Darlene Franklin’s greatest claim to fame is that she writes full-time from a nursing home. She lives in Oklahoma, near her son and his family, and continues her interests in playing the piano and singing, books, good fellowship, and reality TV in addition to writing. She is an active member of Oklahoma City Christian Fiction Writers, American Christian Fiction Writers, and the Christian Authors Network. She has written over thirty books and has written more than 250 devotionals. Her historical fiction ranges from the Revolutionary War to World War II, from Texas to Vermont.
What five words describe you?
According to a quick survey of my friends, “smiley” (another one said joyful), encouraging, talented, smart, determined. You didn’t expect me to list any negative qualities, did you?
What are you working on at the minute? What is it about?
A Reader’s Journey Through Matthew. It’s a seven week devotional from the perspective of an avid reader and writer of literature, timed especially for use during the Lenten season preparing for Easter. I’m 75% through the first edits.
Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from
your most recent book?
Maybe Greta Gerwig? I didn’t know her either, but I liked her picture from a list of actresses under 30 I found.
If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?
Ooh, maybe something fantastic of Lord of the Rings, just because of the power of the book. Or the first of one of my favorite mystery series, such as A is for Alibi by Sue Grafton or The Kill Artist by Daniel Silva. I would love to create such compelling characters that have kept readers coming back for 20+ books: Kinsey Millhone and Gabriel Allon.
What is the hardest thing about writing?
Getting started—the blank page, especially starting a new book.
Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?
You just write. Give yourself permission to write terribly, to write junk that you may later delete, or massage into something useable. I have learned to trust the process. Just write. You glue yourself to the chair and write. Period. For 10 minutes, 200 words at a time. It adds up. I know, writer's block implies you don't know what to write. Sometimes I will quit writing in mid-scene, with a few words about what comes next. So the next time I sit down to write, I have a starting point. I could quote a lot of tips – make sure each has conflict, resolution, and set up for the next scene—but I don’t think about my writing that way. When I don’t know what to do, I establish the setting—to give hints to the mood of the scene. My characters may have some internal dialogue, processing what happened in the last scene. I give them something to do while they’re meditating or talking.
Where would your dream location be for writing?
I would say in a quiet space, away from all distractions. The truth is that I work best around other people, to a certain extent. I like the sense of being with people, but I dislike too many interruptions.
When creating characters, are they based on people in your life?
Absolutely not. Occasionally I will borrow a characteristic from a real person, but my characters are defined by the story world I create.
Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?
I read the reviews, each and every one that I can find. How can I respond? I wince and ignore and hope intelligent readers will laugh when a reviewer complains that my books are Christian. How to deal with the bad: I don’t handle them well. I hurt, I question my writing. That’s the time to reach for my “warm fuzzy” file, where I keep emails and reviews that really affirm me. Like a reviewer saying Christmas Visitors is one of the top five books he has ever read!
If you couldn't be a writer, what would you be?
A musician. That’s what I started out to be.
What would you tell your younger self that would have helped you in your writing career?
A good question. I don’t know what would have speeded my writing career; I learned so much by trial-and-error. If I said, concentrate on romance and devotions, would I have developed the skill to write them earlier? Would I have said, you will get there, but at a cost you might not like, and certainly not on your time table? Don’t get me wrong, I love writing, but it’s hard.
Where can we buy your books?
This month is one of those months when everything has come together: the two books I mentioned above officially released on February 1st. I also just released my historical novella, My Candy Valentine. Gilbert Williams sweeps Catrina Jensen off her feet when he arrives in Loveland, Oklahoma, shortly after New Year’s Day 1916. When the reason for his interest in her delicious candies is revealed, her affection turns to fear. Is her hero a traitor in disguise?
Click on the titles to access the books.
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