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Laura FrantzLaura Frantz credits her 100-year-old grandmother as being the catalyst for her fascination with Kentucky history. Frantz's family followed Daniel Boone into Kentucky in 1792 and settled in Madison County where her family still resides. Frantz is a former schoolteacher and social worker who currently lives in the misty woods of Washington state with her husband and two sons, whom she homeschools.

Favorite Verse: Psalm 138:8 "The Lord will accomplish what concerns me; Your lovingkindness, O Lord, is everlasting; Do not forsake the works of Your hands."


 

 Our Interview with Laura Frantz


 

What inspired the concept for Courting Morrow Little?
 
Kentucky history, once again, just like The Frontiersman’s Daughter. Since my ancestors came into Kentucky during the 18th-century when it was still the “howling wilderness,” I’ve often wondered about the dangers and hardships they faced carving out a new life for themselves after leaving genteel Virginia. Kentucky was still a very dangerous place at that time and there was hardly a settler untouched by tragedy. Many family members lost loved ones in Indian raids or through captivity. Morrow’s story is the outflow of that.

Is any part of Courting Morrow Little factual?
  
The beautiful Red River setting in Kentucky, George Rogers Clark, Loramie’s Station, Fort Pitt, and the native-settler conflict are all true to life though I do fictionalize certain elements. A true student of frontier history will know what liberties I’ve taken and where fiction supplants fact. For example, Pierre Loramie did have a post in northwestern Ohio in the 18th-century and was an enemy of the American cause, thus his post was burned down. I invented his wife and children and made him Morrow’s ally to fit the story. Literary license is a wonderful thing!

How closely is Courting Morrow Little based on your life experiences or family history?
 
Very closely linked. As a Kentuckian, the history there is very dear to me. The state is so rich in lore, music, food, and all the rest and provides endless fodder for stories.

How did you choose the location for the setting?

The Red River area of Kentucky is one of my favorite places. Full of red rock arches and deep hollows and steep hills, it’s magical in its beauty. It has a remoteness and wildness that reminds me of what it must have been like 200 or more years ago when the first settlers came into the area.

 

How long did Courting Morrow Little take you to complete?
 
Two years, not counting final edits and galleys, etc. I am not a fast writer but seem to be getting a bit faster as I go along.

Do you have a favorite character in Courting Morrow Little? Why?

Red Shirt is very dear to me because he was deprived of so much, didn’t even have a real name, yet made the most of what he had, however meager. He is the embodiment of what it took to survive and thrive in that very dangerous, difficult era and place. Oftentimes, men of his caliber were highly intelligent, multi-lingual, and served a number of vital roles in settling the west. They are an overlooked treasure in the annals of American history.
 
How much research did Courting Morrow Little take?

Since I grew up in Kentucky and was steeped in its history, most of the research came easily or was already familiar to me. Understanding the Shawnee and the political situation on the frontier required quite a bit of investigating, however, but I had great resources. Allan Eckert’s wonderful historical books were on hand, to name just a few. I have Shawnee language CD’s and books though my use of the native language was minimal in the novel.

What was the most interesting tidbit(s) that you learned while writing Courting Morrow Little?

I’m still amazed by how few women there were on the frontier. If you managed to get there via river or “overmountain” and stay alive, you were held in very high esteem and had your pick of a great many men as husbands, provided you liked the rough-hewn type .There were a few gentlemen among them but mostly they were amazingly rugged and colorful individuals. They had to be.

Is this the beginning of a series?

Courting Morrow Little is the second of three stand-alone novels about the Kentucky frontier. The Frontiersman’s Daughter was released in 2009 and The Colonel’s Lady (tentatively titled) will be released in 2011.

What are some of the challenges you face as an author?
 

I miss the days when I could just write and not have to tend to the business side of things. Necessary, I know, but marketing, blogging, twittering, and all the rest doesn’t come naturally to me. Since I have a family, it’s sometimes hard to do everything well. I’d love a housekeeper and chef but that isn’t going to happen. I try to count my blessings and ask for the Lord’s guidance every morning and throughout the day. He’s given me a job to do and I want to finish well.

What aspects of being a writer do you enjoy the most?

Working at home is a joy. Getting to know my readers and what reaches them in the pages of my books is beyond compare. Knowing God gave me something to do here below, not because He needs the help, but just because He loves me and knows writing brings me such joy and benefits others.

What is your writing style?   (Do you outline?  Write “by-the-seat-of-your-pants?   Or somewhere in between?)
 
I’m a bit of both. I research heavily and get to know my characters, do some scanty plotting and let the creative process take over. It’s always a thrill to see where I end up. Sometimes I have to do heavy rewriting but the rabbit trails are usually worth it as I learn so much.

Do your characters begin to take on a life of their own as you write?

Oh my, what a wonderful question! Characters become so lifelike and loved! Warts and all. Sometimes they behave and do just what I want them to and then other times they have a life of their own and surprise me. A wonderful, mysterious process. My story people are like family. I miss them terribly when I write THE END.

What other new projects do you have on the horizon?
 
Hopefully more historical novels. I’d like to stay on the 18th-century frontier, if possible, or delve into an 18th-century town or plantation.
 
Who was the person who influenced you the most with your writing?

My family never stopped believing in my writing. My grandmother and brother, especially. They kept encouraging me over the long haul (40 years since the age of 7). Teachers, also, told me I had a gift. I didn’t always believe them but I kept writing. When I thought nothing would ever come of it, the Lord threw open the door. I’m so thankful.

What message would you like your readers to take from Courting Morrow Little?

That no matter what life hands us, God will redeem our pain and heartache. Hopeless situations are often blessings in disguise. Wilderness experiences are always for our good in the long run.

 

What is your greatest achievement?

My husband, Randy, and our children, Wyatt and Paul. They’ve taught me so much over the last 16 years. I came to motherhood late and am so glad I didn’t miss it completely. In Courting Morrow Little, especially, I couldn’t have written the baby and nursing scenes nearly as well.


What is your goal or mission as a writer?

To share Christ’s truth with a hurting world. To offer an edifying escape through the written word that honors God and blesses others.

What do you do to get away from it all?

Write. Seriously, I’m never quite comfortable away from my writing, maybe because I’ve been doing it for so long. Aside from that, I love to cook/bake, garden, walk, and travel.

Bless you, Dianne, for a terrific interview! CBD is such a wonderful place!

 


 
The Frontiersman's Daughter
The Frontiersman's Daughter
Laura Frantz
CBD Price: $10.99


 
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