Greetings from Colorado. Davalynn Spencer here, enjoying summer’s green carpet and evening rains in the high country. It’s my pleasure today to welcome author Darlene Franklin. Darlene has just reached an amazing milestone of 1 million books sold! That’s an incredible achievement. Darlene is visiting with us today, sharing about her featured book, New England Courtship.
Darlene, tell us a little about your book.
New England Courtship is the first book in the “Darlene Franklin Primer: the ABCs of Romance” series in which I delight in telling the stories of my native state, Maine.
Why did you write this book?
I recently made the decision to compile my 70-ish books and novellas into collections of my books only. The series is called, “A Darlene Franklin Primer: The ABCs of Romance.”
Each collection focuses on a different region of the country. I’m originally from New England, so New England seemed like the right place to start.
Each novella in New England Courtship has its own origin story. For example, Mermaid’s Song grew out of a challenge to write a retold fairy tale. The Little Mermaid cried out for Maine’s ocean setting for the book, and an Acadian lass bound for Louisiana was shipwrecked on the coast during the middle of the French and Indian War.
What surprised you the most during the research or writing of your book?
I’ve been surprised by how many people don’t know what states form New England. I guess it makes sense. It’s one of those facts we learn in school. But unless you’re from New England, or a history nut, it might not stick. I was born in New Hampshire and lived in Massachusetts before growing up in Maine. The other three New England states are Vermont, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.
What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
That believers can trust God to see them through anything. New England Courtship covers many aspects of New England life: Colonial Days and the French-Canadian influence in Mermaid’s Song; the Revolutionary War that pitted brother against brother in Prodigal Patriot; the northernmost skirmish of the Civil War in Love’s Raid; cotton mills in The Christmas Child; and Boston in the 1960s in The Drummer’s Angel. Faith sees families and communities through all kinds of problems.
Why do you love writing?
I love the creativity of writing, of coming up with story ideas, specific lines, and words. Of seeing God’s love and grace play out over and over again.
Why do you write in this genre?
I used to laugh that God chose a divorced woman to write romance. But I’ve decided it’s a lifelong calling. My name means “beloved.” God called me into experiencing and sharing the life-changing news of His life at my birth. I can write successfully about human love because I have experienced God’s abundant love to the full.
What is one thing about writing that you wish non-writers knew?
Writing—for even successful writers—is not a key to wealth. You write because you have a passion to write, and scramble, and work hard to make money at it.
Do you have an unfulfilled dream?
God has just this summer fulfilled a lifelong dream of returning to school for a doctorate degree. I have actually looked into it a couple of times, but the programs weren’t quite what I wanted to study. Last month, I saw an ad for graduate programs at Liberty University. I asked for additional information. Within five minutes, they had called me and taken my application over the phone!
I will be working towards a PhD in Biblical Exposition, in a program that utilizes the inductive Bible study approach, which is what I learned in college and I truly believe is the best way to study the Bible. I’ll be studying Hebrew for the first time and revisiting Greek. I’m excited that the coursework covers the Bible from Genesis to Revelation.
I hope the degree will both increase my understanding and open doors to write more nonfiction, as well as teach.
What talents do you have aside from storytelling?
I’m also a musician, although my fingers are too gnarled to play well and COPD makes it difficult to sing. Sigh. I also love to play with color as I use paint pens to color pictures. I’m gifted with languages, so I anticipate Hebrew and Greek with pleasure.
Do you have a “day job” or a previous career? Does it influence what or how you write?
I worked in various office jobs, including ten years in the retail services department of Dish Network. God gave me the ministry of working in secular settings and learning how to share my faith with those who didn’t share it. I learned how to listen, how to share my testimony without preaching. People listen when faith is part of your life, and not just a sermon on how to escape hell. Ever since those years at Dish, wherever I go, I end up being the go-to person when my neighbors have a question about the Bible or want someone to pray with them.
I like to think my life experiences help me to express faith in my writing in a way that flows naturally and doesn’t feel forced or preachy. I do know that my co-workers, whether Hindu, Muslim, or atheist, enjoyed reading my books.
Tell us about your next project.
I am excited about the upcoming The Heart of the Midwife novella collection from Barbour, this coming October. In my story, Love’s Rebirth, Dr. Vaughan Strahan, wants to work with expectant mothers so others don’t die like his wife and child, but there is already a midwife working in the old mining district whose approval he is determined to win.
Thank you, Darlene. And congratulations on 1 million books sold!
To learn more about Darlene’s books, visit Darlene’s website.
May all that you read be uplifting.