Recently published author Frances Chavarria. COURTESY PHOTO Frances Chavarria was in her eighties when she sat down to write her first book. Now 90, the Rockville resident is getting ready for book signings and dreams of seeing her novel up on the big screen.
Chavarria’s novel, “Let Us Dream of Turtles,” is a love story that pits greedy developers against environmentalists and takes place in Costa Rica, where she lived for 35 years. Chavarria took two years to complete her 300-page book that includes events such as an earthquake and tsunami.
In 2010, she found an editor, who wanted to publish the book if she agreed to make a few cuts, including many of the food descriptions. Chavarria agreed, but eventually stopped, believing the revisions were hurting her book. She put it on a shelf and moved on.
Four years later, Chavarria moved into senior citizen housing in downtown Rockville and met fellow resident, Edith Billups, who had written and edited magazines.
The two hit it off immediately and soon found themselves reworking the manuscript. Billups said she loved the manuscript instantly, especially “all the suspense and intrigue.” And, Billups laughed, Chavarria “may be 90, but she’s got some great love scenes in here.”