FRANCES HOUSDEN lives in New Zealand, a mountainous country not so different from Scotland where she was born. She began her published author career after winning Romance Writers of New Zealand's Clendon Award. She went on to publish six contemporary romantic suspense before beginning to write stories set in her homeland of SCOTLAND. Her first book in the Chieftain series—THE CHIEFTAIN'S CURSE was nominated for a RITA Award in 2014 from RWA and won a KORU Award from RWNZ.

Jan Schliesman: You started out writing romantic suspense for Silhouette’s Intimate Moments line. This year you’re releasing two historicals set in Scotland. Did you always plan to be a multi-genre author?

Frances Housden: No. I began by trying to write a Mills & Boon romance. the trouble was they always ended up as a suspense so I finally took the hint. That first romantic suspense won the Clendon Award judged by Leslie Wainger. She bought the book and I wrote 5 others, but life happens and sends you in a different direction and that's when I decided to give historical romance a go. The first book is still on my computer.

Jan: Where did you get the idea for Chieftain’s Curse?
Frances: I had been writing some regency historicals and had lots of revisions but no sales and was lying in bed wondering what to write next and thought maybe I should write a Scottish book when the hero popped right into my head as if in a dream and he was yelling about some curse. Well of course I had to find out who he was and what the curse was all about. You can read about it in The Chieftain's Curse which became a RITA nominated book.

Jan: Tell us about your latest release: Chieftain by Command.
Frances: Here's a story blurb to get you started...

   Gavyn Farquhar’s marriage is forged with a double-edged blade. Along with the Comlyn clan’s lands, a reward from the King, he is blessed with an unwilling bride, Kathryn Comlyn, and an ancient fort with few defences that desperately needs to be fortified before it can act as a sufficient buffer between Scotland and the Norsemen on its northern borders.
   Gavyn needs wealth to meet his king’s demands, and he knows of only one way to get it — with his sword. Leaving his prickly bride behind in the hands of trusted advisors, he makes his way to the battlegrounds of France and the money that can be made there.

Two years married and Kathryn is still a virgin. A resentful virgin, certain that, like her father before her, she is perfectly capable of leading the Comlyn clan. In her usurper husband’s absence, she meets the clan’s needs, advising and ruling as well as any man.
    But she is an intelligent woman, and she knows the only respect and power she will ever hold will be through her husband. And to wield it, she needs to make him love her. An easy task to set, but impossible to complete, when said husband has been gone for two years, and there is no word of his return. But Kathryn is undeterred. After all, a faint heart never won a Chieftain.

Jan: How often to you get lost in a story?
Frances: Too often that's why I can't read my favourite authors when I'm trying to write but I never go anywhere without having a book even if its just to read while drinking a coffee.

Jan: How did you meet your husband?  Was it love at first sight?
Frances: I met him at a dance and I guess I knew as soon as I saw him. We were both 18 but we were a lot older when he eventually told me he fell in love with me as soon as he saw me. Made me feel pretty good.

Jan: What drinks or snacks are always on your desk when you’re writing?
Frances: None, I get up to eat or drink and take a minute away from the keyboard.
Jan: I know you were born in Scotland.  How did you end up in New Zealand?  
Frances: My husband was in the New Zealand Navy and stationed in Rosyth close to Dunfermline where I worked.

Jan: What’s a typical writing day look like?
Frances: I'm afraid to say none of mine are typical, but I try for 1,000 words in the morning then have lunch and try for the same in the afternoon and sometimes when my husband has gone to bed I'll sit up late in front of the TV. I can surprise myself with the amount of writing I get done.

Jan: Have you met any real life heroes that you’ve based a story on?
Frances: No, sorry all my heroes live inside my head though I did do a lot of research on Sir Edmond Hillary when I wrote Stranded with a Stranger set on Everest.

Jan: Where would you love to go on your next vacation?
Frances: I'd love to go back to Scotland and do some research, of course if I could combine that with a trip up the Rhine that would be even better.

Jan:  Any secrets for a happy marriage?
Frances: Compromise, you can't get your own way all the time, especially with two strong characters—I'm Scorpio and my husband is Aries. 

Jan's Gotta Ask:  My hubby works for Haagen-Dazs so I always have to ask: WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE FLAVOR OF ICE CREAM?
Frances's Gotta Answer: Cookies and cream. I first tasted it on a trip to New England. We found this Dairy where they made their own ice cream. It was only open at night and there were no seats but the place was crowded. Of course we fitted in a second visit before we left.

