My Interview with Working Girl

Interview With Author Fran Lewis

June 12, 2010 by workinggirlreviews

WGR is excited to welcome author, educator, and talk show host, Fran Lewis.

WGR: Fran, welcome to Working Girl Reviews. I understand you were a New York City teacher for many years. Tell us about that.

Fran: I taught in the NYC public schools for over 30 years. Working with students in grades one through six for the first part of my career. My Principal felt that I had a special skill and expertise when working with students with learning difficulties and encouraged me to go back to school for my second Master’s Degree in Reading and Learning Disabilities. I am glad that I did. As the reading and writing specialist and later Staff Developer I was able to reach many of the students who came from other countries and help them to read, understand and speak our language and excel in school. Before leaving, when my mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, I was the Dean of Discipline and helped create a Peer Mediation program that worked in our school.

The arts and music are two of my greatest passions. I play the piano and the violin and directed and created all of the holiday shows for the school including the ones on Black History and Women’s History. For many years I directed the orchestra and choral groups at Graduation.

I mentored many of the new teachers, was test coordinator for the school and eventually went back for my degree in Administration.

WGR: Tell us a little about Bertha. Did your experience as a teacher inspire your Bertha stories or was it more from personal experience?

Fran: I based my stories and my titles in my own experiences growing up in the South Bronx. I was always the outcast when it came to sports, dancing and was overweight. I spent my life battling with my weight and got ridiculed a lot in dancing school and when participating in many activities. I did however excel at punch ball and can still knock one out of the park. Bertha is me. Everything that I wrote in all three books if true. Many children in the schools today are subjected to the abuse caused by bullies in their schools or being overweight as I was all my life. Having difficulty walking up the stairs or not being able to participate in activities in the gym made it difficult for me to fit in with many of the other kids.

As an educator and a teacher who did spend time working with the gym teacher when my time was requested to assist him, I learned that this issue was still front and center and I refused to allow it to continue.

My Bertha stories are all true. Every one of the stories in My Name is Bertha and Bertha Speaks Out are true. The third book, Bertha Fights Back deals with September 11 and is dedicated to one of my students who died in the first tower. I wrote these stories to help teachers, parents and children of all ages learn to embrace their differences and understand that it is not what you look like on the outside that makes the person, it is the inner you and your kindness and understanding of others.

WGR: Do you have any books other than the Bertha series?

Fran: I wrote two other books dealing with Alzheimer’s. The first is Memories are Precious: Alzheimer’s Journey: Ruth’s Story. It is my mom’s story and her words when she was diagnosed with this dreaded and horrific illness. It is also a resource for anyone that needs home care, senior care or wants to really understand the illness. It has family memories, author’s memories and pictures to help bring the book and the stories to light.

My second book is titled Sharp as a Tack or Scrambled Eggs, Which Describes Your Brain? This book will help the coach potato in everyone and give you ways to keep your mind and body active and alert.

WGR: You’ve been writing for a while now. Tell us what you like least about teethe writing process and what you like most.

Fran: I really do not like editing my work. I love when someone else reads my stories or my novels and gives me the feedback that I need. I have trouble reading on my computer because I get eyestrain. I often wonder at times what I am going to write and where my plots are going.

The best part is completing that manuscript and seeing your book in print and of course having tons of people buy it. The Alzheimer’s books were written to raise funds for research and a cure.

WGR: I know you review books for several review sites. What types of books do you enjoy reading most and who are some of your favorite authors?

Fran: I love reading a well-written mystery, thriller and historical fiction novel. A novel that grabs my attention from the first word forcing me to complete the book in a day. I love reading Paranormal and fantasy too. Children’s books are my favorite. Giving positive and great reviews to a new author and having them tell me they love my review is the best payment and way to say thank you in the world to a reviewer.

WGR: As well as being a writer and reviewer, you host a radio talk show. Please tell us more about that. Fran: I now host two radio shows. The first is Book Discussion With Fran Lewis, which is the third Wed. of every month at 1 Eastern on Red River Radio. Authors throughout the world, usually two on each show are featured. I read their books and create questions to ask them along with my book club members who have to read the books too. The author tells our listeners about his/her writing career, short bio, answers our questions and can promote their sites, next projects and tell us where we can purchase their books.

