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Steve Wiley on “The Fairytale Chicago of Francesca Finnegan”

The Fairytale Chicago of Francesca Finnegan received a 4+ star review, making it an IndieReader Approved title.

Following find an interview with author Steve Wiley.

What is the name of the book and when was it published? 

The name of the book is The Fairytale Chicago of Francesca Finnegan, published on March 1, 2017.

What’s the book’s first line? 

There is magic in the city.

What’s the book about? Give us the “pitch”. 

When we first encounter Richard K. Lyons, he is a man who has long forgotten the one night, when he was still a boy called Rich, when an exceptional girl by the name of Francesca invited him aboard a secret L train for an adventure though the mythical East Side of the city. The night was a mad epic, complete with gravity-defying first kisses, mermaid overdoses, and princess rescues. Unfortunately for Rich, the night ended like one of those elusive dreams forgotten the moment you wake. Now, Rich is all grown up and out of childish adventures, an adult whose life is on the verge of ruin. It will take the rediscovery of his exploits with Francesca, and a re-acquaintance with the boy he once was, to save him.

What inspired you to write the book? A particular person? An event? 

My kids inspired the book.  One of the main characters (Francesca Finnegan) is named after my three year old daughter.  Another chapter, The True Source of the Chicago Finnegan, which consists mostly of a letter that a father writes to his daughter as he lay dying, was originally written for my son.  I’ve always wanted to write a book, but after my two kids were born, the rate at which I was writing just exploded.  I felt a much greater sense of urgency to get something out there, something which my kids could also be proud of.    

What’s the main reason someone should really read this book? 

The book is actually meant to be something of a fun trick.  After finishing this book, the reader should view the city, and themselves differently.  I hope after reading this book, whenever someone rides the L, walks in the Green Mill, or passes over the Chicago River, these things seem suddenly mystical, and the city better than it was before.  I hope the reader also feels changed, remembering how they once were as a child, and those things that were important then – dreams, imagination, games, and all that childish fun many of us have forgotten as adults.  

What’s the most distinctive thing about the main character?  Who-real or fictional-would you say the character reminds you of? 

Maybe the most distinctive thing about the main character Richard, is that he is so indistinctive, it actually allows the average person to more easily connect with him. The main character finds himself in the position so many of us are in; miserable commutes to miserable jobs, where we work simply to work, passing time in ways we wish were more meaningful. Richard reminds me of Edward Bloom from Big Fish.      

If they made your book into a movie, who would you like to see play the main character(s)?  

Richard Lyons: A chubby Johnny Depp

Francesca Finnegan: Saoirse Ronan, girl from [the movie] Brooklyn.

When did you first decide to become an author? 

As a boy, it was all I wanted to be.  I read The Hobbit very young and knew writing fantasy would be for me.  

Is this the first you’ve written? 

This is my first book, more to come.  

What do you do for work when you’re not writing? 

I’ve been in managerial consulting for years, and write constantly at work, so I’ve been ‘practicing’ for this book for years already.  Whenever a writing assignment comes up at work, I’m all over it.     

How much time do you generally spend on your writing? 

Writing comes in phases for me – now that I’ve finished this book, it’s strictly marketing/publicity/book business for the next year at least.  After I’ve done everything I can do to sell this book, I’ll move onto the next, at that point I’ll spend a few hours per day writing, after I’ve finished with the day job.

What’s the best and the hardest part of being an indie?  

Best Part: Control over not just the book (from cover art to words to illustrations), but also the associated marketing plans and publicity.  Worst Part: Money.  Sucks having to fund everything yourself!

Would you go traditional if a publisher came calling?  If so, why? 

Only if the offer was so financially attractive I could quit my day job and write full time, but I’d also need to be heavily involved in post publishing marketing / business plans for future books.  If the offer was there, it would be nice to focus 100% on writing.     

Is there something in particular that motivates you (fame? fortune? more sex?)  

Sure, I’ll take fame, fortune, and sex all day, but I also want all that for my kids (minus the sex), and the freedom for them to do something creative for a living.  

Which writer, living or dead, do you most admire? 

J.M Barrie.

Which book do you wish you could have written?  

Peter Pan.


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