Interview with Michelle Franklin, author of the Haanta Series

9 Dec

Hey Austenites,

I took a small hiatus from interviews for a few days, but now I’m back! Today I’m hosting Michelle Franklin, who wrote the Haanta Series. It’s a bit different when you think about “Austen fiction,” so read ahead!

Carolyn Crist: What sparked you to pursue creative writing?

Michelle Franklin: I was so horrid at everything else, I felt as though I didn’t really have a choice but to write. I have been forever writing since my first taste of storytelling in grade 4. I wrote a horrendous story about cat people. From there, however, I moved onto the bigger and the better, and have never stopped since.


Carolyn: What ideas led to the Haanta Series?

Michelle: Everything has always been giants and warriors and kings with me. I just finally had the good sense to put it all together. I was also laid off work during the recession and had little else but myself, the computer, and the walls to furnish me. That helps creativity: when one is left with nothing but one’s own imagination. I began writing stories of a woman and a giant, and eventually their relationship blossomed into 30 books and over 100 characters.

The series begins when Commander Boudicca MacDaede must make a last stand to defend her kingdom. She finds Rautu imprisoned in the armoury where she is stationed and asks him to help her turn the tide of the war being fought between her nation of Frewyn and the neighboring nation of Gallei. They win the current battle and Rautu is asked to stay to win the war. Thus begins the first book in the series.


Carolyn: Why do you describe it as “Austenesque, with giants”?

Michelle: Many critics describe my style of writing as Austenesque. This is probably due to the fact that the only books I enjoy are classics. Classical style narrative is all my delight, which is very much discouraged in authors nowadays. I haven’t enjoyed a book that was published after 1950 in some time, and therefore my style reflects the books I enjoy most, Jane’s work being of the highest on my list.


Carolyn: What characters draw your attention?

Michelle: Characters who have the heart of their authors. TH White’s character of Lancelot from Ill-Made Knight is an excellent example: a character that at first we sympathize with and then is dragged through unutterable hell but is ultimately redeemed in the end. Most of Jane’s characters are the same, I feel: they begin in a mess and then are all reconciled by the end. I do my best to reconcile all my characters. They are my family, and I cannot let them suffer for long without having myself suffer in return. Any character who is worthy of redemption draws my attention.


Carolyn: What intrigues you about Jane Austen?

Michelle: Jane often went her own way, and her style is so unique that it’s maddening to think so little else is like to it. She does very well to delve into the mind and describe sensibility as no one else can do. Many authors are taught this rule of “show and don’t tell”, but Jane tells us a great deal, and her only enemy on this point was Mark Twain. She knows more about love and the female mind than anyone else in the literary world. I can only contrive to discover a fraction of what she knows.


Carolyn: How do you support yourself financially while writing?

Michelle: I live on a small income, as most great hermits of the world must do. I have much support from family and friends, and pity from readers who are so good as to buy and read my books.

Thank you, Michelle!


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