Friday, June 25, 2010

A Word or Two from the Oklahoma Cowgirl

To leave the June trail and kick us off into July, we are fortunate to have award-winning author and speaker Darlene Franklin with us here this week. Darlene recently returned to cowgirl country—Oklahoma—to be near family. She also recently signed the contract for her twelth book. Right now she is celebrating the release of the first volume of her Vermont trilogy, Prodigal Patriot, as well as the repacking of her Rhode Island romance in Seaside Romance. Visit Darlene’s blogs at and

SDC: Thank you for being a part of A Pen for Your Thoughts, Darlene. What would you like for our readers to know about you personally besides your bio? Something that is particular about you alone.

Darlene: I just bought my first house at the age of 55! I’m still pinching myself. Who expects a single full-time writer to be able to buy a house, especially in these economic times?!

SDC: Then this obviously isn’t your first book. What other books have you written, and where can the readers of the blog find them and eventually any other books in the works right now?

Darlene: My first book, Romanian Rhapsody, came out in 2005; I am thrilled that my last contract is for a sequel, a contemporary romance set in Colorado called Plainsong.

In between I’ve had two mysteries published (Gunfight at Grace Gulch and A String of Murders), two novellas (in Snowbound Colorado Christmas and Wild West Christmas), and a historical romance, Beacon of Love. Prodigal Patriot is my second historical romance with Heartsong Presents. At the moment, I have four more books contracted for publication into 2011.

Readers can find information about new and upcoming releases on my blog, I give away copies of my books each month, both fiction and nonfiction devotionals I have contributed to.

SDC: That's enough to really keep you busy! What kinds of hobbies and leisure activities do you enjoy otherwise?

Darlene: I’ve done scrap booking and cross stitch in the past; sometimes puzzles (of all kinds). But my favorite relaxation activity is reading! (a pleasure as well as a must for all writers). My newest hobby is going to a Spanish conversational group that meets at a restaurant once a week.

SDC: What special plans do you have for our wonderful Independence Day coming soon?

Darlene: I have a very special plan this year. Since I wrote the proposal for Plainsong years ago, many things have changed in my beloved Colorado. So I am taking off with my granddaughters (to help me get around) and going to Denver for a week to take in a Rockies’ game, fireworks, the Cherry Creek Arts Festival, a Renaissance Fair, and more!

SDC: I love the title of this book you are featuring. Why did you write it and what do you want the reader to take away from the book?

Darlene: Vermont was one of the few states “unsold” in Heartsong’s recent effort to feature all 50 states. Since I’m from New England originally, I looked into its history and found several interesting folk tales that inspired stories about three generations of the same family in northern Vermont. Prodigal Patriot is loosely based on the history of Ann Storey and her family who lived in a came and worked their farm in secret to protect it from Indian and Tory predators.

The hindsight of history shows us that the American Revolution was just and right. But I wanted to show it was a real question for the people of the time. I want my readers to take away something that is a common theme in many of my books—that God will meet them at the crossroads of love and grace when they go through tough times. He is enough, always.

SDC: Does where you come from or where you live now work into any of your writings?

Darlene: Absolutely! I keep laughing that I finally get to write my “Colorado” book now that I live in Oklahoma (and I wrote my Oklahoma books, the mystery series, when I was still living in Colorado!) So far, all my historical novels are set in New England. I grew up in New Hampshire and Maine.

SDC: Who is your favorite character in the book that is out now and why?

Darlene: Ooh, that’s a tough one. Hmm, Sally or Josiah? I think Josiah, because he finds a way to do what is right—at great personal cost.

SDC: What irks you the most about your writing experience?

Darlene: I write because I must, not because it’s easy (or even pleasant, much of the time!). The hardest thing is to keep from comparing myself to others. I suspect that even if I sold as many books as Jerry Jenkins or John Grisham, I would still find someone to compare myself to. Say, Shakespeare! When I take my eyes off the “author” of my writing and turn them onto my fellow racers, I get into trouble.

SDC: It will be a joy to offer Prodigal Patriot to one of our guests, especially right now. What question would you like to ask one of our guests so we can toss their name in a hat to win your book?

Darlene: If you lived during the American Revolution, do you think you would have been a Patriot or a Tory?

