Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Wednesday Wonder Writer - Fran Lee

Today, I'm privileged to have the super cool Fran Lee visiting my blog. Since I met Fran last year, I've been astounded by her boundless energy and productivity as well as her outlook on life. I'm thrilled to have her here today. So without further ado, the questions:

Fran, author’s lives intrigue readers and other writers. Tell me about your typical daily schedule.

Um…schedule? Could you spell that, please? I don’t think I have one. LOL. I wake up. I wander around like a lost soul until I decide whether I need a drink of ice water or a bowl of cereal. Once I sort that out, I turn on my computer. I read the hundred or so e-mails that came in overnight. I get sidetracked by the puppy needing to go out…NOW! I sit back down at the computer and stare at the screen blankly until I figure out what I was doing. Oh, yeah…e-mail.

Once I get my mind working, I look at my little reminder list…Oh, yeah. Work on wip. As you can see, my “schedule” is erratic at best. I figure if I get up and my name isn’t in the obits for the day, I’m good to go.

Do you have a pre-writing routine to prepare yourself to get down to business?

Nope. I just sit down and open up a word.doc file and type in “Novel” for the title, then I start typing. Whatever comes to mind. Whatever sexual fantasy happens to be running through my head at the moment. Um…I think I’ll write about a Chihuahua shifter today. Nope. Too many women have fantasies about Chihuahuas. Better make that a leopard shifter.

You write whatever comes to mind. Does that mean you don’t plot?

I never plot. I sit down and start to write. After the first couple of paragraphs, my muse slaps me upside the head and I’m off. However, I often end up going back and revising some of the first couple of paragraphs, because I thought of something better to start off with. LOL!

What’s your writing style? Slow and steady? Quick and prolific? All over the place?

Wow…that sounds like my sex style. All of the above. Actually, I have no style. I get an inspiration, and I write until I fall asleep at the keyboard. It simply flows. Since I have utterly no recollection of the process once it’s finished, it’s impossible to answer that question. I do know one thing…the title comes to me as I write. A few words. A disjointed thought. A sentence catches my eye. Bingo! Title!

How many hours a day would you “guesstimate” you write?

On the days that I actually write? Not the days I sit down and piddle around with my computer and play games and do e-mail? Hmmm…let’s just say that when I started Hallie’s Cats, I sat down and didn’t move until I was finished. I worked up Double Your Pleasure (upcoming from EC) in roughly 32 hours over a three day period, so I think it would be about 10-12 hours a day. I actually act out the book in my head and see if it works. If it leaves me hot and breathless, I write it down. When I put my mind to it, I can write up to 30 pages a day with self-edits.

What are you working on now?

Three things. I am working on a series with other writers that is called the Cougar Challenge. I am working on a sequel to my shifter novella, Hallie’s Cats. After getting multiple requests to give the beta leopard shifter brother in Cats his own story and mate, I decided it might be fun. I just subbed a novella to my editor and am waiting for acceptance or total…sob…rejection. Actually, she wants it, but I had to figure out what I wanted to do with it. I decided to lengthen it a bit and add some additional meat. It’s a hot m/f/m ménage.

What’s your favorite genre to write?

Hot. Oh, you mean shifter, paranormal, etc? Well, I’ve enjoyed writing every single book and novella, no matter what the genre. Sometimes I incorporate several genres into one book. In Out of Her Dreams, it was supposedly a straight erotic m/f romance, but there was a dab of paranormal tossed in there that drove one reviewer to say “this situation with David being exactly like the hero of her books smacks of paranormal, but it wasn’t totally explained”. Oh, yeah…it was explained. Earlier in the book, and later in the book. LOL!

Do you have a particular place or way you get inspiration?

I float around in limbo for an hour playing games on my computer. I get a nudge to see what I could do with this situation or that situation, and if the idea makes me grin and get tingly, off we go!

I find a lot of authors like to read outside their chosen genre. What do you like to read?

Over my long and venerable lifetime I have read every author from Leo Tolstoy to Barbara Cartland. I also do book reviews for St. Martin’s Press and have read some wonderful non-ero romances, as well as suspense/thrillers. I love reading Sherrilyn Kenyon and Kresley Cole, and I adore paranormal and shifters. Oh, and I love Stephenie Meyer!

When you mention Stephanie Meyer do you mean her Twilight series? What’s your take on Edward and Bella’s relationship?

A whole lot of sexual build up and a whole lot of intense emotion. Steph is a master at getting the tension up and keeping you anticipating the next surprise. If I hadn’t read the books, I would have loved the movies…unfortunately, no one can possibly put a twenty hour read into a two hour movie and have it survive the process.

Do you have a favorite author or someone you look up to in the industry?

How many can I list without being too wordy? I have a favored core of writers who are on my auto buy list. Like I mentioned above, I have several NY authors I love and buy everything they write, but I also do the same with these:
Regina Carlysle
Anny Cook
Bronwyn Green
Tessie Bradford
Brynn Paulin [Brynn says thank you :-)]
Julia Barrett
Desiree Holt
Cindy Spencer Pape
Mia Watts
Ciana Stone
Paris Brandon
Katalina Leon
April Ash
Amber Skyze
Betty Hanawa
Natalie Gray
And…Oh! Too many already? Um…sorry! I got carried away.

As far as looking up to people in the industry, I have the greatest admiration for my editors and publishers, who have made me what I am today…a crazy, wild, romance-writing fool!

