Frances Peck wrote fiction and poetry until her early twenties, when the realities of adulthood and rent steered her toward a career as a ghostwriter, editor and instructor.
As a professional wordsmith, Frances worked with clients and authors to make their material as polished and reader-friendly as possible. She also wrote about the finer points of language, authoring two editions of Peck’s English Pointers and co-authoring the popular HyperGrammar website. Along the way she wrote occasional essays and blog posts, and taught workshops and courses for groups of editors, writers and translators, as well as for the University of Ottawa, Douglas College, Simon Fraser University and UBC.
Frances returned to her first love, writing fiction, with her debut novel, The Broken Places (NeWest Press). This “intense and absorbing drama” (Vancouver Sun), which explores how a major earthquake shakes up the lives and relationships of a group of characters, was a Globe and Mail best book of 2022 and a finalist for the Rakuten Kobo Emerging Writer Prize. Her second novel, Uncontrolled Flight, came out in September 2023.
From Editor to Author: A Journey in Several Parts
Over the course of three decades, Frances Peck established herself as a successful behind-the-scenes wordsmith, working on other people's publications as an editor, ghostwriter and rewriter. Then she decided it was time to come out of hiding. In this presentation she discusses the long, laborious journey from hidden editor to published author (and reads from her fiction if desired).
Sentences with Style
What exactly happens when we rearrange a sentence and suddenly it’s sharper and stronger? The study of syntax (word order) may have gone the way of foolscap and fountain pens, but it has a lot to teach us about clarity, emphasis and rhythm. Join Frances Peck, author and former editor, as we dust off some intriguing syntax techniques and explore how they can punch up our writing.
Frances Peck reads from and discusses her compelling novel The Broken Places, about a massive earthquake that upends the lives of a group of Vancouver residents. At the heart of the novel is 17-year-old Sidney Stedman, troubled daughter of a tech tycoon, who tests her reserves of strength and resilience in order to survive and protect others who shelter in her family's waterfront mansion.