Gail's Book Nook

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Looking Out the Window: Welcome Award-winning Author Darlene Franklin

 Award winning author Darlene Franklin     discusses writing and talks about Lone Star Trail, the first book in her new Texas series

Hi Darlene, it looks as though reading has been a big part of your life. Were you an avid reader as a child? What did you read?

My mother introduced me to the joy of reading as a young child (I can still quote large portions of The Cat in the Hat, which was fairly new when I was a child!) I graduated to Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys, but by the time I was ten, I was bored with the children’s section of the library and started reading adult novels. I had a marvelous list of books you should read before college, and I read as many as I could. I went through my Charles Dickens’ phase as a high freshman and Thomas Hardy as a junior.
It’s always interesting to learn what inspires writers. What inspired you to write this particular book?
I have a tremendous interest in the multitude of immigrants who have made America what it is. My first book, Romanian Rhapsody, featured Romanian orphans; my first historical foray, Dressed in Scarlet (my BOTY-nominated novella from Snowbound Colorado Christmas), had an Italian hero. So when I looked at starting points for writing a Texas story, I was drawn to the German Verein of the 1840s.
Even one of my as-yet-unpublished books, Calm Before the Storm, deals with Korean immigrants!
Where do you get ideas for your books?
Ideas are everywhere. They come from things I see as I’m driving (a castle on a hillside in Kentucky inspired Plainsong and Knight Music, my two most recent Heartsong releases). The name of a place can spark an interest (although I haven’t sold any of those stories yet, lol). Often, a historical event sparks a book. It can be a natural disaster (hurricane, in Beacon of Love; worst blizzard in Snowbound Colorado Christmas); a war, a folk tale, any one of a number of things. I can learn a tidbit, like the story of Blanche Leathers, the first woman to be a licensed steamboat pilot; and that in turn sparks a story idea.
Are you a plotter or a pantzer?
I’m a bit of both. I start out with a synopsis that provides most of the basic framework. I add to that, scenes and chapters and even characters as the story develops.
Do you put yourself in your books?
I have to. I mean, they do all come out of my head and heart. But I know what you mean. When I imagine what emotions my characters might be feeling as I put them through their paces, their reactions often reflect how I think I might feel (or have felt!) Some of them, more so than others. I also usually write about places I have been, so they are based on first-hand observations.
What are you working on right now?
I am currently working on A Bride’s Rogue in Roma, Texas (scheduled for release next fall from Barbour). In Bride’s Rogue, my straightlaced Victorian heroine inherits a steamboat from the father she never knew—as well as the resident gambler.
That sounds like a fun book. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Start with this: read, read, read and write, write, write. I just taught a workshop on settings. I read from four different books: Tolkien and Lewis (which might be considered classical literature), Nancy Pickard, one of my favorite mystery authors—and JR Moehringer’s memoir, The Tender Bar. The four titles suggest the breadth of my reading.
The other piece is this: Talent doesn’t matter as much as a thick skin, perseverance, and a willingness to learn.
Thanks so much for sharing with us, Darlene.


About Lone Star Trail
  Lone Star Trail is the first book in a six-book series about the Morgan family, set in Texas in the 1840s. Jud Morgan runs the Running M Ranch near Victoria, Texas; he is immensely proud of his Texas roots. His father died in the war for independence from Mexico 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 Texas soil.
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 Texas.
Can these two see past their differences to the love God has for them?

Award-winning author and speaker Darlene Franklin lives in cowboy country—Oklahoma—near her son’s family. She recently signed the contract for her nineteenth novel. She is also a prolific devotional author with over 200 devotions in print.
Visit Darlene’s blog at


June Foster said...

Hi Darlene,
I love to read stories set in the state of Texas as I lived in El Paso for 30 years. Congratulations on your successful writing career.

Miss Mae said...

Hi there! Sounds like you grew up with some of the same books that I did. :) I, too, got tired of the children's books and had my high school brother bringing me "older" books from his school's library. :)

Love your cover, and love how the simple things can inspire a plot. :)

Wishing you many sales!

Celia Yeary said...

Hi, Darlene--I enjoyed reading about your writing and your new series. Anything Texas is all "me."I have a Texas series--Texas Blue (Jodi Thomas stole my title a year after mine was released! Boooo!)...Texas Promise, and Texas True. And many others.
I see your books are Inspirational, and I applaud you for that. My characters act out too much for me to write Inspirational!
I love the title of the Series--Texas Trails, and everythiing you mentioned was familiar.
I am a DRT member, and everything I write is all Texas--from WH to Contemporary.
Congratulations on your new series..
P.S. I'm co-owner of Sweethearts of the West group blog--14 of us--and we have two guest days a month. We're booked up through 2011,but if you ever think you'd like to guest for us...let me know.
celiayeary AT YAHOO dot Com

Linda Weaver Clarke said...

That is so interesting that you are drawn to immigrants. I bet your research is so much fun, as you find out what motivated them to come to America and what their life style was like here. Congratulations on your new book.

Gail Pallotta said...

Hi Everyone,
June and Celia, it's interesting that you too have Texas connections.
Miss Mae and Linda,
Thanks for your comments.

Darlene Franklin said...

Hello everyone! It's always great to meet Texans. I did live in Texas, for about 4 years, while I was attending seminary. And Oklahoma has a lot in common with Texas.

Interesting to hear about the older books your brother brought home for you, Miss Mae. And Linda, yes, learning about other cultures and customs is fascinating.

Thank you all for stopping by today!

Danielle Thorne said...

What a wide scope of dreams you've put on paper. Thanks for sharing your advice, and good luck on your new book!

Laurean Brooks said...

Hi Darlene,

You are truly well read in many genres and time eras. I like the way you get ideas from disasters or other historical moments to use as a basis for a story.

I think I know that castle on a Kentucky hillside. It's located outside of Lexington, if my guess is right. I can't keep my eyes peeled off it when we travel there.

Good luck with this awesome-sounding story and God bless all your writing endeavors.

Darlene Franklin said...

Speaking of natural disasters . . .Oklahoma has had three earthquakes and multiple tornados between Friday and Monday. There HAS to be a story there.

Thanks for stopping by, Danielle and Laurean.