Thursday, November 17, 2011

November Feature Author: Laura Frantz – Interview & Book Giveaway


I am SO excited to have for you today, Christian historical fiction author, Laura Frantz! Laura is just the nicest lady and the author of "The Colonel's Lady" - which is -if you've been following our blog you'll already know - one of my favourite favourite books. (See my review.) "The Colonel's Lady" is her latest book release. Her two previous books, "The Frontiersman's Daughter" and "Courting Morrow Little" were both Carol Award finalists.

We're giving away a copy of Laura's book "The Colonel's Lady", see the end of this interview for how to enter. Would make a lovely Christmas present for yourself, or someone else :)

1. Thanks so much Laura for joining us on our blog today. Can you tell us a bit about yourself? Any hobbies you have?

Oh, Helen, thanks so much for hosting me here. I’ve become quite a fan of your sisterly blog, so much so that I wish I had a Helen or Jess instead of one brother, wonderful as he is :)! Love the questions you’ve asked. As for hobbies, I love to write, obviously, and cook, bake, do cross-stitch, and be with my family. Only not in that order! I love to take walks and be in the woods or by the ocean. I’m so thrilled with the natural world and see the Creator everywhere.

Helen: We're so humbled that you're a fan of our blog! We do love doing this blog together.  The internet is a blessing that we can do a project like this even though we live miles apart. And that we can meet with lovely people such as yourself!

2. Your latest book, "The Colonel's Lady" instantly became one of my absolutely favourite books, and largely because of the faint-worthy Colonel McLinn! What resources do you utilise when creating your heroes? 

Thanks for being smitten with McLinn! I confess I am, too. As far as creating memorable heroes, I really don’t know how it’s done, except that I imagine myself the heroine in my books and enjoy discovering what makes my heroes tick, so to speak. I always cover a project with prayer which really helps created godly heroes, or heroes that grow in godliness. Redeemable heroes are delicious :) to write and then read.

3. What has drawn you to write historical fiction?

Reading historical fiction. I’ve been a fan since I was a little girl, always choosing history over anything else. Guess I’m kind of hard-wired that way. I rarely read contemporary books but gobble up history, biographies, old journals and letters, historical fiction, etc.

Helen: I love history too! But took me a long time to discover that there was such a thing as historical fiction .. and then when I did, it was like, "Wow, this is just the best thing ever!" :)

4. How much time do you usually spend on the research element for your books? Do you visit locations and conduct interviews?

It seems like I do more researching than reading fiction. Nearly every day I’m researching which is hard to keep track of because it’s not like work to me. I have a hard time turning the research off! My little house is overflowing with history books, mostly of the early American or colonial periods, which are my favorites.

5. Can you tell us about any of your current works in progress, and any books that are coming out soon?

My next book will release in September of 2012 and I’m a bit giddy as I wait for a title and cover any day now. My publisher is known for their beautiful covers and they never disappoint so please stay tuned… This upcoming one is a rags to riches story of an apprentice and two sisters, both of whom fall in love with him. He only chooses one, of course, and lots of historical fireworks ensue!


Helen: Love the sound of this new book! Hmmm ... two sisters, hey? ... ooh the intrigue!

**Make sure you check out Laura's blog, she has announced her new book title there this week!**

6. What books did you read as a teenager?

Ever heard of Victoria Holt? She was the queen of romantic suspense in my day and was so prolific, writing under a variety of pen names. I just adored her writing and still have some of her books. I think that’s why my books have a suspenseful element in them, thanks to her. I read anything historical I could get my hands on really, even the “bodice rippers” back then, something I don’t do now. I’ve been convicted to keep my mind and heart clean for the Lord and since there’s so much God-honoring fiction out there it’s easy to do.

Helen: No, I haven't heard of Victoria Holt.  But you're right, it's so wonderful to have such a vast and diverse array of Christian fiction. 
 
7. Whose writing do you admire?

My favorite historical writers are Liz Curtis Higgs, James Alexander Thom, and Allan Eckert. Heavy historical reading with the last two but stellar stories. I learn so much when I read these three authors – about history and the craft of writing excellent fiction. Allan Eckert was a friend of mine who recently passed away and I’m sad no more will come from his pen. But he leaves a wonderful legacy of books.

