Welcome to Readers Write to Know! I asked you, my readers, what questions they would ask their favorite authors if given the chance. This week, I am so pleased to introduce you to Darlene Franklin. I loved this interview. I love that Darlene has devoted her talents to God even now, while in a nursing home. She has had an incredible writing career, and I am so blessed to have her with us today.
Tell us a little bit about yourself: Best-selling author 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 forty books and has written more than 250 devotionals. Her historical fiction ranges from the Revolutionary War to World War II, from Texas to Vermont.
Tell us about your current release:
Becky Patterson escapes the stifling life at her father’s parsonage for an exciting life as a mail-order bride. . .only to learn her potential is a part-time preacher, Jake Underwood. Her dreams of working alongside Jake in his store stall when an itinerant preacher wants to ordain him as pastor of the growing church. Will Becky accept God’s calling on her life—or will she reject Jake’s love and the future God has planned for them?
If you knew ahead of time your book would benefit only one person on their spiritual journey, would you still write it? What a difficult question! If that one person lived a hundred years in the future, then I would say yes. (I have a favorite quote: Don’t write for the 100 books who read your book, or the 10 people who’ll read it in 10 years, but for the 1 person who reads it in 100 years.) But as I get older, with little assurance of how long I will have a mind clear enough to write, the more I realize what limited time I have left to write. Would I write to benefit one—or write something else, hoping to benefit more? Because I might not have time to do both. And we’re talking about benefits and not sales. If a book will only sell one copy, then, no. I lose time and money (expenses).
How do you push past the fear of your writing being average and be bold enough to sell it to a publisher(or agent or audience if you self publish)? At first, I was too inexperienced to know how poor my writing was, and I sent it everywhere. I met with other writers face to face (before digital communications were common) and they encouraged me when I was rejected, yet again. I was encouraged by published writers and editors at conferences, people who read my work, liked it, and said it was good enough to publish. I just might not have my market right. In fact, my first book contract from such a meeting with Tracie Peterson, who represented Heartsong at the time. I also entered contests—and won a few. That encouraged me. I asked God many times (I still do) if I should quit writing—the learning curve took me twelve years before my first book contract. Every time I asked, God said, “Not yet. You need to write . . .” I wrote in obedience to God, trusting the ultimate publication to Him. Most of those early books haven’t been published, BTW. I still believe I’m a fairly average published author. I describe my situation this way: look at professional sports. Only a small handful people get to play pro football and get paid for it. And of them, we mostly only know the superstars. But every single one of them is lucky to play at all. I figure I’m one of the pool of bit players who’s privileged to write Christian fiction.
Who was your first Screen/Musical Crush? Oh, Ilya Kuryakin on The Man from U.N.C.L.E. I remember cleaning the church with my mother and my best friend, making up stories about the series. Seeing David McCallum again drew into NCIS right away. After that it was Dr. McCoy on classic Star Trek, Manolito Montoya on High Chaparral. Shall I go on?
How did you determine whether to self-publish or seek a traditional publisher? I’ve always been a huge supporter of traditional publishing, because you have to learn your craft and learn marketing to sell to a print publisher. Also, self-publishing when I started meant paying for the printing costs up front and figuring out how to market to retailers—nothing I was able to do. Having said that, I understand that there are fewer opportunities now. E-publishing is fairly easy. When Heartsong closed, I jumped into self-publishing myself. I still think many writers go into it before they’re ready.
Do you have pre-determined length in mind when you first begin a book? Oh, my, yes. That comes from writing to length for traditional publishers, both fiction and non-fiction. The length of the book determines how long I need to write it, and how I plan it. No, going to another question (plotter or pantser), I’ve converted to more of a pantser than a plotter. I still have a basic story idea, characters, an obvious ending (I do write romance, after all); and I decide the number of chapters and the basic thrust of each chapter.
Find Darlene’s books:
I’m so grateful for your visit, today.