It was my absolute pleasure to interview Laura Frantz, author of The Frontiersman's Daughter, Courting Morrow Little and the just released, The Colonel's Lady, for the July edition of FamilyFiction's digital magazine.
Enjoy the full interview with Laura :)
Please share the inspiration behind The Colonel’s Lady
Two years ago, I was visiting Locust Grove, the Kentucky estate that was the home of 18th-century hero, George Rogers Clark, and fell in love with a painting of him. He was quite the man with his legendary height and those red locks! But his life was tragic in many respects as he never married and struggled with alcoholism despite his many accomplishments. As I stood before that portrait, I thought that what he really needed was the love of a good woman and his Saviour. So I created Roxanna Rowan and gave him a better, happily ever after, eternal ending. It was a joy to do!
What was the most surprising information you discovered when researching TCL?
The unbelievable hardships Revolutionary War soldiers faced. Try going barefoot in deep snow with nothing to eat for days on end at Valley Forge - or being locked aboard a prison ship by the British! The fact America won that war was a miracle given the overwhelming hardships and obstacles. I also found it surprising/interesting to see the vital role women played during the period The Colonel’s Lady was written. Some became spies for the American side and died because of it. I’m sad that we’ve lost touch with so much of that noble history. Keeping it alive in readers’ heads and hearts is something I strive to do in my novels.
How difficult is it to put yourself in the shoes of an 18th century woman?
On a literal level, not hard at allJ. Recently I purchased a reproduction 18th-century gown and hat, pocket hoops, chemise, shoes, etc. When you don those clothes and hear the rustle of all that delicious silk, you get a glimpse of what it must have been like 200 years ago (for the gentry, anyway). To broaden my view of that tumultuous time and the women who lived back then, I read old diaries, letters, and biographies. The 18th-century was a very earthy, sensual period, seething with revolution and change. Colonial women were very different than their Victorian sisters!
What do you hope readers take away from The Colonel's Lady?
That God is ever-present no matter the difficulty you may be experiencing, even if you hate the dark place you find yourself in. He’s there and He will redeem it.
You have written some pretty memorable heroes. What defines a great literary hero, in your opinion?
A great literary hero is willing to accept a challenge greater than himself and overcome great obstacles to master it, nearly failing, and then triumphing, perhaps sacrificing himself in the process. Memorable heroes are such fun to create. I believe it helps if the author falls in love with the hero on the page. If that happens, the reader will likely follow.
What kind of story can we expect from you next time?
I’m switching gears in a huge way, leaving Kentucky and settling in Pennsylvania for a new series titled, The Ballantyne Legacy. It’s a mail- order groom type story involving an apprentice and two sisters. This new book is much more dialogue-driven than my more narrative works, something that surprised me at first, but I’m okay with now. Pennsylvania history is so rich that it’s easy to draw a series from. I’m becoming quite fond of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh!
Do you think you will ever write a contemporary story?
Oh, hope not! I fear I would sound so very dated :) I have to ask my sons to turn on the TV for me as I can’t figure out the remotes! And I don’t own a cell phone. So you can see how challenging crafting a contemp would be for me. There are so many fine contemporary writers out there who would put me to shame. Some, like Susan Meissner, blend history and contemporary so well. I’m afraid I find the past so fascinating that this age holds little appeal for me. My wish is to continue to write historicals till He calls me home, and then continue in heaven!
We hope you enjoyed this FamilyFiction Plus and would love your comments!
Relz Reviewz Extras
All things Frantz @ Relz Reviewz
Visit Laura's blog
Buy Laura's books at Amazon or Koorong
Read FamilyFiction's July issue