Fran Cannon Slayton is a native of Manassas and Haymarket, Virginia. She attended high school at St. Mary's Academy in Alexandria, and later graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. After briefly working on Capitol Hill, Fran graduated from UVA's law school and became a child sex abuse prosecutor, legal publisher, and title insurance agency owner before writing her debut novel, When the Whistle Blows.
Fran was inspired to write When the Whistle Blows by her father, who told her many stories about his childhood adventures in the 1940's, growing up in the Appalachian mountains of West Virginia as the son of a B&O Railroad foreman.
Praise for the debut novel When the Whistle Blows :
“When the Whistle Blows is reminiscent of classic tales by Jack London, William Golding and Robert Louis Stevenson, yet carries the remarkable, fresh voice of its author. Fran Cannon Slayton should be extremely proud of this, her debut novel.”
—Ellen Hopkins, author of Crank and Identical and National Book Award finalist
“With wit and warmth Fran Cannon Slayton recounts a steam-driven coming of age story in the last of the real railroad days.”
—Richard Peck, author of A Year Down Yonder
“I loved When the Whistle Blows.”
—Barbara Keifer, Charlotte S. Huck Professor of Children’s Literature at Ohio State University
“A highly engaging, well-written, really good read.”
—Dr. Joel Taxel, University of Georgia, Department of Language and Literary Education
“From its whip-smart opening to its look at the complexity of father/son relationships, Slayton’s loving novel takes a long hard look at the death of people and that intangible idea of ‘home’ . . . 'When the Whistle Blows' stopped me in my tracks”
—Elizabeth Bird, A Fuse #8 Production (School Library Journal)