Today we’re joined by Francesca Mylod-Ford. Francesca is a wonderfully talented author who is currently working on a fantasy trilogy aimed at a YA demographic. It sounds like a fascinating story about life and death. Aside from writing, Francesca plans to study film and hopes to be a full-time film director in the future. She clearly has a very bright future ahead of her, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.
Please, tell us about your art.
I am currently writing a book trilogy called The Thanatology Series. I have finished the first installment (The Trials of Mr. Reaper) and am now coming to the end of the second novel, On Behalf of the Universe. The third book is in planning stages, and I will begin work on it soon. Although I am currently unpublished, I am seeking agents and if all else fails, I plan to self-publish the first book to gather interest, before sending it and its sequel to a new set of publishing houses.
The Thanatology Series is, to be blunt, a story about Death. It’s a fantasy novel, aimed at an adult and YA demographic. The story commences as a comedy, but as the book progresses, it turns to a darker narrative altogether, exploring the true nature of life and death … and where we go when we die.
Death – a harassed bureaucrat with a scythe – has only two desires: to be able to get on with his job, and for people to stop asking stupid questions. But life (or death) is never that simple for the Grim Reaper. From stubborn ghosts to the Demon Nicotine, everything in the universe seems to be out to get on Death’s nerves. The other three Horsemen of the Apocalypse have forgotten his birthday, the Seven Deadly Sins have proven to be incompetent beyond belief, and on top of everything else, Life is determined to be friends with him again. As Death continues to carry out his duty, he must consider this: What really happens when you die? And once Life is gone, what will happen to Death?
I am currently studying Film and Television Production, and in the future, I hope to be a full-time film director and write in my spare time.
What inspires you?
I have always preferred creative arts to academia, and being able to write and film allows me to express my creativity productively. One of the key things that inspires my writing is wanting to understand the universe around us; to take it apart and try to put it back together again. What if Death did have feelings? What if Life isn’t quite the way we imagine it to be? I think that the best part of writing (and filming, for that matter), is taking a trope and flipping it on its head.
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
As it happens, I never wanted to be an author. I thought that you had to write the way they taught us to in school: beginning, middle and end, carefully preceded and followed by meticulous planning. When I got older and began experimenting with my writing, I realised that structured writing belonged where I was taught it: in the classroom. Now, if anyone asks, I tell them that being a full-time author is my dream job choice.
My uncle is a director, and that’s pretty much what got me into the film business. From the day I first picked up a disposable camera to now, enrolled in film school, I have been falling down the magical rabbit hole of movies and film. One of my favourite aspects of film-making is the power to make simple ink and paper leap off the page and into real life. It’s like having a magic wand.
Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?
In film, I have a very particular lighting style I like to use, but if I told you then I’d have to kill you! Seriously, though, most of what makes up my work is just pure, solid research. Nothing gets done without a bit of good-old fashioned book-bashing, I’m afraid.
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
Practice! It doesn’t matter what you’re making or how bad it is at first, the more you make, the better it gets. When I first started writing, it was absolutely awful. But now I write nearly every day, and my skill increases the more I practice. Be prepared to put the work in – research is a bitch but trust me, it’s so worth it in the long term. Finally, you need to learn to accept criticism. If you argue with everyone who tries to help improve it, it’ll just make you look like a bad sport. There’s nothing wrong with receiving pointers!
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
I have never experienced sexual or romantic attraction – I just prefer to have platonic relationships.
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
I have been asked how I can expect to write/direct sexual or romantic scenes if I have never experienced either. My answer is this: have you ever been shot? Fallen down a cliff? Had a concussion? If not, then you RESEARCH IT. I don’t experience sexual or romantic attraction, but I have plenty of friends who do, and I’ve seen more than my fair share of rom-coms. Research is the key to literally every artistic problem.
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
Since I’m quite sociable and enjoy making friends, people often have trouble understanding that I don’t want to seek any other kinds of relationships. Many people believe that asexual/aromantic people are antisocial, or that we’re closeted gay people (not true!). I’ve also had people tell me that it’s just “a phase” or that it’s a medical issue.
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
Seek out other asexuals! We’re here, we’re queer, and we’re always ready to talk to anyone who might be struggling. Although some members of the LGBT+ community may be somewhat exclusionary, the asexual/aromantic community is welcoming and friendly, and there’s always someone ready to talk about dragons. Don’t be shy about who you are, own your asexuality! And remember, it doesn’t define who you are: only you can do that. Stay ace, friends.
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
Feel free to check out my Tumblr (burnt-confetti), or my Twitter account (at burntconfetti). Hopefully when I’m published (or when I release my first film!) you’ll be able to see what I’ve been working on! Have a good one xx
Thank you, Francesca, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.