Laura Frantz: Dressing the Part
Laura Frantz’s third historical novel, The Colonel’s Lady, was inspired by an 18th century painting of Revolutionary war hero, George Rogers Clark.
“He was quite the man with his legendary height and those red locks,” says Laura of Clark. “But his life was tragic in many respects. He never married and struggled with alcoholism despite his many accomplishments. As I stood before that portrait, I thought that what he really needed was the love of a good woman and his Savior.” Laura’s hero, Colonel Cassius McLinn, was born. “Memorable heroes are such fun to create,” shares Laura, who writes her first drafts in longhand. “A great literary hero is willing to accept a challenge greater than himself and overcome great obstacles to master it, nearly failing, and then triumphing, perhaps sacrificing himself in the process.”
Laura also purchased a reproduction 18th-century gown and hat, pocket hoops, chemise and shoes to experience what it would have been like to dress like her heroine, Roxanna Rowan. “When you don those clothes and hear the rustle of all that delicious silk, you get a glimpse of what it must have been like 200 years ago—for the gentry, anyway.”
Reading old diaries, letters and biographies, Laura discovered the 18th century was a very earthy, sensual period, seething with revolution and change. “Colonial women were very different than their Victorian sisters! I also found it surprising to see the vital role women played during the period The Colonel’s Lady describes. Some became spies for the American side and died because of it. I’m sad that we’ve lost touch with so much of that noble history. Keeping it alive in readers’ heads and hearts is something I strive to do in my novels.
“My wish is to continue to write historicals till He calls me home, and then continue in heaven!”