Thursday, March 4, 2010
Welcome Fran Shaff
Today's guest is award winning author Fran Shaff. Fran has a new book coming out in March from Wings ePress, and she's here today to talk about it and her writing career. Welcome, Fran. Thanks for coming. I do have a couple of questions to ask you.
1.Tell us how you got involved in writing. Did you always dream of being an author?
While I have always had an interest in writing, I more or less dabbled in it without a clear focus for years. I looked upon it as more hobby than anything else. It's importance was way down on my list behind all responsibilities.
Then my cousin, a clergyman, told me if God gives us a talent, we should use it. Those words changed my entire outlook. I began to make writing my focus. I studied, wrote and researched constantly. Within a couple of years of that change of attitude, I had my first book contract from Avalon Books of New York. I dedicated that book to my inspiring cousin.
2.How do you think being a published author has changed you?
While being a published author hasn't changed me as a person, I do get a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment every time I hear from readers who have enjoyed my books. Thank you, Readers!
3.What do you think makes a book a page turner?
Great characters make or break a book. If a reader REALLY cares about the characters, she won't be able to put the book down. How many readers would have plugged along through books as long as Gone With the Wind if they didn't just have to know what would happen next with Scarlet O'Hara?
4.To date, which one of your books was hardest to write? Why?
"A Partner's Promise" was the book that gave me the most difficulty. It went through many transformations before I finally finished. "A Partner's Promise" is a young peoples' novel about an eleven-year-old homeless boy who is forced to take the orphan train from New York to Iowa in order to avoid going to jail for stealing a loaf of bread.
"A Partner's Promise" received an EPPIE nomination for young peoples' literature which I really appreciate. Even more rewarding have been the wonderful comments I've received from young people, teachers and parents. "A Partner's Promise" was definitely worth the years of work it took me to write it.
5.To date, which is your favorite book? That you've written, I mean.
When it comes to favorites, I am torn between "For Love of Maggie" and "The Trading Game."
"For Love of Maggie," which won the Write Touch Readers Award, More than Magic Award and a CataRomance Reviewers' Choice Award is the book closest to my heart. "Maggie" is a little girl with Down Syndrome who reminds me very much of my sister who also has Down Syndrome. The heroine, who is her mother, and the hero present different societal attitudes of children with handicaps. These attitudes are reconciled in heart-felt ways during the story. "For Love of Maggie," a contemporary sweet romance, will be in reprint beginning in July, 2010.
"The Trading Game" is another young peoples' novels. The characters in this story make it a favorite of mine. Set in the late 1890s it's a story about two eleven-year-old girls from opposite ends of the economic spectrum discovering the importance of love and family. I am in awe of the courage the poverty-stricken Lacey has in facing the horrible things life has given her. And I can't help but want to throttle spoiled, rich Salina, her polar opposite. Any story which evokes strong emotions like this one does, is going to be a favorite to me.
6.What future goals have you set for yourself?
I hope to keep on writing, and I hope readers who continue to enjoy my work.
7.Where can we find you on the web?
My main website is located at: http://sites.google.com/site/fshaff
I hope your readers will join me at Twitter where, beginning in March, I will be having "Tidbit Tuesdays" and "Website Wednesdays" on a weekly basis. Fellow writers will be interested in a big event I'll be having on Twitter on April 10 at 10 a.m. Central time---100 Writer Tip Tweets in 100 minutes on the 100th day of the year. www.twitter.com/franshaff
I'm also on MySpace, Facebook, JacketFlap and LinkedIn.
Readers can reach me by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
My books are in libraries and at Amazon.com, Smashwords.com, Fictionwise.com, BarnesandNoble.com and other places on the Internet.
8.Would you share an excerpt from one of your books with us? Don't forget to tell us where we can buy it.
MONTANA MAGIC is a March, 2010 contemporary sweet romance e-book from Wings ePress. It is a fun read with the sweetest happy ending... I don't have a link to Fictionwise or other Internet sites yet so I'll just give the publishers link for purchase information.
Buy link: www.wingsepress.com
Deanna Worthington spends her respite in Montana working on her Master’s thesis until C.R. Whitmore convinces her that all work and no play makes her life a bit too dull.
Below is an excerpt. To find more excerpts, go to:
CR shows Deanna around the ranch....
A few miles from the ranch yard stood a cliff among the rocky ground. When they reached it, C.R. suggested they dismount and look at the view.
