The Sizzlers’ Anniversary Celebration: Fran McNabb

     It is my pleasure to introduce Fran McNabb for the August 8th edition of the Sizzlers’ Anniversary Celebration. Fran was the first person I met when I joined the Gulf Coast Chapter of RWA. She is one of the most congenial, hard-working ladies ever. She served as GCCRWA President AND the Silken Sands Conference Chair for several years. When Katrina destroyed our homes and, almost, our chapter, Fran picked up the pieces and said we would survive. She led our recovery efforts while living first on a boat and then in a tiny trailer.
     Fran writes for Avalon Books, a subsidiary of Thomas Bouregy Co., Inc. Presently her publishing credits include two contemporary romances and one historical romance and numerous articles in magazines and newsletters. She received both her BS and her ME degrees from the University of Southern Mississippi, taught English and journalism until she took an early retirement, and now lives on a quiet bayou harbor on the Gulf Coast with her husband.

     First I’d like to thank the Southern Sizzlers for inviting me to join them for their anniversary blogging event. I’ve listened to these ladies at our GCC meetings and I know how dedicated they are to their writing venture.
      Fran, tell us about your path to publication.    I think my path to publication gives all prospective writers hope, no matter how long they’ve been writing or how old they are. Since English was my major in college, writing has always been part of who I am. I wrote my first manuscripts early in the 1980’s, received a few rejections, and quickly put them away. I knew nothing about publishing and had no idea that rejection was part of the writing process. I took the crudely copied standard forms personally.
     I quit sending out my work, but continued writing as I raised my two boys. When I took an early medical retirement, I had to find something to occupy my mind. I joined RWA and GCC, and another world opened up to me. I was like a sponge, soaking up every little tidbit of information that was so readily tossed around at the meetings. I started going to conferences and became an officer in my local chapter. Over the years I’ve served in most of the positions available, as well as the position of conference chair.
     What was your smartest career move?  Becoming involved with the chapter was my smartest career move. It was through RWA that I met editors, agents and other authors. My first book found its home through information gotten at a national conference where I learned Avalon was in need of a holiday themed tender romance. I pulled out a Christmas short story I had written years ago, developed it into a short novel, and it became my first published, hard-cover novel. It was the night before my 58th birthday that I received the call. I always tell writers that it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been writing or how old you are, if you finally get your manuscript to the right editor, your dream of publication can come true.
     What was your worst career move?  I have to say that my worst career move was not going after my dream earlier in life. I admire the younger members of GCC who know what they want and work toward obtaining that goal.

     What advice would you give to a writer pursuing publication?  My advice to them and to the older members who are still hoping for publication is never to give up. Just because you’ve been rejected doesn’t mean you don’t have talent. It simply means you haven’t connected with the right publishing house or the right editor who needs your work at that particular moment. Talent is a necessity to get your manuscript published, but there’s an abundance of writing talent and creativity in the international organization of RWA. Along with talent you must be dedicated to your goal and willing to work within the rules of the publishing world, and even though it might not sound professional, you also need a little luck to connect with the right editor or agent who needs what you’re offering at that particular moment.
      Your goal of publication will be fulfilled if you never give up.
     Thank you so much, Fran, for your inspiring blog. Tomorrow, join us when Golden Heart finalist Cara Lynn James blogs for the Sizzlers’ Anniversary Celebration.

8 Responses

  1. Wonderful interview, Fran. It inspires me to keep on going with my work. My rejections are becoming more “personal” if you will and that helps keep me encouraged, too. You’re an inspiration to the chapter members and we appreciate your guidance and wisdom.

  2. Good morning, Fran and Southern Sizzlers! I agree that perseverance and a tough hide are really important. And it doesn’t end after you’re published.

  3. Thank you, Fran! Glad there’s a hope for ‘older’ writers since I resemble that remark! Seriously though, your writing is wonderful and I can see you releasing more titles! Glad you found your right match in editor and publisher.

    You and Martha impressed me from my first visit with Chapter #125. Always working so hard yet quietly behind the scenes, and with such grace and tact. Thanks for being there, and thanks for blogging today to share information with us.

  4. Thanks for the kind words in the comments and the sweet intro by Rita. Our GCC chapter members are the best!
    I’m off boating today, but will check in later this afternoon. Have a great Sunday.

  5. Thanks for sharing your story Fran. It’s been great reading the road to publication stories here on Southern Sizzle. When all of these Sizzling Ladies hit it big, I’m going to be proud to say I was watching them from the beginning. Great post.

  6. Fran,

    Wonderful interview. You have given so much to GCC and you’ll never know how much you have contributed to the chapter success and the success of it’s members. Well done, girl, and thank you from me.

    • Darlene and Martha, thanks so much for taking the time to drop by and comment. Martha, I miss seeing you. Will have to get together one day!
      Thanks for the Southern Sizzlers for inviting me to join in their anniversary. Good luck to all of you.

  7. Thank you Fran for coming and visiting with us at the Sizzler”s. You are an inspiration. You are an amazing woman, an I look up too and admire.

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