Fran Cannon Slayton is the author of the week here on Straight From Hel. On Thursday, she’ll be stopping by for a Q&A - and she’ll also be featured in my newsletter for writers, Doing It Write.
Today, I’m introducing you to her.
Fran, who grew up in Virginia, might be called an “over achiever.” In high school, she lettered in four varsity sports - soccer, basketball, softball and field hockey. In college, she went to the Junior Olympics in fencing and still managed to graduate Phi Beta Kappa with a double distinguished major in Psychology and Religious Studies. After marrying her college sweetheart, she went to law school at her alma mater, the University of Virginia. There, she played on six different softball teams in one semester.
Oh, in case you forgot in the midst of all that, she’s a published author who’s getting rave reviews for her book, When the Whistle Blows.
Here’s the STARRED Review from School Library Journal:
Gr 6-10–Linked stories set on seven consecutive All Hallows’ Eves, from 1943 through 1949, relate Jimmy Cannon’s teenage years in Rowlesburg, WV. Central to his story are his two older brothers, his friends, and especially his father, a formidable figure in a long succession of Cannon men who have worked for the B&O railroad. Why then, does Dad insist that Jimmy must not follow in his own footsteps? And what is his father’s role in the secretive and mysterious “Society” of local men? This is nostalgia done right, as Jimmy describes the high jinks, the championship football game, the risks and rewards of his part-time job, and other significant events that shape his love for his small hometown at a time and place when the railroad was the town. Telling details and gentle humor help set the scene and reveal a great deal about these characters and their lives. The nature, membership, and duties of “The Society” slowly come to the fore as events transpire that sharpen Jimmy’s perceptions and provide him with the insights to consider the possibility of an unknown and very different future than the one he had always imagined. A polished paean to a bygone time and place.–Joel Shoemaker, South East Junior High School, Iowa City, IA
Watch this video of Fran talking about When the Whistle Blows, then be sure to come back this Thursday to read her answers to my grilling, er, questions.
5 weeks ago