The questions I’d like to pose are: How do you imagine yourself in your older age? Have you been brave enough to burst out of your conventional life? Are you headed for peace or loneliness?

My name is Francene Stanley and I’m an author. I’m tall (well, I used to be), conventional and respectful. I appreciate other races that value each other, for instance the Balinese people, who bow over towered hands to those who inspire them.

My stories started out based on my own experience, alone and hesitant, with a bipolar husband and a move from Australia to England. The story developed into an adventure that went beyond my knowledge and tapped innate wisdom.

In my first novel, Still Rock Water, I used the very real failure after my marriage broke apart. Most readers today can empathize with this trauma—the heart-wrenching loneliness and lack of personal love. The agonizing over what went wrong. I write about visions, concepts and things we cannot see, yet know exist: kindness, understanding and a sense of fate. Love is the most basic and important of all human emotions. Love, in all its forms, is part of every story. In Still Rock Water, Liliha longs for romance after losing everything—her home, her children and her marriage.

Year 1987: I shunted to the other side of the globe from Australia to escape my misogynist first husband. In England, I landed a job within a week as a live-in nanny for an English family and travelled the world with them. At the age of 45, I foresaw a lack of romance in my life.

Once returned from our world trip of visiting friends in Sydney and Adelaide, Australia, California in America, and Singapore in Indonesia, I took the plunge and contacted a London agency with a view to meeting someone I could relate to. Pretty scary, yet I always felt a special protection. On my third arranged meeting, a tall Englishman arrived at the door and took me to a restaurant. During our heated discussion, I looked past his brash London manner and saw right into his soul. I’ll never forget how his eyes opened right up to allow me to enter. Even now, I find this the strangest thing. From that moment, I bonded with him.

Liliha, my character in Still Rock Water, mimics my life and expresses my optimism in her determination to succeed. She is a strong role-model among women characters with her empowerment to do something about suffering and injustice, during her visions about others in trouble throughout the world. The novel illustrates the principle of positive thinking and the trust that things will work out.

Over the years, I’ve been though some amazing experiences.

Now over seventy years old, I live a peaceful existence with my husband of over twenty years. He and I have changed as we age. I’m not the beauty I was up to my middle years, and his lovely straight chin and jaw-line has sagged. Yet, he’s still the same man. And I’m the same woman.

Like any relationship, we argue and make up. Both first-born children in our families, we want to take the lead. I choose to let him take care of cooking and shopping. Hehe. He’s organized and thorough at the latter, and a brilliant cook. Sometimes I wonder why I’m lucky enough to have his gift all to myself.

We live in a downstairs flat beside a strip of cottages, which nestle together along the old Roman road from London to St Albans, backed by riding stables and facing a stand of trees before open fields. Boudicca is said to have fought the last battle of the ancient Britons against the Roman Empire close by.

I don’t bother battling age—the results of a face-lift aren’t pretty. Instead, I eat healthy food, exercise daily on a walk up the hill in my own corner of paradise. Writing keeps my mind occupied. I maintain two blogs as well as working on future books, some of which include a series of post-apocalyptic fantasy adventure novels written with my co-author, Edith Parzefall.

Website blog: http://475035832790540880.weebly.com (On the home page you can see how I’ve changed over the years.)
Blogspot: http://francene-wordstitcher.blogspot.com/
Website: http://francene–wordstitcher.weebly.com/
Booklist: http://tinyurl.com/944kqxm