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Media Kit

Contact Info

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Book Publicist: Andrew Gibeley

Literary Agent: Laura Yorke

Speaking Engagements

Author Bio

Clare Frank served as the State of California’s first and only female Chief of Fire Protection. She began firefighting at age 17 and worked her way through the ranks, handling fire and rescue emergencies and major disasters in both urban and rural settings. Along the way, she earned a spot on an elite state command team, a bachelor’s in fire administration, a law degree, a master’s in creative writing, and several leadership awards. Now, she brings humor and candor to her stories about first responders, lawyers, and life. Her work has been featured in the New York Times, New York PostSan Francisco Chronicle, CNN Opinion, ShondalandFireRescue1, and others. Her first book, Burnt: A Memoir of Fighting Fire is now available at a bookstore near you. She lives near Lake Tahoe with her husband and always a dog or two.


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Book Info.


Burnt is a book about finding your calling, even if it’s an unexpected one. It’s about finding your home, even if you aren’t immediately welcomed in. And it’s about reaching the top and making a difference, even if you don’t look like you fit in.


When Clare Frank was seventeen years old, she became an emancipated minor and shortly thereafter a firefighter in Northern California. Clare was five feet two and officially too young to join the service—she left her birth date blank on her paperwork, hoping no one would notice. And she didn’t look like her peers, who all sported an Adam’s apple and a mustache. But her brother was a firefighter and loved it, and thought she would too. So, she tried it out. Very soon, she knew she had found her purpose.


Burnt is Clare’s inspiring, richly detailed, and open-hearted account of an extraordinary life in fire. It chronicles her transformation from a young adult determined to prove her mettle, to a scarred and sensitive veteran grappling with the weight of her duties as chief of fire protection while record-setting fires engulf her home state. Mentors and mediocre managers, funerals and scandal, pickup basketball and car crashes, cliff rescues and CPR, and always fire—no one has written about this world like Clare Frank. She masterfully mixes irreverence and awe, taking readers inside firehouses, on daily calls, and along on gigantic wildland fires, where antics and dark humor balance terrifying risk, trauma, and a sense of almost holy responsibility. Burnt is an unforgettable memoir from an American original.

Burnt: A Memoir of Fighting Fire

By Clare Frank

Abrams Press / May 2023

U.S. $27.00 / CAN $34.00 / UK £18.99

Hardcover with jacket / 336 pages / 6 x 9"

ISBN: 978-1-4197-6390-8

Also available as an e-book

Click on document to get

full Abrams Press Release:  

Early Praise

"In this evocative account of life in the firehouse, Clare Frank portrays the risks firefighters face and the stakes that are now higher than they’ve ever been. She does so with grit and a healthy sense of humor. A must-read.” Erin Brockovich

"Extraordinary. . .a fascinating, boots-on-the-ground account of her storied career as a firefighter. . . . she takes readers behind the scenes in a play-by-play that is as riveting as it is informative. Every bit of 'Burnt' is interesting. . .” San Francisco Chronicle

"'Burnt' chronicles her trailblazing bravery . . . [It] starts as a personal love letter to firefighting . By the end it also becomes a cri de coeur, a battle cry." New York Post

“A heart-racing, heartfelt story that will make readers laugh, cry, and consider what matters most in life. . . . Frank's memoir is packed not only with adrenaline but with sensitivity, thoughtfulness, and creativity. Beware the impulse to race through these 300-plus pages in a single sitting. . . .This exceptional memoir shows wide emotional range in spanning the complexities of firefighting and fire prevention in California and the American West, gender issues, family, work, love, and loss.” Shelf Awareness

A vigorous and quite timely memoir . . . Throughout the book, Frank is energetic and inspirational, especially to women considering work in the field–though she is always candid about the countless dangers of the job, from  being caught  up in a firestorm to going down in a tanker plane.” Kirkus Reviews


“The path to becoming a firefighter is arduous, especially for a young woman who must contend with gear scaled to fit men, as well as colleagues who believe women should not do this work watching for any misstep. None of this stopped Clare Frank, who recounts her climb from underage rookie to one of California’s highest-ranking fire chiefs.” Christian Science Monitor, Top 10 Books of May


