And you feel more fulfilled.
FRANCINE: Your life has real purpose, and your Boss is the Creator of everything.
Yes! That’s really interesting, because I’ve bumped into as a Christian, that some people become conflicted about their gift and being the son or daughter of God and how that fits together.
FRANCINE: Yeah. It’s like, where’d those gifts come from? He planned those from the beginning.
And we may use pieces of them and not realize the fullness that He could bring from that. He gives you talents, but you have spiritual gifts, too. But you don’t get the spiritual gifts until after you come to Him.
I know they have all kinds of classes and things and I’m not quite sure what my spiritual gift is, but I don’t worry about it. I figure, God will work all that out. I don’t have to identify it.
Other people may recognize it more in me than I will ever recognize it in myself, but it’s not important for me to have a specific identity on that score. It’s like, ‘Do whatever you want, Lord. I’m your vessel, cracked and dented.’ But you’ll do what He wants.
I love that you didn’t like to read at first when you were little, but you wanted to be a writer. Was reading those historical romances like the trigger? Was there something about setting your stories in a certain time period that just really fascinates or challenges you?
FRANCINE: I think a story kind of tells you where it’s going to be. But I remember as a kid we lived out in the country. We were about three miles out of town, so I didn’t have a lot of people around me, and my mom worked, and my dad worked. When I came home from school, I usually came home to an empty house. So, I lived in my head a lot. I used to carry on conversations [by myself].
I remember my brother had a little boy scout troop and they hid all over the house because they were going to jump out and scare me, and then they didn’t come out for a long time and one of the kids came out later and said, ‘We thought there were other people in the house because there was this conversation going on.’ [laughter] I never I never talked out loud after that again, because that was so embarrassing. ‘There was nobody here, it was just me talking to myself!’
I mean, I created stories in my head from the time I was a little kid. My dad was a police officer, but he had his first heart attack when he was about 39 years old and he was in bed at home for three months.
What did he do during that three months? He wrote a book on how a police officer interacts with the community and reaches the community.
And my mother was a journalist. She wrote a diary every day from the time she was 17, and I have all of her diaries.
So, I saw writing going on. I just wanted to be a writer and I wanted to tell stories, but I didn’t know what I’d be writing.
I was not a very good reader—I got like a D in reading when I was in sixth grade. I’m still to this day a slow reader.
I tend to read every single word and act it out in my head. I’m doing really well when I read 52 books in a year because that’s a book a week, and that’s a stretch for me because I take time. I underline, I make little notes, I’m analyzing the writing as I’m going. So, it takes me a lot of time to read something.
People would ask about my favorite author, and I would say the person I happen to be reading at the time. Every book has a unique voice, and you can’t judge between people. I mean, everybody has something of value to offer. I read all kinds of stuff.
Do you do you like to read more non-fiction now, or do you kind of split?
FRANCINE: I split. And I usually try to alternate—fiction, nonfiction. Sometimes I’m reading two books at the same time and I’ll kind of switch back and forth. But I like both, fiction and nonfiction. And a variety of subject matter.
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