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The University of Montana -Western December 8, 2004 English professor releases second fantasy novel, Path of Honor By Marie Giere B This month our own L i i B L - —J Pharaoh Francis releases her second fantasy novel, Path of Honor. A well-designed, realizable tale en riched by plausible and engrossing char acters, Path of Honor is the second novel presented in Francis' planned tril ogy. Sequel to Path of Fate, Path of Honor continues the reader through Reisil’s spell binding journey, fraught with danger, sorcerers, wizards, and devious plots to destroy homelands for the sake of greed and power. Francis’ stubborn, compelling heroine Reisil, driven by her honor, follows her in stincts to protect and heal her country men against this unknown evil. Trust ing Reisil to preserve and protect her people, The Lady endows Reisil with magical powers and a goshawk named Saljane. As ahalad-kaaslane Reisil and Saljane discover the world through the eyes of each other forming a deep bond. Together Reisil and Saljane journey through engrossing plot twists and turns in this magical story. In preparation for this essay /book review, I happened upon an on-line Au thor Interview with Francis prepared by Sell Writing On-line. The interview contains some valuable information to those of us who love to write. Francis tells of growing up with the love of writing and the concept of putting words on paper. Starting with nonsensical squiggles on paper, before she knew it, she was writing. Raised on a cattle ranch near Lin coln in Northern California, Francis, despite her fear of heights, taught her self to ride horses at the age of six. Her childhood days on the ranch were spent reading books while riding in the first morning light atop a strawberry roan to round up cattle. Francis started her writ ing in earnest during her high school years. She readily admits in the begin ning some of it was bad, but she couldn’t stop writing and it is there thé author of today was born. Explaining how she comes up with her ideas and why she chooses some over others, Francis said, “Something strikes me. A character, an idea, some thing.” “Wonder, wonder, wonder.” As Francis explains it, her character Reisil started out because she wondered about someone with a terrible fear of heights who bonded with a bird. “I visited Disneyland recently and experienced ‘California Soaring,’ she said. “It is a presentation where the spectator is given the sense of flying over California. You fly above pine forests and you smell pine, that kind of thing. The chair you sit in is synchronized to the movements you visualize in flight. When I experi enced this ride, I knew I had nailed the feeling and correctly envisioned how it was when Reisil first experienced sight in flight through the eyes of Saljane. It was a great feeling.” Francis attended college after col lege ultimately racking up her BA and MA in creative writing and her Ph.D. in literature and theory. She and her fam ily have traipsed across the Midwest and back to Montana (Francis says her husband Tony kept running and hiding and she kept finding him), and Dillon where she is a respected member of the UM-Westem faculty. I had the opportunity to sit down with Francis over a cup of Chai at the Sweetwater Café. I asked her what tar get audience the trilogy was written for. Her eyes lit up and the reply was quick. “I write for my own enjoyment. I don’t really begin a story with a particular audience in mind other than myself,” she said. “I have always loved fantasy stories.” During our visit I asked a few ques tions directed at her experiences as an English Professor at UM-Western. One such question dealt with how she en deavors to help her students develop their writing skills. “You can’t teach talent,” she said. “But, what you can do is applaud those who do the work. I try to teach my students how to understand their craft. I want to give them an aware ness of language and show them how to amplify their words and phrases.” With that said, I asked Francis what her recommendations were for creative \yriting students. Her reply was simple, “Love words, collect words.” The Francis family now numbers four with the additions of son Quentin - 4 and daughter Sydney - 6 months. One question I had was, how do you find time to write and teach with two small children? Francis immediately replied, “Thank goodness for Tony. Without his help things would be much more difficult. I have dedicated both books to him. But,” she went on, “to answer your question, I write a lot at night, or very early in the morn ing, on weekends, mostly before and after kid time.” Before we closed our interview, I asked Francis if she would give us a little hint into the future of Reisil and Saljane. She smiled at me and said, “Sure I will, but I don’t want to give too much away. For people inter ested in reading the con clusion of this trilogy, they will get the first chapter of Path o f Blood inside Path of Honor.\ She did however, give me the following glimpse into the future. • “In Path . o f Blood, Reisil learns the cost of being ahalad- kaaslane. She is unable to protect her friends from the sacrifices they must make. The task she faces is daunting, and as she fights to save her people and her land, she must put those she loves most into danger. Some will die, some will be lost forever, and none o f it may be enough ...” Path o f Honor, published by Roc Mass Market Paperbacks, will be available at bookstores early December. Meet the author and purchase your copy at the downtown Dillon Bookstore, December 10 between the hours of 6pm and 8pm. For an excerpt from Path of Honor and a photo of the author turn to page 4.