8. When you get writers block, what do you do to try and get out of it?

I’m afraid I’m one of those writers who have writer’s flood instead of block! I have a hard time shutting the writing channel off. Sometimes I do have trouble deciding which path a plot should take. Then I take a long walk. I try to walk 2-3 miles a day normally. Research says walking or exercise in general boosts creativity and I really think this is true. Some of my best ideas come while walking and I have to keep a pen and paper handy :). Plus walking is a great anecdote to writer’s rear, the old author malady.

Helen: Oh you're one of those blessed people without writers block! I'm a Class A procrastinator, prone to getting bogged down with semantics and it freezes my ability to write.   Definitely taking note of your walking advice :)

9. If you could be any fictional book character for a day, who would you be, and why?

Oh, what a wonderful question! I think I’d be Margaret in North&South, the novel by Elizabeth Gaskell. I love the BBC drama of the same. She falls in love with John Thornton and it’s quite a story!


Helen: You really have my curiosity peaked regarding this North & South! Since you mentioned it to me before, I've bought the DVD and just waiting for a good time to watch it with Jess. Hopefully this Christmas :)
 
10. What do you know about Australia, and is there anything in particular you would like to see if you came for a visit?

I’m so curious about Vegemite. Did I spell that right? I’ve heard it’s an acquired taste but it sounds so good. Kind of like American peanut butter? Not sure. My grandmother toured Australia years ago and fell in love with it. I remember her talking about it when she returned. I think it’s charming that people refer to it as “Oz.” I didn’t know that until recently. I’m so thrilled my books are in some Australian and New Zealand libraries! That’s so humbling and inspiring. And I’ve been able to connect with readers like you and that means so much to me. You’re the best! And God bless you.

Helen: Vegemite, yes you spelt it correctly! I think it must be an acquired taste, but we don't notice since we're reared on the stuff.  I mean literally.  All our kids are having it on their toast almost as soon as they start solids.  Interestingly enough, they don't flinch or look surprised on their first taste - they just take it right in their stride.  I think you will find it's nothing like American peanut butter.  I don't know how that tastes, but one thing I hear from all Aussies who have been to the US is that your food is generally sweeter than ours (even bread).  And vegemite is not sweet.  I wouldn't call it sour though ... I actually don't know how to describe it! A common mistake is to try it for the first time with a spoon, and this is just wrong wrong! It should be tried on toast - sparingly - and with butter.

Thanks again so much, Laura, for doing this interview with us :) It's such a pleasure to be able to promote you and your wonderful books to our readers - many of them Aussie!


Find Laura on the Web

http://www.laurafrantz.net


Laura's Books

The Frontiersman's Daughter
Lovely but tough as nails, Lael Click is the daughter of a celebrated frontiersman. Haunted by her father's former captivity with the Shawnee Indians, as well as the secret sins of her family's past, Lael comes of age in the fragile Kentucky settlement her father founded. Though she faces the loss of a childhood love, a dangerous family feud, and the affection of a Shawnee warrior, Lael draws strength from the rugged land she calls home, and from Ma Horn, a distant relative who shows her the healing ways of herbs and roots found in the hills. But the arrival of an outlander doctor threatens her view of the world, God, and herself--and the power of grace and redemption.
Courting Morrow Little
Morrow Little is haunted by the memory of the day her family was torn apart by raiding Shawnee warriors. Now that she is nearly a grown woman and her father is ailing, she must make difficult choices about the future. Several men--ranging from the undesired to the unthinkable--vie for her attentions, but she finds herself inexplicably drawn to a forbidden love that both terrifies and intrigues her. Can she betray the memory of her lost loved ones--and garner suspicion from her friends--by pursuing a life with him? Or should she seal her own misery by marrying a man she doesn't love? This sweeping tale of romance and forgiveness will envelop readers as it takes them from a Kentucky fort through the vast wilderness to the west in search of true love.

