Name Fran Thomas
Where are you from
I’m originally from Pittsburgh, PA, but now live in SW Florida
A little about yourself `ie your education Family life etc
I have been married for, as I often put it, 23 blissful years. After all, my anniversary is Valentine’s Day. I have a master’s in educational psychology with a counselling emphasis from the University of Pittsburgh.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I recently published my first work of fiction, a novella titled The Lady Is a Mayor.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I co-authored a play when I was in fourth grade, so that I could give myself a leading part.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I had my first article published in 1995. That gave me validation. I’ve since written several short non-fiction books and approximately a million press releases. I also blog on three different sites.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Actually, it was when I read that Pittsburgh had elected its youngest mayor. That was the germ of the idea, but while theirs was male, my mayor is female. I started writing the book years ago but got stuck with plotting. I finally pushed myself to finish.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
My style is comedic. At least I hope it is.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I called it Madame Mayor for the longest time, but I was afraid readers might think it was erotica. It is most assuredly G-rated.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
This book is the first in what I plan to be a series, all set in a fictional Florida town not unlike my own. I’m trying to convey the warmth and authenticity of small town America.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Many of the experiences are based on my tenure as the editor of my local newspaper with some exaggeration just for fun.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
When I was a child, my favorite books were those of Louisa May Alcott. I hope my characters have the same innate character and dignity that hers do.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest and who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
My favorite authors are Eloisa James and Julia Quinn, mainly because of their witty dialogue. I love to read Regency romances but can’t see myself writing one.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
A close friend whom I have known since grade school was always sure I would finish a book. Turns out she was right.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
No, I would need much more discipline than I have to honestly call it a career.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I would have buckled down and learned more about plotting. I’m still working on that aspect.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
We lived within walking distance of a Carnegie Library to which my mother took me frequently as soon as I could walk, I think. I have always been a voracious reader.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
The mayor of my little town has run off, cleaning out its bank account. My heroine becomes acting mayor and has to keep the town afloat. A handsome hotel developer might solve her problem, but first my Lady Mayor has to find a balance between economy and ecology and keep the townspeople from revolt. As I said, it’s a comedy.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
With my journalism background, I tend to be concise in my writing. I need to learn to expand and expound a bit more.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
No, not at all. Maybe that will come as I proceed with the series.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I did using Canva.com.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Getting it done at all.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
That I really, really need to put a lot of thought into the plot before I begin to write.
Fiona: If any of your books was made into a film who would you like to play the lead
I’m not much of a movie buff. I could see my Mayor Geneva played by a young Jennifer Garner-type.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
What I’m trying to do now is get some writing done in the morning before I open up my email.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I hope they will enter my laid back world and find some joy in what I write.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Just finished If I Only Had a Duke by Lenora Bell.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Probably Little Women.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
My emotions are close to the surface, and I laugh and cry easily.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
I have a fierce crush on Stephen Sondheim. His lyrics are the most brilliant I have ever heard.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
“Her motive was always to offer help to others” sums me up pretty well.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
I sing with a symphonic chorale.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I’m a devotee of HGTV’s Fixer Upper, Food Channel’s Pioneer Woman, and Project Runway because I adore Tim Gunn. Oh, and Dancing With the Stars.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Pizza/ turquoise/ Broadway musicals
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Been in a Broadway musical or sung backup for Michael Bolton. Still would like to do either of those. Michael, are you listening?
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
I have three, do you believe it?
https://rusticatinginthetropics.com/ where I mainly review romance books; https://francesothomas.com/ where I focus more on psychology and empowerment for women; and https://southwestfloridajournal.com/ where I review live local music and theater performances.