Thursday, July 15, 2010

A Birthday Party for Laura Frantz and Courting Morrow Little!! - GIVE AWAY!


Laura Frantz is no stranger to my Window! I first came to know her through her debut novel, The Frontiersman's Daughter and I was absolutely compelled by her storytelling! You can read my interview with her HERE.

Now it is time to celebrate her latest novel, Courting Morrow Little! You will absolutely fall in love with these characters and experience first-hand what life was like on the frontier of Kentucky! Laura is celebrating in a big way today, so please help me welcome her to my Window! And stick around...she is bringing some GREAT gifts!

What kind of research was needed to recreate life on the Kentucky frontier in the late 1700’s?

Good question, Kim! Research is a historical author’s best friend. I was steeped in Kentucky history class beginning in 4th grade. My teacher wrote and reminded me of this recently after reading my first book, The Frontiersman’s DaughterJ. I’ve always had a love of the 18th-century and how they did things the old-fashioned way. So research is easy for me and there are so many great books out there to help deepen and enrich your story.

Do you recognize a modern-day equivalent to the prejudice that was once held against the “savages” in your story? Do you think we, as a people, will ever overcome prejudice?

Sadly, prejudice does still exist, even in Christian circles. When I think how open-hearted and loving Jesus was, I am saddened that we can’t seem to move past our barriers. My great-grandfather was Cherokee but my grandmother, his daughter, didn’t acknowledge this until she was in her 90’s. We know very little about him as he was kept a “secret.”

How do you so beautifully describe the scenery on the undeveloped frontier? Where do you gain your inspiration?

I’s so blessed to have a family who came into Kentucky in the very time period I write about – the late 18th-century. Growing up there, I lived and played on the very land Daniel Boone made home. Knowing this, I always had a rather wild imagination where those first settlers were concerned. I used to imagine that I was Daniel Boone’s daughter (he had several) and that I’d been born two hundred years too late! Now I see that God had a hand in placing me where I was ~ so that I could absorb the sights, sounds, and smells and write the stories of my heart and share them with readers like you.

How on earth do you create such delicious male characters? (I’m sorry, but there is simply no other adjective that fits!)

Oh, delicious is such a wonderful word! And I love that you’d say thatJ. I fall hard for all my heroes. They become so very real to me. If they are heart-stopping, I honestly can’t tell you how that happens! Writing is a gift and anything that works well comes from heaven itself, I think. Romance is so critical to a good book and the hero carries the responsibility for creating a heart-stopping scenario for both the heroine and the reader. It helps if an author builds those things into a hero that makes a heart melt ~ integrity, strength, purpose, passion.

You also build romantic tension to the point of ridiculous, and maddening!! I take it you are an extremely patient person? How do you stand to write it without rushing headlong into the longing the characters feel?

You sound like my editor. She said my characters don’t even have to be touching each other and things just sizzleJ. I’m all for the slow build-up and delayed courtship of yesteryear. When my husband and I were dating we spent a looooonnnnnnggggg time just holding hands (months), savoring only that. Sometimes he’ll say to me now, 26 years later, “Remember how wonderful it was to just hold hands?” Maybe that is reflected in my writing. There’s a lot to be said for restraining your emotions. I like for passion to unfold slowly for my characters (and myself) so maybe that’s the secret to the sizzle!

I love the way you describe things! For instance, “Her new life was like a patchwork quilt, bright and colorful and without pattern or order.” OR “Their shared talk and laughter seemed a living thing – warm and consoling, strengthening and healing.” OR “You’re like molasses to a winter-weary bear.” What is your favorite scene from this novel? What process do you go through to bring such vivid imagery to your stories?

Imagery is a tricky thing. Sometimes I have to think very hard to come up with that type thing. Sometimes I use too much of it and bog the story down. But I love words and the beauty of language. To me, one of the best compliments I ever received is that my writing is like music. Since I can’t take any credit for it, I’m so grateful God gives us the gift of beautifully written books. As for my favorite scene, I love when Red Shirt takes Morrow up into the mountains when her father isn’t lookingJ. A bit risqué back then though his intentions were honorable. He’s trying to see if she’ll go with him, if she’ll trust him. It’s a huge moment for her. There’s very little dialogue in that scene. I just let the beauty of the surrounding frontier take over and tell the story.

What do you hope readers will take away from this story after all that you put your characters through? (For me, this particular message rang clear: “The truth needn’t make you fearful. Just prayerful.”)

So much of life is out of our control, but always within God’s sovereign plan. He will redeem the bad things that happen to us though it may take years, just like Morrow. Her tragedy occurred when she was five years old. It took 15 years for her to recoup some of her losses by finding her brother and marrying a man she thought was the enemy. Every valley we experience is for our good and will result in blessing when God is with us.

Have you ever experienced anything similar to sleeping/living out in a wilderness setting? Camping? Hunting? Can you share that with your readers?

