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Interview: Meet Award-Winning Author Fran Orenstein

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Joining us today is Fran Orenstein , author of Gaia’s
Gift
a contemporary paranormal novel of love, loss, guilt and redemption.

Fran Orenstein, Ed.D., award-winning author and poet, wrote her first poem at age eight and submitted a short story to a magazine at age twelve. Her published credits include a ‘tween mystery series, The
Mystery Under Third Base
and The Mystery of the Green Goblin, a fantasy series for ‘tweens, The Wizard of Balalac and The Gargoyles of Blackthorne, a ‘tween fiction novel dealing with childhood obesity, self-image, puberty, and bullying, Fat Girls From Outer Space, (Sleepytown Press), and two young adult historical romances, The Spice Merchant’s Daughter (Whiskey Creek Press), set in France and Prussia
between 1685 and 1703 and The Calling of the Flute (Sleepytown Press) set in Lithuania in 1897.

Moving into literature for adults, prize-winning short stories and poetry have appeared in various anthologies. A book of poetry for adults is currently in the works for publication in spring 2012.

Thank you for joining us today, Fran. Can you please start off by telling us a bit about yourself?

I grew up in New York’s Brooklyn and the Bronx. The education was excellent and I was exposed to some of the finest culture in the world. I have a doctoral degree in child and youth studies, a master’s degree in counseling psychology,
and a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education. I’ve been a teacher, magazine editor/writer, rehabilitation counselor and worked for many years for the NJ Division on Women creating and managing programs for women in child care, gender equity, violence prevention, and women and disabilities. I was an
officer with AmeriCorps in NJ before retiring from State Government. I’m a proud mother and a grandmother. Now, I’m a full-time author and poet.

When did you first get bit by the writing bug?

My mother was a story-teller. She would make up stories or change existing stories and elaborate on them. That gave me the impetus from early childhood to create tales. I was eight-years-old when I read Bambi and was so moved by the book that I wrote a poem about it. I kept on writing poetry and prose, and submitted my first short story to a national magazine when I was twelve. I wrote for the school newspaper and continued writing professionally and academically.

Why did you decide to write stories for the women’s market?

I had been writing for older kids, ‘tweens and teens, but I needed to make a change and write about adult issues. I have always been part of the women’s movement from its inception in the early 70’s and had a number of ideas for books that dealt with the issues women face. I have been writing poetry in this
genre for many, many years and expect to publish a book of poetry later this year. It simply segued nicely into prose.

What is your favorite part of writing for this group? What is the greatest challenge?

My favorite part is saying things most people keep hidden; the controversial issues that are tucked away in the back of the mind. That’s why I find fiction a wonderful mechanism to do that, because you can make up a story, like an allegory that says what you want to express without being obvious.

The greatest challenge is saying them in a way that everyone will understand without being preachy or accusatory; opening them to the light, so to speak and letting the reader make her own decision. When you write, you have to avoid letting your own personal feelings or history become emotionally overwhelming
and that can be challenging.

Can you tell us what your latest book is all about?

Gaia’s Gift is the story of Rachel Wells who loses everything she loves in a sudden storm off the coast of Southwest Florida. Filled with survivor’s guilt and bereft, she turns her back on the world and moves with her cat to an isolated island. Rachel, an herbalist, an animal whisperer, and a believer in the natural world, looks upon Gaia, Mother Earth as the avenger, wreaking vengeance upon the inhabitants of Earth whom the Goddess sees as destroyers and plunderers. When tiny Abigail washes up on shore, Rachel believes Gaia has given her a special gift from the sea.

Rachel loses all her perspective and sees the child as her life line to survival. There are paranormal elements in their interaction with the animals and ability to sense and communicate with the dead. As Abigail emergences into
adolescence the outside world lays claim to their lives. Unexpected love enters Rachel’s life and the consequences of what she has done, threatens to destroy the life she has built around the years of deception. Rachel learns that a gift
from the Gods is not given freely, but payment will be expected, sometimes with your life.

What inspired you to write this story?

When she was nine, my best fan, my granddaughter, Rachel called to tell me about a story I should write. She saw it from the child’s perspective, but I saw the potential for my first adult book. Now 13, she told me it is the best book I have written.

Where can readers purchase a copy?

The book is available at all on-line bookstores and can be downloaded to all E-books.

It is available on order from bookstores, World Castle Publishing, and from me through my website.

What is up next for you?

I have a new book coming out in 2012, The Book of Mysteries. It is a volume of three young adult fantasy novels, two of which were previously published as stand-alone books and the third in the series as yet unpublished.

I am currently writing another adult fiction book in partnership with a friend that deals with two women in the field of music, historical and contemporary. There is the possibility of a series.

Do you have anything else to add?

When your book is finished, find readers to give you feedback, and someone to edit and proof the manuscript before you make any attempt to find an agent or publisher. Publishing is a tough world to navigate. To be an author today, you have to love writing as the end-game, and understand that in the current
publishing world it takes hard work, patience, marketing know-how, and sometimes making compromises if you want your book published and read.

Keep writing and keep the faith.

Thank you for spending time with us today, Fran. We wish you much success.

The World of Ink Network has been touring award-winning author Fran Orenstein’s contemporary woman’s novel with paranormal overtones, Gaia’s Gift published by Word Castle throughout May 2012.  

You can find out more about Fran Orenstein’s World of Ink Author/Book Tour here.

Blog Talk Radio’s World of Ink Network aired a special The Writing Mama show on May 14, 2012 with host VS Grenier and producer Irene Roth. They chatted with Fran Orenstein about writing, her books and Fran even read from her current book,Gaia’s Gift.

Listen to the live interview and reading of Gaia’s Gift here.

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