Gunfight at Grace Gulch (Dressed for Death Mystery Series #1) (Heartsong Presents Mysteries #10) among other titles. Her writing reflects her passions for children and missions.
How long did you work toward publication?
My first book was published 14 years after I began pursuing writing seriously.
Some authors report writing 5-10 thousand words a day. Do scenes flow freely from your veins, or do you have to tweeze each word out?
I love the phrase, “tweeze each word out”! Beginnings are like that for me, a new book and sometimes a new chapter. It tends to flow more freely once I’m the rhythm of the story and the characters more or less dictate what is happening.
What are some of the spiritual themes you like to write about?
I write about characters who are at the “crossroads of love and grace” (my tagline). I put them in an awful situation, where only God’s grace can rescue them and only His love can sustain them.
What is the hardest part after the book is published?
Besides marketing?! Wondering when/if the next book will be published! The solid feeling of holding my book in my hand is fleeting.
What other books of yours are coming out soon?
The next two books in the Vermont series will be published over the next few months: Bridge to Love in November and Love’s Raid early next year.
In addition to that, I’m in the Rhode Island repack, Seaside Romance. Also this fall, my novella Face of Mary appears in A Woodland Christmas: Four Couples Find Love in the Piney Woods of East Texas (Romancing America)
If you gave a party for Christian authors of historical fiction, what six people would you invite and why?
You want me to choose between some of my best friends! But I would choose:
1. Susan Page Davis, critique partner extraordinaire and the historical writer I want to be when I grow up.
2. Rhonda Gibson, who would add fun to any party.
3. Tracie Peterson, as the editor who gave me my big break, and as a writer who has seen the CBA grow.
4. Kim Vogel Sawyer, who captured my heart with Dear John and has yet to disappoint.
5. The Thoenes, who wowed me and kept me spellbound with their Zion Chronicles.
What was the last movie you saw in a theatre? Did you like it? What snacks did you eat?
I went to see Inception for my birthday (and to celebrate turning in a mss). Wow! I’m dying to discuss with someone. Popcorn and soda pop, of course!
Other than the Bible, what is your all time favorite book?
Lord of the Rings, because of its early and lasting influence on me. I few of Dick Francis’s books would run a close second. (Whip Hand? Bone Crack? Any Dick Francis fans out there?)
What would you tell an aspiring writer?
The simplest advice is still the best: Read, read, read. Anything, everything, from classics to best sellers to Nobel prize winners to your genre.
And of course, write, write, write. Get in the habit of writing. Your writing improves just from practice.
Also, take advantage of the many educational opportunities available to today’s Christian author.
What can you tell authors who have been receiving only rejections from publishers?
Keep writing, keep learning, and don’t be afraid to try something new. Be open to advice from published authors.
Who would you say are your readers?
I’ve heard from everyone from a high school freshman to dear elderly saints. Most of them are women; the men grab my mysteries and run from the romances.
And what kinds of things can readers expect from your books?
Readers can expect memorable characters, strong conflicts, and a brief spell in another place and time. They can also usually experience a conflict that makes them examine their faith in God.
How do you do the research for your historical books?
I recently told a non-writing friend that I do enough research to fake my way through. Hopefully, I know a little more than that, but there are many people who know about the specific details of the battle for Fort Ticonderoga, for instance, than I would ever pretend to.
I start, online, with an overview of the period and place. I look at maps and study town histories. I invest in books I think will help me capture specific details (A Kayaker’s guide to Lake Champlain, for instance, helped me gain a sense of what it’s like to approach Fort Ticonderoga from the water).
While I’m writing, I put footnotes for questions I need to research. Was that word used that way at that time? What kind of flowers would grow in northern Vermont? What crops did they grow? When I do my edits, I research the questions and update the manuscript.
Now tell us something about The Prodigal Patriot:
The Reids refuse to live in fear.
Sally Reid’s family decides on a dangerous course when the Tories of Maple Notch, Vermont, chase Patriot families off their land. They live in a cave and farm their land by moonlight.
When Josiah Tuttle discovers their secret and offers to help, Sally doesn’t know if she can trust him. After all, Josiah’s father is one of the Tories who forced her family into hiding.
The Tuttles have already lost one son to the hated Patriot cause. How can Josiah both honor his grieving father and protect the woman he loves? When called upon to take a stand, which side will he choose? How can Sally and Josiah battle through the barriers separating them to love and forgiveness?
What gave you the inspiration for this story?
I read about Ann Storey, a Vermont farmer who continued to work her land while living in a cave during the Revolutionary War. Tories and Indians tried to scare her away. The Reids followed Ann’s example.
If your hero/heroine were a pie, what kind would he/she be and why?
My hero, Josiah Tuttle, would be lemon meringue, caught between the tartness of the Tories and the sweet of the lovely Patriot lass.
Introduce your story with the first page.
THE PRODIGAL PATRIOT
Chapter OneMaple Notch, Vermont
Today was a glorious day to be outside, Sally Reid decided as she went about her morning chores. Cool air flowed down from the mountains, scented with pine, the evergreen trees that gave the “Verts Monts,” or the Green Mountains, their name. The sun overhead promised sunshine and warmth, and green shoots pushed up through the ground. She loved the rhythms of farm life, the cycles of sowing, growing, reaping, and resting. A song of praise burst from her lips.
“Good morning, Miss Reid! You sound cheerful this fine morning,” a deep voice called out.
Sally stopped in mid-verse. Her singing called for no audience beyond the chickens who clucked along with her. Pa teased that she had the voice of a crow. Of all people, who should catch her in her morning serenade but Josiah Tuttle.
“Morning to you, Mr. Tuttle.”
He smiled at her, the same grin that had infuriated her since childhood. It always put her in mind of the day he pulled the mobcap off her head after she’d had the measles. Clumps of her straight, oak-colored hair came off with the mobcap, and she had run home and refused to come out again. Remembering, she put a hand to the top of her head, making sure its covering was in place.
Where can we find you on the web?
You can find me at http://darlenefranklinwrites.blogspot.com. Leave comments for a monthly book drawing, both my own books as well as other authors.
Darlene, thank you so much for stopping by and sharing with us. To have the possibility to receive a copy of Prodigal Patriot (Heartsong Presents - Historical) leave a comment with your email (name at domain name dot com). Giveaway closes Sunday, August 22, 2010 at midnight (CST). Only US postal codes.
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