Episode 438: The Stories We Tell and the Secrets We Keep in Family Sagas – Interview with Fran Hawthorne

by Gabriela Pereira
published in Podcast

Today, Lori is interviewing Fran Hawthorne. They’ll be talking about her new book I Meant To Tell You and delaying the payoff.

Have you signed up to be a DIY MFA Radio Insider yet? This is an exciting new monthly newsletter, especially for our podcast listeners. Every month, you’ll get an email from our podcast producer with recaps of the most recent episodes, a curated Listening List of episodes on a particular theme, and other fun goodies we only share via email. Best of all, it’s free to join! The theme for November is Science, and you can become an insider by signing up with your email at diymfa.com/insiders.

Due to technical difficulties, the audio quality of this episode is not up to our usual standard, but the interview is so exciting we know you won’t want to miss it!

In this episode Fran Hawthorne and Lori discuss:

  • How to use minor details to show your readers exactly who your characters are.
  • Why to shift perspective and how to decide when that shift should happen.
  • When to provide release and when to build tension in a story.

Plus, her #1 tip for writers.

About Fran Hawthorne

Fran Hawthorne has been writing novels since she was four years old, although she was sidetracked for several decades by journalism. During that award-winning career, she wrote eight nonfiction books, mainly about consumer activism, the drug industry, and the financial world. 

Ethical Chic (Beacon Press) was named one of the best business books of 2012 by Library Journal, and Pension Dumping (Bloomberg Press) was a Foreword magazine 2008 Book of the Year. She’s also been an editor or regular contributor for The New York Times, Business Week, Fortune, and many other publications. 

But Fran never abandoned her true love: With the publication of her debut novel, The Heirs, in 2018 and now I Meant To Tell You, Fran is firmly committed to fiction. She’s at work on her next novel and also writes book reviews for the New York Journal of Books. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

You can find her on her website or follow her on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Goodreads.

I Meant To Tell You

Fran Hawthorne’s engrossing new novel, I Meant To Tell You, begins as Miranda Isaac’s fiancé, Russ Steinmann, prepares to disclose any criminal history in their families as part of an FBI background check for his job in the U.S. Attorney’s office. He assumes that the only possible problem from Miranda’s family could be her parents’ activism during the Vietnam War.

Miranda has never told Russ about an event in her past, though. Years earlier, not realizing it was illegal, she’d tried to help a close friend, Ronit, secretly leave Washington, DC for Israel with her child during a nasty divorce. The women were promptly arrested at Dulles Airport for kidnapping. In the end, Miranda’s sentence was reduced to a misdemeanor and wiped from her record, so she convinces herself it doesn’t merit mention.

She’s wrong.

In this absorbing tale, told in multiple voices, Fran Hawthorne unspools Miranda’s secret and the domino effect it has on Russ’s family, Ronit’s—and, unexpectedly, even on

Miranda’s own—as other people’s lies or secrets are also exposed. Haunting yet redemptive, I Meant To Tell You reminds us of the enduring resonance of family histories and the corrosive power of secrets.

If you decide to check out the book, we hope you’ll do so via this Amazon affiliate link, where if you choose to purchase via the link, DIY MFA gets a referral fee at no cost to you. As always, thank you for supporting DIY MFA!

Link to Episode 438

(Right-click to download.)

If you liked this episode…

Head over to iTunes, Stitcher Radio, Spotify, or Google and subscribe so you’ll be first to know when new episodes are available.

Also, remember that sharing is caring so if you know anyone who might enjoy this podcast, please tell them about it or leave us a review so other listeners will want to check it out.

Until next week, keep writing and keep being awesome!

Enjoyed this article?