A little bit about Darlene
Best-selling author Darlene Franklin’s greatest claim to fame is that she writes full-time from a nursing home. She is an active member of Oklahoma City Christian Fiction Writers, American Christian Fiction Writers, and the Christian Authors Network. She has written over forty novels and novellas and contributed to forty more.
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The Friday Five with Darlene
- What inspired your latest story?
Before brainstorming Matchmaker Mixup I knew two facts. The heroine(s) would be twin girls first introduced in An Apple for Christmas and it would include a matchmaker. I decided to make one sister the heroine and the other the matchmaker.
Since education is important to the Cortland family, I decided that the girls would be college students—seniors, so they were a good age to become engaged. Since the girls are identical twins, why not let them swap identities at a critical point? Clint Keller takes the twin he believes to be Margil to the Homecoming Dance—only it’s Pippin. As their romance develops, how does she reveal the deception?
- Describe your decision to become a writer.
Was it a decision? It was more like a compulsion. After my divorce, I started writing seriously because I wanted to share what God was teaching me. After that I wrote a book based on a childhood story. Five years later (and still unpublished), I was hooked. I kept asking God, “Please, can I stop writing?” and He kept saying, “just worry about writing this story.” I persevered past the point of common sense, not having a book published until after I had been writing for fourteen years.
- What is your writing process like?
Not sure if this is “typical writing day” or how I get from concept to finished book. But I’ll go with the second. Most of the time I start with an assigned theme: for instance, in the coming year, I’ll be writing a retold fairy tales (The Little Mermaid) and an orphan train story among others. It doesn’t take long, and keeps me on the hook until I write the story.
That’s the starting point for Matchmaker Mixup, I already knew my heroine fairly well from the first volume. The grown up Pippin has become quieter and even a little shy. Due to her twin’s matchmaking scheme, she ends up attending the dance with the same man she’d rejected for three years—and discovers maybe he was the right man all along.
Lately I’ve become a “pantser,” so I struggle to keep from using the same plot device all the time. But sometimes it’s too fun. In Matchmaker, they cracked the library window when tossing pine cones. In Colorado Columbine, my current project, my heroine’s ankle is broken when the child is taking knocks a croquet ball in her direction. If I do find myself using a similar using a similar pattern, I make the setting or the means unique.
I write almost every day. It may feel like rubbish—it rarely is. Sometimes it takes me two hours to write something that I can churn out in only half-an-hour on another day. But that’s the writing life.
- Imagine that you are ninety years old, what advice would you give to your present self?
Ninety years is getting closer than ever, since I turned sixty a couple of years ago.
I doubt I’ll live to ninety. I am at the point of saying, if I only have ten years left, do I want to write? Since every time I ask, God sends me another project, instead I ask, what do I want to write? Is this story important or interesting enough to write this instead of something else? I’d like to get to one hundred books. It’s not that far away.
I would say: write, because God has called you to write. But don’t make writing your whole life. You’re also a grandmother, a mother—a friend.
And keep on living life to the full.
- What the hardest thing about being a writer?
Writing. As a friend once said, I like having written. I like brainstorming. Writing itself is hard work. I wish I could slow down a little. But that’s the road to people forgetting me as a writer.
About Merry Matchmakers
Matchmakers, romance, and Christmas. What a charming combination. In these ten stories, we meet couples who didn’t intend to fall in love but with the help of well-being family and friends do just that. Welcome the season with romance!
Note: Merry Matchmakers: 10 Christmas Novellas includes my story, Matchmaker Mixup. But I thought your readers would enjoy the variety of stories.