QuiltFiction and Frances O’Roark Dowell
In 2016, Frances embarked on a new phase of her writing career by publishing the quilting novel Birds in the Air, her first novel for adult readers. While the audience was new, she didn’t range far afield at all in terms of subject matter. Frances is an avid quilter and for most of the last decade has hosted a quilting podcast that allows her to connect with fellow quilters around the world.
Combining her love of telling stories and her love of quilting was a natural step. “There’s a rule of thumb for writers: Write the books you want to read,” Frances said. “I’m so happy whenever writers like Jennifer Chiaverini, Marie Bostwick and Sandra Dallas come out with new quilting novels — I wish more quilters wrote books!”
In addition to being her first book for adults, Birds in the Air also represented a change for Frances in the way it was published.
After submitting a book proposal to a publisher and being offered a multi-book contract, Frances decided instead to start her own small publishing company to bring out her quilting novels.
Several factors went into the decision.
For one thing, Frances has worked the same editor at Atheneum Books for Young Readers (which, of course, does not publish books for adults) for her entire writing career and it was hard to imagine working with anyone else.
For another, she wanted to write and publish books that she and her quilting friends would enjoy, without any undue commercial pressure to find as broad a readership as possible.
Lastly, Frances believed running a small publishing venture might be fun.
So far so good. Marianne Fons called Birds in the Air a story about “the power of quilts to connect, heal, and restore the soul.“ Booklist wrote that with its “buoyant prose and an uplifting message,” Birds in the Air would appeal to fans of Mary Simses and Erin McGraw.
Birds in the Air was followed with Margaret Goes Modern in 2017, and a sequel to Birds in the Air is planned for 2018, as well as audiobook releases of both books.
Stay tuned as the QuiltFiction experiment develops.