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Author Interview,  Giveaway

Jann Franklin: Small Towns, Perspective, a Giveaway and More

I’m excited to host another new-to-me author this week. I hope you’ll enjoy meeting Jann Franklin and hearing about her books and writing. Jann is offering an ebook of her novel Trading Bright Lights for Lightning Bugs as a giveaway (US winner only). I love the title, don’t you?

For your chance to win, simply scroll down to the comments section and chime in by Tuesday, May 23.

Hi, Jann. I’m glad to have you here! Tell us a little about yourself and your family

I’m married to a retired teacher turned cattle rancher. We have three young men who are in various stages of discovering what God is calling them to do. Our oldest just graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University and serves in the Texas National Guard in Abilene. Our middle is graduating this month from Texas State University and getting married. He and his future wife are raising support to be missionaries through CRU and will work with Texas State students. Our youngest lives in Austin and is a security guard. He is still struggling with what God wants from him.

So, you’re the lone female among four men. I bet that was fun while the boys were growing up. How and when did you start writing?

I retired at age 55, but I didn’t want to join a bunch of clubs or sit on the couch all day. I’d heard the local paper was looking for columnists, so I applied. I enjoyed writing a weekly column, but often had ideas that were fiction. 

For instance, we had a string of car break-ins last year, and the mayor quizzed a deputy while we were all in the coffee shop. He told her they were working on finding the culprits and were going to set up some bait cars. Someone asked what had been stolen. The deputy mentioned tablets, a laptop, charging cords, and a teapot. My first thought was, will they put a teapot in the bait car, to lure the thieves? What if the thieves broke into the bait car? I wrote all my crazy thoughts down, and my husband suggested I write a book.

The wonderful mind of a novelist. Love it. Do you have a favorite drink or snack you indulge in while writing? 

After spilling a glass of iced tea all over my desk, I stick to water with a LID. My favorite snack is blackberries or blueberries. BTW, I’m trying to lose 30 pounds for my son’s wedding so I’m pretty boring food wise right now.

Oh, no! I always have a lid on my cup too. How do you balance writing with your other life and family obligations? 

I’m very blessed. My kids are out on their own and I’ve retired from my CPA life. I can spend my day writing! That can be problematic, though, because I sometimes watch Murder She Wrote for several hours, in the interest of research and development. Then I have to scramble to get my writing in. Too much time can be a bad thing.

I understand getting sucked into a hole when we start to research for our books. Let’s talk about how you incorporate Christ and hope into your writing.

Each book in the Small-Town Girl series has a recurring theme. The first one focuses on remembering that God puts you where you’re needed. The second one focuses on God’s promises. And the third is about forgiveness and reconciliation. The cozies include a woman who is a Christian and her friend and PI who is not a Christian, and how she interacts with him and witnesses to him. In the second book, she deals with trying to forgive the man who killed her husband.

I like your themes. Forgiving a man who killed your spouse would be hard, and I love that you highlight that in your book. Is your most recent novel Trading Bright Lights for Lightning Bugs inspired by true events or personal history?

I lived in Dallas/Ft. Worth and had to move to Longview, TX for my husband’s job. That was a major culture shock. Then we moved to a town of 298 in Louisiana. So that part of the book is based on my life. But the crazy mayor and quirky townspeople are not.

Wow, 298 people is certainly a small town! What did God teach you through the writing of Trading Bright Lights for Lightning Bugs?

Well, He tried to teach me patience. But I’m not sure I listened very well. Writing is a creative process, and I had to let go so the characters could come to life. He reminded me through the story that He also has a plan for me, and it is in a small town.

What do you hope your readers take away from the book?

That our lives will take some unwanted twists and turns, but they are all very much part of God’s plan. Instead of focusing on what we’ve lost, we need to focus on what we’ve gained.

Great lesson. Which character in Trading Bright Lights for Lightning Bugs was easiest for you to write and why? Which character presented the biggest challenge?

Jen was the easiest, because she’s me when I had young children. Her husband Mike was the hardest, because honestly, I don’t understand how men work. Predicting his actions and thoughts proved challenging.

It’s definitely challenging trying to figure out how a man thinks. What is one of your favorite quotes from Trading Bright Lights for Lightning Bugs?

I’ll take you over an alligator any day!

LOL. That’s awesome. Who is your favorite fiction author? Favorite novel?

Jan Karon. At Home in Mitford. I love her set up and intro to all the characters. 

Whats next from you?

Boudin and Bloodshed comes out in July.

It’s been fun meeting you through this written interview and learning about your books, Jann. I pray God will continue to bless you as you write and publish stories that point to Him.

For a chance to win an ebook of Trading Bright Lights for Lightning Bugs by @JannFranklin3, comment on her author interview by May 23! (US resident only) #amreading #giveaway #Christfic


Join the conversation. What intrigues you most about Jann’s books? Could you use a reminder about focusing on what you’ve gained rather than what you’ve lost? Do you live in a big city or a small town? What kind of setting do you prefer in the novels you read?

Be sure to comment below by May 23 for a chance to win an ebook of Trading Bright Lights for Lightning Bugs! (US winner only)

Trading Bright Lights for Lightning Bugs Book Cover

Trading Bright Lights for Lightning Bugs by Jann Franklin

Click the book cover for purchase link

Sometimes life throws you curveballs.

Jen Guidry thrives in the big city, but her husband Mike finds the bright lights blinding. He moves their family back to the tiny town in Louisiana where he grew up, a place that doesn’t even have a coffee shop! How will Jen cope with being a fish out of water?

 That doesn’t mean you lose hope.

God puts us all where we’re needed, and it isn’t long before Jen is living a life she never knew she wanted. Can she give up the bright lights of the big city and truly appreciate her yard full of lightning bugs? Join Jen and her family in the first book of this delightful small-town series, as she finds new friends and new adventures (and misadventures) while navigating small-town life.

Jann Franklin lives in the small town of Grand Cane, Louisiana with 298 other people. Many of her stories came from living the small-town life. Like her heroines, she was dragged kicking and screaming back to a small town. But now she can’t imagine living her life any other way.

She and her husband John enjoy Sundays at Grand Cane Baptist Church, supper with family and friends, and the sense of community that comes from living the small-town life. Their kids come to visit, when they aren’t too busy living their big-city lives.

Connect with Jann: Website / Blog / Facebook / Instagram / Twitter

Jann Franklin Photo

Please share Jann’s interview on social media to help spread the word about her books!

Check out these past interviews with Mesu Andrews, Carol Ashby, and Barbara Britton.

As a Jesus girl for more than thirty years, Deena Adams understands how important hope is to daily life, which fuels her passion to inspire others through hope-filled fiction based on true to life stories. She is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency and is a multi-award-winning writer, an active ACFW member, and ACFW Virginia president. Connect with Deena through her website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.