I have done a lot of traveling and camping, hiking and outdoor-type living. When I was a girl I swam in the Kentucky River and climbed the surrounding mountains just like those first settlers on a regular basis. That was wonderful fuel for my imagination! I’ve always wanted to participate in colonial reenactments but haven’t been able to do that yet. But I have some costumes (dresses, petticoats, aprons, bonnets) from my youth, only I don’t fit in them anymore!

What did you learn about yourself through the process of writing Morrow’s story?

Like Morrow, I am a fearful person. “Timorous” is the word I use to describe her. That’s meJ. I don’t like new experiences and prefer to stay safe. However, the publishing world has forced me out of my comfort zone. God has used my writing journey to help me break free of my fears and become the person He created me to be. Though it hasn’t been easy, I see his guiding hand and am so thankful.

What on earth will you write about next!? (are you already working on another project?)

My third book, tentatively titled The Colonel’s Lady, is due this month and will be released next summer. It’s my first story told from both my hero and my heroine’s point of view. This novel is also set in Kentucky in 1779-80 and involves a Revolutionary War hero and a spinster of 28. Hope you like Roxanna’s story just as much as Morrow’s!

Can you share some of the exciting things God is doing in your life right now?

The Christian life is never dull, is itJ!? The Lord is leading me to put my children into public school after homeschooling for years. And I’ve embarked on a musical journey with my 10 year old son, Paul, who seems to have some talent for the fiddle/violin. Mostly, God is teaching me to be content with where I am. Right now I’m living away from my home and family in Kentucky and am in Washington State. It’s very hard for me to be away from the places I write about and love. But God has a plan…

Closing words of encouragement you’d like to share with your readers?

First, I want to thank any who take time to read my stories. That means so much. Readers are really an author’s heartbeat! I learn so much from others – and from you, too, Kim with your wonderful questions! If you want to be published, and it’s the Lord plan for you, delight in Him and trust that He will give you the desires of your heart. It may take 40 years like it did for me, but He will make it happen if it’s His best for you. Keep writing ~ reading ~ and praying!

Laura brings a special Crabtree&Evelyn gift basket to share with readers today! Please, leave a comment on today's post, and you will be entered to win this incredible gift! Laura wants to share her enthusiasm about her latest release with her readers! Enjoy!


Virginia C said...

Hi, Laura and Kim! Laura, this is one of my favorites yet of all your interviews and posts. I learned more about you and your characters. Delightful! Congratulations on "Courting Morrow Little" : )

gcwhiskas at aol dot com

Laura Frantz said...

Hi Virginia and Kim! Two of my favorite folks are here to greet me this morning:) Bless you both! Thanks so much for this, Kim, and to you, Virginia, for being the first to arrive at the party! That makes me smile as I was thinking of you as this seems just your sort of post/giveaway. If you hadn't arrived, I was going to send you an email. Bless you for beating me to it! Will be fun to see who comes to the party today!

Kim said...

Thank YOU Laura for writing such amazing stories! I hope we have lots of fun today!

Julia M. Reffner said...

Happy birthday, Laura!! Hope you have a beautiful day! Or am I confused??

Kim, This was a beautiful review. You really have a way with words.

Virginia C said...

Hey, Laura : ) I hope that you continue to give more great interviews like this one with Kim. Your love of your subject--Early American History, your faith, and your lovely personality shine through as you answer each question. Reading your interviews is a prelude and an accompaniment to reading your books, and the reader will not be disappointed!

Laura Frantz said...

Lisa tried to leave a comment but couldn't so I thought I'd do it for her. So this one is for Lisa at Life with 4! Bless you.

Laura Frantz said...

Oh you aren't confused at all! It does sound like it might be my birthday but it's really Morrow's:) Mine is in April. Kim came up with the plan to host a birthday party for heroines of new books which is such a creative idea. So it's Morrow's day. And I just thought of something! In CML, she really did have a July birthday! Am I dizzy author or what! Just thought of that right now! She even had a party under the big elm with Lizzy and Jemima. What a happy coincidence:) Thanks so much for stopping by!

Laura Frantz said...

You always bless me so with your gracious words. They go a long, long way, dear friend:)

Michelle said...

I love the idea of having a birthday party for Morrow! It's great! Wonderful interview. The scene of Red Shirt taking Morrow into the mountains was one of my favorites too. I've reread it several times.

mchapman (at) windstream (dot) net

Laura Frantz said...

So good to see you here! Love that you love one of my favorite scenes:) Thanks so much for stopping by. Now I have to disappear for awhile as it's VBS this week! Back later.

Julia M. Reffner said...

Oh, how neat! Now I remember that scene, too.

Amanda Stanley said...

Oh Kim, your blog is SO cool! And great idea about a b-day party for heroines of new books! I'm SUPER happy to celebrate Morrow's today :D CML is my favorite book ever!!

Hi Laura!! How cute that Morrow's b-day really is in July! God always has sweet little blessings waiting for us throughout our day :) Oh, and I just love author interviews, especially when that author is YOU!!! And every interview of your's I've read has had such unique and diverse questions- I learn something new every time! And your answers are such a blessing and encouragement :) Thank you again for writing such AMAZING books and characters that capture the heart :) OH, and I can't wait to have my heart captured by a certain Colonel ;)

Praying you both have a beautiful day!!

