Publicity: Andrew Gibeley
Marketing: Christian Westermann
Literary Agent: Laura Yorke
Clare Frank started firefighting in California at 17 and promoted up the ranks, becoming the State’s first and only female Chief of Fire Protection. Along the way, she earned a bachelor’s in fire administration, a master’s in creative writing, and a law degree. She has lectured at colleges, universities, and state and national fire conferences. She lives near Lake Tahoe with her husband and always a dog or two. This is her first book.
A CAPTIVATING MEMOIR OF A TRAILBLAZING FEMALE FIREFIGHTER
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"
Also available as an e-book
Click on document to get
full Abrams Press Release:
“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.”
"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.”
“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
“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
“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
Suggested Interview Questions
For those not yet familiar with BURNT, can you give them a quick overview of it?
People always want to know the "why" of it. So, why did you write this book at this time?
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"?
Can you explain what it was about firefighting that spoke to you loud enough to make it your life's work?
Did you feel like a trailblazer, like you were changing the fire service, as you promoted through the ranks?
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?
What were some of the major changes you witnessed in your profession over the thirty years you were in it?
Do you miss it now that you're retired?
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?
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?
What surprised you the most in writing BURNT?
Can you share a little about your writing process? Your writing journey?
Do you have another project lined up? What can you tell us about it?
Do you have any advice for girls or young women who might want to consider firefighting as a career?