As you know, I recently graduated! In my Bible class, the focus was learning about how we can use work and calling to glorify God with our lives. One assignment we had was to interview someone who is currently working in a job similar to something I want to do, and ask them about how they see their vocation as God’s calling in their life. I aspire to work in publishing one day, so I decided to reach out to author, Laura Frantz. She is the author of four historical fiction books. I chose to ask Ms. Frantz for an interview because I read one of her books around the time the assignment was given. I fell in love with Courting Morrow Little, and then I promptly looked up her website and Facebook page. I was so excited to see how much Ms. Frantz interacts with her readers- and it isn’t just a “thanks for stopping by and commenting”. No, Ms. Frantz replies to her readers with such kind, thoughtful words. After reading her blog and seeing her interacting with readers, I knew I had to ask her for an interview- if anyone would be kind enough to take time out of their day for me, I knew she would do it. As you may have guessed, she agreed, and I have been so blessed by her thoughtful answers to all my questions.
I am going to share with you some of the interview. This is part 1 of a 2-part series. Enjoy!
I would love to hear a little bit about your personal life. Tell me about your family and what you enjoy doing when you aren’t working on your latest book.
I’ve been married to Randy for almost 20 years and we have 2 sons, Wyatt (16) and Paul (13). They’re the joy of our life together and we live in a little cabin in the woods much like in my books. I love to travel, garden, walk/Aqua Zumba, eat/cook/try new recipes, and Bible Study. But I’m absolutely wild about writing which leads to your next question…
When did you know you wanted to be a writer? What made you want to write?
My Mom said I wrote my first story about ships when I was 7. She came into my dad’s study and found me at his desk with encyclopedias open, writing my heart out. My first historical novella called Melissa was penned when I was 12. Then I went on and wrote the sequel to Gone With the Wind and Dances With Wolves and other stories only a mother could love. I never stopped writing. The only classes in school I remember are the ones involving creative writing. I had this innate sense from a very young age that I was called to write books. One of my first journals says in my very sloppy childhood hand that “When I grow up I want to be an author.”
How do you balance work and family?
Balance is an ongoing challenge and it’s critical to not let writing become an idol in your life, supplanting God and family.
Beth Moore said in her James Mercy Triumphs study that “God will never call you to sacrifice your intimacy with Him on the altar of ministry.” When I feel overwhelmed and pressured with all the roles in my life, I know I’ve lost my focus and my joy plummets. Time alone with the Lord is so key to maintaining strength and passion in the calling He’s given you.
There was a time when my boys were very young that I felt the Lord telling me to set my writing aside. I did this for 5 years and didn’t write a word on any novel. I also felt He would redeem the “lost” years or time if I trusted Him with it. Leaving it alone for those years and just being a mom was the most precious gift to me and to my family. It was a relief to not be so consumed with writing. But when the 5 years ended and they were older and doing things independently, I took it out again and the publishing door swung wide open without my help!
How has your writing evolved between when you started and now?
I’m my own worst critic and see many things I wish I could change in my writing. Granted, I’m better than I was at age 12 when I wrote that historical novella, but I am always looking for ways to improve my work and have a greater command of the English language. I think good writing can be learned but the best writing is inborn, a gift. You can’t work that up on your own. It’s the difference between magical and mediocre.
How do you see your vocation as ministry? How has God’s call for you to be an author helped you share your faith?
There’s a side to writing that is so difficult for me that if I didn’t view it as ministry I couldn’t do it – and that’s publishing. Writing is absolute bliss to me. Publishing is hard work. They are two very different animals. I wrote for 40 years just believing my writing was for me, not a hobby but this consuming thing that I’d gladly skip eating and sleeping for. I’ve always felt compelled to write. Sometimes I wish I wasn’t so driven this way but it’s just who I am and I don’t think I’d change it if I could. And complaining about it is almost like telling God He made a mistake.
As for my novels having a spiritual thread/theme, the faith element is there but like Publisher’s Weekly said – they’re surprisingly subtle and not preachy. This is much like I am in real life. I prefer to live out my faith by behavior more than words.
What is your main goal when you are in the process of writing a novel? What motivates you to write?
I often say writing to me is a little like falling in love. You begin with some vague idea of a character or situation or setting, say a Revolutionary War widower and soldier in 1784 Virginia which is where I’m headed with my next novel, and so you sit down and get to know them by just framing them in words, creating conversation/dialogue, emotions, and such. You learn what they like and dislike, their personal habits and besetting sins, etc. You start to become very fond of them and think of them when you’re away from them and not writing. You can’t wait to get back to them. You begin to see them clearly and they become very real to you. They continually surprise and delight you on the page as chapters take shape and the book unfolds. Oh my, what’s not motivating about that!?
Come back next week for Part 2 of my interview with Laura Frantz.