Tell us a bit more about you and where you’re from.
Francesca Maria: I grew up in a tiny town northeast of San Francisco with four older siblings and my parents. We never talked about the haunting in our house until we were adults, but our house was most definitely haunted: lights/TVs going on and off, doors slamming on their own, footsteps in the attic, a feeling of being watched, that sort of thing. At an early age, I started to write about haunted houses and things that go ‘bump in the night’ as a way of coping with the real horrors I faced each night, as the lights went out. My childhood haunting turned me into a paranormal enthusiast and now I work as a psychic detective on cold cases as well as teach others how to tap into their own psychic abilities. When I’m not out sleuthing or writing horror, I play drums, run around with my cats and go for walks on the beach with my husband of 25+ years.
What kind of books did you read as a kid?
Francesca: Lots of Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden mysteries, those were some of my favorites. My oldest sister was (and still is) a big horror fan and had lots of Stephen King and Anne Rice laying around so I consumed things like Salem’s Lot and the Vampire Chronicles at a pretty impressionable age.
When, and why, did you start writing?
Francesca: See above ;). I was six when I wrote my first story. It was about a group of neighborhood kids that stumble onto a haunted house at the end of their street. I kept writing throughout my life as a way of controlling the horrors around me. In horror fiction, I get to control the monsters, I get to control the outcome.
Anything special on your 'to read' list for this year?
Francesca: So many. I have a slew of books I picked up at StokerCon that I’m dying to get my hands on. I just finished James Aquilone’s Classic Monster’s Unleashed Anthology and LOVED it! I am burning through Tom Deady’s The Clearing which is so good it makes me mad, Loren Rhoad’s Morbid Life is next on the list followed by the recently released Howls from the Dark Ages: An Anthology of Medieval Horror edited by Solomon Forse.
How do make time to write, and how do you utilize that time.
Francesca: I try to carve out my mornings and late nights for writing. I typically write from 8 – 11 a.m. four to five days a week, then I’ll take my notebook to bed and write until I fall asleep – usually with a pen in my hand. I feel sharpest in the morning so that’s when I’ll do my rewrites and edits. At night I feel the most creative so that’s when I’ll start a story, jot down ideas or write an early draft.
Anything about you most folks don't know? Perhaps a hidden talent or hobby.
Francesca: I’m a punk rock drummer, which is hard for most folks to believe given my five foot stature. That’s how I met my husband, we were in a band together in the early nineties called Agnes Morhead. He was the singer or more appropriately – the ‘screamer’.
What's the best thing about being an author?
Francesca: There’s nothing better than creating something from scratch, completing it, stepping back and realizing that it all came from you. I’m not the type of writer that plots things out in advance, so when I’m writing, I’m my own first reader and sometimes the evil, horrendous stuff that comes out of my brain delightfully shocks me. And if I can send my creative beast out into the world and find others who also enjoy it, then that’s just icing on the cake … or blood on the knife?
Where do you see your career heading in the next five years?
Francesca: Hmm…that’s so hard to answer. Being a comic book nerd, (I co-ran a comic book store with my husband for nearly 20 years), I always wanted to write Batman. He’s so dark and moody, violent and benevolent, all at the same time. I set a goal for myself to write Batman by the time I’m 50, which is only about a year away so … we’ll see if DC Comics gives me a call ;). Beyond that pipe dream, I will likely keep doing what I’m doing now: writing, honing in on my craft, meeting wonderful colleagues, learning and sharing from each other – I don’t see any of that changing in the next five years.
What can readers expect from you in the future?
Francesca: I have a third issue of my horror comic, Black Cat Chronicles coming out this fall, a short essay in Loren Rhoad’s Death Garden Revisited, coming out around the same time and maybe something else that I can’t talk about just yet, in early 2023.
Where can folks find you online?
On twitter: @Writer_of_Weird
On Facebook: @writeroftheweird