Today I have an author who writes both contemporary and historical sweet romances. Fran McNabb is an award-winning author, but I’ll let her tell you more. Here’s her brief bio:
Fran McNabb grew up along the beaches, bayous and islands of the Mississippi Gulf Coast and uses this setting in many of her novels. She received both her BS and an ME from the University of Southern Mississippi. After spending two years in Germany, she and her husband returned to the Coast where she taught English and journalism until taking an early retirement. She now lives on a quiet bayou harbor with her husband. She spends her time writing, reading, boating, and painting.
As an award-winning author, Fran has writing credits which include four romance novels with Avalon/Montlake (two contemporary and two historical romances), two romantic suspense novels with The Wild Rose Press, and three Indie contemporary romances, as well as a cookbook and numerous articles in magazines and newsletters. Find out more at www.franmcnabb.com.
Betty: How many books have you written and published?
Fran: Presently I have nine available.
Betty: What genre(s) do you write in and why?
Fran: I write tender romances, or as they are sometimes called, sweet romance. I started my publishing career in 2006 with Avalon Books, a library publisher whose trademark was family-friendly romances so I kept that brand and still write “sweets” today.
Betty: What themes or motifs did you use in your recent release and why were they important to your story?
Fran: I write character driven books. My stories have heroes and heroines who face personal obstacles as they struggle to find a second chance at life or love.
Hope is easily lost and hard to regain. In A SOLDIER’S HONOR a military major struggles to regain his honor stripped away when he is railroaded into prison. Now in a work-release program at a nursing facility, he falls in love with his nurse supervisor. Together they help each other find the courage to live and love again.
Betty: Do you have a specific place that you write? Revise?
Fran: I live on a bayou harbor and my sunroom faces the water. I love sitting in there or out on the back porch to revise or to just think and get inspiration, but when I write, I tend to find a place in the house without distractions. I’m easily pulled into the beautiful views, the activity of the boats, and the wildlife on the bayou.
Betty: Do you have any writing rituals while you write? Did you have a special drink, or music, or time of day that you gravitated toward?
Fran: I’m a morning person and I find my brain functions much better in the morning than in the afternoon.
Betty: What helped you move from unpublished to published? A mentor or organization or something else?
Fran: I taught English and journalism so it was natural for me to write, but I knew nothing about publishing until I joined RWA in 1998 and my local chapter, Gulf Coast Chapter of RWA in Mobile. Even though I don’t live there, I drove there faithfully for years. The members were my inspiration that got me to actually send off a manuscript. I’m still best friends with several of the “old members.”
Betty: What do you think is your greatest strength in your writing?
Fran: I feel my strongpoint is characterization. I once had an editor who remembered one of my heroes two years after she rejected my manuscript. I was honored even though she never bought the book. I love presenting workshops on developing character.
Betty: What comes first when you’re brainstorming a new story: setting, situation, characters?
Fran: Most of the time it’s setting that gets me thinking about a new book. A prime example is my historical WINDSWEPT. I visited the wrecker museum in Key West, and when I walked out I told my husband, that was my next book. Another one is ON THE CREST OF A WAVE. My grandfather ran the ferry boats to Ship Island where a Civil War fort still stands. As a child, I spent quite a lot of time there and even lived out on the island an entire summer when my parents worked for the family. It was natural for me to write the book that had a setting I loved.
Betty: What is one recent struggle you’ve experienced in your writing?
Fran: Because I’ve been writing for so long, I sometimes feel “burned out” and have to get with other writing buddies to find the motivation to sit down and write. I also love to paint and I find I spend as much time painting and that in itself takes away from my writing time.
Betty: Do you participate in NaNoWriMo? Why or why not?
Fran: No. I have never participated, but admire those authors who do. I don’t like to be forced to write in a timeframe.
Betty: What are you reading right now?
Fran: I just finished reading The Doctor’s Second Chance by Missy Tippens, a Love Inspired romance.
Betty: What is your favorite genre to read?
Fran: Sweet Romances which include both contemporary and historical.
Betty: What are your keeper books? How often might you reread them?
Fran: Even though it is not a romance, my all-time favorite book is EXODUS by Leon Uris. I read it twice and love the hero Ari. In fact, I think all of my heroes that I write have a little of Ari in them.
Betty: Do you have a “day job” or do you write full time?
Fran: I’m a retired English and journalism teacher.
Betty: What do you wish readers knew about the publishing industry?
Fran: I don’t think readers know how difficult or how time consuming it is to write and edit a book and to find a publisher or to self-publish. When I talk with reader groups, I like to go through the process of writing a book, making sure they understand what all is involved. Most of the time, someone will come up after a talk and tell me they had no idea how difficult it is.
Betty: What advice do you have for new writers?
Fran: I think new writers must be willing to learn what is involved in the writing process, to learn the craft of writing and be willing to take constructive criticism. Going to conferences and attending workshops are important to both new writers and to published authors. No matter how many books an author has published, there is always something to learn.
Betty: Any hints of what you’re next writing project might be?
Fran: I’ve been working on a series set in Key West. I love the Keys and have one book set there already (WINDSWEPT), but it’s historical. This series is contemporary and I hope to have the first book finished soon.
It was great getting to know you better, Fran! I wish you all the best with your writing career!
P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I send out most every month, including news like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers along with recipes and writing progress. Thanks and happy reading!
Visit my Website for more on my books and upcoming events.