I’m delighted to welcome a Tweep friend today whose work I have great admiration for. M E Franco’s Dion series is a delicious mix of crime fiction and the paranormal and it’s lovely to find a bit more about her life and inspirations.
I thoroughly enjoyed Where Will You Run, and have Where Will You Hide set up to read this year. Did you always set out to write a series?
I did. I really enjoy reading books in a series. If I like the characters and the story, I want to continue to follow them over time. One book isn’t enough for me. I just have to know when to stop. Some authors continue to write a series until it gets worn out, and I don’t want to do that. I will continue to write books for my Dion series as long as I feel like I am contributing to the story and characters.
Your Dion Series mixes a combination of crime fiction and the paranormal. Did you set out to write a crossover novel?
That idea actually developed over time. I initially started out with Raith’s character. As the story unfolded, it actually became more about Mari. I loved the idea about turning it into a mystery. It made perfect sense to cross human and paranormal detectives working on parallel cases.
Where do your ideas come from?
When I’m bored, I make up stories to entertain myself. Sometimes, it’s just a scene here and there. Sometimes it is something that I’m really interested in, and I want to explore where it goes.
You have some very interesting characters in your books. Do you have a favourite, and why?
Thank you! I really appreciate that. I focus a lot of effort on character development. My stories are character driven, so they have to be strong enough to carry the story, and interesting enough for people to care about what happens to them. I really like Raith, but I have to admit I have become attached to Reinn in book two. I love how men can be strong and yet very tender – Reinn is that to the extreme.
I found Mari, the homicide detective, a fascinating character. Is she based on people you know or have met?
Funny you should ask that question. I’m glad you like her because her personality is based a lot off of my own. I tend to be a bit of a tomboy, and I’m more like “one of the guys.” I was career oriented and didn’t have a lot of time for dating and relationships, so it made me a little awkward around the opposite sex. I am fiercely independent, and I don’t like feeling vulnerable. I also have a hard time trusting people. I realized those would all be likely personality traits of someone in Mari’s position given her background and occupation.
How do you approach the research for your work?
I try to do as much research as I can ahead of time. It makes writing easier for me because I have reference points. I also do research as I go if I run into something I don’t know about. If I am having trouble writing, I will do random research for inspiration.
Which is your favourite scene, and why?
That’s a tough question. I had to give that one some thought. I don’t have a specific scene exactly, but I really like the banter between Mari and Raith. I love the way they give each other a hard time.
Your first book is set in San Francisco. What made you decide to set your novel there?
I love San Francisco, and I visit there often, so I felt comfortable using it as a setting. Also, they have a large homeless population, which fit in with my story.
How important do you think it is to set a novel in a real setting, as opposed to a fictional town?
I think there are pros and cons to each. When I’m reading, I like real settings. Hearing familiar towns, landmarks and/or street names makes a story more fun for me – more realistic. When I’m writing, it gives me a similar feeling of reality. I can visualize actual places my characters have been. I went so far as to go to the marina district in San Francisco and actually pick one of the houses in the area to use as Raith’s Dion house, so it became a real place in my mind. I went to the old fort under the Golden Gate Bridge to see how things would have looked, smelled, and felt from that vantage point for the scenes in the bay. I’m a very visual person, so it helps to see what I am writing about. It was more difficult in book two, because the setting is in England. Google maps became my best friend, and I questioned people who lived in the area or had visited there.
What is your writing routine and how do you balance your writing with your other commitments?
That is something I’m really trying to work on. I haven’t been great at doing that in the past, and my writing has suffered as a result. This year I have made a new goal. My goal is to write at least a chapter a day before I do anything with social media or promoting my books. I did that over Christmas break and finished another book. If I can stick to it, I could write 365 chapters in 2013. Of course, with home schooling my children and work, I don’t have a lot of free time; so I am going to have to be better at making writing a priority.
Name one of your favourite books and how it has influenced your life.
I spent a lot of time reading classic literature. When I read Bram Stoker’s Dracula, I developed a long time fascination with the paranormal (especially vampires) that has influenced my writing, and what I read.
What’s been the most memorable event in your life to date, and why?
Wow. At my age, that’s a tough question. I’ve had a lot of memorable moments after getting married, having two children, finishing college (undergraduate and graduate), starting my own business, and getting published. The most life changing moment for me was when my mother was diagnosed with cancer. Until that moment, I didn’t realize that I took everything in my life for granted. Now, every single day is precious to me. It completely changed my outlook on life and my priorities.
What can readers expect from you next, and when can they expect it?
I just finished a historical romance novel called The Rustler’s Daughter. I wanted to do something a little different. I plan to publish it in late January or February 2013.
Describe your current work in progress in less than 15 words?
Book 3 of the Dion series – everyone is back for more action!
Quick Fire Questions:
5 star hotel or backpack? 5 star hotel
Espresso or latte? latte
Plotter or panster? Definitely a panster
Drummer or lead singer? Drummer
Favourite real person? My husband
Favourite fictional character? Currently…Bones, from The Night Huntress Series ( by Jeaniene Frost)
Burger and chips or Michelin star? Depends on my mood
Theatre or cinema? Theater
Sports car or campervan? Sports car
Safari or Cruise? Cruise
Author bio: M. E. Franco lives in California with her husband and children. She works as a Behavior Analyst Consultant during the day and writes in her fantasy world at night. Besides writing, she enjoys reading, playing outside, music, and chocolate.
Thanks for gracing my blog, M E! You can reach M E Franco here:
And buy her books here: