Welcome to Nancy Fraser, author of both contemporary and historical romance. Let’s jump right into the interview questions.
Have you traveled to any locations that appear in your books?
Yes, many. For my contemporary novels, I like to add some color by citing attractions in the city/town setting that I’ve actually experienced myself. In my vintage historical, April Love (part of my Golden Decade of Rock and Roll series), I send my H/H to Grand Cayman Island. I was there in the early sixties with my family, and those pictures (taken with an old Brownie camera) and memories are a big part of the novella.
Can you share a tip about what you do when you get stuck in creating a story?
Once I quit questioning my sanity at wanting to be a writer, I usually make myself a cup of coffee (I’m a certified cof-a-holic), park myself at the computer and pull up a blank document. I create a ‘very rough’ blurb for the book and two or three tweets pertaining to the WIP. I sometimes also surf the various stock photo sites for a picture of my hero or heroine. These exercises usually get my creative juices flowing again.
What was your biggest surprise in the editing process?
For my featured book, A Saved Woman, it was my editor’s insistence that I needed more conflict. Because I absolutely adore her, and respect her insight, I went back and fleshed out a couple of scenes. As always, I was happy for her suggestions. Most often, though, it’s those pesky passive phrases that trip me up. You work hard to avoid them and—somehow—they sneak in there anyway.
Describe a normal writing day (or period, if you have other employment obligations).
First of all, I don’t there’s anything ‘normal’ when you’re a writer. I just retired from outside employment this past December. In my cluttered brain and in a very neat spreadsheet, I had my writing plotted out for the following six months. However, s#!t happens. I lost a cousin (for whom I’m serving as executor) just a week after retirement, and my beloved writing partner in May of this year. Needless to say … my schedule quickly went the way of the green-specked deadline fairy,
When not under outside influences, my day begins early. I’m usually dressed and grasping that first cup of coffee by 8:00. I try to write at least 3-4 hours with occasional five minute breaks to stretch my legs (aka re-fill my coffee cup). After a break for lunch and social media, I get another three hours in before calling it quits for the day. I write five days a week, although not always M-F. I devote two full days to family. If my daily routine is interrupted, I try to make up the time in the evenings. Otherwise, at least one hour each evening is set aside for social media.
Do you write in a genre other than the one of this release?
Yes, I do, several in fact. I know the ‘experts’ (whoever they are) will tell you it’s easier to build an author platform if you stick to one genre. I wish my brain worked that way. It doesn’t. In addition to western historical, I also write contemporary, vintage historical (e.g., 1950s-1960s), and have dabbled in time travel (probably my favorite of all my books). Later this year, my first borderline erotica will be released from Decadent Publishing.
As a creative person, I can’t expect my imagination to tether itself to one point in time, especially when I can’t confine the reader in me to one genre.
Do you use visual aids (storyboards, Pintrest, collages) when plotting or writing?
If I didn’t, I’d be lost before the end of the first chapter. I use a spreadsheet of my own design for plotting out every book I write. I often will surf the stock photo sites for images that reflect my H/H or my setting and put them on my corkboard. One of the images I purchased from an online site became the award-winning cover of my release, The Lawman’s Agreement.
For my five-book series (The McCade Legacy) set in post-Civil War Mississippi, the characters move between three different towns along the Mississippi River. I have an extensive spreadsheet devoted to keeping everything straight. No matter which town they’re in at any point in time in the series, I know the banker’s name, the owner of the mercantile, the sheriff, and even the owner of the local saloon/whorehouse.
What resources do you use for picking character names?
If I’m working on a contemporary story, I usually draw from names of people around me, my family, their friends, my friends. If I’m working with a historical setting, I’ll Google the state census for 20 years prior to the book’s setting to get a feel for both the surname and given names popular at the time.
One of my best resources (and most loved), has been the contests I’ve run where the winner got to have their name used in the next series book, and also in a couple of cases got to name one of the businesses featured in the story.
Perhaps I should do that again…soon.
Katy Anderson has experienced more heartache than most know in a lifetime. Given to a man old enough to be her father, she has spent the past six years secluded from everyone except for her three young children. Her husband’s untimely death brings relief that … finally … she and her children are free.
When Sheriff Mitch Logan arrives at the Anderson homestead, he is moved by Katy’s sad circumstances and vows to right the wrongs done to her. Mitch has always shied away from marriage due to his dangerous profession, yet he quickly changes his mind when Katy comes into his life, and into his heart.
Katy set aside the storybook she’d been reading to the children and urged a sleepy Alice to unlatch from her breast. Happier than she could ever remember being, She laid the baby in her crib and drew the lightweight blanket up to her tiny heart-shaped chin.
A sigh of contentment flowed through Katy, the simple release calming her in a way she couldn’t describe. The past week had been like a rebirth, the start of a new life for herself and her children. She lifted two narrow logs from the basket beside the stove, her efforts halted by the sound of an approaching horse. She’d barely reached the door when Toby’s excitement rang out across the yard.
“Sheriff Mitch, Sheriff Mitch,” the boy called. “Come see the fort me and Susan built from the old rags.”
Mitchell Logan slid off his horse and started in their direction. She watched in wonder as the tall man hunkered down beside where they played. A lump formed in her throat when the usually shy Susan wrapped her arm around the sheriff’s neck and laid her head down on his shoulder.
Tobias had never shown his children such gentleness. Tobias had never beaten the children, likely because she’d always placed herself between them. However, he’d also never bothered to show interest in them or what they were doing. Her beautiful, precious children accepted their father but learned quickly to be wary of him, even at their young age.
Yet, in the span of a few short days, this total stranger had taught them trust, compassion.
Katy straightened her shoulders and silently strengthened her resolve. No man, no matter how gentle, how trustworthy, would ever come near her again. She’d allow his warmth toward her children, if only to teach them to return kindness. For herself, she wanted only his friendship, his understanding, and nothing more.
She stepped off the porch and crossed the distance between them, coming to a stop at his side. Mitch looked up at her and smiled, his dark brown eyes twinkling with humor. In no more than a heartbeat, her resolve weakened and she found herself wishing it was her head on the sheriff’s shoulder, and not Susan’s.
From a 5-star review:
Historical Romance Full of Passion
“A Saved Woman” opens with the Sheriff telling Katy her husband is dead. This story is set in 1865 and is wonderfully written. Nancy Fraser paints a neat picture of Cold Creek (a western town, and of the characters; Mitch Logan, the sheriff, and Katy Anderson, a poor mother of three). Mitch is a kind, passionate man who is great with children. Any woman would love to have him. Katy is a fragile and yet strong woman who would do anything for her kids, and swears to never let another man near her. Until Mitch. There’s a twist near the beginning I hadn’t expected. I love it when a writer adds something I don’t anticipate to their story. The romance will surely have your heart pounding, as it did mine. If you enjoy short romances with western themes, I encourage you to get to know Mitch and Katy.
Like most authors, Nancy Fraser began writing at an early age, usually on the walls and with crayons or, heaven forbid, permanent markers. Her love of writing often made her the English teacher’s pet, which, of course, resulted in a whole lot of teasing. Still, it was worth it.
When not writing (which is almost never), Nancy dotes on her five beautiful grandchildren and looks forward to traveling and reading when time permits. Nancy lives in Atlantic Canada where she enjoys the relaxed pace and colorful people.
Twitter: @nfraserauthor http://twitter.com/nfraserauthor
Since I mentioned it earlier, I decided to go ahead and offer a giveaway. Here is the Rafflecopter code: