanding of characterization.  Characters, to me, are the backbone of a good book.

Q.  What book title is the current “hot read” on your bookshelf?

Francis said: I’m waiting for Bette Ford’s CAN’T STOP LOVING YOU due out late January.

Q.  What has been the biggest change in contemporary African American romance/multicultural romance in the last five years, last decade?

Francis said: Borders was really African-American author friendly. Each year at RWA they gave an award for the best selling Multicultural Romance of that year. No other retail outlet did this. Borders also sent out coupons that made it worth readers while to shop there for their books. Unfortunately, I’m not sure other chain bookstores know our products as well or will have frequent discounts. Many of my readers tell me they’re buying less books because of Borders closing. Yes, many have ereaders, but many of us still prefer books.

Q. What would you write, or are planning to write, other than contemporary romance or erotic romance (which you’ve also written:)?

Francis said: If I had the time I’d write another historical, and have a Christian fiction series.

Q. As a highly successful romance author who has published more than 45 titles, what advice would you give writers breaking into today’s publishing industry?

Francis said: Learn the genre, read widely, don’t compare yourself to anyone, and join a writing organization.

Thank you so much Francis for joining us today.

Now fans, it’s your turn. Francis will be around to answer questions or talk about her new release or any of her 45 titles. So comment, comment, comment!

Also, we have a copy of A SEDUCTIVE KISS, Francis Ray’s new release for one lucky visitor! So please comment below for your chance to win!

24 thoughts on “NYTimes Bestselling Author Francis Ray Swims with the Mermaids

  1. Good morning Denny and Ms. Ray! It’s such an honor to get to meet you today. I am new to you, Ms. Ray, but not for lack of being intrigued by your writing. I’m slightly new to romance and women’s fiction and a couple years ago I did a search for an intense, emotional book about second chances and I was recommended to read The Turning Point. I admire you for tackling issues of abuse and I wondered if it’s difficult to write that kind of story. I read that you feel very strongly about characterization and to experience that type of trauma through them must be hard. How do you get yourself through that kind of journey with your characters? Thank you again, so much, for being here! Excellent job, Denny!

    1. Hello Carlene, Thank you so much for your post. It’s wonderful to meet you as well.

      Although difficult to write, The Turning Point was as a book of hope and survival to write the Turning Point I did an immense amount of research on domestic abuse with helped me delve into Lily’s character. As a writer you step back, and the character steps forward being it is their story not mine. In each book I write I want the reader to always know that life can be challenging but it is how they meet that challenge that will determine their successes and their happiness in life.

  2. Hello Denny and Ms. Ray! Thank you so much for being here today, it is truly an honor to have you with us. Though I haven’t had the chance to read your work, Ms. Ray I look forward to putting them on my reading list. I write paranormal but I love reading good contemporaries with challenging topics for characters to overcome. Thank you for sharing your time and thoughts to those of us just starting out in the ‘writing’ industry.

    Hugs to both of you and best wishes, always.

  3. First, I’m so glad you’re here Francis! Welcome to the Waterworld Mermaid lagoon. 🙂

    I am so glad you mentioned Lilly from Trouble Don’t Last Always. Her transformation was done so well. From the beginning you could see flashes of steel in her, but just enough to make sure when she did emerge stronger in the end it wasn’t a total turnaround. More like a metamorphosis. (Can you tell I really enjoyed the book?) The courtroom scene had me cheering for her. But I have to ask, what kind of planning did you put into the slow emergence of Lilly’s tough side and were you ever tempted to take it faster?

    1. Hello Avery, Thank you for the welcome and posting your awesome review of Trouble Don’t Last Always/The Turning Point. It’s wonderful to meet all the Mermaids.
      After researching and talking to women who were abused it became clear that those who made the decision to leave it was done after weeks, months, sometimes years. Therefore Lilly’s transformation had to mirror that same difficult struggles and the same acceptance that they were not to be blamed. It takes courage to walk away and not know where your going.

  4. Great interview, Denny-mermaid!!! Big smoochies to you! 😉

    Thanks so much for being here, Francis!!! Can’t wait to read A Seductive Kiss. My question is fairly simple. I’m in the middle of some pretty major revisions with my current WIP. All this work is making me rethink my status as a pantser going forward. So, I have to ask, are you a plotter or a pantser, and do you have any advice for revisions?

    1. Hi Kerri, Thanks for the warm welcome.
      I’m definitely a plotter. I have to know where I’m going. I have to know who are the character in the story, and that includes their childhood and their goals.
      I hesitate to give advice because I struggle, even with a synopsis to write each and every book. My thoughts would be to step back a day or two, if possible then go back with fresh eyes to look at the revisions. Each writer writes in their own unique way. If being a pantser no longer works for you, you might give thought to a writing a very brief character online that includes character motivation.
      Good luck.

    1. Thank you so much Francis for visiting with the Mermaids! I just appreciate so much your time, and your comments. By the way, I have a couple of copies of your new book on hand! One for the drawing:)!

  5. Great interview, y’all.

    Francis, I think a lot of us dream about having our books made into movies. Were you involved in the production at all?

    Thank you for the reminder not to compare ourselves to anyone. It’s death to creativity to do so, and we can never be reminded enough.

  6. Hi Jane,
    No. I was not involved in any aspect of making Incognito except going to the filming and later the premiere. Since then I have retain movie rights on all my books.
    Comparing yourself to another author is all to easy especially when your writing is not going well, no new contracts, crushing reviews, writers block and poor sales. However, it is also extremely counterproductive and stifles creativity. Keep your head down remain positive in spite of all the negatives and write your book

  7. Ms. Ray – I don’t have a question but I wanted to thank you for being an inspiration to me and other women of color who are going for our dreams. It is wonderful to have a successful, professional, and talented role model.

  8. Robin,
    Thank you for such a wonderful compliment. I’m blushing. I will always remember my journey to this point, and the many people who helped me along the way. I would have never achieved my dream of being published on my own. I cherish the opportunity to write stories where the good not only triumph but find love along the way.

  9. Thank you so much Denny and Ms. Ray for such a wonderful interview! Ms. Ray you are truly an inspiration to all of us. I love how natural your characters transformations feel, particularly Lilly from Trouble Don’t Always Last. You give your stories such a wonderful pace and a nice sense of progression. Thank you for joining us today.

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