Friday, 22 February 2013

Two Versions of the Same Song Q&A

What is the book about?

The story is a moral dilemma told from two perspectives. 

Serena Wilkins is convinced that she detests Paul Adams, who is the cousin of her friends Kris and Kai, because he humiliated her in front of everyone the day they met, and has been rude and dismissive towards her ever since.  Several weeks after her 16th birthday, Serena and Paul have their first proper conversation at a house party.  It is the first time he has as much as acknowledged her in 2 years, so she is suspicious and wary of his intentions.  But, to her frustration, she starts to feel something else for him too.

Paul and Eloise have been together for two years, since 6th form college, where they met.  Theirs is Paul’s first serious relationship.  Things become difficult after graduation when Eloise moves to Birmingham to start medical school and he remains in London and joins a band.  Cracks in their relationship appear as they struggle to deal with a long distance romance and things get complicated when Paul runs into Serena at his New Year’s Eve party and convinces her to talk to him. 

After that night, Serena and Paul do their best to avoid each other, but are brought together by Kris to perform a song at her brother Kai’s 18th birthday party.

Serena is convinced that Paul is unobtainable, while Paul is torn between his love for Eloise and the growing attraction he feels for Serena – an attraction that becomes so strong they are both tempted to cross the line.

When I came up with the premise of the novel it occurred to me that the obvious thing to happen would be for these two characters to cross the line.  Then I got to thinking what it would be like NOT to cross the line while being in constant contact with each other.  There are also consequences for doing the 'right thing' and that's the scenario I wanted to explore.

Where did you get the idea for the novel?


I’ve noticed that a common theme in YA romance is for teenage girl to fall in love with teenage boy (and vice-versa) and for them not only to be completely devoted to each other, but often the implication is that they are soul mates, will get married and live happily ever after.  I appreciate that it could happen – but it’s highly unlikely and yet that’s the general message being sold.  I wanted to write about the flip side to the perfect teen romance because in reality your first love is unlikely to be your last. Maybe I’m being controversial and maybe it won’t sell as many copies, but it’s the story I wanted to write.

The relationships in the novel are quite complicated, aren’t they?

Yes, I like to think of it as a 3-Dimentional love triangle.

How did you come up with the title 'Two Versions of the Same Song'?


In the literal sense: Paul is a musician and Serena has a good singing voice, which is how they come to be performing live at Kai’s 18th birthday party.  In the novel Paul explains how he discovers the song they pick to sing for Kai.  He hears two versions of the same song played on a radio show.  The first (original) version shows that the song is perfect for Kai because it’s the sort of music he is into and the second version shows that it is perfect for Serena as it suits her voice.

In the metaphoric sense: I had the idea to make the tale read like a love song with both characters offering a different version.  In both versions there are passages that are repeated – like a chorus, and other passages that are very similar and link – like a bridge.

One could also say the first (original) version is symbolic of Paul’s character and the second of Serena’s.

How long did it take you to write the novel and what were the challenges? 


It took me about six months to complete the first draft and another 18 months to re-write countless drafts until I just had to make myself stop, step away from it and hand the manuscript over to my editor. 

Okay, I will admit that the novel had a structural problem that was picked up by my editor.  I had to restructure it at the last minute and that was a challenge.  I learned a very important lesson to apply in the future – K.I.S.S. (KEEP IT SIMPLE, STUPID).

CLICK HERE to discover more about Two Versions of the Same Song

Friday, 8 February 2013

My latest book Giveaway

Two versions of the same song

Tales from Aintree Court, Book2 


The idea that teenage boy meets teenage girl, they only have eyes for each other and they live happily ever after is certainly romantic. But how realistic is it? Two versions of the same song is a story about the messy and complicated predicament of being attracted to someone while being in a relationship with someone else, and examines the emotions that result (frustration, jealousy, passion and the temptation to cross the line.). The main characters attempt to do the right thing but how can you defy inevitability? Something is bound to change things. In this case it's a song.

