Greetings from Sarah Sundin in California! What a joy to interview Darlene Franklin, who has written over fifty books despite life circumstances that would lead most writers to give up. But not Darlene! Her story, her faith, and her cheerful attitude will inspire and challenge you.
Darlene, please tell us about your book All Roads Lead Home.
All Roads Lead Home is an historical romance novella set in 1928 Waynoka, OK. The heroine is waitress for the local Harvey House and catches for a ladies’ softball team. The hero is an engineer for the railroad. When Charles Lindbergh arrives in town with plans to build a hub for a transcontinental airline in their town, the couple struggles to find their footing in light of the changes.
What surprised you the most during the research or writing of your book?
When one book is tough to write, it’s always a relief when the next one goes easily! My last release, All Roads Lead Home, had taken determination in the face of computer problems. I had to rewrite some sections four times, due to my computer!
Imagine my relief and joy when the first four chapters of Puss ‘n’ Boots practically wrote themselves. I was also surprised when my heroine asked me to name her after my first great-grandbaby and her mother (Brilynn Alyvia and Shannon Bailey). I’ve never used family names with my characters before.
What fun! How has God used the message of your book in your own life?
In Puss ‘n’ Boots both the hero and heroine are struggling with a sense of calling/confidence in that calling. That’s the story of my writing career.
I began writing in 1991. I didn’t get my first book contract for twelve years. Several times, I asked God, should I continue writing? Now, as my health wanes, writing grows more difficult. I still ask God, should I continue writing?
The answer, both then and now, remains the same: I’m meant to write this book. He’ll let me know about tomorrow’s books tomorrow.
He’s the light to our path—but usually only one step at a time. What’s your favorite scene in this book?
Thomas the tiger cat raced down the street following a kitten, and his human followed. Kitten and cat, man and woman, meet in the playful opening scene. She takes in every stray, feline and human, and he looks like a transient who’s camping out in an abandoned shack.
Sounds cute! How do you share Christ in your writing?
I can’t not share Him. He’s part of me. Some of my books are more obvious about it than others, but He’s always there.
What themes do you return to again and again in your writing?
God can transform the worst that life throws our way. There is always hope.
I love that, Darlene. Why do you love writing?
I love coming up with story ideas. Writing has given me a way to share the lessons God is teaching me, through both fiction and nonfiction.
When did you first recognize God’s call to write for Him?
In some ways, I’ve always wanted to write. (I listed “author” as one of five career choices when I was ten.) I began writing seriously, as in every day, in the wake of my divorce. I wanted to share the lessons God was teaching me. That book wasn’t published, but it sparked a career-long interest in devotional writing and had me hooked. I never stopped.
Eric Liddell said it best, in Chariots of Fire: “I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me run fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure.” Substitute “write” for “run/run fast,” and that’s how I feel.
Do you have an unfulfilled dream?
I would love to be able to travel. My health prohibits lengthy trips, and I don’t have the supplies at hand to make even day trips viable.
That’s the one that jumps to mind. God has transformed most of my dreams into different ones. For instance, whenever I’m tempted to tell God, “I wanted to be a missionary,” He tells me, “I’ve brought the world to Your door.” I’ve had close friends from six continents over the years.
Everyone struggles with time management in our 24/7 world. How do you stay disciplined and meet your deadlines?
People are amazed that I write as much as I do since I live in a nursing home. My secret: I write something every day and plan ahead. I never write as much as I want to. Two thousand words a day is a rarity. Nevertheless, I managed to write seven novellas last year, a book of 365 prayers as well as assorted other pieces. So it adds up. Consistency and planning are key,
I must never complain about time again. Darlene, most writers have a love affair with libraries. Tell us about your favorite library memory.
I began exploring mainstream fiction when I first began using the adult section of the library. I would grab a book, run to the reading room, eat a snack and read a book. I remember a particularly memorable book about Cortez’s Aztec mistress. Shocked? Leon Uris and Brock and Boede Thoene later also fueled interest in historic fiction.
Please tell us about your next project.
I’ve recently written two retold fairy tales (Mermaid’s Song and Cinderella’s Boot), so my mind flew to Puss ‘n’ Boots when I was invited to write a novella for a collection featuring kittens. Bootsie is a long-haired white kitten peeking out of the top of a pair of flopping fishermen’s boots. My hero’s father left him a fishing shack and a boat in his will. As far as the setting, I settled on East Boothbay, Maine, my parents’ home for three decades.
That sounds absolutely adorable!
Writing for Him,