Thanks so much for hosting me today, Lynnette! It’s a joy and privilege to talk about my writing journey though to be honest, I’m still pinching myself. It all began in my childhood when I used to hang around the library and read all those little bios of historical figures. Being a Kentuckian, I was very enamored with Daniel Boone as my ancestors followed him into the area in the late 18th-century. Kentucky history forms the basis for my first 3 historical romance novels – The Frontiersman’s Daughter, Courting Morrow Little, and The Colonel’s Lady.
I’ve been writing stories since age 7, all historical, as that’s my passion. I wrote a novella at age 12 and then the sequel to Gone With the Wind in high school, then Dances With Wolves II and an English mystery, among other things. All of them were just terrible - with a capital T! It only took 40 years for me to take my scribbling to a publishing contractJ. It’s truly a miracle that I am published. I had no computer skills and no computer until the last few years (always wrote manuscripts out longhand), no writing friends, no agent, no writing conferences or connections, no critique partner, was unaware of the writing community blogging, etc. To complicate matters, I was teaching fulltime and married and had my children late, beginning at age 35. After the birth of my second son, I felt the Lord telling me to put my writing aside so I did for 5 years. None of this was conducive to publication, let me tell you. I felt farther from my dream than ever before.
In 2007, after feeling free to write again, I finished The Frontiersman’s Daughter which I had worked on over a ten year period. My grandmother, parents, and brother gifted me with a manuscript evaluation/critique with a wonderful freelance editor, Arlene Robinson. She suggested I tweak a few things and then put her stamp of approval on the manuscript. At the same time, I submitted several chapters to Writer’s Edge, a Christian manuscript submission service, which brings unagented writers and publishers together. Almost immediately I was contacted by several CBA publishers, large and small. Within six months, my dream editor and publisher, Revell/Baker Publishing Group, asked for a full of The Frontiersman’s Daughter. Later I realize how rare this kind of an opportunity is. I’ve heard that only Kristen Heitzmann and I have been picked up through Writer’s Edge.
I’d already begun working on Courting Morrow Little when Revell offered me a 3 book contract. I’d hoped to simply sell one novel so was astonished when they asked for two more. I’d recently finished the sequel to The Frontiersman’s Daughter, which was set in Scotland, but my publisher wanted me to stay on the frontier. I was thrilled to oblige and am now finishing The Colonel’s Lady which is due August 1st.
I think, deep down, that the Lord gifted me to write from an early age. There’s no doubt that He opened the door when the time to publish came about (His timing, not mine). Circumstances were definitely not in my favor. The only things that kept me in the game was a love for writing and the knowledge/belief that if I was ever to be published, He would have to handle all the details. And He did. I’m truly living proof that you don’t need any superfluous writing stuff to get in the door. If publishing is His plan for you, all you really need is Him – and the book of your heart.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. ~Proverbs 3:5-6
I’d love to have readers visit me at laurafrantz.net!
In April 2008, I received “the phone call” from my agent, Rachelle Gardner, that Zondervan had made an offer on the Seasons of the Tallgrass, a contemporary romance series set in the Flint Hills of Kansas—a place I dearly love. My long-held dream had finally arrived—my prayers had been answered. But the story didn’t begin there…it began many years ago when I attended Emporia State University and took a summer course called Flint Hills Folklore.
Along with classroom study, we took field trips into the heart of the Flint Hills and visited with old-time ranchers, schoolmarms and post-mistresses. It was such a delightful experience, especially our drives into the pastures. We would get on these back roads and drive over pasture guards into the open range. We would travel for miles without seeing another car or even an electric line—just pure, native prairie. That summer, I fell in love with the Flint Hills and it has stayed with me all this time, finally culminating in the contemporary romance series, the Seasons of the Tallgrass.