Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to shine our Friday Spotlight on author K. Francoeur, who writes sweet romances with strong heroines under the pen name Anna Belle Rose. We’re also excited to host her at our 65 James Street store on Saturday, May 5, from 1:00-3:00 PM to talk about her books, give us a reading or two, and sign copies of her books—including her latest title, More than I Can Say.
Thank you so much for joining us on our blog, Kris! Can you please tell us briefly a little about yourself and your writing? How would you like us to introduce you?
My name is Kris Francoeur, and I use the pen name Anna Belle Rose. A Vermonter now, I lived in Massachusetts for quite a bit of my young life, as my grandparents all are from the West Brookfield/Ware area – the “real” Annabelle Rose lived in West Brookfield for most of her life. While I always wrote, it wasn’t until my middle son was born that I actively started writing contemporary romance novels. Squeezing writing and editing in around work, my family, alpacas, chickens, bees, a spinning wheel and fiber business and two masters’ degrees was difficult, but my family kept encouraging me to keep at the writing and submitting of my works, and in June 2017, I was offered my first publishing contract by Solstice Publishing. Two more contracts followed soon after. To date, two of my novels have been published, and one is in pre-publishing editing right now, with an anticipated release date late spring 2018. Beyond writing contemporary romances, I also am in the process of writing a memoir on grief and gratitude.
For readers unfamiliar with your work, how would you describe what you write? What can readers expect from your work?
Each of my romances has a very strong, perhaps too strong heroine – a woman who is perfectly capable of running her own life in every way possible. But each of them has a past that haunts them, or a current reality which makes them feel they are less than desirable to the men they love. All of them want to “have it all,” and don’t know how to get there.
That One Small Omission features Maggie, an educational psychologist who absolutely adores her two small sons, but struggles with the loneliness of being a single parent in Vermont. When she meets Andre on a work trip, she knows that he is the man of her dreams, but doesn’t tell him the whole truth about her life. When he finds out about what she had omitted, it seems like there is no hope for them to have a future together.
The Phone Call features Kat, a writer who met Alex during her last year of college. She knew that she was already head over heels for him, and when he told her to call him, she really thought he’d answer the phone. She made the call, but never connected with him, and that night her life spiraled out of control for a long time. Now that they have met again, can she trust him enough to tell him about everything that happened? Can they figure out how to make their love work now they have a second chance?
More than I can Say (spring 2018) features Georgiana, a school principal in northern Vermont. Wicked smart, stubborn and independent, she’d given up the idea of finding true love after her divorce. When her new boss moves to town and accompanies her on a work trip, she tries to fight the mutual attraction, finally giving in to have a fling with him. After they return home, she tries everything she can to keep her distance, deep down afraid of the power of their love.
What was the inspiration for your latest release? What were the steps you took to bring it from initial inspiration to the finished book?
My upcoming release came from several sources of inspiration. We had traveled to Seattle, and I always knew I wanted to incorporate Seattle into a novel. Then last year, we spent quite a bit of time in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, and I knew that the setting had to be changed to be more specific. Then, the character of Georgiana and her twin brother and his best friend just kept popping up in my brain until I finally gave them the time and attention they so deserved.
What character did you love or hate the most while writing? And why?
Georgiana is my favorite of my heroines so far, maybe because she’s the one I’ve been working with most of the time lately. The funny thing is that when my “final” draft went to my editor (Sutton Mason – fabulous editor), I was so excited because I LOVED this character. About a week later, she sent back a note with her first round of edits, and she said that she had started out really liking Georgiana, but by mid-book, she hated her. I took that comment really hard, had a day of being really mad and sulking, then re-read Sutton’s suggestions, and realized that I was reading my work seeing how Georgiana was in my head, but I wasn’t presenting it as well as I could on the paper. I spent a long weekend in the Northeast Kingdom re-working the novel, and came away even more in love with her has a character.
What draws you to the particular genre or style that you write? What do you think draws readers to these kinds of books?
I started writing romances because the characters of Kat and Alex kept running around in my brain – and I just plain love happily-ever-afters. I think so many people want to read something that makes them smile in the end.
I also am in the process of writing a memoir, which is a new experience for me, and that book I hope will help others through the grief process of losing a child.
What piece of advice would you want to share with other writers?
Keep writing! Don’t give up!
How important has the New England setting been to your writing?
Two of my three novels take place almost exclusively in New England, and the third keeps visiting there (actually visiting West Brookfield!). It has been so important to me because the sights, smells, sounds and rituals of New England are part of my blood, and I want to share them with others. Realistically, I also don’t feel I should write about places I don’t know well, because it would come across as less than authentic.
What is/are your passions when you’re not writing? How do you make time for your non-writing hobbies/things you love?
We live on our small family farm in Vermont, and we try to be as self-sufficient in our food supply and heating as possible. We are passionate about vegetable gardening, sugaring, beekeeping, and our fiber animals. Writing tends to happen at night, once the work and chores are done for the day. I also am a passionate New England sports fan, and I love writing with the Sox or Patriots on in the background.
What does your writing space look like? What do you need to have around you while writing or editing?
Google docs is my best writing friend! My writing space is wherever I can sit or stand, and as I type directly (instead of handwriting anything), I use my laptop, tablet or phone wherever I am. Using google docs has allowed me to be much more mobile and productive, as I don’t always need to have a computer with me to be able to write.
When I’m ready to really edit, I print pages, put them in a 3-ring binder, and use colored felt-tip pens for marking them up (never red). For that process, I like to sit in my favorite comfy chair in my living room.
While you’re writing, do you prefer music, silence, other? Please elaborate!
Silence when writing, music (preferably Twiddle, a Vermont band) when editing.
Writers very often have furry or feathered or otherwise non-human companions to “help” them through their work. Do you? What do you have? How do they “help” (or, “not-help”) with your writing?
When I get stuck, visiting the alpacas and chickens helps clear my head and get me back to writing.
Do you have any favorite foods or drinks that must be in the vicinity (or must be avoided) while you’re writing or editing a piece of work?
I always have water/seltzer on hand when I’m writing or editing, and when I’m editing, chocolate is usually around too.
Where can people find your work? (Besides ABSW ;)–though they should totally check here first!)
Currently my novels are available in print and e-book on Amazon, Solstice Publishing, Barnes and Noble, and some local books shops.
How can we follow your work, share your awesomeness, or otherwise stalk you in a totally non-creepy way?
I try to have a pretty lively social media presence, and can be found on FB, Twitter and my author’s webpage/blog. My sites are:
Facebook page: www.facebook.com/authorkfrancoeur
Thank you, again, for joining us on our blog, Kris! We are excited to see you in two weeks, on Saturday, May 5, from 1:00 – 3:00 PM at our 65 James Street location.