poetry, non-fiction and children’s fiction
Born near Tolkien territory in Birmingham England in 1951, Frances came to Canada in 1973 on a year-long visit with her husband Keith and decided to stay. While bringing up her family, Frances made time for her other passions: writing and composing poetry and she received much recognition, including the Marg Gilkes Award in 1995 from the Calgary Writers Association. In part because she was not keen on history at school, she felt there was a need to present history in an easy-to- read format written for young adults, publishing three books in this genre:
Norman Bethune: The Incredible Life and Tragic Death of a Revered Canadian Doctor. Canmore: Altitude Publishing, 2004.
Arctic Explorers: In Search of the Northwest Passage. Surrey: Heritage House Publishing Company Ltd., 2010.
Yip Sang and the First Chinese Canadians. Surrey: Heritage House Publishing Company Ltd., 2011.
Frances transitioned effortlessly into the genre of young adult historical fiction with her novel, “The Tale of Irwyn Tremayne” which was published posthumously in 2016.
Her children’s book, Aunt Maud’s Mittens, was published by Scholastic (2007)
Throughout the years, numerous poems of Frances’ have been anthologized in works such as Dear Tomato; And the Crowd Goes Wild; The Steampunk Shakespeare. She also had two essays published in Engraved, an anthology of Canadian Stories of World War One (2014). And an essay published in Brought to Light, More Stories of Forgotten Women (2015)
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Outside of her dedication to family and writing, Frances was keen on sport and outdoor adventure, and seized any opportunity to feel the warmth of the sun on her face. Weekends would find her canoeing the rivers of Alberta and British Columbia, hiking or skiing in Banff, Jasper, and Yoho national parks. (She was the first female to be awarded the Million Vertical Feet belt buckle in Jackson Hole.) She and Keith settled eventually in Golden, where she enjoyed skiing at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort and cross-country skiing and snowshoeing on Dawn Mountain. When at home, Frances loved gardening, reflecting her desire to nurture, as her family well appreciated.
Frances sailed extensively with her family on the west coast of Canada with longer trips to the Caribbean islands, along the Dalmatian Coast of Croatia, in Turkey, and in the Greek Islands. Frances also visited many places including Egypt, Ecuador, the Galapagos, Machu Picchu, New Zealand, Australia, Russia, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Poland, Germany, Italy, Spain, France, Romania, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, and in 2014 she travelled through Kenya, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe on Safari. Her last trip was a tour of China and Southeast Asia in 2015.
Frances and Keith shared a thirst for adventure and love of cultures, people, and history. On her travels Frances sought out local museums, art galleries, historical sites, and a good cup of tea. She was always ready with a pad and pen, taking notes, names and dates, perhaps seeking inspiration for her next story.
Frances lived courageously and passed away quietly on September 4, 2015 at the age of 64 years, beloved wife, mother, daughter, grandmother, sister, aunt, friend, poet, and author.
RIP Frances. Your writing lives on.