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 2 of a 2-part series. Enjoy!
To read Part 1, click here.
On your About page on your website, you said: “It was never a desire of mine to be published. I simply love to write for the sheer joy of writing- and that was enough. But as Proverbs 16:9 says, ‘The heart of a man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.’” I think this speaks a lot to the fact that God takes the things that bring us joy and uses them in a way that can edify others. Would you say your vocation is more a result of God’s prompting or from your own passion to write, or both?
Both. I knew from a very young age that writing was something I was passionate about and something I made time for above everything else. I believe your joy is your calling, or should be. I was a teacher, a waitress, a social worker, and other things but they left me feeling bored and lifeless. Writing makes me feel alive and free and is so comfortable yet challenging I feel hard-wired to do it. I think I will die doing it – or hope so!
When did you first know you were called to write novels for the public? I’m wondering what prompted your change of heart from not desiring to be published- did something happen in your life that made it clear to you that writing was meant to be more than something you enjoyed doing for yourself?
My brother is a pastor/missionary in Spain (and in Ecuador 20 years prior to that). He watched my closet writing habits for 40 years and challenged me to use any gift I had for the benefit of others and not just myself. He helped me see that writing can be a selfish thing if not surrendered to the Lord and used for His purposes. Writing can even become an idol. Since I believe God gifts us with writing or music or the ability to preach or teach, it is our responsibility to honor that gift in His time and as He wills.
Are there any trials or challenges you have faced in your life that you have overcome with God’s help? How has your personal life influenced/affected your writing?
There are recurring themes in my novels about home, forgiveness, and fathers/families that are very important to me but that I don’t write about intentionally. My father left our family when I was 12 and this broke my heart. He had an affair and divorced my mother after 20 years of marriage. Then when I was in high school we moved from Kentucky to Ohio and later I married and moved to Washington State. I’ve had to learn all about letting go and forgiveness through these challenges. I’m still learning. So it seems natural that whatever is most on our minds and hearts spills out onto the page.
How has being a published author impacted your relationship with Christ? In what ways have you seen God make himself present in your career?
God has made himself known to me far more since surrendering my writing to Him than ever before. He opened the door to my first novel being published. At the time I had no agent, no writing contacts, had never been to a writing conference, had no online presence, etc. Nothing! And he put me in touch with my editor at Revell who took me without anything but a simple book and then offered me a 3 book contract. I’ve also seen Him encourage me when I’m most discouraged and tired and think I can’t go another step in publishing. He is always, always faithful. And very creative and practical and personal.
How has pursuing what God has called you to do, strengthened your faith? How has it challenged you faith?
I think God called me to publishing later in life because He knew I didn’t have the spiritual muscles to stand up under the pressure any sooner.
Again I quote Beth Moore who says in JAMES MERCY TRIUMPHS: “A person has hardly begun to have a real fight on her hands until she starts serving in her full-throttle giftedness and effectiveness. She who proves a threat earns an enemy you can bet will do everything He can to make her sorry.”
Publishing has revealed to me my sin nature in ways I never imagined. I can truly say that I was blind to many of my weaknesses and fleshly ways before my first book went to print. When I became published I suddenly was thrust into this arena of competitiveness and pride, doubt and discouragement, etc. I’ve had to rely on the Lord’s strength instead of my own in ways I never imagined previously.
What do you enjoy the most about being an author? What part of your vocation has been the most meaningful to you?
I love hearing how the spiritual message has touched them or issues in the books have raised hard questions in their lives and enabled them to make a change. I’m also very moved by the fact that my books are read at the bedsides of those who are dying and that people find comfort in them.
How important is it to you to incorporate your faith and Christian themes in your novels? How do you do this effectively, balancing the extremes of being too subtle or too preachy?
That’s a very hard, but good, question. I sometimes wish I wove in a stronger spiritual message so am always surprised when readers feel the spiritual element really stood out and spoke to them in special ways. I can’t imagine writing a novel without a faith element. It’s as much a part of me as breathing.
Thank you, Laura, for sharing with me and my readers! I hope you’ve enjoyed hearing from Laura; I know I did!