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Jennifer Vido | Jen's Jewels Interview: THE SEAMSTRESS OF ACADIE by Laura Frantz


The Seamstress of Acadie
Laura Frantz

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January 2024
On Sale: January 9, 2024
ISBN: 0800740688
EAN: 9780800740689
Kindle: B0C9RLWP5Y
Paperback / e-Book
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Also by Laura Frantz:
The Seamstress of Acadie, January 2024
The Rose and the Thistle, January 2023
A Heart Adrift, January 2022
Tidewater Bride, January 2021

Jennifer Vido: In the enchanting narrative of THE SEAMSTRESS OF ACADIE, the threads of inspiration intertwine with the vibrant tapestry of cultural heritage and the storied history of Acadie. What served as the muse behind your latest release?

Laura Frantz: I’ve always been fascinated by Canadian history and how it intersects with the Cajuns of Louisiana who have their own dialect/patois and distinct culture derived from Acadie (French spelling). Acadien history is full of historical fireworks – war, expulsion, divided loyalties, loss, resistance – yet few people know of that lost, very tragic history today. In writing this novel I hope to keep this history alive, not only to learn from it but to never repeat it. I find it noteworthy that in 2003, a Royal Proclamation was signed in Canada wherein Queen Elizabeth II acknowledged for the first time the wrongs committed in the name of the English Crown during the Acadian deportation of 1755.

 

Jen: Please delve into the details of your research journey and unravel the most fascinating nugget of information you stumbled upon during the process.

Laura: There are some excellent nonfiction works I mention in my author note at the back of the novel as well as fiction devoted to the Acadiens and their history. Two fascinating nuggets come to mind. One, Acadien women tended the apple orchards in their homeland (note the lovely apple blossoms on the novel’s cover). It was their special domain or area of expertise and the varieties had such lovely names - L’Epice, or Spicy Apple, Pomme Gris, Fameuse, Belliveau and the Bellefleur  - which made up their orchards and were primarily used for cider. Secondly, women kept their maiden names when married and didn’t assume their husband’s surname. So, our heroine would remain Sylvie Galant her entire life.

 

Jen: Let's dive into the captivating connection between Sylvie Galant and William Blackburn. How did their paths intertwine in this spellbinding tale?

Laura: I really enjoyed writing their unexpected meeting by an Acadien well in the novel though it took quite a few pages or so to get there. This late meeting violates romance norms but I delayed our hero’s entrance for a reason. I wanted the first part of the novel to be Sylvie’s world exclusively, solely from her perspective, so that readers would feel the force of the intrusion when the British came upon the scene. When they do meet, Sylvie assumes Will is someone other than he is which further complicates their relationship. But no spoilers.

 

Jen: What circumstances led Sylvie and William to bid farewell to Acadie and embark on a journey to Virginia?

Laura: For William, leaving Acadie is a choice. A matter of personal integrity. He literally turns his back on the British military and the company of Rangers he founded to go an entirely different direction. For Sylvie she has no choice. Their reasons for coming to Virginia are vastly different and so their reactions to being there are also worlds apart. They leave Acadie as enemies and only when they’re on colonial American soil does that begin to change. Friendship is a plant of slow growth, George Washington once said, and that is no exception for Sylvie and Will.

 

Jen: Sylvie's prowess as a seamstress weaves a compelling narrative thread throughout the story. How does her skill with the needle and thread shape the course of events in the story?

Laura: Sylvie’s gift is working her needle and both she and her mother realize this from an early age. Many girls in that time period began sewing very young, often starting with samplers or learning basic stitches. She’s not a trained, apprenticed seamstress in the sense of most modistes or dressmakers of that century so Sylvie’s journey looks a bit different. Early in the novel she begins to realize that her God-given skills or gifts have the power to open doors and alter her challenging circumstances. Her character was partly inspired by my grandmother who sewed most of my clothes when I was a child, including beautiful historical costumes. I’m not a seamstress by any stretch but admire those who are.

 

Jen: The narrative unfolds with several prominent themes, including resilience in the face of adversity, the indomitable spirit of community, the delicate interplay between tradition and change, and the enduring power of human connection. How do these central themes resonate and intertwine within the fabric of the story?

