Saturday, April 20, 2013

Fran shares her passion for coastal waters

Welcome to Fran McNabb. Please get comfortable, Fran, and tell us a little about your adventure.

What inspired you to write your first book?

            My first published book, A LIGHT IN THE DARK by Fran McNabb, is a Christmas themed story set in the mountains of West Virginia. It was inspired by a visit to a park when we visited my brother-in-law and his family.  During our trek through the park, we found a beautiful waterfall. Being from the flat Gulf Coast, I had never seen a waterfall and fell in love with its sound and its beauty. When I left the park that day, I couldn’t get its beauty out of my mind, and I knew I would include a waterfall in something that I wrote. 

How many books have you written? Which is your favourite?

            At present, I have nine books published, four sweet romances under my name, Fran McNabb, and five contemporary romances under my Fran Fisher penname. I love all my books. I realize that statement might sound like I’m bragging, but I really do love my books. I have some writer friends who tell me they end up hating their books when they have to read their books over and over again as they edit or proof. I don’t really like reading the same story many times, but I usually end up saying to myself, “Hey, that was good.”  I find I usually fall in love with my heroes.  If I don’t love with my male character then I assume my readers won’t either.

            Having said that, I guess my favourite book is HARBOR BREEZE by Fran Fisher. It’s one of the three books in the Bayou Cove series, set in a fictitious small town along the coast where I live, and, yes, I love all three of those books.

 In which genre do you prefer to write and why?
            Out of the nine books I’ve published, only two are historical romances, and both are Fran McNabb books, ON THE CREST OF A WAVE,, set during the  Civil War on the Gulf Coast, and WINDSWEPT, set in the early 1800’s during the height of the wrecker industry in Key West.

            I love doing research and delving into the lives and customs of long ago. For years I kept folders of information about the role of Ship Island during the Civil War and that information later went into forming the story of Major Jake Warren and Camille in On the Crest of a Wave. When I lost my file cabinets during Hurricane Katrina, I was devastated. One of the first things I did after I set up my office in my new house was to start another set of files containing newspaper and magazine articles about historic places. One day I’d love to write another historical romance.

When you are not writing, what are your hobbies, passions, etc?

            I have lived near the water of the Gulf of Mexico for most of my life. My father was a commercial fisherman and my mother’s family owned and operated the ferry boats to one of the barrier islands where they had concession stands. After being around boats all my life and actually living on the island for one summer (where I actually had to sleep in the Civil War fort because of a storm), my passion for the water is evident.

            My husband and I live on a quiet bayou harbor and spend a great deal of time boating, fishing and enjoying the islands. I can’t think of a better day than one spent on one of the barrier islands wade fishing! 

 Have you ever travelled to a place and come away with a story unexpectedly?

            Yes, besides the trip in West Virginia that inspired my first book, my first visit to Key West led to another book. There I visited a museum about the wrecking industry. I could have stayed in that museum the entire day. I was mesmerized with the history of the people who helped form the early years of the island. When I left the museum, I knew I would write the book, Windswept, which became a Dec 2012 Montlake release .

Do you have any advice for new writers beginning their adventure?

Join a good writing organization, one whose members are willing to share information with you. I credit RWA with giving me the knowledge to write the kind of book that a publisher wanted. I knew nothing about the publishing industry, and even though I have a master’s degree in English, I was a novice when it came to knowing how to write the kind of book that would work for both publishers and readers.

BLURB for COOLING WATERS, Vol III in the Bayou Cove Series, by Fran Fisher

Despite the idyllic setting of Bayou Cove and the slow pace of coastal living, Susan Smith faces the turmoil of falling in love with a man in the wrong profession. After losing her police husband in the line of duty, she refuses to get involved with another law enforcement officer, especially one like J.D. Clark.

J.D. has handled everything he’s ever faced in his law enforcement career, but nothing compares to having to deal with a teenage daughter who has come into his life unexpectedly. He needs all the help he can get, but how can he convince Susan Clark that he’s not the reckless boy she knew from their high school days?


EXCERPT of  Cooling Waters by Fran Fisher

Captain J. D. Clark kicked his heavy flippers and shot through the black waters of Mossy Bayou. His recovery dive with the Bayou Cove Marine Patrol Unit would be recorded as another success for his group, but he never looked at a mission like this as ever being a success. No amount of murky water could wash away the weight in the pit of his stomach.
As he neared the surface, ribbons of morning sunlight streaked through the thinning murkiness and disappeared into the deep water below him. He kicked one final time. A cascade of water showered around him. Immediately he yanked off his mask and breathed the warm air of the south Mississippi coastline.
“Over here, Captain.”
J.D. zeroed in on the voice coming from one of the two rescue boats anchored a short distance away. With raised fingers, he signalled an okay, then swam toward the boats.  In a scurry of activity, one officer took the tether from his hand. Another helped him climb into the boat, then slid the heavy tanks from his back.
             Randall Pruitt, Bayou Cove’s Chief of Police, sat in the rear of the boat, his cap pulled low to keep the sun off his pale face. “Fast job, Captain. I take it you found the car.”
J.D. eased himself onto one of the benches to pull off the cumbersome flippers. “Glad that’s over. The vehicle’s exactly where we thought it was.”
“Was the body in it?”
 J.D. looked up at the man who had just recently taken on the job in Bayou Cove. Pruitt didn’t have a lot of experience under his belt, but already J.D.’s respect for the guy was growing. He wasn’t sure why, but he liked him. He nodded.
            Pruitt shook his head. “Glad it wasn’t a long, drawn out affair. Those parents are devastated. They need this over with.”
J.D. and Pruitt both looked at the shoreline. A nicely dressed couple, surrounded by several other adults, stood under a huge oak tree. The father had a younger boy, maybe eleven or twelve years old, pulled up close to one side his body. He held his wife with the other arm.
“I agree,” J.D. said, “but this could’ve been prevented. These kids need supervision, not new toys like these expensive cars. I don’t want to look for this boy’s kid brother in a watery grave a few years from now.”
That thought tightened the string around J.D.’s heart.
“You won’t get any flack from me,” Pruitt said as he looked back at J.D. “My end of the department feels the same way, but there’s only so much we can do. Parents have to take some of this responsibility.”  He swiped a hand through the air in front of his face. “These blasted mosquitoes are driving us crazy.”
J.D. emptied the water out of one flipper, then the other and ignored the buzzing around his head. Mosquitoes were a nuisance around the marsh, but they were a nice reminder that he was back home.
One of the deputies started the outboard motor, but waited for J.D. to give him the okay to head to the bank. J.D. pulled the zipper down on his dry suit and looked back at the shoreline. There should’ve been a group of the boy’s classmates standing with the couple, but he had a feeling those so-called friends weren’t showing their faces here because they didn’t want to be connected to whatever had caused this horrible accident. J.D. swore to himself he’d get to the bottom of this.


  1. Enjoyed the interview, Fran. The book sounds exciting.

    1. Thanks, Loretta. I love my Bayou Cove Series, I guess because it's so connected to my coast. Thanks for dropping in.

  2. I look forward to reading your Bayou Cove Series books! So enjoyed this article ~ Best wishes!

  3. Thanks, Nanny. Let me know how you like the series.

  4. Fran, your passion for the places you write about and for writing in general shine through in this. Thanks for sharing them. You're obviously doing what you were meant to do.