Contact  Website   Facebook: Frances Housden  
Twitter:@HousdenFwriter    Goodreads

**Thank you so much Frances, for sharing your writing world on Get Lost In A Story!**

Frances will be giving away a print copy of The Chieftain's Curse and an e-book gift 
certificate of Chieftain by Command! 
Simply leave a comment or a question for her to answer and 

we will draw a winner at the end of the day!


  1. I suppose to have a Scottish hero coming to me and yelling about a curse, while I am lying in bed, I'm just going to have to read your book... and then the next one...

    While writing these Scottish heroes do they all come with the accent, just as a matter of course?


    1. My heroes have the same accent I do. Mt friends often say they can hear my voice as they read my books, which feels a little embarrassing when I think of some of my love scenes.

  2. I guess I shouldn't ask if what your thoughts are on love at first sight! I have to admit to being envious!

    I too was amused at reading about your dream of the hero cursing. There's a joke where I live (I live in a multi racial country so we get a lot of languages & dialects) that the 1st thing one learns of a difference culture is how to curse.

    1. I once wrote a short story for a magazine, 'My Weekly' it was called the Forty-second Syndrome. It was about falling in love at first sight. I did quite a bit of research into the subject.

      Actually it's the hero who is cursed that no wife will bear him a live heir. Guess I have a quirky sort of mind, I don't know where that came from either, but some things are just meant to be. I don't plot, just follow the adventure the characters take me on.

  3. What's your favorite thing about New Zealand?

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

    1. The lifestyle. It is focussed on the outdoors, the kids all play sport from a young age. The weather isn't as hot as Australia but in Auckland the winters don't get too cold and the summers are around the high 20s. Although it's a small country, four and a half million there is big mix of cultures. There is also a lot of diversity in the landscape. You might have heard of Queenstown in the South Island—the adventure capital of the world, its where a lot of The Hobbit and LOTR's were filmed. No chance to get bored down here. BG

  4. Congrats on your book. Sounds terrific.

    I have never been to New Zealand. It would be really far for someone living in Canada. Would love to visit if I can though!

  5. New Zealanders like to travel. We are at the bottom of the world so the only way to go is UP. Growing up our kids are all always planning the big OE—overseas experience. I haven't been to Canada but I've been all round the States and 5 years ago went to the UK then drove through Frances for a month before going to San Francisco for an RWA conference. This year I was in San Antonio 2 years before Anaheim, so as you see if we want to travel it's always a long way. Even Australia is 1500 ks away but now with 3hours on a plane that's just like getting on a bus for Kiwis. BG You should bit the bullet and come Down Under for a trip.

    1. Sorry that was supposed to be I drove through France. My fingers automatically type Frances.

  6. HI FRANCES !!
    Loved the first RITA finalist book. Can't wait for this one.

  7. Thanks Angi - it was great meeting up with you in San Antonio. Even though I didn't win a RITA it was still a great experience. I hope you enjoy CHIEFTAIN BY COMMAND, lots of familiar characters in it and then on November 22nd THE CHIEFTAIN'S FEUD is released. It's a novella, a cross between Romeo and Juliet and Game of Thrones, LOL. I've just finished writing CHIEFTAIN IN THE MAKING and I'm busy editing, so hopefully it will be out 2015.

  8. Hi Frances! Great meeting you at RWA! I have these two on my Kindle, and am looking forward to reading them! :)

  9. Hi Lara - yes, I met the nicest people there. Angi probably warned you not to expect fairy tales as I believe you have to be true to the period you are writing about. LOL My friend Carol Marinelli calls them Game of Thrones meets Outlander. It was cool that the realise of Chieftain by Command sent my first Chieftain book back up the rankings. It did well first go round and even better this time when it reached Amazon's top 50 overall. Thanks for buying them maybe we'll catch up in couple of years. San Diego? LOL maybe.

  10. Haha! I'm a Scorpio and my husband is an Aries too! I may need you to give me some tips on compromising... As an Aussie, I've been to NZ quite a few times - I remember Dunedin reminding me of Scotland. How often do you get back to Scotland?

  11. Hi Avril - it's is 5 years since I was back but I'm sure 'I'm going to have to do a refresher course on my research in the not too distant future. If I can I like to combine my trips with the RWA conference in the States and visit there on the way back to New Zealand. It would be good to catch up with family and I have a cousin in Cowdenbeath who says I can stay anytime. BG

  12. I want to say thank you to all those who have made comments. As soon as I hear from Jan I will be in touch with the winners of the two books. Thank you everyone. Tomorrow it's back to editing. BG