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LAURA FRANTZ'S TELLS ALL ABOUT RECENT TRIP TO SCOTLAND

ABOUT AUTHOR: Award-winning 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. Her family resides in Kentucky and Virginia. Readers can find Laura Frantz at www.laurafrantz.net 

Let’s talk about your amazing trip to Scotland this past summer hosted by Liz Curtis Higgs. How many days were you there? What did your average day look like? 

Liz’s tours are life-changing, full of incredible scenery, great food, and fascinating history! She knows Scotland so well and on this particular tour taught a Bible study 10 mornings while there. Truly an inspiring experience!

One of the many castles you saw on your trip was Balmoral Castle. You mentioned on your blog that it’s open to the public four months a year; letting people see the ballrooms and grounds. Was the ballroom everything you thought it would be? What surprised you? What was just as you thought it would be? 

Balmoral’s ballroom was at the bottom of a grand staircase with a dais for royalty on one side. I was surprised at how small it was, though it was elegant and could accommodate a small crowd. I was so tempted to see the other rooms, closed to the public. Since the British royals still live there it’s very much a private home. The day we were there, Queen Elizabeth was actually leaving and returning to London.

Scotland has its unique landscape and feel. What blew you away? What made you say to God, “You’ve out done yourself here? Or saw a flower or tree and say to yourself “WOW, that’s amazing!”

 There’s a wildness about Scotland that is hard to describe.  Though it’s smaller than the state of Indiana, it “feels” big perhaps because it has such a rich history. The Hebrides or western islands of Scotland are truly a feast for the eyes and soul. God’s creation is at its best in the craggy cliffs, the sparkling water, and all the wildlife.

What meals did you most enjoy in Scotland? Was there a dish that made you say to yourself – I have to get the recipe and make this at home for my family? What meal surprised you – when you looked at it or knew what it was it didn’t make you want to try it but then loved it after you did? 

I’ve never had a better cup of tea or a scone with clotted cream and jam than in Scotland! And I’m one of those crazy people who love haggis! There’s not much about Scotland I don’t like. Maybe I have my Scots ancestor’s appetite! On my website I share a recipe for traditional Scottish scones. Here’s the link ~ http://laurafrantz.net/a-recipe-and-a-memory/

What is the fascination with castles? What do you think of when you look at them and/or visit them? What’s the feeling you get when you are inside one? 

We visited over a dozen castles this trip, some of them the stuff of fairytales like Inverary which is still occupied and the very ancient Urquhart which is a ruin. It left me wanting to write a medieval novel! When you step inside, you’re overcome with the weight of history and all the emotional maelstrom of past battles and love affairs and such.

You mentioned you saw lots of sheep on your trip grazing in the fields; what surprised you about these animals? What did you grown to love about the sight of them? 

Sheep are such loveable, helpless, dim-witted creatures. Seeing shepherds on the hills and being there during lambing time was a special treat. I especially love the sight of lambs trailing after their mothers and hearing their bleating in the wind. It gave me a whole new appreciation of why Jesus called us sheep.

What surprised you about kilts, lilts and bag pipes playing? What did you grow to love? Look forward to? 

Kilts are made of such beautiful fabric and are very practical, to boot! You don’t dare call them a skirt! Some of the manliest men I’ve ever seen wear them. Not everyone likes the screech of bagpipes but they can be so hauntingly beautiful and evocative, I never get tired of hearing them. It’s quite a sight to see a kilted man playing bagpipes in the remote Highlands or on a city corner. 

See any piece of clothing that intrigued you or you thought one of your characters should wear? If so, what was it? 

My first day in Scotland I bought a plaid wrap to keep warm, with a Celtic broach. It was the closest I could come to a kilt!

You’ve mentioned that your favorite city in all the world is Edinburgh. What makes it your favorite? What makes it so special to you?

Edinburgh is seeped in history and holds so many seeds of stories that re a novelist’s dream. Aside from that, it’s gorgeous even in the rain, layered with medieval buildings in Old Town and those lovely 18th-century elegant townhouses in New Town. The cobbled walks, the food and music, the crowning gem of a castle at the top of the city and another at the very bottom of the Royal Mile is hard to describe in words.

Can you tell me the highlights of your trip to Scotland this year? What changed you? What were you most thankful for? 

Walking amidst all those gardens beginning to bloom in sunny, atypical Scottish weather was a huge highlight. Since writing requires a lot of inside work, being outside and walking everywhere left me feeling elated and spiritually full. God’s handiwork is on full display in Scotland in late spring and since there are only a few hours of darkness in May, you can enjoy it from very early to very late!

What was your favorite flower in Scotland? 

Scottish bluebells are truly a work of art. Entire hillsides were covered with them and they are the most exquisite shade of blue!


Thanks Laurafor sharing your amazing trip with us. Makes me want to go; especially with Liz Curits Higgs. Readers can find Laura Frantz at www.laurafrantz.net

I’m thrilled about the Giveaway Opportunity at TBCN starting the 20th of SEPTEMBER at www.bookfun.org . Looking forward to reading the participation between you and readers! It’s always so much fun! Everyone has to be a member of TBCN in-order to participate. It’s FREE and EASY. Participate as your schedule allows. Last day to enter drawing is Sept 30th

Nora :o)

Nora St. Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins! www.bookfun.org
Book Fun Magazine www.bookfunmagazine.com
The Book Club Network Blog www.psalm516.blogspot.com

9 comments:

  1. Wow, what a great trip, Laura! You must have had such fun! Thanks for sharing a bit of history and culture with us!
    Cheers,
    Sue

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    1. Sue, So happy to see you here despite your own busy schedule! Thanks for making time. An honor. I sense in you a kindred Scots spirit:)

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  2. Thanks so much, Nora, for having me here. Love TBCN and readers here! Bless you all.

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  3. Makes me want to visit even more! :)

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    1. Tamara, I never thought I'd go and finally got there ~ hope you do, too!

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  4. Laura, a medieval novel??? Oh yes, do!

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    1. Sally, I don't know if I'd have the nerve to attempt it after reading the very talented Tamara Leigh! I think you might like her Age of Faith series:)

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  5. Thanks for the beautiful interview, Laura and Nora!! Loved seeing the pics and learning more about Scotland and your trip there, Laura - praying I get to tour it one day as some of my ancestors are from Scotland, also!!

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    1. Bonnie, It would be wonderful to see Scotland with you! I treasure your comments. You're a true Scots lass, too:)

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