Arctic Explorers and normal writer friends

It was tough writing a profile on Frances Hern, a Canadian children’s author and a member of my writing group – the Kensington Writers Group. Problem is - she’s too normal! Unlike the other members of the group, Frances doesn’t create a self-portrait in cookie dough, she doesn’t eat my lunch over my grammar and she probably doesn’t even know where Moose Jaw is! And she admits that she can’t hold an earring to Jocossa of the … well, you know.

Frances was one of the first people I meet her when I moved here and was trying to find a community of writers. She’s been a long time member/friend of CANSCAIP and the Writers Guild of Alberta. She has two non-fiction history books for young adults published, one picture book and loads of poetry.

I’ll let her take it from there …

My first writing success I remember was in Grade 5. Our teacher read the beginning of a story about a seahorse and we had to finish it. I won a small prize because my ending most closely resembled that of the original story – so close in fact that the teacher asked me if I'd read the book before. (I hadn't.)

I also used to read my father's books of poetry and write my own poems and, as I reached my teens I actually enjoyed writing letters and essays. Perhaps I should have realized where my talents lay and realized I wanted to write. I'd been a research technician in genetics and biochemistry labs, a secretary in the oil patch, and a parenting discussion group leader.

I dropped history at school after studying King Henry VIII because I was hopeless at memorizing dates and couldn't keep track of when his six wives were born and done away with so it's ironic that I now write about history.

I've had two easy-read history books published. One is about Norman Bethune (James Lorimer & Company Ltd.) and the other is about Arctic Explorers: In Search of the Northwest Passage, which has just been updated and reprinted by Heritage House Publishing Company Ltd., Arctic Explorers spans the more than 400 year search carried out by generations of explorers in treacherous ice-choked waters.

I've also had a picture book published by Scholastic Canada (Aunt Maud's Mittens) and numerous poems published in magazines and anthologies, the most recent one being Home and Away – an anthology of Alberta poets musing on the meaning of home. I'm currently writing a young-adult historical novel. It's taken a long time because it's set in 1838 and although the characters and their personal circumstances are fictional, I wanted the settings and other details to be historically correct.

I admire classy and amazing earrings but have never worn any myself, I think because my mother was always pulling off her clip-ons and complaining they were pinching her ears. She's had her ears pierced for many years now but somehow I never got around to it. Still, Jan already has one friend with wonderful earrings so she doesn't need another.

No, but I always need awesome writing friends and Frances has been that for many years!


Lori Hahnel said…
Nice profile of Frances. Too normal? I don't think so.
Candy Gourlay said…
super duper. but why doesn't she do self portraits in cookie dough? it just doesn't make sense.

thanks for this!
Tahereh said…
so cool! thanks so much for sharing -- great profile!!

have a great weekend :D

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