Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Giveaway & Interview with my friend, Darlene Franklin

I'm so excited to have my friend Darlene Franklin here today. Darlene and I are both members of the Oklahoma Christian Fiction Writers group. I love getting together with Darlene and talking about books and writing.

Award-winning author and speaker Darlene Franklin lives in cowboy country—Oklahoma and loves writing about the American West. Oklahoma also has the benefit of being the home to her son, his wife, and their four beautiful children. Darlene loves music, needlework, reading and reality tv. Talia, a Lynx point Siamese cat, proudly claims Darlene as her person. Darlene is the author of seventeen contracted books and novellas, as well as several hundred short pieces. Two of her books have finaled in ACFW’s Book of the Year (now the Carol award) contest: her novella, Dressed in Scarlet, and her cozy mystery, A String of Murders. Her latest release is Maple Notch Brides.

You're a big sports fan. Where did your love of sports begin? What are your favorite teams and sports to watch?

Ah, you know me. Did my love of sports begin with playing in the marching band in high school (where my team only won or tied ten games in four years)? In college, when our soccer team competed for a national title?

Actually, I know exactly when my addiction to sports started: watching Jimmy Connors in the 1991 US Open. I recently watched a 20 year retrospective, and it brought back a lot of memories.

And having moved here from Denver – I was there for the Broncos’ 2 Super Bowls and the Avalanche’s 2 Stanley Cups and the Rockies’ 2 appearances in the post season and the first time the #8 seated team defeated the #1 seated team in the NBA. It was fun watching the Nuggets vs. Thunder in the last NBA post season.

Since Denver sports only air here was in a GREAT while, I now follow the Thunder and OU and OSU sports.

What else do you enjoy doing when you're not writing?

Watching TV. Playing with my cat. Reading. I’m not terribly interesting.

You've lived on the east coast, Colorado, and Oklahoma. Am I leaving anywhere out? Maple Notch Brides is set in Vermont. How has living in all these different settings inspired your writing?

I was born in New Hampshire and grew up in Maine. I’ve also spent brief stints in Alabama and Massachusetts and Arkansas. I went to college in New Jersey and seminary in Texas.

Growing up in New England and now a westerner by chance and by choice, I understand the culture of both regions of the country. A recent example: In my book Plainsong I talked about “Western Art.” Meaning art depicting the American West, such as Frederick Remington and Charles Russell. My editor took it to mean “art of western civilization.” She’s from Ohio.

When you're developing new story ideas, what comes first—the plot, setting, or characters?

All of the above? Often I start with a setting, such as Vermont for Heartsong’s series of state-themed romances (Maple Notch Brides) and a pretty Christmas setting (Christmas at Barncastle Inn.) .

You've written numerous novels for Barbour's Heartsong Presents line. You’ve recently released Lone Star Trail, part of The Texas Trail Series with Moody Publishers. What's next for you in your writing journey?

This year I will see my first trade-length fiction with Barbour published (A Bride’s Rogue in Roma, Texas). I’m also doing all four stories in a novella anthology called Calico Brides, also with Barbour. I also have a book upcoming with Heartsong Presents. I am sad to see that venue go . . . Beyond that, I have nothing lined up. Working on several things, but not even a whiff of a contract at the moment.

Tell us a little more about Maple Notch Brides.

Maple Notch Brides is a repack of my three historical romances set in Maple Notch, Vermont. I wanted my stories to have a real Vermont feel. Pamela Griffin used the maple sugar industry as a backdrop for her contemporary set, Vermont Weddings. So I used a covered bridge that plays a role in each story. In the first book, it’s still a tree. . .the first covered bridge wasn’t built for another thirty years.

