Welcome back! Today I’m finishing my interview with Darlene Franklin, author of several books in the historical romance, devotional, and cozy mystery genres. Darlene has been writing for nearly 20 years now and had her first book published in 2005.
Darlene has been through many personal struggles as she’s been writing over the years, and today we’ll learn how God has taken her through her journey as well as hear her advice for others who may find themselves in challenging situations.
Darlene, how has God’s hand led you through your writing journey?
I’m usually most aware of God’s hand after the fact. For instance, when I was fretting over the lack of income since I began writing full time, I was contacted about writing two more books. And it hit me: in the seven months since I had taken that leap of faith, the number of book contracts had doubled from seven to fifteen. So I know the money will come … and God has made it clear to me that I have made the right decision.
In 2001, after a decade of writing, I wondered if I should give up. So much effort, so little to see for it. The answer I received in that period of searching was that I didn’t have to know whether God wanted me to write for the rest of my life. I only needed to know whether God wanted me to write at that time. And I had a story on my heart that I felt compelled to write (and no, it hasn’t sold.)
I know you’ve recently been through some personal struggles. What advice can you give to other writers when they find themselves in a crisis but the writing must go on?
My first book came out in 2005, my second not until 2008. Since then I have written seven more books and novellas.
During that same time period, my daughter committed suicide, I had major surgery (out of work for three months), moved out of state, and this year my mother has died.
I tell your readers that, not for sympathy, but to say it can be done! When you face challenges:
- Use your writing as an escape. In the darkest days after my daughter’s death, I could immerse myself in the fictional world of Grace Gulch (featured in my cozy mysteries) and have fun with my wild and wacky heroine.
- Use them to deepen your writing. After the fact, I realized that I had given two minor characters in upcoming books dementia and a stroke—issues that my mother was struggling with. And I can’t count how many devotionals I have written out of the lessons God has taught me.
- If you can’t write … don’t. And don’t stress about it!
- Run your manuscript past a critique group—always a good idea, but even more important when your mind keeps wandering to your personal problems.
- Enlist the support of prayer groups such as the prayer loop on American Christian Fiction Writers.
- Know that editors are willing to work with you on the deadline, unless you make a habit of it.
As far as how, I set daily writing goals, ones I know are achievable, and then I add in extra days (you can read more about my process at thebookdoctorbd.blogspot.com) so when a day (or a week) comes that I don’t meet my goal, I have extra time to work on the project. I schedule my priorities around that, including my quiet time, family, office job (when I still had one), church … and I’ve dropped a number of worthwhile activities.
I hope you’ve enjoyed hearing from Darlene and her writing journey. She has a lot more to share on her blog. And, don’t forget to to stop by and leave her a comment for a chance to win a free copy of one of her books (your choice!).
Thanks for joining me in my interview with Darlene Franklin. Later this week I’ll continue my series of posts on primary sources and will look at how to find contemporary sources, such as experts, to interview for your story or article.