Interview with Floriana Hall, author of “Francis, Not the Saint”

Tell us a little about yourself.

I was born in Pittsburgh on October 2,1927 and grew up during The Great
Depression and World War 11. We did not have much food to eat because our dad
left us for jobs and other women. My husband and I have been married for 62
years and have five children, nine grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren.

Your latest book, “Francis, Not the Saint,” just came out. Can you tell us a bit
about the book and how you came to write it?

After I wrote SMALL CHANGE, a children’s book about growing up during The Great Depression (later rewritten as THE ADVENTURES OF Flossie, Robbie and Juney
During The Great Depression), readers asked me what happened after high school.

I wrote DADDY WAS A BAD BOY (not my title choice), which was published by
Sterlinghouse of Pittsburgh. They turned the rights over to me after seven
years when I wrote FRANCIS, NOT THE SAINT, which is the same story but with a
surprise ending.

Was it difficult writing about your family?

Not at all. I never dwelled on any misfortune or adversity and wanted to
tell my story as a part of history. Each family makes history.

How have other family members reacted to your book?

Everyone has been favorable except one person who has since passed away. I
changed names in the book so that we could not be sued.

You’ve written poetry and non-fiction books for adults and children. Do you have
a favorite genre?

Yes, I love to write children’s books. My current book is SIMPLE PLEASURES
which will eventually be a trilogy of a dear friend of mine who lived to be 100
years old and three of her great-grandchildren. It suggests simple ways for
children’s entertainment such as playing outdoors instead of TV, hand held
games, etc. Exercise is most important for all ages.

How do you think being a poet has influenced you as a non-fiction writer?

I have been told that I write non-fiction in a poetic manner but it is a
natural process of thinking what words sound good together and writing in an
easy to understand style.

How did you get started as a writer?
I was inspired in church to write my first published poem by a phrase the
preacher used. When I returned home, I entered a poetry contest I happened to
see advertised in the newspaper and subsequently won The Editor’s Choice Award
for my poem LOVE NEVER DIES. Since then, I have won many poetry prizes and have
had most of my poetry invade my thoughts at five AM.

What were your favorite books growing up?

I really enjoyed books about Native Americans and I read many biographies.
I also enjoyed TWENTY THOUSAND LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA, reading Shakespeare
and all rhyming poetry books.

Did your family value the written word, and how did this influence you as a

Yes, my mother read books and my paternal grandfather was a writer for the
Pittsburgh Press.
Some people in my family are avid readers, while others just read

What is your favorite writing advice? Your least favorite?
Always start out a story with a leading sentence that intrigues the

My least favorite advice is when someone else suggests writing free verse
instead of a rhyming poem, although I write free verse also. I do not like to
change a rhyming poem into free verse.

Do you work on more than one project at a time, and if so, how do you manage
your time?

I always seem to be compiling two books at a time. Right now, I have been
asked by Publish America to write an up to the minute memoir which I have titled
MISS FLOSSIE’S WORLD – Coping with adversity during The Great Depression Then
and the Recession Now. I have six months to finish it and am starting on
Chapter 19 now.
Also, I am simultaneously compiling a new book for The Poet’s Nook, which I
founded and coordinate each month at Cuyahoga Falls Library. The book is titled
POEMS OF BEAUTIFUL OHIO, Then and Now. I am working of one of the three
sections and will edit it.
Both books will be on the market in 2011

What is your writing routine like?

I usually am on the computer early in the morning to type poems, stories and books. I rarely use an outline but the words flow freely for the most part. After that, I go to water exercise and do the other necessary routines for living. Some days I write for an hour later in the day to catch up.

Where can readers find your book?

All of my books are on even some of the ones that are outdated. The only exceptions are The Poet’s Nook’s poetry books – some on, another, VOICES IN VERSE

Where can readers find you on the web?

Facebook, Twitter, Plaxo

4 thoughts on “Interview with Floriana Hall, author of “Francis, Not the Saint”

  1. kathy stemke

    It’s a pleasure to meet you, Floriana. I’m so glad you’re going to write a biography which includes the depression era. So many of our parents lived during those trying times. In many ways, I think the trials they survived purified and fortified their character.

    By the way, my daughter was born on October 2nd too. It’s a great day on the yearly calendar. Best wishes, Kathy


  2. Pingback: Tweets that mention Margaret Fieland: Poetry and Prose » Interview with Floriana Hall, author of “Francis, Not the Saint” --

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