Francis Ray

Francis Ray

Interviewed by: Lauretta Pierce
March 30, 2005

Q.    How did you come about the title for the novel Like the First Time?

A.    I came up with the title of Like The First Time because the three main women characters were going through so many firsts: Claire - first time falling in love, first taste of intimacy; Brooke - first time losing her job, first time finding a man who didn't cater to her every need; and Lorraine, the first time she went against her husband wishers, the first time she depended on another man instead of her husband.

Q.    How did you come about the idea for Claire and Brooke to lose their jobs on the same day?

A.    People once thought a college education meant a secure future. That is no longer true. I wanted both women to hit that roadblock and see how each dealt with it, and how their friendship deepened because of it.

Q.    How did you come about the idea for Claire, Brooke and Lorraine to start their own business?

A.    The people I interviewed felt vulnerable after being laid off and didn't want to feel that way again. As a result many started their own businesses. I thought this would be perfect for Claire, Brooke, and Lorraine to see how each gained independence and self-assurance.

Q.    Did you do any research for the advertising idea?

A.    Definitely, but I have an ace in the hole as my daughter has a degree in advertising. She helped me with ideas. Also, we both love bath and body products.

Q.    How did you come about the situation surrounding Claire, Derek, Jana and Gray?

A.    I think many of us have a relative who is always ready to borrow money, but never to repay the loan. I wanted the reader to see Claire as the Good Sister who did everything right, but still hit hard times, but in the end because she was the Good Sister she was rewarded with the handsome, wealthy and loving Gray.

The situation with Gray and his ex-wife Jana came to me as I was developing his character. He had it all, but his bride cheated on him. How does a man recover from such betrayal? Jana interested me. I could see her clearly -- selfish to the core, but I couldn't see why. That's why I wanted to write her story.

Reader will be able to see the woman behind the couture clothes and stunning face in Any Rich Man Will Do in October 2005. Then, too, I wanted to say that a woman doesn't have to be drop-dead gorgeous to get her man. Inner beauty and good qualities are just as important.

Q.    How did you come about the situation surrounding Brooke, Randolph and John?

A.    Brooke was a good woman, but needed an eye-opener. While she was looking for a man on the way up the corporate ladder, the man she picked out was looking at her the same way. She needed to see beyond the flash. John, a hardworking widower with children, was the exact opposite of what she thought she wanted. But love changes things.

Q.    What message would you like readers to receive from Lorraine, Hamilton and Thomas situation?

A.    The main lesson is "Yield not to Temptation." Lorraine loved Hamilton, but she depended on Thomas too much when they were both vulnerable. Hamilton didn't help the situation by refusing to see Lorraine's need to be independent. He almost lost her trying to hold on too tight. A marriage is a partnership and not a dictatorship.

Q.    How long did it take you to write Like the First Time?

A.    I think about three months once the research was done. I took two trips to Charleston to get the local right, and had many conversations with Brandi of Sacred Aroma to learn how to make bath and body products.

Q.    Are you currently working on another novel?

A.    Recently finished Jana's story, ANY RICH MAN WILL DO. Just sent off the proposal for the sequel IN ANOTHER MAN'S BED, and now working on the next book in the Grayson Saga, DREAMING OF YOU.

Q.    What message would you like readers to receive from reading Like the First Time?

A.    Life can and often does throw you a curve. You can fight or give up. Always fight and do it with dignity and grace.