Excerpt: Chap 5, Serena

Then he started to play again, and this time I recognised the intro of the song - that beautiful beginning of the cover version that had grabbed my attention the first time I had heard it. I was blown away - especially since he did not seem to be following the music sheet. As he moved further into the song, my mouth gaped and he laughed again.
“Wow, that’s amazing” I said.
Only then did it hit home that Paul was a musician in a band, while I was just some girl who sang in the shower and occasionally in my friend’s living room.
“Now your turn" he said.


If you are on Goodreads you could win an autographed paperback copy!

(Competition open to CA, US & UK residents only)

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Two Versions of the Same Song by Susan  Francis

Two Versions of the Same Song

by Susan Francis

Giveaway ends March 03, 2013.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Butterfly porcupine Q&A

1. Where did you get the idea for the novel?

Butterfly Porcupine is the first of a series of Aintree Tales. For the tales, I wanted to write about London-based teenagers from different racial groups but on an equal platform. It was important to represent but also avoid stereotyping. These teenagers live in a somewhat idealistic (anti-dystopian but not quite utopian) gated-community in West London.

For Butterfly Porcupine, I first came up with the idea of the female protagonist, Tasha. I wanted to explore the character of a teenage girl who is shy to the extreme and has trouble communicating with others. Although the story is complete fiction, Tasha’s character is loosely based on me as a teenager. At the time I remember feeling like I had the weight of the world on my shoulders. As an adult looking back I realise I so didn’t!

I had the idea to write about the issue of privacy in relation to popular culture and social media. Social networking has made invasion of privacy more common and opinions are divided as to how acceptable this is. I linked this to Tasha‘s character, as she values her privacy a great deal, and made it a major conflict. The novel may even determine which side of the debate the reader is on, depending on whether it is considered a major conflict or a minor one blown out of proportion.

With Butterfly Porcupine I paid homage to some of the love stories, from books and films that have resonated with me over the years. I was inspired by Pride & Prejudice, Taming of the Shrew, Greece (a movie I watched repeatedly as a child), Say Anything (a movie I watched repeatedly as a teenager) and, of course, Twilight* (the book).

I also planned that Aintree Tale #1 would have a halo while the recently published Aintree Tale #2 in comparison would have red horns and a fork tail.

2. Your title - who came up with it? Did you ever change the title?

I came up with the title. It came from a sentence in an earlier draft of the final chapter. It was first ‘Between a Butterfly and a Porcupine.’ The sentence was later changed by my editor and I changed the title to ‘Butterfly Porcupine.’

The ‘Butterfly’ part signifies the metamorphosis Tasha goes through and also relates to Kai in his pursuit of Tasha (which he compares to chasing a butterfly). The ‘Porcupine’ part relates to Tasha’s prickly and unapproachable character, which causes most people to avoid her, while Kai is drawn to her regardless.

3. Since becoming a writer what is the most exciting thing to happen to you?

I would say the positive feedback I have received. This was my first ever attempt at writing lengthy prose and I wasn’t sure if I could do it well enough or how it would be received. My mother was the first person to read it and she loved it (but she is my mother). A friend read it for me after that and was also very positive. The reviews have been mostly positive so far, also. It’s been great. Of course, I welcome all reviews and I have taken on board the criticisms – the most common being that it is formulaic. This is true, but there is more to it than ‘boy meets girl’ etc., and it’s most exciting when readers get that.

4. Which came first, the title or the novel?

The novel came first.

5. What are you currently reading?

I am currently re-reading the series The Cemetery of Forgotten Books by Carlos Ruiz Zafon.  I love his writing.  It's sort of Dickensian but brought into the 20th century (set in the early to mid 1900s).  I always fall in love with his main characters.

Click here to learn more about the novel Butterfly Porcupine

*A series with which I have a love/hate relationship.