Shirley: Thanks, Darlene. It's been great having you here. Wow! Now, that's a great question! Looking forward to your answers, people. Be sure to include your email address as you write in.
Hope you win!

Congratulations to Tanya Hanson of Oxnard, California. We're so happy to tell you that you have won The Prodigal Patriot. Be watching for your book in the mail soon!


  1. Thanks for having me as your guest, Shirley! I look forward to hearing from readers.

  2. Good interview--interesting.

    I haven't read the book, but will take a stab at the question.

    I believe I'd have been a Patriot. I'm for freedom and would have stood against English rule, that is if I have my history straight. :-)

    Bonnie Leon

  3. Wonderful interview, Darlene. I didn't realize you were originally from the east coast.

    I am going to say I would have been a Patriot and fought against the rule of Britain.

    Blessings to you both ~


  4. Yup, I'm from Down East. Proud of it, although the west seems to hold my soul.
    I'll hold off on my answer to the question until the end. :)

  5. I believe it would have been a real struggle to decide which side I favored. I have ancestors who were staunch patriots and others who crossed the border into Canada because they believed it was right to submit to the king. I've read this book and enjoyed it. Thanks for bringing us another thought-provoking and entertaining story, Darlene. I love your Oklahoma books too--Gunfight at Grace Gulch was lots of fun.

  6. I would probably have been neither patroit nor Troy. It must have been very difficult for people at that time because as Christians we are told to respect the authorities. But who doesn't want to be as free as possible?
    A hard call. I'm eager to read your book to see how you resolved it for your characters.

    Thanks for the opportunity to receive a copy.

    A J Hawke

  7. For additional chances to win a copy of Prodigal Patriot (or any of my other books), leave comments on my blog!

  8. great interview, Darlene. And best wishes for continued writing success and good memories in your new house! This California girl totally loves New England, esp. Vermont. Since our 2007 visit we only eat Vermont maple syrup and enjoy Vermong cheddar.

    As for question: it's such a valid one. I taught American Lit for many years. The students really grew to appreciate the conflict of loyalty at that time. They'd been raised to honor the king. And revolution is always os scary and unsettling.

    Thanks for the thoughtful post, and Shirley, thanks for showing off this wonderful person, writer, and friend.

  9. Good interview as always. I would've probably been a Patriot. I look forward to reading the book. I love books like this.
    Betty Fimple

  10. Hi Darlene. I look forward to reading this book since I played a small part in its critique. I was quite engaged in the story when I read those first few chapters.

    As for the answer to your question - I would have had a difficult time making a decision as I am not particularly politically minded. However, from what little I remember about my American history, I probably would have been a patriot, rebelling against British rule.

    Would love to read this book. Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy.

    I also did not know you are from the east coast. I grew up on Long Island in NY and had relatives in Connecticut, Vermont, and New Hampshire, so we did some visiting in those states as well. My uncle had a summer home in Maine, so we spent a couple of vacations there as well.

    Like you, my heart belongs to the west. However, I can't deny the east has some beautiful places to see - and the Atlantic Ocean!


  11. Tanya, you make me blush. Great to see you again, Pat, and good to meet you, Betty!

  12. Great interview Darlene. As always I love learning more about you :) Keep writing those books!!

  13. great interview/posting.

    just wondering what is your current writing project?

    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

  14. My current writing project is the third Vermont book, inspired by the northernmost battle of the Civil War, St. Albans' Raid. It's called Love's Raid and is scheduled for publication early next year. Thanks for asking!

  15. Karen: A reminder that to qualify for the drawing you're supposed to answer the question. :)

  16. Very good interview, amazing. I do read your book, all I can say is, it is very interesting and everyone should read this book.

  17. I promised I would give my answer and so here it is. The older I get, the more I see gray areas. So while the Bible clearly says to honor the king, I believe I would have seen the less clear reasons to be a Patriot.

    So I join with all of you in celebrating the 4th of July! Happy Independence Day, everyone!

  18. Thank you Darlene. I am drawing the name of the winner today. (Just a note...It won't matter what you put down in your comment. I select the name at random. Hope you WIN. Thanks to all.)
    Blessings for a joyous holiday,

  19. There was no right or wrong answer to the question, BTW! Echoing Shirley's sentiment.