Romance author Darlene Franklin talks about
Lone Star Trail (River North), the first in the six-book Texas Trails series she’s writing with Susan Page Davis and Vickie McDonough. The series spans four generations of the Morgan family. Darlene’s hero, Jud Morgan, has seen his siblings grow to maturity after being thrust into his position as head of the Morgan family after his father’s death in the Texas War of Independence.
Q: WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO WRITE LONE STAR TRAIL?
After Susan Page Davis, Vickie McDonough and I decided to write a generational-themed Texas series, we looked for events of interest in the 1800s in Texas. I was immediately drawn to the large immigration of Germans, the “Verein,” in the 1840s.
Q: YOUR BOOK IS FICTION, BUT ARE THERE ELEMENTS IN THE BOOK THAT CAME FROM REAL LIFE?
Historically, Lone Star Trail has many ties to real life events. The Verein was a real life event, as are many of the hardships endured by the Germans who made the journey. I had to address the War with Mexico and Texas’ entry into the United States. I also discovered that cholera swept through Texas, killing thousands. I felt I had to bring that into my story. If by “real life” you mean my life, I modeled the family cats after the pets who have shared my life. Not as much of my personal experience came into play with this story.
Q: WHAT PROJECTS ARE YOU WORKING ON NOW?
I am writing A Bride’s Rogue in Roma, Texas, which will be released by Barbour Publishing next fall (2012). A very straight-laced young lady inherits a steamboat on the Rio Grande—together with the roguish purser who runs the games of chance.
Q: FACT VS. FICTION: WHAT CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT SOME EXAMPLES IN LONE STAR TRAIL WHERE YOU TOOK SOME LIBERTIES WITH THE FACTS?
I didn’t take liberty with the facts as I know them so much as make up fiction to fit in with the facts. Example: There actually was a St. John’s Lutheran Church in Victoria; I don’t know the date it was established, or the name of its pastor in 1846, so I made them up.
Q: WHAT DO YOU WANT READERS TO TAKE AWAY FROM YOUR BOOK?
I hope they take away an openness to new experiences and people, based on the rock-bottom foundation of God’s love. As well as a good reading experience!
Q: HOW DO YOU CHOOSE WHICH STORY TO WRITE?
In this case, as I mentioned above, the three of us who are writing Texas Trails picked up highlights of Texas history that interested us and lined up the decades to match — I’m writing about the 1840s and 1870s. Sometimes my agent or publisher comes to me with a concept for a series and invites me to participate. But most often I start with a basic setting or theme: Historical Vermont. 19th century Texas. Quilts. I read books and online until I find those idea nuggets that spark a story. How do I choose which stories to develop and then to write? Practical. Which ones do I believe have the best chance of selling — or have already sold?