The Colonel's Lady
In 1779, when genteel Virginia spinster Roxanna Rowan arrives at the Kentucky fort commanded by Colonel Cassius McLinn, she finds that her officer father has died. Penniless and destitute, Roxanna is forced to take her father's place as scrivener. Before long, it's clear that the colonel himself is attracted to her. But she soon realizes the colonel has grave secrets of his own--some of which have to do with her father's sudden death. Can she ever truly love him?


Book Giveaway!

Ok, here's your chance to win "The Colonel's Lady"!  This is a beautiful book which I heartily recommend, so make sure you get your name in the draw.

To enter the competition, you just need to complete the form below.  Entries must include a valid email address, or we won't be able to contact you if you win!

All information provided remains confidential and will not be given to any third party.  Your email address will only be used by Book Review Sisters to contact you in the event that you win.

If you are contacted and advised you are the winner, you will have 1 week to provide us with the address for postage of your prize.

Entries close Thursday 24th November 2011

Optional Extra Entries!
  1. "Like" our Book Review Sisters Facebook and get 1 bonus entry in the draw
  2. Follow us on Twitter and get 1 bonus entry in the draw
  3. Follow us with Google Friend Connect (see left sidebar) and get 1 bonus entry in the draw
  4. Tweet about this post and get 1 bonus entry in the draw
If you opt in for any of these bonus entries, please indicate so by ticking the appropriate boxes on the form.

Please also leave a comment on the post after filling out the entry form.  Laura (and we!) would love your feedback and to know you've dropped by.


12 comments:

  1. Nice interview! Vegemite - peanut butter - LOL! I will have to head over to koorong soon i think for some of Laura's work.

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  2. Oh, this is great! Waving at Megan:) I'm so honored to be here and thank you from the bottom of my heart! Here's hoping this comment goes through. Am trying under anon...
    Bless u bunches,
    Laura

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  3. Thanks Laura and Helen for a wonderful interview. I'm with you Laura - North and South is a wonderful book and the BBC adaptation of it is truly worth a viewing. I can't wait to get my hands on a copy of 'The Colonel's Lady' and your next book sounds equally intriguing.

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  4. I really enjoyed reading your interview with Laura. She is one of my most favorite writers, and such a dear sweet lady. I've read other interviews, but this was one of the best. Thank you. Gertie Pridmore

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  5. Megan - definitely, take a look at Laura's books, they are so beautifully written you just lose yourself in them :)

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  6. Laura - yay!! So glad you've been able to work out a way to post!

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  7. Rebecca & Gertie - so glad you liked the interview :) We're so pleased to be able to feature Laura here. Gertie you are right, she is one sweet lady!

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  8. Oh, it's so wonderful to see Gertie here - she's been such a blessing to me and is church librarian in Florida. Makes me want to get to Florida so badly and take her to lunch! It's so nice to meet Rebecca here:) A fellow North&South fan! I loved reading your commentary, Helen, and am SO intrigued with Vegemite!
    Bless you all,
    Laura

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  9. Wishing you both wonderful careers, your books covers are absolutely beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing your talents.
    Bobbe oceanpearl@q.com

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  10. You know Laura, I can't even begin to describe vegemite ... how sad is that, for a wannabe writer! If I tell you it's a yeast extract, might put you off entirely :P

    Bobbe - thanks so much for your lovely comments and for coming by our blog :)

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  11. Bobbe, So happy to see you! It's great meeting some of Helen's friends/blog buddies:) So appreciate your kind comments.

    Helen, We will feast on Vegemite when I come over;) So interesting that you put butter on the toast first! We have something called Nutella here that is made of hazelnuts but it is sickeningly sweet. So much of what Americans eat is made of sugar like you said. I am sure you Australians are a much healthier bunch!

    Thanks so much for being here and doing this wonderful post/giveaway:) It means more than I can say.

    Bless you all!

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  12. Hi Laura and everyone!

    So glad you'll all here and enjoying Laura's interview! Good job ladies! I'm really keen to read one of your books Laura. I haven't had the chance yet, I'm hoping when I see Helen at Christmas I'll snag The Colonel's Lady off her!

    Jess :)

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