Deanna was pleased to be getting off the horse. They’d ridden for miles, and she wasn’t used to it. She was beginning to hurt all over.
“Are you okay?” he asked. “You’re walking like you’re a little stiff.”
“Don’t be silly,” she said, keeping her gaze on the view before her, “I’m perfectly fine.”
He walked with her to the edge of a cliff. “What do you think?”
Her breath caught in her throat as she beheld the scenic rolling hills before her. “I think you should have brought me here first. I’ve never seen anything so truly beautiful in my life. Have you?” she said enthusiastically as she turned to look up at him.
His Adam’s apple quivered, and he cupped her cheek with his hand. “I think the view from this part of the ranch is absolutely breath taking, but it’s like a trash heap compared to your beauty, Deanna.”
His unexpected touch and the tone of his words nearly stopped her heart. It took her a long moment to regain her ability to speak.
“Cade, don’t,” she said, pushing his hand away from her cheek.
“You are beautiful. I don’t see a thing wrong with telling you so.”
She turned away from him. “It’s not what you say; it’s how you say it. And it’s the look in your eyes when you say such things.” She looked up at him. “Just don’t, okay?”
He stared down at her intently. “The look in my eyes? The tone in my voice? I don’t know what you think you see in my eyes or what you think you hear in my voice, Deanna, but I don’t mean anything more than what I say.” He touched her chin with his finger. “You are beautiful.”
She batted his hand away. “You said it again with that same intonation and that same look in your eyes.”
“What tone? What look?”
“That look you give me when you say I am beautiful. It makes me think you might be falling in love or into infatuation or something like that.” She shook her head vigorously. “I don’t want a relationship with you.”
He lifted his shoulders and his hands at the same time. “Who said anything about a relationship?” He put his hands by his sides. “I thought we were friends. I hoped we could have some fun together.”
“We haven’t been acting like we are merely friends, C.R. If we were only friends we wouldn’t have been kissing like we were at Catherine’s the last time we were alone together, and you wouldn’t have taken me into your arms the way you did back at Becky’s today. Friends don’t indulge in the passion we were a part of in both of those instances.”
The look of confusion he’d shown her a moment before was quickly replaced by a rakish smile. “Sometimes they do,” he said casually.
“You’re a frustrating man.”
“Come on, Deanna,” he said, putting his hand on her forearm. “You don’t hate me. And I don’t think you want to spend all of your time cooped up at Catherine’s ranch taking care of children and working on your thesis anymore than I want to spend all of my time working on the ranch. We’re both young. Let’s have some fun. There isn’t a whole lot to do here socially, but Carington does have dances, movies and a restaurant or two. They’ve even got a golf course and a brand new bowling alley. Wouldn’t you like to go out and kick up your heels once in a while?”
She gave him a perplexed look. “Is that really what you want, C.R., just a little fun?”
“Yes,” he said.
She bit her lip and thought a moment before she responded. “After you kissed me back at Catherine’s you told me you hoped we would grow to care more and more for each other. That didn’t sound to me like you were looking only for a casual relationship. It sounded rather serious.”
“So that’s why you’ve been putting me off every time I’ve called you since then?” The look that flooded his eyes seemed a reflection of guilt. “If that’s what I said, then I was wrong to make such a statement. I know you’re here for only a few weeks or months at the most, Deanna. I don’t expect anything from you outside of friendship and fun.”
He gazed at her intently. “Deanna, I understand you’ve been hurt in the past.” He cupped her cheek. “I’m not Greg. I won’t make you fall in love with me and hurt you the way he did. I’d die before I’d ever hurt you.”
As his words sank into her heart she decided, perhaps, she could trust him. Maybe the two of them could have a casual relationship of dating and fun.
And if they indulged in kisses and caresses from time to time, what was the harm in that? After all, they were normal, healthy, young adults, weren’t they? It was their right to enjoy each other in every way they wanted.
“I believe you, C.R.,” Deanna said.
In the next moment she surprised him as much as she surprised herself.
She rose on tiptoes, put her hands around his neck and drew him close so she could kiss him.
She loved kissing him, so why shouldn’t she kiss him?
He took her into his arms, and she knew at once she was right where she wanted to be.
Read more excerpts at: http://sites.google.com/site/franshaffsmontanamagic
Fran, thanks for coming. Your book sounds wonderful. In fact, all of them do. Come back any time.