Let's start with you telling us a little bit about yourself, Francis.
I write male/male romance under the pen name of Francis Gideon. Francis is my middle name, but I tend to use it more than my first since my first name often gets mispronounced. Evelyn (pron. Eve-lyn) is what I go by in my “everyday” waking world. I’m an academic who studies genre fiction at a Canadian university. I’m working on my PhD and will hopefully be done before I’m thirty. ;)
What would people be most surprised to learn about you?
I have over ten tattoos, most of which are not visible with regular clothing on. Most of them are on my legs and involve images from Tarot cards. I read Tarot cards as a small side hobby/business, which also surprises most people. I can do astrological readings, too and worked as an astrologist at a magazine for about a year.
When did you start writing, is it something you've always been interested in, or did it develop later in life?
When I was twelve or so, I read The Outsiders by SE Hinton. I was really blown away by the characters, the story, and the fact that she was published when she was only seventeen years old. I had always wanted to be a writer, but this made me really think it was possible to publish and to be recognized. I started to write longer stories when I was about twelve and became quite serious about this “hobby” in high school. My first publication was a poem for an online magazine when I was sixteen.
Has it been everything you thought it would be or not?
Writing? Oh, I love writing. I start to feel bad when I don’t do it for a few days. ;)
How did it feel when you realized that your very first book was going to be published?
Great! It’s such a good experience to be able to reach more people with what I’ve produced. Not to mention the great cover artists and editors who’ve helped to polish the manuscript and give it better form. I really, really appreciate the ability to work with very talented and organized people who’ve helped to get my books off the ground.
What's your favorite part of writing a book?
When I get far enough into the manuscript to feel as if I really know the characters. I usually write in three major waves: one where I outline all the plot points and sketch the characters, the second wave where I write and begin to fill in what’s missing, and then the third where I try to fix any errors I’ve made and edit what I have. The second wave, where I actually see how the characters move and interact with one another is definitely my favourite.
Do you get time to read for pleasure? If so, which books do you enjoy?
I mostly read audiobooks now because I spend most of my day sitting in front of a computer. When I clean, make meals, or walk around, I always have a book with me. I’ve been enjoying a lot of Michael Thomas Ford’s stuff recently (Full Circle and Changing Tides in particular), but I will read mostly anything. I particular love nonfiction books (especially historical anecdotes – think Bill Bryson and Steven Johnson – and true crime like John E. Douglas’s work). If I do get a chance to sit down and read, I’ll usually pick up graphic novels like Grant Morrison’s The Invisibles. My Goodreads is https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/15935017-evelyn and usually provides a better over of what I’m into.
Are there any other genres you'd be interested in writing?
I’ve written in most of the genres I like! I wish I could spend more time in science fiction or fantasy genres, and also produce a full length horror work instead of the short stories I usually do.
Please tell us a little about your most recent release.
Divine Intervention (February 2014 on JMS Books) is about a group of friends as they go through a series of heartbreaks and love interests. It’s told in a series of flashbacks, out of chronological order, in order to better illustrate the small moments between people where their point of view changes or small realizations happen. It’s a story about belief – but not just about religion. The story discusses the need to have faith in human relationships, in yourself (one character is a recovering alcoholic) and in your friends.
My current work at JMS called Tertium Non Data is really not as pompous as it sounds. The Latin title translates into “The third is not known” and was used to describe how base metals turned to gold. The story – a short historical piece about a Lord and his valet who fall for one another – discusses the ‘middle way’ in a lot of relationships. The two men who fall in love with one another both have unsavoury pasts. They learn that ‘playing their part’ in their social class does not necessarily negate their happiness. Instead of rejecting their roots, they learn to appreciate the person in front of them for what they are. This was the first work I published with JMS and I’ve enjoyed working with them so far. :)
What can we look forward to in the future from you?
I was surprised at how much I enjoyed writing about the characters from Divine Intervention and now I would like to write follow up works. Right now, I have a story under review about a transgender protagonist, which I’m also looking forward to sharing. There needs to be more transgender fiction out there – especially with gay transgender men, since they are usually misunderstood in the gay community.