The second show if for children’s authors and will focus on books geared for all levels. The primary focus of the show is to have authors whose books teach a positive lesson and will help children and teachers in the character education programs. These are books that should be in classroom and school libraries. There are five authors on my first show and I will ask the questions that I have created and we will discuss the books as a group. This show is the fifth Tuesday of August and November 30th so far.

WGR: For those readers interested in being a guest on your radio show, where would they find information about that?

Fran: If anyone would like to join me on my November children’s show they can email me at That show will be devoted to YA authors and books for teens. The show in August will be for early learners.

WGR: When you aren’t busy writing, reviewing, and doing your radio show, what would we find Fran Lewis doing for fun?

Fran: I love to walk, go to museums, and play basketball with my nephews even if I lose, go shopping, go to the Bronx Zoo and make people laugh with my wild sense of humor.

WGR: Fran, thank you so much for spending time with us today. Please tell all our readers where they can find more information about you and your work.

Fran: My website for anyone that would like me to review their books:

I review books for under the name Gabina

I review for book pleasures and manic readers too.

Thank you so much for interviewing me.

Coming soon: Wrongly Accused and Bertha’s Revenge


road to omalos

The Road to Omalos

Author: Marilyn Jax

ISBN: 9781592983292

Publisher: Beaver Pond Press

A plastics factory is torched and totally decimated. Why? A young man killed in the blaze? Business owners threatened and strong-armed by on man who appears to be immune to prosecution. A 62-year-old woman who seeks help, but never lives to get it. An elderly man who wants to avenge his son’s death. What is the common denominator? One man who is so evil, full of hate and malice that many will seek him out to bring him to justice or to mete out their own. This brings me to my review of The Road to Omalos by author Marilyn Jax.

Four men formed this their vigilante squad. Each a pillar of society in his own right, but harboring a need to rid the world of poison and leaving no venom behind. Their goal: To take care of the man who was terrorizing these storeowners and who burned the plastics factory leaving its owner Chadwick Otto without anything: his business, the money stored in his safe, the insurance money and his son. Added to this mix are Claire Caswell and Guy Lombard two investigators hired by Mr. Otto to bring this one man to justice. Who will get to him first and what method will be used to bring him to justice? Wait and see!

Marilyn Jax in her novel The Road to Omalos brings to light the issue of whether ordinary citizens have the right to take the law into their own hands when the guilty party seems above the law and gets away unscathed. Four men, one a judge, a Reverend, a pilot and a man into restate, four men bound by a blood oath, and an irrevocable pact, to mete out justice their way no matter the cost. Thomas Lastner, Jack Manning, Kyle Teddy and Scott Harriman bound together with no way out, and will turn every corner and pursue every path, to find George Zenonakis and rid the world of his corruption, deceit and ultimately his demise.

All roads lead to Greece or Crete in this novel in order to apprehend the culprit George Zenonakis. Fleeing Miami and returning to Crete, George looks for solace in his grandfather’s home, but will soon learn a lesson he will never forget. Paranoid, predicting and seeing his own death and replaying many scenes in his head, George takes refuge in his grandfather’s home but never really feels safe. Causing the explosion at the plastics factory was not difficult and stealing the four million dollars and figuring out how to get it out of the country was not hard, but the murder of a William Otto was another thing and would be replayed in his mind many times over time.

Every step forward takes them five steps back when they befriend the storekeepers and people they meet when asking where they might find this dangerous man. Closed mouth, fearing for their lives, Claire, Guy and the vigilantes must find other means to locate their target and bring him to their kind of justice. Who will get there first? Who will win? Remains to be seen. But the answer is right in the title of our novel: The Road to Omalos is as dangerous and deadly to travel as our fugitive as Claire learns as she drives to the top to rescue Guy. But, will she get there before it is too late? Who is this woman called the bird lady that she searches for and finds? What is her importance and role?

Replete with history, vivid descriptions of the countryside, the many villages, foods, customs, and scenery, the author takes the reader on a tour of Crete and many other places in Greece making the reviewer want to get on a plane and see the sights for herself. Added to this we have an illusive shadow that is following our investigators undetected. Just who he is and why he is following them remains to be seen. The road to Omalos is treacherous one must have great skill and stamina to drive up the narrow and winding road. But, when all the players come together and the final scene is over you will not believe what happens. An ending that has twist, turns, surprises and cast of characters that plays out the last scene as if it were in a Shakespearean play, Marilyn Jax has given the reader a novel that is a potent, strong and exhilarating as the RAKI the investigators are served by their hosts in Greece. What will Claire and Guy face next? Will these vigilantes continue on? We will have to wait until Marilyn Jax hopefully brings them back in her next book. The author definitely has a new fan: Me!



