Friday, January 6, 2017

Author Interview with YA Author J.S. Frankel

First of all, I want to thank author J.S. Frankel for agreeing to an author interview. He's an interesting Canadian author, and a fellow fantasy writer. He specializes in YA fantasy and his works look intriguing. Enjoy!


If you could, would you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I was born in Toronto, Canada, a long time ago. Moved to Japan when I was twenty-six and never really left. I got married about twenty years ago, have two children, and a very lovely wife.

How long have you been writing?
Not very long, really. I have only been writing seriously since 2014.

So, what have you written? 
Mainly YA. See my Amazon link at the bottom of this page.

Do you have a trailer or do you intend to create one for your own book(s)?
This is my youtube trailer, made by a friend. The music is pretty loud, but it shows all the books I've written to date.

Where can we find your books?
I'm on Amazon, at this link: J.S. Frankel

My main publisher for most of my novels is Devine

What genre are your books?
YA Fantasy, Paranormal, with a little romance thrown in for good measure. Lots of action, some violence, but not nearly as bloody as some other books I've read. There is blood, though. Not gratuituous...I won't go there.

Is there something about this genre that draws you to it?
YA is fresh and immediate. Decisions young people make seem to be more important at that age, although in the fullness of time they may think those decisions weren't so wonderful or necessary. YA allows my inner geek to come out, and I can journey pretty much anywhere I want to.

Do you have a favorite book that you've written?
Of all of them, probably the Catnip series. YA Action/Paranormal, it takes the mundane and turns it into something extraordinary. The series is only five books, but we see the protagonist, Harry Goldman, go from nerdy teenager to a married man who isn't quite a man. His wife isn't quite a woman, either, so they make a very unconventional but happy couple.

If you could cast anyone to play the characters in your most recent book, who would they be?
Oh wow, great question! I would really go with unknowns who fit the physical description, rather than go with a name. I think that if the audience sees the current male or female heartthrob, they might think "Oh, they're all wrong for this part". That's why going with unknowns is better, in my opinion. And, if a movie is made, it might make them a star!

Why do you write?
Very simply, I have stories to tell that I think will entertain. Some of them carry a message, but I never preach. That's the kiss of death. I simply try to show. That's what my main goal has always been.

Where do you see your writing taking you in the future?
Hopefully to the bestsellers list. (Yes, a joke). I'd really like to see my books read more widely. I have no illusions over being a top writer in Hollywood or anything like that, but if a lot of people like what I write, that's really good enough for me.

Where do the your ideas come from?
Everywhere! I look at online newspapers, watch YouTube videos (I've gotten a ton of ideas from them) and even throwaway lines from people on Facebook and other social sites. Those things, combined with my own imagination, take me places.

Some authors use outlines, some just fly by the seat of their pants. How do you write?
I outline, but go about it in a very basic way. I make notes on each chapter, who's doing what, add in dialogue and flesh out the narrative. I do that for every chapter and try to end on a mini-cliffhanger. I always try to have to reader think "Oh, what's going to happen next?"

How long on average does it take you to write a book?
For first drafts, three weeks. Yes, I know that sounds short, but that works for me. Keep in mind, though, my novels average out to be 67500 words or so, not too long, but just enough to keep you interested and reading more.

After the initial draft is done, I take another two weeks or so to edit, revise and redo, and then take one more pass at it before submitting it. If it's accepted, then I work with my editor to make it the best I can make it.

Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
I write at night, from around ten until midnight or after, while my family is asleep. Sure, it's sleep deprivation for me, but that's the only time I have, so I might as well make the most of it.

Do you design your own book covers?
No, my book covers are done by the publishers. Carmen Waters (she's on Facebook) has done all my Catnip covers and some other novels. My other publishers have also put out awesome covers to my Nightmare Crew novels as well.

Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?
Yes, I think so. If you have an eye-catching cover, chances are the reader will be interested. Having said that, you do need to write a quality story as well.

How do you market your books?
Facebook, Twitter, and CoPromote are my three main marketing avenues. These days, a writer, whether self-published or not, has to use any and all tools available, although word of mouth is still a tried and true method. But this being the digital age, you can't get around using digital media. It's there, it's fast, and it works.

Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books?
See above. Make connections, find common interests, and market. Hopefully, you'll profit by it.

Do you have any advice on how to get book reviews?
Going to bloggers, sending out emails asking for reviews, and following other writers can help. It's tough, yes, but worth it, if you can find a good reviewer.

What are your thoughts on good vs. bad reviews?
My thoughts are the same. Reviews are like noses. Everyone has one. Not everyone is going to like what you write or how you write it. I've had mainly good to very good reviews for my novels, but had a few stinkers as well. If they give constructive criticism, I'll read it, use it, and then move on and try to improve the next time around. We all should. That's part of the learning process.

Who are your favorite authors?
In no particular order, Robert McCammon, N.K. Jemisin, Stephen King, and a lot of the classic writers, such as Bronte, Thackery, Dickens, and many more of that era.

If you could have been an author for any book, who would it be and what book?
Wow, that's hard...probably...Gone South, by Robert McCammon. I loved that novel. Long, wordy, yet nothing was wasted. I would have added a tad more action, but there was enough, really. I remember thinking the first time I read it that it would make a great movie if it were adapted for the screen. I still think so.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers? 
Keep writing, learn, read other authors, ask for feedback, don't be afraid to write about something difficult. Stretch and go beyond what you know, be unafraid, be bold, dare to dream.

Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?
Just to say "Thank you!" for allowing me to write my thoughts down for you. Not everyone is as open. I am grateful for the opportunity to show who I am and what I've done.

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

Amazon Author Page:
Book Links:

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