*Warning: today’s excerpt steps into dangerous territory, so before you tread forward, you were warned.

Today we welcome SJ Francis and her debut novel, Shattered Lies, where digging into family secrets can be hazardous to your health and heart…Front cover

She wants to know the truth, but some secrets might be better left alone…

Kate Thayer has a good life as a veterinarian, running the family horse farm—until she uncovers an act of unimaginable treachery by those she trusted most and learns that everything she knew about herself was a lie. Her paternal grandmother, the woman who raised her, is behind a number of devastating secrets Kate is compelled to discover. But the deeper she digs, the more betrayal she finds, changing her life in ways she could have never foreseen.

EXCERPT:

She knew that bigotry existed, but she had never experienced it quite like this before…

Kate couldn’t say anything for a moment. She was just too astonished. “Wh—what? Excuse me? What you did you say?”

The other boy with brown hair spoke, “Sorry, miss.” He giggled too. “You have to excuse my friend. He’s a little drunk.”

“How old are you two?”

They didn’t look older than eighteen, and had acne breakouts on their cheeks, but she knew better than anyone that looks could be deceiving.

“We’re old enough,” the rude one said.

Sam returned just as the rude one spoke again and pointed, “Hey look, it’s the Jolly Giant Nigger.”

Kate shot to her feet so that she was between Sam and them.

A porter was with Sam. “Is there a problem, miss?”

“Yes,” she said without facing him. “We’d like to change our seat.”

“Of course, Sam asked too. We have another place for you over here, if you both come with me.”

Kate moved to leave. The two young men said nothing, which was a good thing. She swore she could feel her blood boiling in her veins. If they said one more thing…

Sam stood aside to let her exit and then she heard the young man. “Goodbye now, Uncle Tom.” Giggling. “Enjoy your meal, Uncle Tom, so nice to see you.” More giggling. “Dumb nigg—”

He didn’t have a chance to finish. Kate snatched the water glass from the table, threw the water at him, slammed the empty glass down hard on the table directly in front of him, and glared into his eyes. “You disgust me! It’s people like you who have turned this world into shit!”

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As you can see, SJ fears not the tough topics, so of course, I had to grill poke and prod at what makes her tick. She bravely accepted my challenge (something about not being able to leave until I was satisfied might have had something to do with it). Without further ado, may I present, the magnificent SJ Francis…

If you were to hold a dinner party for six, who would you invite and share at least one question you would have for each?

Hmmn….let’s think on this. Should I be politically correct or push the bar? (push, push) I’m a writer so let’s push the bar as far as I can. For a dinner party, I think I would have to invite Leonardo da Vinci, Genghis khan, Napoleon, Winston Churchill, Idie Amin, and Fidel Castro. I think that would be an interesting assortment of people. Now to the questions….

For the deep thinking, Da Vinci, I’d ask, what do you think man is capable of?

For Genghis Khan, how far do you think you can go?

For Napoleon, If you had conquered Russia, what then?

For Winston Churchill, what if Germany won, then what?

For Idi Amin, what did human flesh taste like? Or, if you want to protect sensitive tummies, Jami, how about, if you ruled today, would you do anything differently? (Never fear, SJ, my followers are a tough batch of cookies, I think they’d be more interested in the culinary aspects.)

For Castro, what do you see in the future for Cuba and the United States?

I’m sure the combined presence of these mixed personalities and responses would heat things up considerably. Don’t you think? (It’d be fun to be a fly with a notepad on the wall!)

As children we tend to have an idea of what we want to be by the time we’re ten. Before you decided to pursue the artistic dream of being a writer, what did you want to be and why?

I wanted to do everything. Of course, that wasn’t realistic. I wanted to become a veterinarian. I love animals and just wanted to help and protect them. Once, I discovered there was too much math and science involved to become one, I knew I had to choose something else, but my love for animals and advocating for them has never waned. (Funny enough, being a vet was one of my choices, until Career Day in eighth grade where a beautiful Shepherd’s hind leg had to be reset. I broke down and couldn’t stay in the room.)

Whether we’re plotters or pantsers (outlines not needed), creating our stories takes us on very memorable journeys. Sometimes we may be part way through before we realize some major aspect of our story is just not working (plot, character, setting). Have you ever hit this sharp, pointy snag and if so, how did you escape? We’re you battered and bruised or a bloody mess?

This happens a great deal to me, but after reviewing and editing and slicing off bits, and chunks, and ending up a bit bloodied and bruised in the process, the story survives stronger and better than it was before. But what a chore it was to get there. Not to mention the endless amount of gauze and tape. Oh my! *fist bump offered*

What is some of the best advice you were ever given?

That’s an easy one. The best advice I was ever given was by the late great Jackie Collins. She had a passion for writing that was contagious and helped me regain my passion for writing when I thought I had lost it. When I needed encouragement the most, she told me, “Keep your writing passion on fore.” Don’t let anything get in the way of your writing.

What is the best advice you can share with others?

I’d like to build on what Jackie Collins told me. Never stop learning. Never stop reading. Never stop writing. If you want to write, just write. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t. As long as you believe you can write, you can. Discouragement lurks behind every corner. You are going to want to quit. Don’t. Never give up. Never let fear win. Never. For the day you do, you will give up. Don’t let anything or anyone get in the way of your writing.

Our infamous bullet list is next, and SJ handled it beautifully…

Blades, guns, fists or feet?

For me, it’d be anything I can get my hands on. Pens, pencils, knives, even a fork can be used as a weapon by me.

Favorite Fairy Tale of all time?

The Ugly Duckling.

Three titles and their authors sitting on your nightstand/bookcase/table/floor waiting to be read? Which do you prefer? The ones on the nightstand, bookcase, table or floor?

Let’s go with nightstand. 1)Haunted Britain and Ireland, 2)Agatha Christie-Hercule Poirot Short Stories, again, and 3)Heather Neff’s Leila II: The Moods of the Sea.

Greatest one liner of all time?

“Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.” Because, sometimes, I just really don’t.

Sarcastic witticism, Southern sweetness or Geeky disdain?

I think I’m more Southern sweetness. (Bless your heart…)

Strangest item currently taking up space in your writing cave?

A ceramic egg. According to Fen Shui or something, having an egg in your work space is supposed to be good luck. We’ll see……

Favorite supernatural creature?

I have to say Werewolf. Therewolf? No. Werewolf. I’d like to ask a rotten human try and hurt a werewolf. It’d be interesting. (How about a Direwolf for even more fun IMO.)

To celebrate the launch of SHATTERED LIES, SJ is offering a free book giveaway. To all those who leave a comment during her blog tour at her website, you will automatically be entered into a drawing to win a personally autographed paperback copy of her debut novel, Shattered Lies. Two copies are available giving two of you a chance to win. To keep up with her stops on her blog tour please visit her website.

Just leave a comment at her website and drop her a line with “Giveaway” in subject line at:

http://www.sjfranciswriter.com

Be sure to leave a valid, working email address in case you win. Good luck and thanks so much for stopping by. She loves to connect with other authors and readers.

FYI: The drawing will take place at the end of my blog tour on Saturday, December 12, 2015. I will contact the winner at their email address at that time to request your mailing address to send you the printed copy of Shattered Lies.

Author Badge (Small)S.J. Francis is a freelance writer with over three hundred publication credits, a University Lecturer with doctorates in English, Mass Communications, and Law, and most recently, a novelist. Francis writes for many publications, as well as regularly contributing to the local newspaper. Francis’ first novel, Shattered Lies is a women’s fiction/mainstream/family saga novel. In the end, it’s all about family.

You can hunt SJ down at any of the following virtual links:

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