Welcome, Darlene. Why do you write the kind of books you do?
In part—because that is what I have sold! Not to be all materialistic, but writing involves choices. When I started, I tried everything: nonfiction books and magazine articles, poetry, short stories . . . novels.
I eventually discovered that fiction was my natural voice . . . and today, I stand a better chance of selling a book than a magazine article!
Of my novels, I first wrote contemporary then mystery then tried my hand at historical with the novella, Dressed in Scarlet. You were in that anthology with me, Lena: Snowbound
Christmas. Once I got over my fear of writing historical novels (and sold a few), I discovered I love doing it. There are so many fascinating stories waiting to be told. Colorado
But within the historical romance genre, how do I choose? I often start with a setting in mind (such as
Texas in the Texas Trails series, or in my Maple Notch series with Barbour). Then I do a little research into the history of the area until the nugget that intrigues me with its compelling drama. With Lone Star Trail, it was the large influx of Germans into Vermont in the 1840s. Texas
Yes, Darlene, I’ve loved writing novella collections with you. Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
With all due respect to my precious children, I would have to say the births of my grandchildren. God gave both of them to me after grievous losses:
was born after my daughter died, and Isaiah was born after my mother died. Jordan
One of my friends says “being a grandparent is one thing that’s not overrated,” and I have to agree. Nothing like Grandma time to restore my spirits!
You’re not going to get an argument from me on that. I have four grandchildren and one great grand. They are such a joy.How has being published changed your life?
I now make my living by writing. I get to spend my days doing what I love best of all, even when it’s hard.
What are you reading right now?
I just finished Nick of Time, a “bugman” novel for Tim Downs. I’m also reading Though Waters Roar by Lynn Austin.
What is your current work in progress?
I just finished my last Heartsong novel (publication date uncertain), Pride’s Fall, a historical romance set in
Mesa . Next up is A Bride’s Rogue in Verde, Colorado . A straight-laced Victorian maiden inherits a steamboat—and its river rat captain. Roma, Texas
That sounds interesting. What would be your dream vacation?
I am dreaming of a trip to
, to research for another upcoming book, Calico Brides. I would love to make it to Dodge City, Kansas Hawaii some day . . . or go back to to visit with my friends. Colorado
How do you choose your settings for each book?
I’ve tried a variety of ways. I had a lot of fun looking at unusual place names when the Love Finds You series first started (I haven’t sold to them, yet, however). Working on Christmas novellas, I think, “What places get a lot of snow? (snowy covers sell Christmas stories) or “what states/places call I alliterate with ‘Merry Christmas’” That stood reasoning stands behind Christmas at Barncastle Inn, (Vermont, this year from Barbour) and Calico Brides, which started out life as Calico Kansas Christmas.
Other times, a state is suggested to me by the publisher (as in Barbour’s state-themed series). Chip MacGregor, my agent, suggested that Susan Page Davis, Vickie McDonough and I team up for a historical romance series set in
. Texas Trails is the result. Texas
I’m very excited about this new series by the three of you, some of my favorite writing friends. I’ve been privileged to endorse some of the books, yours included. If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?
I would love to meet Philip Yancey, whose books have made a tremendous difference in my life; or perhaps John Grisham, whom I admire for writing a clear Christian message in the secular market.
What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
I have become far too narrow-focused. I play piano for our church choir; I love music. I take part in a Spanish language group, that meets together to eat and chat in Spanish. Can you call grandchildren a hobby?!
Sure, why not? What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
Getting going. The first pages and chapters of every book are the hardest. Each day, opening up the program and writing is hard. Once I’m in it, I’m okay . . . but it is a constant challenge to make myself get to work.
How do I overcome it? Deadlines help. Accountability helps.
What advice would you give to a beginning author?
The two best things you can do are simple: read. . .and write. Read widely. Read bestsellers as well as classics. Read books you like, authors you admire. And write on a regular basis. Nothing will improve your skill as a writer than actually writing.
People occasionally will say I’m a gifted, or talented, writer. I don’t know about that. I know that I have been writing for twenty years . . . so I might be talented, but I’m not a “natural.”
If you have a passion for story, a willingness to work hard, and a hard skin to accept rejection . . . you probably have what it takes to become a published author.
Tell us about the featured book.
Lone Star Trail is the first book in a six-book series about the Morgan family, set in
in the 1840s. Jud Morgan runs the Running M Ranch near Texas Victoria, Texas; he is immensely proud of his roots. His father died in the war for independence from Texas and then Comanches captured his youngest sister. He resists the arrival of the German immigrants (the Verein), since their aim is to create a “New Germany” on Mexico soil. Texas
Wande Fleischer is one of those German immigrants. Torn from her beloved native land, she faces disappointment on every side when her fiancé abandons her and she loses a sister to illness in the swamps of Carlshafen as soon as they arrive in
Can these two see past their differences to the love God has for them?
Please give us the first page of the book.
, December 1845 Victoria, Texas
Wande Fleischer could hardly see the road in front of her through the slashing rain. Her shoes sank in the mud with each step; the hem of her dress became filthy. If the rain continued, her hair would be drenched; dirty as leaves in the fall instead of its usual bright blond. So far
Texas—which was promoted by the Adelsverein back in as the “land of milk and honey”—was anything but sweet. Her fingers curled into a fist that she longed to raise to the sky. But only a child would do that. Even her little sister, Alvie, the family songbird, hadn’t lifted her voice since they left the plain pine box at the Germany only three days ago. port of Carlshafen
They could have made it to
in one day, but Papa decided to take it easy for his wife’s sake. Wande looked forward to reaching the town, one of the oldest in all of Victoria , which had an established German community. She was cheered by thoughts of a dry roof, pleasant conversation in the only language she knew, and a chance to rest her feet. Texas
How can readers find you on the Internet?
I have an author’s page at Amazon.com where you can find all my books.
Also check out my website/blog at: darlenefranklinwrites.blogspot.com
Thank you, Darlene, for this peek into the new series. We'll be seeing you with the release of your next book.
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