Climb into adventure in the Green Mountain State where party politics, parental pressure, and personal misperceptions challenge three couples. Sally Reid and her family of Patriots are in hiding. Can she trust Josiah Tuttle, a man whose father is loyal to King George? (Prodigal Patriot, a Revolutionary War story) Beatrice Bailey’s wealthy father wants his daughter to marry up—not down. Does farmer Calvin Tuttle have any chance of winning Beatrice’s heart and her father’s blessing? (Bridge to Love, a Year of No Summer story) Clara Farley has accepted the role of spinster. Can Daniel Tuttle get her to change her mind? (Love’s Raid, a Civil War story) Will God show these couples a way above the fray?

You can get to know more about Darlene at her blog at http://darlenefranklinwrites.blogspot.com/

Darlene has graciously offered to give away a copy of her book Maple Notch Brides. On Wednesday the 20th, I'll draw a name from the comments below. (Minimum five entries for the drawing)

What states have you lived in? If you're a writer, have those locations shown up in the settings of your stories?


  1. Thanks for the interview! I've lived in MN, NC, AL and FL. The only one to show up so far is Florida. lol
    My other book is set in OR. I have a huge love for the west and kind of wish I lived there, but my hubs is a Florida boy. lol

  2. My very first novel was set in Vermont. I love it, but have never been! Your books sound wonderful!

    Everywhere I've lived or visited, except LA, has shown up in a book. Rhode Island, Chicago, small town in Southern IL, Boston, Memphis, and Bangkok!

  3. Lovely interview! :)

    I've lived in KS, MO, and MN, and I've written books set in KS and MN.

  4. I've lived in CA, WA, and OR. All my Manuscripts have been set in either OR or WA in my favorite cities, towns, or resorts.

  5. It's nice to meet you, Darlene! I giggled at your comment about the lady from Ohio and her understanding of "Western Art". I was born in Ohio, too, and have lived in Oklahoma, Maryland, and Virginia. Now I live in Colorado. It's good to be a westerner, isn't it? Lots of independence and freedom you feel out here :-)

    Your dedication to writing is inspiring. Over a hundred short works of fiction, in addition to novels and novellas. Wow!

    Fun, fun interview, Julie! Thanks for helping us get to know Darlene a little better!

  6. Great interview, Julie and Darlene! Love the book cover too!

  7. Hey Darlene, I'd forgotten you lived in New Hampshire. Where exactly? I was raised in Londonderry. I love Oklahoma, but I still miss New England, especially at this time of year. Though I've lived here almost 16 years, the last two books I've written both take place in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. I love writing about New England, but it makes me more nostalgic for home.

  8. Great interview, Julie! Thanks for introducing us. I've lived in just two states and for now, my stories seem to center themselves there. It's what I know. :)

  9. How fun meeting all of you! Erica, I may need to check with you about my Calico Brides book, set in Kansas. (I've traveled THROUGH Kansas going from Oklahoma to Colorado. Does that count?!) I figure it's a lot like eastern Colorado and western Oklahoma,only colder than Oklahoma.

  10. BTW, the biggest secret to faking it about new times and places? Do enough research. Look for the names of local plants and animals, study pictures, learn about local cuisine . . . I'm just proofing the galley for my last Heartsong, Pride's Fall, set in Mesa Verde and with trips to a Navajo village. I sound like I know all about it . . .

  11. "Everywhere I've lived or visited"? Wow, Jessica, an interesting thought.

  12. Brandi, it's 20 novellas and novels and 200+ devotionals and such. Those are largely nonfiction. But, yes, over twenty years they are beginning to add up.

  13. Always so good to hear about my friend, Darlene! She is a super writer and an awesome mentor!

  14. Hi Julie & Darlene,

    Love the cover of your book! You sound like a busy woman!

    Being from Canada, I have to 'fake it' with the settings I've chosen, and hope I did enough research!


  15. Hi, Carla! Susan, amazing how much research and imagination can help with settings.

  16. Hi, Carla! Susan, amazing how much research and imagination can help with settings.

  17. Enjoyed the interview! I've lived in NJ and MA--and both of those states are used in my books. Hmm...