Let's just get something outta the way here, shall we?
~~~~~I AM A SERIOUS LAURA FRANTZ FAN~~~~~
So much so that I named my teddy bear Red Shirt and umm...maybe I should NOT have said that...
Anyhoooo, Laura's latest literary feast is the 'can't put it down-didn't even try' wonder known as 'Love's Fortune'. The sweeping story of Rowena Ballantyne's transformation from simple, country luthier's daughter, to an heiress of the Ballantyne Empire.
Now, say that with a hoity-toity British accent..."Em-PIE-YAH".
Poor sweet Wren.
Girl, ya just gonna havta suffer for a while til Laura digs you out and dusts you off.
I had the chance to ask Laura a few questions, so join our chat, will you? And do marvel how intelligent I sounded...and yes, I'm the one asking the hard questions.
1) Ansel was very good at keeping his physical and emotional distance from his family, yet when he came home, he did the same thing to Wren. What was the character framework for him? Did you intend for him to be so aloof, or did he decide to be that way?
Ansel is a complex character, neither at home with those Ballantynes when he is at home, and a grieving widower and father, to boot. Can you imagine returning to the family you’d cut ties with and finding Andra and Bennett awaiting? I mean, the east coast and business is looking pretty good at that point.
2) Wren is a sweet, clueless angel. Was it hard feeding her to the lions known as Andra and Bennett?
My hubby almost threw the book across the room, more over Andra than Bennett. It was fun having naïve Wren enter their den and learn to defend herself. Having James alongside didn’t hurt. And in the end, when she’d had enough, she had a blessed escape. I’m sure some of us have longed to do that given the angst of familial relations, past and present!
3) Did you ponder a different end for Silas? Or did you have a little voice in your head whispering, "Jennifer knows where you live!" ?
I did listen to that little threatening voice in my head, yes. And I did ponder burying Silas in this book. But that would have meant curtains on Wren’s debut and all the social whirl – as well as any heroic advances, thus bringing the plot to a screeching halt!
4) It was sweet seeing that, umm, Jack and Ellie, still, umm, get along well. Do you feel guilty giving that poor woman twelve children? I mean, can't Jack and Ellie just make goo-goo eyes at each other instead of having an army? Or was that one of those "historically accurate" thingies writers do?
As for all that fertility, yes, that comes from my equally fertile imagination and actually knowing a family of 12 who has 10 boys and 1 girl (I rounded it up with girl #2 in the novel) and from reading many census rolls of equally loving couples during that very fruitful time period...
5) Wren gets brow beaten by Andra the Awful, and decides to take one for the team and do the social season thing. How much of a hunt was it for women of her day to marry money? Do you thing the poorer folks had it better, marrying for love and a roof and maybe some food?
Downtown Abbey immediately springs to mind because I think the American mother was sent to woo and wed an English title? Just backtrack from Edwardian times to 1850 and there was indeed a big push to marry well and beget well for the gentry even in Pittsburgh, all for the sake of business and finance. Personally, I find it much more palatable and romantic to marry for love and little else. Some of these highbrow couples were quite miserable – and those drafty mansions quite cold! I will say Wren’s distaste for excess and the social whirl was my own. Though I did find all those rules and extravagances fascinating!
6) Both Malachi and Jamie are written as (totally not) hideous and repulsive, drooling, one eyed beasts. Did you toy with her final choice, or was it set in stone before you put pen to paper/font to screen?
This may have missed many readers but James actually made an appearance in book 2, Love’s Awakening, when he announced Jack’s demise on the river to Ansel. He was just a boy, and an apprentice, but he had his eye on Wren even then. Malachi came out of the blue though and begged to be half-Scots. He does look quite fine in a kilt!
7) Why isn't Red Shirt in this book? Not sure, but that sorta screams 'epic fail' to me. Moving along...
Can you hear me laughing clear over here?! Red Shirt is back in the woods where he belongs. And it may well be in your neck of the woods...
8) Saying farewell to Silas (and yeah, everyone else, whatever...) is hard enough for us readers. How has it been for you? Or is it true that they live out behind your house in a big estate? Come on, I have satellite photos, I know you're hiding them!
I was actually horrified not long ago when I googled my own address and our place popped right up, even buried in the woods as it is! But try as I might, I could not see even a brick of New Hope in the trees anywhere. Actually, 3 books is plenty for a series. I found that while writing the Ballantynes taught me many things such as crossing centuries and generations, my heart remains in standalones. Or in Red Shirt’s case, a very latent sequel...
9) What's on the horizon for you now? I heard you're writing something 18th Century? Care to leave us with a teaser?
No, I cannot, thank you. I’ll just say I’m set for more books through 2019 as of this summer, thankfully. THE END, my friend.
Thank you , Laura!!
And look! A peak at one of Laura's adventures at the cover shoot for Love's Fortune.
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