Monday, November 29, 2010

Fran Shaff Interview

Joining us today is Fran Shaff. Fran is the author of contemporary and historical classic romance, young peoples’ novels and short stories. She has won numerous awards for her fiction and non-fiction work. She began writing in 1999, and she continues to produce romance and children’s novels. Her short stories have appeared in such places as Woman’s World magazine and at major Internet outlets. Her books are available in hardcover, paperback and e-formats. They can be found in libraries and bookstores throughout the country and on the Internet.

[Anne] When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

[Fran] I did my first creative writing in third grade. I wrote a poem purely for the pleasure of writing, not as a school assignment. The next creative writing I did on my own was a few years later. From then on my interest in writing continued to grow.

[Anne] Tell us about your latest books.

[Fran] I had two new books released in 2010 in e-formats, and I had two books previously available only in e-format become available in both e-format and paperback in 2010. “Montana Magic” (Wings ePress, March, 2010) and “Kelly and the Candidate” (Wings ePress, May, 2010) are both contemporary romances available currently in e-formats at Wings ePress ( and at Fictionwise and other on-line bookstores.

“Stolen Son” and “For Love of Maggie” are prize-winning contemporary romance stories originally released in e-formats by Champagne Books and Awe-Struck E-books, respectively. Recently updated and re-released in e-book formats through Smashwords and released for the first time in paperback by Create Space, these books can be purchased at many places on the Internet such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble ( Books a Million (, Sony Bookstore, I-Books for I-Pad, etc. These books are also available at libraries and bookstores.

[Anne] What inspired these stories?

[Fran] Anne, you’d be surprised how often story ideas just pop into my head.

My first book “Montana Match” (Avalon Books, hardcover) was the result of an idea I had upon waking one morning. Hmm, I thought, what if a Chicago matchmaker traveled to Montana to work with a cowboy client and fell in love with him herself? Very amusing….

I wrote “Montana Magic” years later because I was in love with the Montana setting I’d used in “Montana Match.”

“Kelly and the Candidate” was the result of another “out of the blue” idea which just popped into my head--what would happen if a hard-nosed reporter who hated politicians was stuck covering the campaign of a boring third-party candidate in a governor’s race? And she fell in love with him? And then she uncovered the biggest scandal she’d ever seen, a scandal so bad reporting it would win her a major award--and destroy the politician she’d grown to love?

“Stolen Son” came to me as a “wow” kind of idea I knew I had to develop into a story--suppose a man discovered his late wife had kidnapped his five-year-old adopted son and arranged for an illegal adoption? Being a man of integrity, could he in good conscience keep his mouth shut so he could keep his son? Or would he report his discovery and return the boy to his grieving birth mother? What if he developed an idea to covertly get to know the birth mother to determine if he could trust her with his son before he revealed the truth and, while he was getting to know her, he fell in love with her?

Whoa! Could life get more complicated for this poor soul?

[Anne] How did you go about researching your book?

[Fran] How I research my books depends on the book. My “Heart Junction Series” is set in the early 20th century in northeastern South Dakota. I set the series there because I grew up in the area. Moreover, I knew people who had lived during that period of history (much older relatives). I had seen the era through the eyes of people who had lived it. That was the inspiring part of my research. Beyond the first-hand research I studied lots of books about the local history so I could make the series as authentic as possible.

Recently I appeared at the Romance Junkies blog. In doing this guest spot I wrote about writing the “Heart Junction Series.” If anyone would like more information on writing “Early 20th Century Stories” I recommend they read my blog at Romance Junkies: Not only will they learn about writing for this time period, they’ll get a good introduction to each of the three books in this series, “Laura’s Lost Love,” “Stephanie’s Surprise,” and “Mari’s Miracle.”

[Anne] Do you have anything new in the works?

[Fran] Like most writers, I’ve always got new books brewing. :-)

“Male Fraud” is a romantic comedy about a woman who pretends to be a man in order to get a job as a trainer for a pro football team and falls in love with the coach. A wacky and very fun read.

I’ve also got a rather long short story, formerly in the Amazon Shorts program, awaiting re-release in an updated form titled “Married While Intoxicated.” This romantic comedy is about a woman who--you guessed it--gets married while intoxicated and then must straighten out the mess she’s made of her life.

A brand spanking new historical romance I’m working on is in the very early stages of development. As of today, I don’t even have a title for it. All I have are a few characters and a premise.

[Anne] What is your writing process like? Are you a plotter or a pantster?

[Fran] Without a roadmap a journey would be ineffective and unclear. I always develop characters and plot before I begin to write a book. I believe this is the most efficient way to proceed with any fictional project.

[Anne] If you could be any one of your characters, which one would you chose to be and why?

[Fran] Yikes! I wish now I had a terribly wealthy character in one of my stories so I could choose to be that one. Oh, wait, Mari Mahoney of “Mari’s Miracle” is rich, but she’s such a little snot in the beginning of the story, I’m not sure I’d want to be her. Sorry, I don’t have a good answer for you here, Anne.

[Anne] Say your publisher has offered to fly you anywhere in the world to do research on an upcoming book, where would you most likely want to go?

[Fran] Tahiti. It’s getting pretty cold outside about now, and I can’t think of a lovelier place to warm up. Just imagine lying on a pristine beach next to beautiful, clear blue water, soaking in delightfully warm rays of sunshine. Ahhhhhh.

[Anne] You’ve just been informed that your latest release was a NY Times bestseller and Hollywood wants to turn it into a movie. What actors would you choose to play your main characters?

[Fran] Hmm. Anne, my most recent releases feature very young heroes and heroine (mostly 20s and very early 30s), and most of my favorite actors would be too old to play the characters. I guess I’d have to say I’d like to see some new young faces paired with young hearts aching to make a wonderful story into a beautiful movie.

[Anne] What type of books do you like to read when you’re not writing?

[Fran] I love reading sweet romantic stories with engaging plots. The characters should be strong and real. I enjoy mystery and suspense too. The old classics are favorites which I enjoy too. Is it possible to read Steinbeck, the Brontes and Austen too often? I don’t think so. :-) Most of all, I read non-fiction simply because I enjoy learning new things.

[Anne] Name three things you can’t live without (excluding spouses and family because that’s a given).

[Fran] Indoor plumbing, electricity and food.

[Anne] What advice would you give to any aspiring writers out there?

[Fran] If you love to write, write. If you want to be published, make it happen. Set a goal, and never give up on your efforts to achieve it.

[Anne] Where can we find you on the web?

[Fran] My web page is at:, I’m on Twitter at:, I’m on Facebook at:, I’m on MySpace at: and my blog is at:

[Anne] Where can we purchase your books?


Wings ePress:

Barnes and Noble:

Sony Books:


[Anne] Is there anything else you’d like to add?

[Fran] There certainly is. I’d like to thank you, Anne, for your gracious hospitality. And I’d like to thank the readers for their interest in my books. I truly appreciate the many thousands of you who have enjoyed my stories. God bless you.


Sandy Cody said...

Nice interview. Fran, every one of your books sounds like something I would enjoy. Keep up the good work!

And thank you, Anne, for giving us the chance to learn about these books. I'm glad I've discovered this site.

Anne Patrick said...

Hi Sandy!
Thanks so much for dropping by. Hope to see you again!

Fran Shaff said...

Hi, Sandy, Thank you much for stopping by and for the kind words.