Welcome back, Darlene. Tell us a little about yourself and your background.
I’m a born New Englander and transplanted Westerner by choice. Both are featured in my books. I have one son, a lovely daughter-in-law, and four wonderful grandchildren just around the block from me. My degrees are in Bible and theology, church music, and Christian education, and they’ve all played a part in my life and in my writing. The fact most people find interesting is that I write from a nursing home.
How did you become interested in writing?
On the one hand, I’ve been interested in writing all my life. It was one of my desired occupations when I was a child, and I wrote TV stories and plays.
On the practical side, I began writing seriously in the wake of my divorce. My writing served as part of the healing process. By the time I finished that book, I was hooked for life.
What compelled you to write a book on this subject?
My story in Small-Town Brides, A Blessing for Beau, originally appeared in my novella collection, Calico Brides. The four youngest members of the Ladies Missionary Society decide to take on local mission project—and they all find love in the process. By the fall of the year, she still hasn’t settled on a project and begins to think God doesn’t have any special plans for her, that her charity work as the pastor’s daughter is all she’s meant to do.
I considered the plot of A Blessing for Beau the most predictable of the four: the spinster teacher fell in love with her student’s custodian, I know what it’s like to feel like my life is so ordinary, that exciting things pass right over my head on their way to someone else.
What is the main theme or point that you want readers to understand from reading your book? Are there any other themes present in the book?
The primary theme is discovering, and accepting, what God has planned for you. In addition to Ruth’s struggles, which I mentioned above, the hero has no idea what his niece and nephews want. He thinks his oldest nephew should work to prove up the 160 acres his father wanted. The problem is, the older nephew is a student. Ruth recognizes and encourages his desire for further education. His younger brother is looking forward to farm life. And as for his niece, Beau doesn’t have a clue.
Are there some specific lessons you hope readers will learn and apply to their lives after reading your book?
I hope it will encourage readers to “don’t give up” on waiting for God to work (as the Message interprets Hosea 12:6). Also, not to force our idea of God’s will on someone else.
I have my own testimony about how God brought about something I wanted long ago and had long since given up on happening. When I was finding my way as a writer, I wrote a mixture of nonfiction and fiction. I applied for a couple of columns, but didn’t get the opportunity. Now, after ten years of writing fiction almost exclusively, I have been asked to write a monthly column for Bookfun Magazine (http://digital.turn-page.com/i/665059-april-2016-book-fun-magazine.) My first column appeared this month. God’s timing is impeccable!
What makes your book different than any other books similar to yours that are in circulation today?
That’s a tough question, especially when my story is in a volume with novellas by eight other talented authors. I’m told my writing is sweet, that my characters are complex, that my stories bring in faith in a strong but natural way. (In others, they don’t feel like I’m preaching at them.) I also like to think I often come up with a unique twist on a familiar theme or setting.
How does the book intertwine with God’s call on your life and how you are currently serving Him?
I’ve mentioned some of that above. Living in a nursing home, I definitely feel out of the mainstream. I seldom get to see any writers face to face. As I grow older, I begin to think “what do I want to do before I die?” And is writing taking too much of that time? Recently God has given me several neon-light signs to continue writing. Two books on the same bestseller’s list last month! A free book at #1 in its category! The magazine column!
So like Ruth, I feel limited as to what I can do. But God’s plans for me are bigger than I can imagine.
Do you have a favorite Scripture verse?
I’ll share the verse I mentioned above. Once I finished memorizing great verses from Isaiah, I moved on to Hosea.
What are you waiting for? Return to your God! Commit yourself in love, in justice! Wait for your God, and don’t give up on him—ever! (Hosea 12:6, Message)
When you are not writing, what do you like to do? Do you have any hobbies?
I read, a lot. The Kindle makes it so easy, so lightweight. I’m blessed to have physical therapy started again. Yup, those three sessions a week working with weights, bicycles, throwing balls and walking mean a lot. I also do a lot of word puzzles. I’m also spending serious time memorizing scripture—I decided I want to cram my mind with as much as His word as possible in case some day I lose my mind.
As we close, is there anything else you would like to add?
Just that God is faithful wherever you are and whatever you are doing.
Tell us about the book.
Small-Town Brides Romance Collection: 9 Romances Develop Under the Watchful Eyes of Neighbors: Join the fun and feel the romance in various historical communities from
Massachusetts to Florida,
Missouri to Texas. Meet ladies who take firm stands for
their work in mills, orphanages, churches, schools, hospitals, and the like as
they dance through courtship with their beaus. Can the nine couples develop
lasting loves under the watchful eyes of their neighbors?
My story, A Blessing for Beau: Schoolteacher Ruth Fairfield is about to teach a new guardian a few lessons in life and love.
Where can my readers find you on the Internet?Twitter: @darlenefranklin
Thank you, Darlene, for sharing this new collection with us.
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