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Even one of my as-yet-unpublished books, Calm Before the Storm, deals with Korean immigrants!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 http://www.darlenefranklinwrites.blogspot.com/