Francesca of Lost Nation
written by Lucinda Sue Crosby
published by Luckycinda
About the book: When a mysterious man named Matthew appears in the small Iowa town of Lost Nation, his sudden arrival raises questions about his past. Quiet with an apparent taste for rum, Matthew makes it clear he doesn’t want to make friends. He isn’t too pleased to be dropped off at Home Farm where the independent and eccentric Francesca doesn’t accept bad manners or booze binges.
Matthew doesn’t want to form personal ties and intends to move on as soon as his damaged leg from a recent plane crash heals. But a series of events draw him into reluctant relationships: One with the feisty Francesca, the second with her 10-year-old granddaughter Sarah.
In spite of her own reservations, Francesca finds herself falling for this brooding pilot but his past looms between the pair and what neither knows is that Sarah, Francesca’s 10-year-old granddaughter, has encountered a stranger of her own … leading to a climatic confrontation that will put her and her grandmother’s life in danger.
Two of the questions I am asked most frequently by readers of Francesca of Lost Nation are: A) How long did it take you to write this novel? And B) How did you decide to write this particular story?
Answer to #A – From the first line typed onto the first page until eventual publication took a mere 17 years. The actual writing of this book took a matter of 6 to 9 months but so much else goes into publication. In fact, getting the original story down on paper was the easy part.
I edited the book as well as I could shortly after finishing it and then submitted it to agents and publishing houses. But honestly, it wasn’t in a proper state at that time. So, life took over and I tucked it away for YEARS. Then, in 2006, I was hired as a reporter by Managing Editor Laura Dobbins for a small California Daily newspaper and she became a champion of my writing. In fact, she hired me on the strength of one investigative story I pitched and wrote for her (called “Dream Jobs?”) even though I hadn’t finished college and had never taken a journalism class or a writing class. With her coaching, I won 10 journalism awards and helped propel the paper to its highest ever circulation numbers in two decades. Mote: One of the articles I was honored for was that very first spec piece.
As I grew to trust Laura’s judgment and skill set (she has won 19 journalism awards), I showed her the manuscript of Francesca of Lost Nation and, over an 18-month period, she led me through three rewrites and a polish, which I accomplished before and after work and on weekends when I wasn’t working. By this time, I had been hired away from the paper by the regional water district and was creating the position of Conservation Coordinator.
Now, Francesca of Lost Nation has been loaded tens of thousands of times and has won 5 literary awards. Thank you Laura! (She and I have a book packaging and marketing business now.)
Answer to #B – Growing up, I was surrounded by amazing and gifted storytellers – family friends, relatives, TV jingle writers, actors, musicians, comedians, even a few Cal Tech professors … well, you get the picture. But the most fascinating woman I have ever met was my own grandmother, Frances Ella Mendenhall. In real life (and much like the novel’s protagonist), Frances was a pro caliber poker player, a county fair race car driver who never lost a race and the first woman in her college to attend college. The flesh and blood woman was always well ahead of her time, a daring and unconventional human being. I sat at her feet for hours and listened to tales about her life in small town Iowa. She was also my best friend and she supported me through a violent and often chaotic childhood.
How could you not write a novel about a woman like that?
About the author: Lucinda Sue Crosby is an International Kindle Bestselling author and award-winning journalist and environmentalist as well as a published and recorded Nashville songwriter. She’s also a former film and television actor, professional athlete and sports commentator. Lucinda Sue has always had a love affair with the written word.