Interview with author G.L. Francis

Welcome Readers to another installment of our author interview series. Today we have the pleasure of chatting with G.L. Francis, author of historical fantasy.

JMR-Welcome to the Books Delight, G.L. Tell our readers where you live, what you do for fun and what does the perfect day look like?

GLF- After a lot of moving when younger, I settled in Missouri, my family’s home State. Aside from writing & reading (as much passion as fun for me), I enjoy many hobbies/interests, among them drawing, watercolors, occasionally book illustration, metalwork, fiber arts, gardening, carving, working annoying & playing with our pets…
For me, a perfect day is spending time on one creative pursuit after another, alone or with my hubby (some of our interests coincide). Preferably without shopping or major/minor catastrophes.


JMR-What’s your favorite historical time period? Why? 

GLF- To look at my personal library’s history section, it’d be hard to discern a favorite time period, but there’s a slight predominance ranging from ~1830 to 1950. The 1st & 2nd Industrial Revolutions heralded so many rapid changes—both good and bad--that impact our lives to this day.

Part of my interest is also because I’m old enough to have known people—relatives, family friends & acquaintances—who lived in the late 1800s. I loved listening to them relate firsts they encountered (e.g. telephone, motorcar, biplane, etc.), their personal tragedies & triumphs before/through/after two World Wars.


JMR-Who is your favorite historical figure? Why? If you could ask them one question, what would it be?

GLF- I don’t really have a favorite, though the one question I’d ask any historical figure I might consider is “What were you thinking ‽ ‽”

But that’s a hindsight question, spoken from the luxury of seeing how one event or one person’s actions/decisions/etc. played out over time. Removing modern lenses (& cultural filters) is difficult but important to better grasp things of an era decades or centuries past. 

JMR- How did you come to be a writer of historical fantasy?

GLF- Because sometimes I’m the writer equivalent of a mad scientist. 😊

But I enjoy experimenting with genres, forms, voices—pushing boundaries of what story can be & boundaries of what I can write. Blending history & fantasy started with a short story experiment that challenged, exhilarated, & occasionally terrified me. I loved it!

JMR- How would describe historical fantasy to a reader new to the genre?

GLF- Short versions: alternative history, mashup, blend, hybrid of history & fantasy genres.

Longer description: a genre in which history & fantasy underpin each other though not equally balanced. Depending on the story, however heavy the history side may be, the scale tips slightly or greatly more on the fantasy side.

JMR- G. L., tell us about your book, Suntosun Circus. 

GLF- At the simplest, Suntosun Circus begins with the birth of an international 5-ring troupe (with sideshows) in the early 1900s. Amid trials & triumphs, travels & performances, they covertly hunt demonic doppelgängers breaching the borders of reality.

 Less simply, there are 5 MCs (5 rings), & the story is constructed as a circus: audition calls, rehearsals, debut, on through to finale. Despite their inner & interpersonal struggles, they unite to defend humanity from the destruction & death the demon doubles of world leaders & influencers-to-be can do. In Suntosun Circus, one of these doppelgängers is a young Grigori Rasputin; another is King Leopold II of Belgium.

They travel in an airship fleet powered by an elemental dragon Whipping the Storm. The airships convert to the circus tents (Aside: Remember the hobbies mentioned? Someday I’d love to blueprint & build a half-hull airship model, maybe Tuscan Red or Mind the Trees. Alas, it is not this day!)

Because most of the troupe isn’t human (one MC is a werecrocodile) & have extreme longevity, the sideshows are brief backstories (decades or centuries in the past) affecting the main storyline.

And because they’re international as well as (mostly) nonhuman, some MC voices have signature qualities of their native grammar in POV prose as well as dialog, not always correct English. Ditto for the dragon’s conlang.

Early during my research for Suntosun Circus, I wrote Tools of the Trade, a prequel novelette introducing some of the troupe’s cast in 1899 before the circus forms. AdeCiro Publications, the indie press that published Suntosun Circus, reedited & released Tools of the Trade a year ahead of my circus novel.


JMR-What projects do you have in the pipeline?

GLF- As a multi-WIP writer, right now I’m juggling 7 (8?) projects.

Under Every Moon (fantasy poetry), Leyfarers and Wayfarers (short story collection), and Lair of Beasts (novel, portal fantasy) are simply re-edits & tweaks on previously published books (the publishers closed) so I can re-release them.

Historical-fantasy Suntosun Seasons moves into 1904 but is in first draft stage. I debate with myself whether to make it 2 books; the circus splits to perform/hunt on 2 continents. Because they’re concurrent, I’m considering Suntosun Seasons: Africa & Suntosun Seasons: Europe. Decision pending.

Sunrise on the Delta (novelette) closes a cycle of short stories about harp-ships, a compass-lute navigator, & a giant sentient spider.

Triptych: Fate’s Door (novella) closes a science-fantasy cycle about the cybernetic navigators of evacuation spaceships.

“Rock Paper Scissors” is a creative nonfiction essay.

These last 3 are for separate collections (as yet untitled), & each includes affiliated short works previously published in magazines, journals, or anthologies. 


JMR- Tell our readers how to find you on social media and the web. 

GLF- Find me at the following:

Twitter (or “X”)





My (too frequently neglected) blog is Journeys of the Clayfoot 

My online & social media presence, however, is somewhat limited, & I’m still a working person, now part time at a veterinary hospital.


JMR- What question were you hoping I’d ask but didn’t?

GLF- I was a bit surprised there wasn’t a question about research, either for historical fantasy in general or for Suntosun Circus in particular. Depending on the story itself, the depth of research varies tremendously for historical fantasy in general. In my experience, fantasy in historical settings needs a different kind of research from fantasy using actual historical events &/or people for the sake of verisimilitude.

Research for Suntosun Circus took ~5 yrs before I did more than scene notes & rough sketches. What I didn’t realize until well into the 1st draft was that my intended arc for the circus wasn’t going to fit in one book. So, 90% of background work for the sequels is done.

(Life Lesson Metaphor: Don’t buy a whole bolt of fabric to make a handkerchief.)


JMR- Thank you, G. L. , for stopping by. Your books look really interesting! Readers, I’ve included a link to G. L.’s books below. Please be sure to check them out.





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