Author Frank Fata

A single red rose in a crystal vase handed to the right person is more precious than you think. The right words, a loving gesture and a true heart make a relationship solid. Honesty is valuable and trust, even more. When Jason Bono meets Trish in a chance meeting on his vacation, his heart pounds, his mind gets fogged and this thoughts focused on just her. Only time will tell if that one red rose will be hers or will it belong to someone else. Never wear your heart on your sleeve is something my mom taught me as a rule dealing with people. Hold back your feelings and make sure you know what the other person is feeling before you express yours is an important lesson she taught me. From screenplay writer Frank Fata comes his first groundbreaking novel, Albany, a story of deception, lies, manipulation and the loyalty of true friends when one is down.

One chance encounter turned Jason Bono’s world upside down. Taken in by a beautiful woman while on vacation in Las Vegas, he is like so many young men, filled with hopes and dreams of meeting that right person to spend time with and maybe your whole life. But learning life’s hard lessons does not come easy to Jason as we take this journey along with him.

Long distance relationships do not always work when other factors come into play. Jason, a hard working mechanic, good looking and one of kind really upfront guy, meets beautiful Trish on this vacation becoming totally consumed with her in his thoughts, feelings and desires. Commitments take time and Trish, although she cares for Jason, is weary of forming a permanent relationship with him.

As the distance and time between visits and phone calls lengthens Jason feels a strong emptiness in his heart. He fills the void with the first person that enters his line of vision, Gina. Rebound relationships often help fill the void in a person’s life. At times, as in Jason’s case when a relationship goes sour the person dwells on the reasons why, takes full blame for the failed relationship and dives into a new relationship without thinking. Being critical of oneself, not really listening to anyone’s thoughts or advice, Jason decides to begin new relationship with a girl named. Gina. But, she has her own agenda in mind and every step of the way orchestrates her temper tantrums, outbursts and mood swings knowing full well what she was doing. Jason meets others along the way but none as dear to him as Trish.

Jason becomes confused, obsessed and afraid of losing one relationship and not being able to wash away another. Spending too much time dwelling on his feelings for Trish, and not acting upon them, he buried himself in a heap of poor choices and unimportant relationships. As a jeweler sifts through his bag of gems for just the perfect stone, so does Jason sift through his string of woman hoping to find his perfect diamond.

Throughout this novel Jason and Trish communicate their feelings but truths are hidden and commitments are never really made. No one ever wants to get hurt in life and yet many do. What happens between these two young people will enlighten others to think long and hard when becoming involved in a long distance or any other relationship. People need to be up front with each other and most often many play both sides of a coin and one side always gets tarnished when honesty is not the key player in the relationship.

Jason and his friend Adam created a great screenplay and turned it into a wonderful and successful film.  A documentary that was so outstanding many important doors and opportunities were opened to them including going to Cannes and having their film screened by many important producers and executives in the movie industry. Reading about their journey was exciting and I could feel the adrenaline rush flowing through both Jason and Adam as they walked into restaurants, clubs and more treated like VIP’s.

What does happen between Trish and Jason you will have to find out for yourself? Whether he becomes a successful filmmaker you will have to read as you take this heartfelt journey along with Jason, Trish, Adam, Vincent, Rich, Michelle and his father Tony to Albany and back.

This is more than just a love story. Friendships that become tighter, family love that will always come first, and one young man whose life was changed by one chance encounter.

A well- written first novel with carefully defined characters with a plot line that is clear and easy to follow, new author and filmmaker Frank Fata has a definite career not only as an actor and filmmaker but also as a new rising author.

I think that the next rose that is presented should be to Jason from the right person who will be his own special flower and his perfect diamond.

This is a must read for all young people, adults and anyone who wants to learn how to handle relationships with dignity, respect and understanding and with honor. Never be afraid to express your feelings and let someone know you care. You might be pleasantly surprised.

I give this book: FIVE RED PERFECT ROSES and one more for the author.

Fran Lewis: reviewer, author and radio show talk host

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