Y'all, Laura Frantz is the woman who inspires me to be a better writer. Not only is her prose absolutely gorgeous, but her stories are so raw and honest, so immersive, and so true to their setting. I simply can't get over the quality of her writing and her commitment to writing authentic faith-filled fiction, and suffice it to say I'm always prompted to write better after reading one of her works!
So imagine my immense joy and gratitude when Mrs. Laura agreed to be interviewed by me! *squeals incessantly* I am beyond honored to have Laura Frantz on my blog today, and I hope y'all enjoy learning about her and her writing journey!
What first inspired you to write?
I couldn’t find enough historical fiction as a child so decided to pen my own 😊And even as an adult I write the novels I love to read but can’t find on the shelf.
What are some of the driving forces behind you and your writing now?
I really believe writing is ministry. As a Christian everything I do is for God’s glory including writing. I feel he gifted and equipped me to write novels which are somehow, in some miniscule way, part of His unfathomable plan here on earth.
Can you name any authors who have inspired your voice in different ways? How can you see their influence in your writing?
Jane Eyre found me in college and I read it twice when I rarely reread anything. Then I discovered The Blue Castle by Lucy Maud Montgomery, author of Anne of Green Gables, etc. Christy by Catherine Marshall is another that had a profound effect on me & my writing. I also read a lot of badly written books that showed my how not to write.
What are some of your most favorite books/genres—to read and to write?
I confess to being stuck in a historical fiction rut but happily so! Even with dual-timeline novels, I sometimes skim the contemporary parts & just read the history. So many great contemporary novels out there I need to add to my list but reading time is always hard to come by.
What do you do when you aren’t writing?
I love to cook, take long walks, water aerobics, write letters, and read. Never enough reading time!
Looking back, what has changed for you as a writer—be it how you write or what you write about?
I’ve learned more about historical romance as a genre. My debut novel, The Frontiersman’s Daughter, broke romance rules as my hero comes in mid-book or so. It’s more a coming of age novel. I also didn’t get inside my hero’s head and write from that perspective till my third novel. The Colonel’s Lady. Ever learning here! Truly, writing is a craft where no one is ever a master but always an apprentice 😊 as someone already said.
All of your novels are set (or at least partially set) in colonial-era America—what drew you to that setting?
Probably my boredom with other time periods! Crazy, huh? Colonial America was one big, roiling explosion waiting to happen in the case of our American independence, especially. Everything leading up to it and after it is truly the stuff of novels. I have a hundred or so 18th-century novel ideas but my age is against me!
Your latest novel, A Heart Adrift, just released this month! Could you tell me what inspired the story?
A lifelong love of chocolate & a dream of having a seafaring hero. The trouble is, women on ships was taboo back then, often a sign of bad luck, so I had to keep my hero on land to further his courtship!
Coming next is your second Scottish novel, right? What can you tell us about it?
I have the swooniest Scottish hero ever right down to his name but no spoilers 😊 Our heroine is, of course, English. Therein lies the start of the conflict…
What does your writing process typically look like?
Sadly, a lot of time is taken up with social media. If I didn’t have that commitment I could probably write 2 or more books a year. So finding time to write varies. No day looks the same. I prefer longhand drafts and one of my favorite parts of the process is transferring all that is handwritten into a word doc chapter by chapter. Editing is my least favorite thing as I love the first draft love affair. But I value how editing strengthens the story in the end.
How do you research your novels?
I take a global approach to research – what was happening in the world during the time period I’m writing then narrow it down to where my novel takes place and all the movers and shakers therein.
Which book was the easiest to write, and which was the hardest? Where did you stumble and second-guess yourself?
Courting Morrow Little was easiest to write as I love the frontier setting and that novel has a unique twist. The hardest was Love’s Fortune in The Ballantyne Legacy series. I’m not a big fan of the 19th-century and don’t know that much about it. But researching steamboats actually proved fascinating and I love the characters though that was the book that required the most rewrites on my end.
Out of all of your books, which one is your favorite? Why? (Bonus question: who’s your favorite character?)
That’s like picking my favorite child and I can’t do it 😊 I will say I prefer my heroes to my heroines. I only have a brother and raised sons so maybe that helps flesh out those male characters. And I’ve always loved a good Western. One of my favorite heroes is Colonel Cass McLinn in The Colonel’s Lady. First time I’d ever written a novel from the hero’s perspective. Quite eye-opening to climb into that conflicted hero’s head!
What do you want, most of all, for readers to take away from your books?
Some sort of spiritual truth, foremost. All else is dross, really. Publishers Weekly says my novels are ‘spiritually subtle’ but truth is always woven in.
Have you ever endured any discouragement as an author? If so, what inspired you to persevere?
Some of the finest writers I know sell the least amount of books. I don’t count myself in that category but I once thought that higher quality writing resulted in more readers and books sold. I have author friends who leave me in awe of their work who struggle to find readers. I still don’t understand that. And I’m amazed at how hard it is to find readers even when you’re a modest success. What helps me persevere is that while we’re all about numbers here on earth, God is certainly not, neither in church size nor books sold. He alone is in charge of any earthly success – or not. His purposes and glory prevail.
What are your greatest aspirations for your future, be it as a person or as a writer?
The best job I’ve ever had is being a wife and mom. No publishing career comes close even if I was a NYT bestseller which I’m not. The older I become the more important it is for me to grow in my relationship with Christ. Period.
What has being a writer taught you?
That any writing ability I have is pure gift. I didn’t make myself a writer. I didn’t even want to be one. I wanted to be a professional ballerina or a violinist. Good thing we’re not in charge of our giftings! I never lose sight of the fact that every word I write is on loan from God.
What are your thoughts for other aspiring writers on writing and publishing?
I was telling someone yesterday that every author I know in traditional publishing got there because they refused to give up. I’ve only been in the publishing world for 15 years but can say without a doubt that those who persevere in their giftings win in the end. That said, the outcome might not look anything like you dream or hope. Publishing is a journey whether indie or traditional and definitely an adventure!
About the Author
Laura Frantz is passionate about all things historical, particularly the 18th-century, and writes her manuscripts in longhand first. Her stories often incorporate Scottish themes that reflect her family heritage. She is a direct descendant of George Hume, Wedderburn Castle, Berwickshire, Scotland, who was exiled to the American colonies for his role in the Jacobite Rebellion of 1715, settled in Virginia, and is credited with teaching George Washington surveying in the years 1748-1750. Frantz lives and writes in a log cabin in the heart of Kentucky. According to Publishers Weekly, "Frantz has done her historical homework." With her signature attention to historical detail and emotional depth, she is represented by Janet Kobobel Grant, Literary Agent & Founder, Books & Such Literary Agency of Santa Rosa, California. Readers can find Laura Frantz at www.laurafrantz.net.