So, for you southern parents, I've got something you may want to read while you're sipping on your caramel macchiato with no whip. (For you northern parents, you have about a month left. So, go lock yourself in the bathroom with your iPad, and you too can read this.)
Everyone, please welcome to my Florida front porch, author Darlene Franklin!
Hi, Darlene! Can you give us a quick bio. In fifty words or less, who is Darlene Franklin?
My bio proudly brags that I write full-time from a nursing home! I have found my situation to be the best catalyst for growth that I’ve experienced for a long time. I’m also a reader, a mother and grandmother, a church musician, who loves to color pictures and do word search puzzles. I guess that’s more than 50 words.
Before you ever got a notion of becoming a writer/author, how old were you, and what were you doing in that time of your life?
Do you mean before I included “writer” as a potential occupation when I was only 10 years old? That doesn’t quite count, because I sincerely believed I would be a missionary to Mexico as an adult.
I began writing daily when I was in my thirties, in the wake of a nasty divorce.
What educational background do you have?
I graduated from Cony High School in Augusta, Maine. After that I went to Northeastern Bible College and Southwestern Baptist Seminary. I had been told that the most important qualification for a missionary was to know God’s Word. I had a double major in college—Bible/theology and music. I loved both subjects, but it left my other coursework very limited. At seminary I started out in music and switched to religious education.
The training definitely prepared for the ministries God has called me to. (I have been involved with missions to a limited extent, just not the way I hoped or envisioned.) Nor have I been a preschool teacher or a Minister to Children. But I have always been involved with church music (became church pianist when I was twelve.) I started teaching children’s Sunday school when I was only fifteen.
So when I began writing, I wrote curriculum for children’s church and Sunday school. I’ve also written more than three hundred devotionals. Bible study is one of my passions!
I’m going to give you a shotgun list of favorites. List your favorite in each category and then tell us in one sentence why it is your favorite.
Favorite Food: rare steaks and hot caramel sundaes—but not together. Probably because I can’t get them by myself in a nursing home!
Favorite Drink: Most often drink: diet coke. Favorite drink: apple cider. I have rarely had good cider since Maine after high school.
Favorite Song: Any number of hymns! Of contemporary praise songs, songs like Blessed Be the Name and He Reins. I studied church music in college and played piano in church since I was twelve.
Favorite Non-Fiction Book (other than your own & besides the Bible): Almost anything by Philip Yancey. I really relate to his approach.
Favorite Bible Verse: Romans 8:37-39 hands down. God loves me. Period. No matter what.
Favorite Movie: Beyond Lord of the Rings? Different movies for different times. Top favs: Fiddler on the Roof, Field of Dreams, Princess Bride, Casablanca.
Favorite Actor or Actress: I have never disappointed by Leonardo DiCaprio or Meryl Streep. About the time I watched (???), I realized DiCaprio kept surprising me.
Favorite Novel (other than your own): Whip Hand by Dick Francis. The most suspense-
Favorite Novelist (other than you): Dick Francis, Charles Dickens. I waited with baited breath for Francis’s annual books. Unfortunately, they’re both dead.
Favorite Sport: baseball. I fell in love with baseball during the Colorado Rockies first season.
Favorite Team (Can be any sport, any level): Denver Broncos and the OKC Thunder. Regional affiliations—and the satisfaction of finally winning the Super Bowl!
Favorite Subject in School Growing Up: Music, Spanish, English. I did well in everything, but science and math was head learning and not heart learning.
Favorite Subject Now: Bible study and history. The passions drive my writing, not the other way around.
Favorite Teacher in School: Perhaps my Spanish teacher, who wanted me to become a translator. I grew up in Maine, where Spanish isn’t the second language. (French is.)
Favorite Time of the Year: Spring. New beginnings and the end of winter before summer’s heat
Favorite Place to Vacation: The mountains. Oh, my beloved Colorado!
If you had one person you could meet (think outside the Bible here) and could spend as much time as you wanted with that individual, who would it be?
Maybe Mother Theresa—who was she before she became “Mother Theresa,” world-renowned spiritual leader? What led her to India? How did she keep going during the early years, when it must have so difficult?
If you had one person you could meet (think ONLY Bible characters here) and could spend as much time as you wanted with that individual, who would it be besides Jesus?
I might say Deborah—her take on the role of women in the history of faith! Or Abraham and Sarah, for the belief-defying faith. But actually I’d like to chat with Leah. She astounds me. Jacob didn’t care about her at all, but she gave her sons names that resonate with hope. By the time it came to boy # four, she called him Judah, or praise. “This time I will praise God.” Unspoken: Even if Jacob still doesn’t love me. How did she do it?
Besides the usual things authors face, has there been an unusual event that changed your perspective about being an author?
My daughter’s suicide in 2008 was the first in a series of collapses that radically changed the direction of my career. I lost my daughter, my beloved Colorado, a job I loved, my mother, my health—my independence. I ended up in a nursing home.
As if that wasn’t enough of a challenge, the publisher I had written for stopped publishing. I wondered if God intended for me to stop writing. He didn’t. Instead, my career has exploded beyond anything I could have imagined!
I'm so sorry to hear about your daughter. But God is good, and He always proves faithful, doesn't He? What’s the craziest thing you have ever done?
One of my craziest things was traveling by bus from Mexico City, where I had been a summer missionary, to my parent’s home in Maine by bus. I traveled everywhere by bus in those days.
We know “Readers are leaders, and leaders are readers.” Is there a book you’ve read in the past five years or so that has helped you become a better you? If so, which one was it, and how did it affect your life?
This is and isn’t my work. I was hired to write prayers to accompany the text to the upcoming 12 Month Guide to Better Prayer for Women. The texts, by prayer giants such as Andrew Murray and EM Bounds, challenged me and taught me so much. As I studied, I found my prayer life profoundly changed.
What Bible scripture has impacted your life the most, and why?
Romans 8:37-39. God loves me. Period. I am free to live and not be afraid of my failures.
Darlene, it's been a pleasure to have you on Florida front porch! Where can folks find you out there in cyberland?
Also, my Twitter handle is @darlenefranklin.
Again, thanks so much for allowing our readers a chance to get to know you better.
Reader, Until next month, May God Bless You, and may you Bless God!
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