Friday, May 23, 2008

Meet Darlene Franklin - Interview & Book Giveaway

Darlene FranklinIt’s my pleasure to present Darlene Franklin, author of Gunfight at Grace Gulch, part of the Heartsong Presents: Mysteries line from Barbour. Let’s meet Darlene!


Darlene Franklin lives in the Denver area with her mother and her lynx point Siamese cat Talia. She has sold four novels as well as a novella and has contributed to numerous magazines, anthologies, and devotionals. She has also written curriculum for children’s Sunday school. She is a frequent guest speaker at local writers groups.


JA: Your latest book is Gunfight at Grace Gulch from Heartsong Presents Mysteries. Please tell us about it.
DF: Gunfight at Grace Gulch is the first book in the Dressed for Death series. Cici Wilde grew up in a small ranching community and is expected to marry the boy next door. Instead, she bucks tradition, opens a vintage clothing store, and is dating the new guy in town, theater director Audie Howe.

Audie directs a reenactment of a famous gunfight from Grace Gulch history. With the whole town watching, one of the actors is shot dead. Suspicion falls on Cici’s old boyfriend and her sister; she decides to investigate.

JA: Your heroine, Cici Wilde, owns a vintage clothing store. Do you share her interest in vintage items?
DF: You know, I probably would if I could find clothes to fit. The right outfit, from hat and hairdo to footwear, says a lot about setting and personality. But the main reason my heroine owns a vintage clothing store is that it sounded like a fun, quirky occupation that could lead to some interesting mysteries.

JA: The Graces and the Gaynors have been feuding for more than a century. How did you dream up these families?
Gunfight at Grace Gulch DF: The historical inspiration for Gunfight at Grace Gulch—the multiple Oklahoma land runs—triggered a lot of bitter feuds. Three times as many participated in the runs as there was land available; some people chose to cheat by getting to their land “sooner” than anyone else. That is, they camped out on the land instead of making the run on the appointed day. As you can imagine, that led to bitter accusations and years of claims tied up in court. I’m sure that in real life, more than one gunfight erupted over disputes.

Having said that, the Graces and the Gaynors are purely fictional. I took the facts I knew and asked the essential writer question, “what if?”

JA: What do you hope people take away after reading Gunfight at Grace Gulch?
DF: Mostly, I hope they enjoy their stay in Grace Gulch as much as I do. If they struggle with self-image like Cici does, I also hope that they can accept the beauty of God’s creation in them. We are each unique, and called to different areas of service.

JA: What’s next for you in the writing arena?
DF: I am finishing the second book in the Dressed for Death series, A String of Murders (scheduled for a late December release from Heartsong Presents: Mysteries), and also hope to write a third book, Paint Me a Puzzle. This fall, I will have a novella in the Snowbound Colorado Christmas anthology and several devotions in Barbour’s line of 365 Daily Whispers of Wisdom. Beyond that, I hope to continue exploring America’s west, whether through mysteries or historical novels.

JA: Is writing something you always wanted to do, or did you discover your passion after trying a lot of other things?
DF: I studied church music in college, and Christian education in seminary, and both continue to be a big part of my life. I took up writing after a painful divorce, and discovered a new passion.

JA: What would people be surprised to learn about you?
DF: I don’t know, I’m pretty boring and predictable! Perhaps my description of myself as “humor challenged.” Laughter, including the ability to laugh at myself, is something I discovered rather late in life.

JA: Who are some writers that inspire you?
DF: Inspire. Now, that’s a good question. I would love to match Dick Francis’ characters, James Lee Burke’s ability to capture setting, or Faye Kellerman’s ability to weave faith into taut mysteries. I particularly enjoy reading Philip Yancey, Mark Buchanan, and Liz Curtis Higgs. John Grisham and J.R.R. Tolkien changed the way I look at the world.

JA: Last but not least, how can people keep up with your latest publishing news?
DF: Check out my website,, or my blog,

It was great having you on the blog, Darlene. May God continue to bless you in your writing journey!


When a staged gunfight goes terribly wrong, the citizens of Grace Gulch have a real life murder mystery on their hands. In Gunfight at Grace Gulch, author Darlene Franklin introduces us to a unique bunch of characters. The ongoing fued between the Graces and the Gaynors adds to the suspense and the fun. By weaving letters written by Robert Grace in the late 1800s into the contemporary setting, Franklin offers a glimpse into the past… one that continues to affect the present. Fans of cozy mysteries will enjoy this frontier story with a twist.


If you’d like to be entered to win a copy of Gunfight at Grace Gulch just leave a reply to this blog. I’ll combine the responses of my Blogger and ShoutLife blogs to pick a winner at random on May 30th. Please leave an email address so I can contact you if you're the winner. (To prevent spammers from trolling for your email, please use this format with the brackets--you [at] yourmail [dot] com--or something similar.) ShoutLifers will be contacted via ShoutMail. Good luck!


Jessica Burkhart said...

Great interview! :)

tetewa said...

Love mysteries, sounds like my kind of read!

Darlene Franklin said...

Thanks for stopping by!

Bev (froggieb) said...

Love mysteries and enjoyed the interview. Thanks.


b dot werts at sbcglobal dot net

Kat Bryan said...

Very interesting interview and I love a good mystery. Please enter me in the contest.

Anonymous said...

I'd love to read this book


Darlene Franklin said...

I forgot a very important fact in my interview!

If you enjoy cozy mysteries, consider signing up for the new Heartsong Presents: Mysteries! bookclub at

Thanks for your interest.

Carolynn W. said...

This books sounds like a great read, please enter me, thanks!

cathikin said...

I love the title! It got my attention right away. The story sounds great as well. I'd love to get a copy of it. Good interview.
chassan2 at hotmail dot com

Tamela Hancock Murray said...

I really enjoyed this interview, Darlene!

Pamela J said...

Many people struggle with self-image. Sounds like a good book to read with at least one good learning lesson in it. Please enter me in the drawing. Thanks.
cepjwms at yahoo dot com

Charlotte said...

This sounds like it could be a suspenseful story! And I really like that it deals with self-image. That's something I've struggled with. Please enter me! Thanks!
My e-mail address is:

windycindy said...

What a fun and fascinating interview!
I really like the book's cover. I would love to be entered in your book drawing. Much appreciation, Cindi

Jennifer AlLee said...

Congratulations to our winner, Jessica Burkhart! Thanks to everyone who stopped by :+}