04 June 2010

Interview with Laura Frantz

Courting Morrow Little, Laura's new book, has just come out. It is her much-awaited second novel and is published through Revell. Please see her website, for more information about Laura and her writing! When Laura's book The Frontiersman's Daughter came out last year, it became my current favorite novel and remains at the top of my list.

Laura, what will readers of The Frontiersman's Daughter be surprised by in Courting Morrow Little?
Probably that Morrow is so very different than Lael, my protagonist in The Frontiersman's Daughter. While writing Morrow's story I was struck by the thought that if these two women were to meet I don't even know if they'd like each other! Also, while Lael goes east to Virginia, Morrow goes west in the story. Though both novels are set in Kentucky, the stories are very different. Lael starts the story with a strong character that must be softened and sweetened by novel's end. Morrow starts by being needy and weak and must grow strong. That said, I think they would like each other at the end of their stories rather than the beginning.

How would you contrast the two books?
The Frontiersman's Daughter is really a "coming of age" story told over a span of eight years or so while Courting Morrow Little is confined to three years and has darker themes. Both deal with issues of forgiveness and faith and finding God's best in a life partner. They have the requisite happy ending but it comes at a great cost. For Morrow, especially.

Do you have a favorite character in your new book?
I love Morrow because she is so needy and has so much growing to do in the novel. Based on her past trauma, she seems fragile and unable to cope with frontier life. But if I had to pick a favorite character it would be Red Shirt. He was something of an enigma to me, perhaps because I was writing solely from Morrow's perspective. Even though I created him, I never felt like I knew him completely – he doesn't even have a real name. While writing, he was always surprising meJ. I admire him because he is so resilient and steadfast and makes things happen.

You are finishing your third book. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
The Colonel's Lady (tentatively titled) will be released next summer. It involves a Revolutionary War hero and a spinster who are thrown together at a remote Kentucky fort in 1779. I expanded my POV for this book, writing from both Colonel McLinn's and Roxanna Rowan's perspective. It was enjoyable writing about a mature woman as Lael and Morrow are so young.

Will there be any familiar characters from TFD or CML in your next book?
I make mention of Ezekial Click but this book has all new characters.

How old is Morrow Little, where does she live, and is there a frontier fort involved?
Morrow turns 18 when the story begins. She and her father live on Kentucky's Red River – a spectacularly wild and beautiful place that is remote even today. Because the book was originally 500 pages or so, I had to trim major descriptive portions but you still get a hint of what the area is like. I know not all readers enjoy narrative so this was one of the reasons I condensed. Red River Station is the frontier fort in Morrow's story – in frontier times there was a difference between a fort and a station. Red River Station has a military presence which is quite menacing in the story and causes Morrow a great deal of angst. But I'd best not issue any spoilers hereJ.

What is your favorite thing about writing for Revell?
I have the most amazing editor. She was editor in chief of Crossings (a large Christian book club) for years and has such a passion for solid, edifying stories. Her heart is really for the reader. She also has tremendous respect for an author's voice and ideas. She is so gracious and easy to work with. The Lord really knew what he was doing when he brought us together and I'm so thankful for her.

Thanks so much, Carrie! I love your questions and hope readers will enjoy my books!

Leave a comment with your email address, to be entered to win a copy of Laura's wonderful debut book, The Frontiersman's Daughter. If you are already the proud owner of TFD, let us know and you will instead receive a copy of her new book, Courting Morrow Little. Winner will be notified on June 14th via email.

01 June 2010

A Tailor-Made Bride by Karen Witemeyer

Bethany House, 2010


Book Review

I purchased my copy through CBD and it arrived about ten days ago. This recently released book was Karen's debut publication but I never would have guessed it; in fact I was pretty shocked to learn that fact. A Tailor-Made Bride read so smoothly that I assumed Karen was multi-published and that I had just not read one of her books before. Ms. Witemeyer's premise is unique: a dressmaker (Hannah Richards) arrives in a Texas town and needs help from a liveryman (Jericho "J.T." Taylor), who despises vanity, particularly in choice of clothing and appearance. The characters are well-developed and believable as well as memorable. She threads the hope of God's love throughout the chapters. I like that she included minor characters who were fleshed out and just really added to the story. One favorite character was an elderly man, Ezra, who had lost his wife and had decompensated so much that none of his former friends were coming near him. The heroine, a newbie in town, forms a special friendship with this fragile man. This is a well-populated story yet the minor characters don't overwhelm the story or the main characters, but rather support both characterization and the plot line. The book is set in Texas in the early 1880's, both popular in Christian fiction. I expect this book will please a wide audience.

I particularly recommend this book for someone looking for not only a good read but a "feel good" read. I had just finished reading a critically acclaimed book that had a bummer ending and was so glad that A Tailor-Made Bride came in the mail that day. I dove right into it and it helped me shake the "bad book ending" depression off in no time flat!


Watch for a future review by Kim Taylor of A Tailor-Made Bride.

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