It is my great pleasure to welcome author Laura Frantz to my blog today. Please join our conversation in the comments below. Laura is giving away a copy of her newest release, Love’s Reckoning, to one very lucky winner!
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I first met Laura in the pages of her novel, The Colonel’s Lady, and I became a big fan. At the time I read Laura’s book, I was beginning to feel I was ready to start pursuing my dream to write again, after we had our twins. Her book so enthralled me, I did something I’ve never done before, I went to an author’s website – and I stumbled across her blog.
I’ll never forget the moment I read the end of the third entry in Laura’s blog (shortly after she signed her first book contract), her words resonated in my writer’s heart and I was overcome with tears; I knew it was a divinely appointed time: “I am still stunned as I write this and I encourage anyone who might stumble upon this post to take heart and ...don't give up! If He planted the dream in your heart He won't leave you hanging. We have a Father who never fails.” That message was almost four years old, but it was lying there waiting for me to find it. I knew the time had come to start my own writing journey and her words were the encouragement I needed.
Imagine my stunned delight when Laura accepted my friend request on Facebook (the first author I’d ever requested!) and shortly thereafter committed to praying for my writing journey. She extended the hand of friendship and became one of my earliest blog followers. Her encouraging spirit, and belief in my writing, has propelled me much farther and much faster than I had ever dreamed possible. I thank God for introducing me to Laura Frantz. She’s quite a lady!
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Laura, welcome to my blog home! I’m so happy you’ve stopped by to chat and share a little about your newest release, Love’s Reckoning.
I’m so excited to be here, Gabrielle. Your site is one of my favorites, being fellow bibliophiles and history lovers and more!
Thank you! We do share many of the same interests and I know that’s why I love your books – and your blog – so much. In my introduction, I shared how I started my writing journey, could you tell us how you got started, and who has encouraged you along the way?
My Mom says she found me at my dad’s desk at age 7 writing a story about ships. Writing was just something that always felt like coming home to me – always a bit of magic involved, something otherworldly. When I found out I could step into a story like the ones I checked out at the library, I never wanted to leave that world behind. I still feel that same way as an adult. I wrote historical fiction throughout high school and college, taking a 5 year break when my kids were small and then resuming again. I’m most comfortable when I’m writing just for the sheer joy of it.
My biggest encourager would be my brother, Chris, a pastor and teacher in Spain. He dared me to try to publish something. I thought nothing would ever come of it so guess he had the last laugh! I went through the Writer’s Edge and was picked up by Revell in about 6 months. I’m still pinching myselfJ.
I’m so happy your brother encouraged you to seek publication and that you picked up writing after taking a break raising your small children. As you know, I’m a wife and a mother of four young children; figuring out how to keep it all balanced with my writing dream is a challenge, but I know it can be done well. What wisdom have you gained, about keeping your life balanced, can a new writer benefit from?
I believe nothing is as important as family or our relationship with God. As writers we have to be very careful to not let writing become an idol and take precedence. Even after publishing, it’s important to stay centered on Christ and the fact that He gave us the gift of writing for His glory, not our own. I always urge writer moms to pray about their schedules and ask the Lord to give them pockets of time in which to write. He will! And like you said, it can be done well if you lean on the Lord and He gives you balance, not burnout.
I’ve had to do just that, seek out those pockets of time to work on my book. Since February, I feel like I’ve been on a crash course in Writing 101! I’ve spent many hours learning as much as I can about writing and the publishing industry, but sometimes I wonder what I should focus my attention on. What do you think is the most important thing you’ve done for your writing career?
It may sound too simplistic but the best advice is to simply WRITE. Devote the bulk of your time to your story and characters and what the Lord wants to do through your story. I came to publishing 5 years ago without anything – no agent, no writing conference, no contests, no online presence, etc.I just tried to write the best story I was capable of and the door swung open in God’s time. There’s tremendous pressure today to be socially savvy regarding Twitter and Facebook and Blogger and other sites. But that can be a trap if we’re not careful and it can steal away valuable writing time. Another tip is to be a discerning reader. I learn more about stellar writing from reading authors who write better than I do than from any craft book, though craft books have their place.
I couldn't agree more and you've become one of my favorite authors to study, Laura. I had the privilege of reading your newest novel, Love’s Reckoning, and I’m anxious to share my review for it! It’s like a beautiful painting, with the perfect colors, shading and texture. It’s the first in a four series saga about the Ballantyne Family. Can you tell us a little about this book and the ones to come?
I’m truly itching to read your review, thank you! Set in Pennsylvania, The Ballantyne Legacy showcases one man’s choices in love and work, in friends and enemies, which sets the stage for generations to come. Love’s Reckoning is the first of four books beginning in the late 1700’s and following the Ballantyne family through the end of the Civil War. It’s sort of a mail order groom story with a handsome young Scotsman and two sisters. Watch out for some historical fireworksJ!
I can’t believe I have to wait another year to learn what happens with the next generation of Ballantyne’s! I hope my review did your lovely book justice.
Sometimes I think we imagine things to be far different than they actually are, especially when it comes to the writer’s life. So far, what has been the biggest surprise for you?
You’re so right – life pre and post publishing is quite different! The biggest surprise has been the amount of marketing and publicity involved. I’m not one of those writers who sell their books or self-promotes without pain. I’d much rather talk about you and what you’re doing or writing. But self-promo has to be done. Authors no longer live in isolation and having an online presence is here to stay. I’d encourage you and other bloggers to hone their writing skills and build an audience by doing just what you’re doing, having a writing ministry on your own site and connecting with others who share your passion. Once you’re published, you’ve made a jump start and that’s a beautiful thing!
Thank you for the encouragement, Laura. Just tonight I told my husband I’m getting the blogging blues, that I’m feeling a little rundown with my schedule and struggling to find topics to discuss, but he told me: “Keep doing what you’re doing, because people are loving it and you’re ministering to a lot of your readers.” He always knows what to say at the right moment and so do you. J
Laura, as always, I’ve enjoyed chatting with you! Thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer my questions. I will continue to pray that God uses the work of your hands and heart to further His kingdom.
That’s a beautiful benediction, Gabrielle. I pray the same, too, for you.
What about you? Do you have a question for Laura? What wisdom have you gained about keeping your life balanced?
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Laura has generously agreed to give away a copy of her newest release, Love’s Reckoning, to one lucky commenter!
For extra chances to win,you can:
1. Become a blog follower
2. Like my Facebook Author Page
3. Share this post on Facebook (@Gabrielle Meyer)
4. Share on Twitter (@MeyerGabrielle).
The drawing will close on Friday, September 7th at 11:59 p.m.