Good memoirs can introduce intriguing individuals and provide access to rarefied pursuits. Author Frank manages both in this account of her fiercely independent life and 30-plus years as a firefighter in California . . . The action scenes are compelling; there are hard-won victories and excruciating losses, and Frank emerges as a relatable and thoroughly human hero.” Booklist

“'Burnt' is part fire story, part family saga, part diary of a woman rising in a ‘man’s world,’ and it is entirely engrossing. If natural disasters, especially wildfires, are to reshape both where and how we live, then we had better listen to the stories of the people who fight them and the price they pay. This is one of those stories and it’s damn good.” Kevin Hazzard, author of American Sirens and A Thousand Naked Strangers

“Ominous orange skies and smoke-choked cities: The wildfire crisis is here. Burnt takes you inside. From dirt firefighter to leading thousands, Clare Frank offers a real, humorous, one-of-a-kind front-row seat to wildfires and those who fight them.” Caroline Godkin, Executive Director of the Climate and Wildfire Institute

“Frank is scrappy and courageous, wise and vulnerable—a serious badass with a reverence for fire, an irreverent sense of humor, and a mouth that strings together swear words with the best of them. As Frank shatters glass ceilings of the fire world ranks, you will be laughing out loud at firehouse antics, crying on heartbreaking calls, sitting on the edge of your seat during harrowing adventures, and cheering her on as she finds kinship, joy, and a greater sense of herself within this unconventional calling. . . This is one of the best memoirs I’ve read in a long time.” Suzanne Roberts, author of Animal Bodies: On Death, Desire, and Other Difficulties


“'Burnt' is a wonderful reminder of how those who fall in love with the intensity and magic and deadliness of flames are always best at fighting fire . . . Frank’s writing is vivid and beautiful, and her stories of the structure of firefighting lives will resonate with those who love a great story of passion.” Susan Straight, author of Mecca and In the Country of Women

“Fire is a force of nature with a will of its own. This image is captured forcefully in this debut written by Frank     . . . [as] she infuses her stories with both introspection and humor.” Library Journal 

“When you read rave reviews of Burnt, . . . it's obvious the book's author, Clare Frank is an extraordinary trailblazer.” Santa Cruz Style Magazine

Suggested Interview Questions 

  1. For those not yet familiar with BURNT, can you give them a quick overview of it?

  2. People always want to know the "why" of it. So, why did you write this book at this time?

  3. You were a short, scrawny, 17-year-old girl who looked nothing like the prototypical firefighter in the 1980s.  What was it that made you think, "Yeah, I can do that"?

  4.  Can you explain what it was about firefighting that spoke to you loud enough to make it your life's work?

  5. Did you feel like a trailblazer, like you were changing the fire service, as you promoted through the ranks?

  6. Before you married your husband Bud, you were a straight, single female surrounded by a good amount of fit, single male firefighters. Do you have any comments about that dynamic?

  7. What was the most difficult thing you had to do as a firefighter?

  8. What did you love the most about the job? The least?

  9. Did you ever suffer any serious on-the-job injury? 

  10. In your book, you talk about developing a different kind of relationship with death. Can you describe what that is?

  11. Over the course of your thirty-year career, what was the biggest change you saw in the fire service? In fire?

  12. Do you miss it all now that you're retired? Do you feel like you left something on the table?

  13. You followed your older brother into the fire service. I imagine this made other family members nervous, especially during peak fire season in California. Did they lean on either of you to find a safer profession? 

  14. You weave your childhood and family members into the into the narrative. Did your family members have a chance to read it before it was released? If so, how did they react? 

  15. What surprised you the most in writing BURNT?

  16. Can you share a little about your writing process? Your writing journey?

  17. Do you have another project lined up? What can you tell us about it?

  18. Do you have any advice for aspiring memoirists?

  19. Do you have any advice for girls or young women who might want to consider firefighting as a career?

  20. What is the best advice you received from one of your fire mentors?

© 2022 by Clare Frank proudly created with Headshot photo credit to

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