An Interview with Francine Hammond
Photo by Christopher Campbell. Unsplash
“Good day, Francine. I hope you and yours are well and keeping safe”.
“Hello. Yes we are and I hope you are too”.
“Sure. All right, let’s get started. Where were you born?”
“Oh, come on, what sort of question is that. You know very well I’m supposed to have been born in Cape Town, but actually I was born, or created in the mind of the writer”.
“Sorry, you look so real, for a moment I forgot you are an imaginary character”.
“No problem. As long as you remember you are too. What’s the next question”?
“Describe your relationship with your siblings”.
“That’s complicated, but let’s try. I love them all very much, but they have all disappointed me, some more than others.
Edwin has always been a hothead and we expected him to get into trouble. So he did. But he married well, outgrew his aggression and made something of his life. So, naturally I expected more sensible behaviour later in life, but got less”.
“Edwin is your second brother, right?”
“Yes. Andew is the eldest, the one we were all supposed to look up to. I guess he just lack the ambition our dad had. He is a sweet person, but tried too hard to be like Dad without developing the skills to succeed”.
“You have another brother, right? Tell me about him”.
“Ah, Terence. The naughty boy turned good. He used to be a spoilt little brat, being the youngest, and oh so cute. A real manipulator from birth”.
“How did he turn out good?”
“Like all of us. He was saved by grace”.
“Tell me about your sister. Do you get along?”
“We were never close, but we did get along on the surface. She had lots of issues and never dealt with any of them. As a child, she was Daddy’s favorite. Growing up she felt rejected. I’m not a psychologist, but I believe midde-children often have it harder than the others”.
“Has things changed between you two?”
“Yes. As we get older and more tolerant and understanding, we are growing closer. As sisters should be”.
“Great. Now that we’ve covered the family, let’s move on to more serious things. Tell me about your faith. How has it served you?”
“It’s been my foundation since I was very young”.
“Six or seven. I’m not sure I remember correctly but I think it started early one Saturday morning when my mother prayed with me. Her words ‘stay in the Father’s will’was ingrained in my mind and soul and when I had to make a decision I always asked myself ‘am I doing what the Father wants me to do’?”
“And did you?”
“I have to be honest, I didn’t always want to do what I knew was right. More than once I gashed my teeth and complained to God, not wanting to go where He pointed. But in the end I obeyed and reaped the good fruit that inevitably followed”.
“Right. Back to everyday matters. What happened to your career as an artist. Are you still painting?”
“Oh, yes, I do, but only as a hobby now. As long as I can hold a brush I’ll keep on painting. There’s just not enough time to do it full time”.
“It looks like we’ve covered everything we can without spoilers. So, now for the big question. What do you think of Magdel Roets?”
Francine giggles as if this is the most rediculous question she has ever been asked.
“To be quite honest I don’t think of her too often. But, okay, let’s see. Hmm. I think Magdel is not impartial. Not when it comes to her characters. She thinks I am a miss goody two-shoes, which I am not. Magdel just refuses to see anything imperfect in me. And when she cannot argue away the flaws of my siblings, she makes excuses for them”.
“Do you like her?”
“I adore her with all my heart. Where would I be if she didn’t conjure me up in her mind? Same place where you’d be, right? And that’s nowhere. Non-existent. And you better like her too. Remember, she can have us assassinated if she gets fed up with us”.
Both characters are now giggling.
“Yeah, I know, but you know as well as I do she won’t”.
“Sure, she won’t. She’s a doll, isn’t she?”
Magdel speaking: “I can hear you, you know. Stop flattering now. I won’t assassinate either of you, but I can leave you out of the follow-up”.
“You’re doing a follow-up?”
They’re both excited now.
“Maybe. I’m thinking about it. Maybe I should do a whole series. If you’re good and behave, I’ll let you appear in a few of the books to come”.
“Yes, yes. That’ll be great”.
“I’d like that also. It would be fun to see how the next generation will cope”.
“Well ladies, you go ahead with your interview, I have to switch off the computer and get to bed. The sun will soon spread colour in the east”.
“See ya all in the next manuscript”.
“All right, Francine, let’s wrap it up so I can finish and email the interview to my magazine. ‘Salt and Light Monthly’ is doing great and they expect the best quality writing”.
“Sure. It was a pleasure talking to you again. All the best”.
“See you in the next book”, she says, echoing Magdel’s words.
Let’s have the readers’ suggestions on a title for the follow-up.
(Get your copy of “My Father’s Will” today).