Tell me your writing story…when did you decide this was what you want to do? How long did it take you to get “the call”? When were you first published? Etc.

Wow. Hard one! I actually started writing romance at fourteen, and later, in the mid to late 80’s, I pulled out a few of the teen books and rewrote them. Of course, even though my agent and I loved my hot romances, publishers just were not ready for my “style” of writing. Too hot. Too erotic. Etc. I sighed, packed them back up, and figured that maybe…someday…

Then, last year, I found Kresley Cole’s books, and thought, “Heck. Now seems to be the time!”

I subbed a novel to Ellora’s Cave. Out of Her Dreams. The editor sent it back, saying that it didn’t fit EC guidelines. Of course, not being the shrinking violet type, I instantly shot back an e-mail asking what would MAKE it the kind of book EC publishes. I listened. I laughed. “Not hot enough!” “Too long!” So it got hotter, and shorter, and I subbed it again. It got contracted. That was this time last year.

Of course, the book went through considerable edits (I cut half of the book out) and it was released June 12, 2009. I subbed another long romance, and it was rejected. Same reasons. I heated it up, but I didn’t want to cut the book in half, so I subbed to Resplendence. They took it and ran with it, and I was suddenly a multi-published author! WOW! (And I only had to cut 20k words out instead of half the book!)

The next book EC rejected for the same reasons went to Resplendence, and will be released in February 2010. After that, I wrote a number of short hot novellas, and all of them have been contracted by EC. I did write an anthology series novella for Resplendence as a group effort with several of my author pals, titled First and Ten. The anthology is titled “Carnal Reunions”. Seven books came out the same day. That was exciting!

Each e-publisher has its own guidelines and ideals, and no matter what I write, I can find it a home.

How many books have you had published and for whom?

Six so far, (with one ready to go in February, another under contract and three wips shifting in my brain.)
Four with Ellora’s Cave:
Out of Her Dreams
Hallie’s Cats
Her Own Set of Rules
Jillian’s Job

Two with Resplendence Publishing:
Dictated by Fate
First and Ten

What’s your latest release? Can you tell us about the book and how you got the idea?

Jillian’s Job was released November 25, 2009 from Ellora’s Cave. I was day dreaming about this hot rock star from the 80’s. I began wondering what life would be like for him once his music career ended, and how he would survive. Most rock stars just keep on rockin’ until they drop dead. My guy was smart and used his knowledge and talent to go places. Helping other wannabes get to be stars. And he had this proficient personal assistant who was crazy about him but didn’t dare show it because he had hired her to replace some poor girl who drooled all over him and made him feel uncomfortable. I decided that sounded like it would fly. Of course, I wrote the premise back in 1987, so I had to update it a bit. LOL!

What’s your writing space like?

Messy and comfy. My computer is in my bedroom. I have a bathroom three steps away. Nothing to interfere or interrupt. Unless my stomach starts growling in protest. Then I head for the kitchen. I drag my food back to my computer, and once a day, need it or not, I clean away the used cups and bowls. *sigh*

What do you do when you’re not writing?

Read. Play video games on my computer. Think up new ideas. Talk with my pals online. I am a couch potato again!

Is there anything else you’d like to share with readers?

Yes…I run contests on my website at and I normally alert folks to my contests with a Newsletter. You can sign up for my Newsletter on my website.

I can be found on the web in a dozen places, but these are the main sites:

Last questions…

Coke or Pepsi? Coke

Bronte or Austen? Both

Star Trek or Star Wars? Both

Team Edward or Team Jacob? Both

McDonalds or Burger King? Both

Thanks for having me, Brynn. It’s been loads of fun! Great questions, BTW!

Thank YOU Fran for being here with us today!


Molly Daniels said...

Wow Fran...Jillian's Job sounds fantastic! Your books are rising on my TBB list, and of course I loved First and Ten:) Wonderful interview, and I hope to see my alter ego on that fav author list of yours (grin!)

Julia Rachel Barrett said...

Thanks for sharing, Fran - and mentioning my name! Your books are great and I agree....coke!

Fran Lee said...

Thanks for coming over and leaving a comment, Molly. I am sure your name will be right up there soon! Julia, thanks for dropping by. Yep! I adore your books!

Katalina Leon said...

Fran is one of the most generous and encouraging writers in the business. She was born a star and she's on the rise! I love her-and her books can double as hand warmers! lol My 2010 wish for Fran is a big fat print contract. She deserves it.

Cindy Spencer Pape said...

Great interview, ladies. Fran, I'm honored to have been included on your list!

Bronwyn Green said...

Bron says THANK YOU, too!!! {{HUGS}}

Okay, I gotta, gotta know - who was the rockstar that inspired Jillian's Job???

Fantastic interview ladies!!! :D

Genella deGrey said...

Hi girls!

Let me take a stab at guessing the answer to Bronwyn's question . . .

Rick Springfield or Jon Bon Jovi?


Tessie Bradford said...

Great interview!! Fran, I anxiously await all of your new releases and am particularly excited to read Cal's story.
I'm overwhelmed that my name appears on your list - you are such a dear!

Kris Norris said...

Hey Fran,

Great interview. But really, was it Rick Springfield? OMG. I remember drawing a picture of him as a teen (apparently back then I could draw more than stick people), but yeah, he was quite the hottie then. He was in a movie, wasn't he?

But I digress. Keep on tapping those keys girl. Great job.