frequently asked questions

what if i don’t know how to start writing my memoirs?

You’ve come to the right place. My beginning memoirs classes are specifically designed to help you gain confidence as you begin to write the stories of your life. The classes are interactive, so you benefit from the practical experience of trying out a number of different techniques. This way you can decide which is best for you.

would you be available to edit my memoirs once i have them written?

I appreciate your vote of confidence, but I’m no longer working as a freelance editor.

how do I sign up for your newsletter?

Thanks for asking. I have an easy sign-up process here on my website. Scroll to the bottom footer of my website and you will see a newsletter form. All you need to enter is your name and your email address. I promise not to bombard you with newsletters, by the way. Only the important info as it becomes available!

i’d love to be your friend on facebook, fran!

I appreciate that. I’m trying, however, to gradually change my personal page to a "family only" format. I know it will take me a while to get there, but I'm doing it one step at a time. So, would you be willing instead to go to my author page on Facebook and follow it? Thanks!

i read all three of your scotshop mysteries, and i love them. please tell me there will be more to come!

I’m so glad you love my books. I certainly enjoyed writing them. Since I live with the characters 24/7, I wanted to create people I’d enjoy being with (except, perhaps, for the murderers!)

There won’t be any more ScotShop books, though, since Penguin/Random House chose not to renew my contract. They cut out a lot of their cozy-mystery authors, so I’m not alone, but it still hurt a bit that they didn’t want me. Fortunately, I found out about the decision before I had to turn in the manuscript for the third book, so I was able to wrap up a lot of those loose ends. The third book, as you know, tells how Peggy is connected to Dirk, and I made it pretty plain that what will happen between Peggy and Harper. You’ll just have to imagine how wonderful their wedding is (!)

The good news is that there are 11 books in my Biscuit McKee mystery series with Biscuit the librarian and Marmalade the marvelous library cat. 

I’ve always loved the way reading a good book transports me to a world I might not otherwise know. When I started writing my first book (Orange as Marmalade), I decided to write the kind of book I would love to read. I’m inordinately proud of these mysteries of mine.

I have another series—not murder mysteries, but a six-volume group of my memoirs, centered around learning how to become a beekeeper. The first one is called BeesKnees #1: A Beekeeping Memoir. You can still enjoy these books even if you don’t want to keep hives.

i went looking for your books and i found some that say “revised edition” on the cover. why is that?

A while back I decided to re-read ORANGE AS MARMALADE, just to be sure I had the details right, since I was the guest author (via Zoom) of a book club in another state.

I started writing my Biscuit McKee Mysteries almost 20 years ago, and over the intervening years, minor (and some very major) discrepancies have crept into the series. 

The final four books of that series, for instance, are set in Biscuit and Bob’s house, where more than twenty people come to take shelter from an ice storm that knocked out power to the entire town. Biscuit and her husband have a wood-burning stove to heat the place and a generator to power the fridge and the water pump. They also have enough bedrooms to take care of that many people, since their house was originally built in the 1700s as an inn.

The only trouble was—in ORANGE, Biscuit didn’t have even one guest room. Somehow the house grew by the proverbial leaps and bounds over those two decades of writing.

So, I decided to go back through the entire series and clear up all those inconsistencies. If you have the original edition—hang onto it. Someday it’ll be a collector’s item, since all those first editions have now been taken out of print. You still can enjoy the stories. Just please understand that there are some typos and booboos here and there throughout them (for which I apologize profusely).

how much of you is there in your mysteries? i keep thinking as i read them that you’re just talking directly to me.

How lovely! That’s precisely the tone I wanted to achieve. There’s a great deal of me and my private life in these books, simply because like many authors I chose to write about things I was familiar with. In GREEN AS A GARDEN HOSE, Biscuit’s rock-climbing adventure is taken directly from what I experienced when I visited my son in Alaska years ago (except for the dead body hurtling over the edge of the cliff!)

Biscuit’s gardening knowledge and preference for botanical names is something I’ve accumulated over the years.

 

And in INDIGO AS AN IRIS, when you read the death scene of Wallace Masters, you will know precisely how my father died. It was such a deeply moving experience, I wanted to share it.

The funny thing is that one of the most negative online reviews I ever received from a reader said that the situation in GREEN (where there are three women in the town with the same first and middle names and the same last initial) was so farfetched as to be absolutely unbelievable. I doubt that reader finished reading the book—he probably threw it across the room in disgust. That “unbelievable situation,” though, was based on absolute fact, since I shared a grammar school classroom with three girls named Diane Marie – and their last names all started with H. I’m still laughing about that.

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