Anything you want to say to your readers?
Talk to me! I love hearing from people and I spend far too much time online. I work from home at my jobs, too so I’m almost always around in some form or another. My tumblr is http://paintitback.tumblr.com/. I mostly post fandom related items, funny stuff, and occasional updates about writing and speaking gigs. Stop by and say hi. :)
Francis Gideon's recent releases:
Tertium Non Data
When Lord Louis Hector married his wife, she was an invalid and he only had the clothing on his back. Now, he is a lead investor of the Rolls Royce. When he decides to try his luck on William Bailey, the former son of a thief, as his new footman, what emerges is completely unknown to both men.
Bad Secret Santa
When Greg’s best friend Ray entices him into one last party before they break for Christmas, Greg says yes, though it will mean finding a last minute gift for a woman he hardly knows. Inside a crowded mall, and then later on at the party, Greg runs into Jason. Turns out the short mystery man in tight pants is Greg’s Secret Santa, and he’s not good with keeping it a secret.
After Liam breaks up with his fiancé Sarah, his best friends Bart and Evan meet at his apartment for a night of conciliatory drinking. When they arrive to find Liam's place empty, the two of them are forced to wait and amuse themselves until their friend shows up. By the end of the night, Liam, Evan, and Bart all hope for their broken hearts to be mended, but it may take more effort than usual.
Excerpt from Tertium Non Data:
"So what has Master Hector taught you so far?" Robert asks. He raises his eyebrows to Jimmy, who smirks.
"About poetry," William says. "That's all. He's been published, you know. He showed it to me the other day."
"No doubt," Robert says, pausing. "I always thought poetry was for fairies."
"Inverts?" William asks. Jimmy nods and William's eyes go back to his feet. He shuffles from side to side.
Robert smiles, taking another drag of the cigarette. He passes his to Jimmy when he runs out, and they stand close to one another. It is a type of closeness that William would not have noticed until the night before. He tries to think of a way to render it into words, into art, and make something between all three of them. But his mind has turned into a blank, and his head is somewhat dizzy from the harsh second hand smoke.
"Lord Hector says art can make anything beautiful," William says, though he is sure that he is butchering the delicacy of the words. Jimmy and Robert continue to smile.
"He was always a good talker," Jimmy says. "Talked me right into this job."
"What play did he show you?"
"What play?" Robert repeats. "Did he go right for Romeo and Juliet?"
William takes in a deep breath. "As You Like it."
"Ah," Jimmy and Robert both say to themselves. Robert adds. "He must like you."
"What do you mean?"
"He is impressed by you," Jimmy says, motioning with his hands. "He didn't bother to try and talk down to you, or fool you with the plight of Romeo and Juliet."
"Fool me for what?"
Jimmy and Robert both exchange looks. The smoke is dissipating from the lit cigarette and their break time is running out. The maids in the room next to them are tittering and calling after Jack, who has been in bed most of the morning. William can hear Bessie's shrill voice silence the girls and chastises them for their volume. She will soon be preparing lunch and it will be time to go.
"Let's just say," Robert adds, "that you're one of his favourites. He is impressed by you. Don't let him down. Don't keep too many secrets from him, or he'll start to suspect."
William swallows. "What kind of secrets?"
"You're not the first person he's shown interest in."
"What happens to the others?"
"What always happens. Every good enemy needs tension, a rival, remember?" Jimmy teases. William is silent.
"Betrayal. I've seen a lot of men go in and out of here. He puts a lot of stock in words, right?" Robert says, motioning with his hands. William nods. "Just don't lie to him and you'll be fine."
William nods, his eyes to the ground as he watches Jimmy stub out his cigarette. They wait until Bessie calls to them outside to get back to work, her expression changing when she notices that William is outside too. When William walks by the mirror before washing up, he is shocked to find his skin bright pink. As he helps to prepare the house for its afternoon meal, he cannot get them to go back to normal, no matter how hard he tries.