Laura Frantz, author of THE MISTRESS OF TALL ACRE joins Fresh Fiction to talk about
revolution, faith, and dreams!
Jen: Hi, Laura. Thank you for joining us here at Fresh Fiction!
Laura: My pleasure to be your guest ~ thank you!
Jen: I read that you write your first drafts in longhand! How many
pages/notebooks do you typically use for a first draft? Do you edit while writing on
paper or do you wait until you get it onto the computer?
Laura: I typically use about 10 notebooks per first draft. One of the most fun
parts of the process is typing those chapters into a Word doc. I always wait to edit
till they’re on my computer. There is scientific evidence that shows the creative
process is very different writing longhand vs. typing.
Jen: Your novels take place during the 18th century. What is it about this time
period that you find so fascinating?
Laura: Given it’s the birthday of our nation, there is endless story material,
much of it passionate and tumultuous and memorable, plenty of historical fireworks.
Plus, my favorite heroes and heroines are from that century – Daniel Boone, Betty Zane,
George and Martha Washington, George Whitefield, George Rogers Clark (pardon all the
Georges!), James Harrod, Simon Kenton, Eliza Pinckney, Abigail Adams, etc.
MISTRESS OF TALL ACRE takes place directly after the Revolutionary War. While you
do show the many hardships during this time, Sophie’s position really brings home the
position women and young ladies were forced into because of poverty. Yet Sophie bears
it all with grace. What do you think is essential for a person to get through the hard
Laura: Then and now, FAITH. You’ll find diaries and letters and other sources
from that time period full of references to God and the strength and direction He
provided. George Washington called for days of prayer and fasting during the
Revolutionary War and I am sure this turned the tide of what was a very difficult
struggle against nearly impossible odds. Behind the scenes were women like Sophie who
provided endless acts of heroism themselves but whose stories remain unwritten.
Jen: Capturing how a child speaks and acts and reacts is extremely difficult to
do, but many reviewers have commented on how charming and loveable Lily Cate is. How do
you approach writing a character who is a child and is it different than writing an
Laura: I’m so thrilled Lily Cate rings true to readers! I certainly loved
creating her, perhaps because I only have boys :). Since I’m a former preschool
teacher, I drew on that experience. One of the things I like most about these littles
is that they’re so transparent and concrete and ‘in the moment.’ Adults wear many masks
and have manifold layers thus making them inaccessible and hard to read oftentimes. I
wanted Lily Cate to breathe fresh air into the angst and chaos of Tall Acre, bringing
healing and hope.
Jen: What would be your advice to new authors?
Laura: Write your heart out. Write the book you can’t find on the shelves but
are desperate to read. Read authors who write better than you. Pray. Submit your words
and your writing dream to God.
Jen: Can you give us a hint about what you’re working on now?
Laura: I’ve just penned THE END on another 18th-century frontier novel
set in one of Kentucky’s most picturesque places. I can’t wait for readers to join me
in 1777, ‘the year of the bloody sevens’ as it was called. I’ve even snuck some Boones
in the book! Since I live in a log cabin along the original Boone’s Trace, I feel extra
inspired to write this one.
Jen: Sounds beautiful and interesting! Thank you for joining us!
Author Laura Frantz is passionate about all things historical, particularly the
18th-century, and writes her manuscripts in longhand first. Her stories often
incorporate Scottish themes that reflect her family heritage. She is a direct
descendant of George Hume, Wedderburn Castle, Berwickshire, Scotland, who was exiled to
the American colonies for his role in the Jacobite Rebellion of 1715, settled in
Virginia, and is credited with teaching George Washington surveying in the years 1748-
1750. Frantz lives and writes in a log cabin in the heart of Kentucky.
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The American Revolution is finally over, and Sophie Menzies is starved for good
news. When her nearest neighbor, General Seamus Ogilvy, finally comes home to Tall
Acre, she hopes it is a sign of better days to come. But the general is now a widower
with a small daughter in desperate need of a mother. Nearly destitute, Sophie agrees to
marry Seamus and become the mistress of Tall Acre in what seems a safe, sensible
But when a woman from the general's past returns without warning, the ties that bind
this fledgling family together will be strained to the utmost. When all is said and
done, who will be the rightful mistress of Tall Acre?
Triumph and tragedy, loyalty and betrayal--readers find it all in the rich pages of
this newest historical novel from the talented pen of Laura Frantz. Her careful
historical details immerse the reader in the story world, and her emotional writing and
finely tuned characters never cease to enchant fans both old and new.
Read an Excerpt
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