Francis Ray

Francis Ray
I Know Who Holds Tomorrow

Interviewed by: Lauretta Pierce
February 26, 2003

1. Who is Francis Ray?

Francis Ray is a wife, mother, School Nurse Practitioner, and author.

2. What inspired you to write the novel "I Know Who Holds Tomorrow?"

I wanted to explore the preconceived notions people have about the fantasy lives of celebrities. It has always amazed me that people are reported to be blissfully happy on a celebrity wedding TV program or in a magazine, but before the program airs or the issue hits the stand they have broken up.

3. How did you come about the title "I Know Who Holds Tomorrow?"

I must confess my wonderful editor at St. Martin's Press, Monique Patterson, came up with the title. I loved it. It accurately depicts what each main character has to decide during the course of the book...who holds their tomorrow.

4. How did you up with the plot for "I Know Who Holds Tomorrow?"

As a School Nurse Practitioner I have to record the demographics of every student that enrolls. I noticed that a great many of the children's fathers had names of men that I knew, but the child's mother was never the wife of the man I knew. I began to wonder what 'if' a man had a secret family and what 'if' he and the mother died leaving the child to be raised by the unsuspecting wife? I told the plot to my coworkers and the discussion was so heated, I knew I had to write the story.

5. How did you come about Madison's character?

In Madison I wanted to create a strong, loving character who was not blameless in the disintegration of her marriage, but sympathetic enough for readers to feel her pain of betrayal when faced with her husband's infidelity in the form of a nine-month old baby.

6. How did you come up with Zachary's character?

Zachary's character demanded a great deal of thought. Who would be this man who would deeply mourn the death of a close friend, then eventually fall in love with his widow? He had to be strong, yet tender, forceful without being overbearing, capable of deep love and abiding trust. I created him as a man women would fall in love with and men would be honored to call their friend. I also wanted to explore within his character the good men that come from single parent homes. I can only hope I succeeded.

7. If you found yourself in the same situation as Madison, would you take care of the child?

You're the first person to ask that question. I'd like to think that I would because as Madison eventually realized, Manda was an innocent victim just as she was. They had both lost, but in each other they gained so very much.

8. How long did it take you to write "I Know Who Holds Tomorrow?"

It took six very long months to write I Know Who Holds Tomorrow. There was so much emotions swirling in the book, and with three relationships going on at the same time it was quite a challenge.

9. How long have you been writing?

I've been writing since 1990.

10. How many books have you written?

I published sixteen short stories (confessions) before my first book, Fallen Angel, came out in 1992. Incognito, my 6th book, was the first made-for-TV movie from BET Films in 1999. Living Large, my 8th anthology came out in Jan 2003, and in mid-March my 13th book and 3rd mainstream, Somebody's Knocking At My Door, will be released.

11. Will there be a sequel to "I Know Who Holds Tomorrow?"

At the present time I have no plans to write a sequel, but you never know.

12. Will you tell the readers a little about your next book that will be out this spring?

Certainly. My next book, Somebody's Knocking At My Door, is the sequel to The Turning Point, my first mainstream for St. Martin's Press. I received so much mail from readers on Rafe, the heroine's stepson, and Kristen, the hero's sister, that I felt compelled to write their story. Rafe, abused as a child and afraid he carried within him the same capacity for cruelty as his father, and Kristen, loved by her family but plagued by insecurities, must conquer their fears to help the other and possibly find love in the process.

13. What type of atmosphere do you require to write in?

Thankfully, I don't require any special atmosphere. The only requirement that I absolutely must have is that I know the characters and what motivates them. Without that crucial information, I flounder and find myself in the kitchen looking for something to snack on.

14. What message would you like readers to receive from reading "I Know Who Holds Tomorrow?"

The message I'd like for readers to realize is that life isn't always perfect. It can throw you a mean curve when you least expect it. You can either face it and fight or wallow in self pity. My characters always fight. Because after all, life is what you make it.