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Carla Francis

Quite a different writer, Carla writes about pets. She is a freelance writer and a devoted pet owner who cannot stand to leave her pet behind when she travels. From charming cat cabins to cute cockatiel-friendly caravan parks, she has left no stone unturned in her quest to provide a definitive guide to pet-friendly accommodation on East Coast of Australia.

Q1. Tell us a little about how you started writing.

I started writing in 2012 after I returned from living in Japan for a number of years and brought my Japanese cat, Gershwin, with me back to Sydney. During that time, there weren’t so many places to holiday with a pet in NSW, so I compiled a list and researched extensively, and then pitched some articles to magazines first, and later a publisher, who loved the idea and we signed a contract. Travelling with Pets is published by Woodslane Press, and is now in its sixth edition. Since then, I have written for The Japan Times, and The Japanese Tourist Board and had special features published in the Sydney Morning Herald, The Daily Telegraph, and on the ABC Radio.

Q2. Are you traditionally published or an Indie author and why did you choose this way to publish?

My very first book, which I was lucky to have published traditionally, was easy to write and distribute thanks to having a publisher, however, for my second book, I decided to try self-publishing, as I wanted to experience different publishing methods. The learning curve was steep but it is most rewarding to see your work out there, and personally choose the book cover, style, and layout. I also entered the book in several indie writing competitions, which it won three awards for, so I was happy with the final outcome.

Q3. What genre do you write and why did you choose this?

The genre I love and feel most comfortable writing is narrative non-fiction predominantly about pets, travel, Japan, and well being. A number of serendipitous events influenced my decision to write about these intriguing topics, starting with finding a homeless kitten in Japan, holidaying with my pet in Australia, and then a chance meeting with a Japanese girl at a Zen group in Cairns to attending a workshop and meeting a person who was influential in developing many chapters of my next book.

Q4. Do you belong to a writer's group-and if so, why?

Initially, starting out I joined several writing classes at the Australian Writers’ Centre and Writing NSW but it wasn’t until during a brief sabbatical in North Queensland, I joined the Tropical Writers' Group in Cairns. It was inspiring to be with other writers and creative people who shared a similar passion for writing, and one of the writers I met there will feature in my third book, so it was an inspirational environment to build connections. There were many networking opportunities available, to find out about visiting literary agents or guest speakers, which I wouldn't have known about otherwise, so it was a worthwhile experience.

Q5. What are you currently working on and when do you intend it to be published?

There is a deep historical aspect to Japanese culture which is rich in Zen philosophy, and animal motifs - this will be the focus of my new work, which I’ve just learned has been signed with one of the top 5 publishers globally and will be published later this year.

Check out her books here

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