Friday, September 4, 2009

A View From Laura Frantz' Window! The Frontiersman's Daughter

As you know by now, author interviews hold a special place in my heart! It is especially gratifying to introduce a NEW author and their debut novel! So, it is with great pleasure I introduce you to Laura Frantz! The Frontiersman's Daughter is an incredible historical novel with elements of romance that will leave you breathless!

I hope you enjoy getting to know Laura, because her second novel is already in the works with an art team already busily designing the cover art! Laura is a delightful lady with a heart filled with the desire to serve the Lord through her gift of writing!

Please, welcome Laura Frantz to my Window!

I'm particularly interested in the research that was involved into the healing herbs. Can you tell us about your interest in this? How you researched this topic?

I'm an avid gardener from a long line of Kentucky gardeners so Lael and Ma Horn's interest is my own. The herbal or "wildcrafting" aspect of frontier life has always fascinated me. Medicine was still in a very primitive state in the 18th-century and those early settlers doctored themselves with what the woods offered them as they had little else. They also learned quite a bit from the Indians in that day. The Shawnee were noted healers in their own right. I have a big stack of herbal books for research purposes and have had an herb garden for years. I love to read old herbal recipes for curing (or sometimes aggravating) ailments!

I'd love to know how you so beautifully captured the types of meals they ate (several scenes made me hungry!) and the way the people in the settlement gardened and hunted for their survival.

The meals described in the novel are straight out of Kentucky, both yesterday and today. I grew up eating the foods I put in the novel and love them so much I inserted them in whatever scenes I could. Lael's picnic on the porch with Ian would have been considered a feast by settlement standards! Often those first settlers had wild turkey or venison and little else - maybe a little corn if they were extra blessed. When I go home I love to eat greens, cornbread, okra, jowl bacon and all the rest. Just thinking about it makes me hungry:)

I'd love to know if your grandmother was part Indian and how she fostered such a love for the history of your state and its people.

My grandmother, to whom the novel is dedicated, was half-Cherokee. When she married a Kentuckian, her Indian father sent her a box of beautiful herbs and plants from Virginia which he had carefully labeled. He had an unusual knowledge and interest in growing things. Not all that he sent survived the journey but she planted what she could and tried to remember their names.

My family still resides on this property in Berea, Kentucky and enjoys the legacy that he left. Growing up with my granny was such a treat! She sewed my clothes and would make my cousins and me bonnets and aprons and pioneer dresses so we could reenact all that Kentucky history. She took us to the great outdoor dramas of the early settlers like "Wilderness Road" over and over again, and we visited numerous historical spots till they became old friends. Since my family has been in Kentucky since the late 18th-century this really fired my imagination.


What ever happened to Captain Jack?! Was that him at the end? Did he die of the pox?


I have such an affinity for Captain Jack and my readers feel the same from what I'm hearing. Because I cared about him so much I cried when I wrote him out of the novel:) I do like to think of him standing amongst those wind-tossed trees at novel's end. I also like to think that he cared enough about Lael, and knew that his future was so uncertain, that he let her go. The Shawnee had a tragic history and he would have been part of that.

And however did you capture such intense scenes like the one with Captain Jack and Lael in the water? I needed a cold shower after that!! Are you just a romantic at heart?

I am definitely a romantic at heart! If the waterfall scene worked for you and other readers it was because it was so intensely real to me. During the writing of the book Lael became so much more than a fictional character I'd created. What she felt, I felt. My editor says I'm able to create strong romantic tension in a scene without the characters even touching each other. I can't tell you how I do it because I don't know - it's a gift and I can't take credit for it! But I'm so grateful it's there. Writing those romantic scenes are my very favorite!

What's next for your readers?

My next novel, Courting Morrow Little, will be released next August 2010. This isn't a sequel to The Frontiersman's Daughter but a stand-alone. The art team is hard at work right now creating an exceptional cover which I will post on my blog as soon as I can. This second book is also set in 18th-century Kentucky and chronicles a very unusual courtship. I'd best not say more and spoil it for readers!

What does your family think about your book?

My family enjoys all the book fuss. My husband who isn't a reader but an action man actually finished the entire 412 pages of TFD recently and said he loved the scenes between Lael and Ian among other things. Since he's honest to a fault I took this as a good sign. My boys, ages 10 and 12, haven't read it but think it's interesting to have a mom who's an author.

What exciting things is God doing in your life right now? Words of encouragement you’d like to leave with your readers?

God has become so real to me in so many ways through this sometimes difficult, always emotional writing journey. He planted the dream in my heart to write when I was just seven years old and since then there were many desert years when I nearly gave up on the dream. I had no agent, no writing contacts, no writer's conferences, no computer skills - nothing! But He proved to me that He was all I needed and He opened every door to publication. He's shown me that he loves me in a personal way through my writing and that I can trust Him with all things, even a cherished writing dream. If you have a writing dream, or any dream, that you feel He has put in your heart, please rest in His timing and incredible ability to overcome any obstacle. If He did it for me He can do it for you. I'm living proof! Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4


Laura Frantz said...

Thank you so much for asking such interesting questions and letting me share my heart and love for Christ through the written word. Connecting with other readers and writers like you is such a privilege!

Mocha with Linda said...

Love the interview!!