Laura: You’ve captured those themes beautifully, thank you. They’re all in play at the same time to varying degrees. When the novel first opens, we see that Acadien spirit of community which resurfaces again after the expulsion as Sylvie and fellow Acadiens try to retain a semblance of what they had before but in far smaller numbers. Change is forced upon them and even our hero, William Blackburn, an outsider, sees that to survive they need to continue that community. All the characters in the novel are faced with how they will respond to life-altering adversity, from the enslaved Eve to the half-Mi’qmak named Bleu to the more genteel Liselotte. Each of them succeed or fail in various ways throughout the novel, highlighting the power of personal choice amid circumstances beyond their control.

 

Jen: As readers explore this story, what meaningful takeaways do you hope they find within its pages?

Laura: Though the 18th century setting of the novel is far removed from us today, human nature is the same and God and His faithfulness are timeless. I hope readers realize, like Sylvie, that God is always at work. His hand is evident in their past as well as their present. Hard, heartbreaking things happen but we are never alone and always have hope. Blessings comes to us in myriad ways, through the kindness of a stranger, a good meal, a song, peace and quiet, the beauty of the natural world, just like they do Sylvie throughout the story.

 

Jen: Let’s shift our focus and talk about the best ways for readers to stay connected with you.

Laura: I have a new website and am active on social media, particularly on my website, Facebook, Instagram, and my group page https://www.facebook.com/groups/305339915561627

 

 

Jen: What exciting project are you currently working on?

Laura: I’m about to turn in a finished novel set in Scotland that will release January 2025 about an arranged marriage between a colonial American heiress and a Scottish merchant. I’m fond of all my novels but this one in particular. Titling and cover art are already underway. Then it’s a return to the American frontier for me and another novel that will release in 2026 which marks the United State’s 250th birthday, quite a historic milestone for our nation!

 

Jen: Do you have any exciting aspirations or personal milestones are you aiming to achieve in the upcoming year as part of your New Year resolutions?

Laura: I hope to release a novella next summer which is a first for me. My goal is to give readers two books a year. Given the historical research I do and my own personal preference, I don’t publish as prolifically as some authors do, but more than one novel a year would be a win-win for both readers and myself, or so I hope.

 

 

Jen: Thank you for chatting with me about THE SEAMSTRESS OF ACADIE. Best of luck with your new release!

Laura: So appreciate your insightful questions, Jen. Thank you!

THE SEAMSTRESS OF ACADIE by Laura Frantz

The Seamstress of Acadie

As 1754 is drawing to a close, tensions between the French and the British on Canada's Acadian shore are reaching a fever pitch. Seamstress Sylvie Galant and her family--French-speaking Acadians wishing to remain neutral--are caught in the middle, their land positioned between two forts flying rival flags. Amid preparations for the celebration of Noel, the talk is of unrest, coming war, and William Blackburn, the British Army Ranger raising havoc across North America's borderlands.

As summer takes hold in 1755 and British ships appear on the horizon, Sylvie encounters Blackburn, who warns her of the coming invasion. Rather than participate in the forced removal of the Acadians from their land, he resigns his commission. But that cannot save Sylvie or her kin. Relocated on a ramshackle ship to Virginia, Sylvie struggles to pick up the pieces of her life. When her path crosses once more with William's, they must work through the complex tangle of their shared, shattered past to navigate the present and forge an enduring future.

 

Women's Fiction Historical [Revell, On Sale: January 9, 2024, Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9780800740689 / ]

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About Laura Frantz

Laura Frantz

Laura Frantz is a Christy Award winner and the ECPA bestselling author of eleven historical novels, including The Frontiersman’s DaughterCourting Morrow LittleThe Colonel’s Lady, and The Lacemaker. When not reading and writing, she loves to garden, cook, take long walks, and travel. She is the proud mom of an American soldier and a career firefighter. When not at home in Kentucky, she and her husband live in Washington State.

 

Ballantyne Legacy

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About Jennifer Vido

Jennifer Vido

Jennifer Vido writes sweet romances set in the Lowcountry filled with southern charm and hospitality. In between chapters, she interviews authors for her bi-weekly Jen’s Jewels column on FreshFiction.com. Most mornings, she teaches an arthritis-friendly water exercise class for seniors before heading to the office to serve as the executive director of a legal non-profit. A New Jersey native, she currently lives in Maryland with her husband and two rescue dogs and is the proud parent of two sons who miss her home-cooked meals. To learn more, please visit her website.

Gull Island

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