Amanda Stanley

Regina Merrick said...

What a great interview! Every time I read an author interview, even with one I follow closely, I find out more interesting things! I loved that you included "my" verse from Psalm 37 as advice to writers - "Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart!" It's really the only thing that keeps us going, isn't it?

Thanks so much for sharing of YOURSELF, Laura, and thank you, Kim, for celebrating Morrow's birthday!


Carla Gade said...

I can't tell you how many times I sighed just reading this post! These questions were so interesting and the responses, well, sigh. And no wonder you have a heart for half blood Indians in your stories.You have an amazing family heritage in so many ways.
Courting Morrow Little is one of the best books I've ever read! Thank you for sharing how you've grown through your experience of being published.

Happy Birthday, Morrow and Congratulations of her debut!

runner10 said...

Very informative post. I love Crabree & Evelyn products.


Heather said...

What a great giveaway! It's just perfect for Morrow. This is a great book and Laura is a wonderful writer and lovely person! I'm so glad she takes the time to create these worlds that her readers can get lost in~

Stacey said...

What a great interview! I love Laura's books. She is such a wonderful author. I can't wait for TCL to come out next summer!

No need to enter me for the gift basket. I don't use those types of lotions, but I still wanted to say "hi"!

God Bless!!

adge said...

These were wonderful questions. I have a little bit of Cherokee blood in my family as well, except it is farther back. The family disowned the person that married the Native American so they moved away to another state to start a life of their own.
I think it is interesting that each book is different. Do you think you would ever do a series?

Kav said...

What a fantastic interview and a fantastic site. Can't wait to dig in for more author 'reveals'. Laura, the light of Christ just shines from you!

Laura Frantz said...

Can you tell I'm overly involved with my Colonel McLinn and Roxanna in The Colonel's Lady to remember Morrow's birthday:) But delighted to be remembering it together:) That little party came so early in the book it's easy to forget:)

Laura Frantz said...

You are so right ~ God does have little blessings for us throughout the day just when we need them! And I'm so happy to hear you are ready to fall headlong for Colonel McLinn, red hair and all:) YES, isn't Kim's blog the best! Plus her southern hospitality shines through!

Laura Frantz said...

That is truly a precious verse ~ even moreso because it has special meaning to each one of us, as if tailor-made for each of us. So glad you stopped by! Will be glad when this deadline is over and I can get back to my blog visiting and reading. Whew! 2 weeks to go...

Laura Frantz said...

Oh Carla,
Your comments always enrich posts so very much. Busy as you are, you always manage to make time for others. I'm so blessed. Thanks so much for coming by!

Laura Frantz said...

It's always such a delight to see you, my Texas friend:) Thanks for looking forward to TCL. I have more exciting news about future books for you soon. How blessed I am to have readers like you!

Laura Frantz said...

Hi Runner10,
Aren't Crabtree&Evelyn products cool ~ so Morrow:) The summer collection is especially nice. Thx so much for stopping by!

Laura Frantz said...

Hi Adrienne,
It's amazing to me that so many of us have native ancestry. Your story, while sad, is fascinating. I hope they had a happy life together. On this very page, you, Heather, and myself have Indian ties.
YES, I would love to do a series:) Stay tuned...

Laura Frantz said...

What a lovely thing to say ~ thanks so much. If there's any light it truly is Him. I just see all the struggle and darkness oftentimes. Melancholy me, I'm afraid:) Or at least Pensive Me. I'm so thankful you are a reader. Kim's blog is just great. She's a fine writer herself!

Linda Henderson said...

I enjoyed your interview very much. You are a new author to me, but your book sounds wonderful. I can't wait to read it. My paternal grandmother was part Cherokee, so I've always been fascinated by native american culture.

seriousreader at live dot com

Unknown said...

Don't enter me in the contest. I just wanted to say that this book looks and sounds so good!! :) I can't wait to get my hands on it to read it! :)
God bless!

Cindy W. said...

I guess I'm late for the party. Looks like everyone had fun! Courting Morrow Little sounds like a wonderful book. I'll have to add it to my must read list.

Cindy W.


Sheri said...

This book looks great and the cover is beautiful. I haven't had a chance to read a book by Laura yet. Looks like I need to. . .



Anonymous said...

What a great idea--A Birthday Party for Laura Frantz and "Courting Morrow Little". Congrats on your book! Laurie

Laura Frantz said...

I just wanted to stop and say thank you to everyone who commented here. I wish I had a book and gift set for everyone here! Thanks so much for being an encouragement and for being so thoughtful and leaving comments. That sure blesses me. I thank God for each one of you!

KEGM said...

Crabtree an Evelyn is such a great company. I have some of their lotion on my desk at work. It smells so good. Happy birthday Morrow! LOL
Karen Miller

Kim said...

This has been a GREAT birthday party! Thanks for ALL of you who stopped by! The winner is....