Dreamer, visionary, a person constantly trying to perfect their craft, and someone who is never satisfied, Author Jess Frankel works hard to produce his YA fantasy novels. Please welcome him here on No Wasted Ink.
My name is Jess Frankel, pen name J.S. Frankel, and I’m your sort-of-average guy from Toronto, Canada, who now lives in Japan with his wife and two children. I had your usual upbringing in Toronto but caught the wanderlust when I went to Japan to teach English when I was twenty-six. That was—dramatic pause—a long time ago. I’ve been here ever since, fighting the good ESL (English as a Second Language) fight, and writing on the side.
When and why did you begin writing?
I started not that long ago, when I was about forty-eight. I’m fifty-five now, but didn’t get serious about it until my third novel, Twisted, came out. That’s when I took up writing in earnest.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Good question. I think that everyone is a writer if they write something, regardless of whether they are published or not. In my case, though, I didn’t feel comfortable being called a writer until Twisted came out…three years ago.
Can you share a little about your current book with us?
The Titans of Ardana is a YA Action/Fantasy novel. It’s a wish fulfillment, in a way, with the hero idolizing—and crushing on—a star of his favorite television show, The Metas. In an effort to get an autograph, he finds out that Dana, the star, and Van, her twin and co-star, aren’t from around here, and the tale takes off from there.
What inspired you to write this book?
Mainly because I’m a superhero geek, and I wanted to explore the process of becoming one. It’s the mindset I wanted to look at, not the powers. In the beginning, the hero of the tale, Martin, is your average nerd, but he learns what it really means when he acquires super powers. His catchphrase is “Hold nothing back. Give everything” and that applies to any given situation.
Do you have a specific writing style?
It’s very minimalist. I don’t go in for florid prose. I simply give the basics and then some, and try to give the reader a solid mental picture of what’s going on without going overboard.
How did you come up with the title of this book?
I always wanted to do a book about some special kind of hero. In ancient Greek mythology, a field I love, the Titans weren’t the best group of people around. I wanted to make my Titans different, people to be proud of.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I don’t go in for messages, really, as that can get awfully preachy. My message, if you will, is to believe that you can do what you want to do if you put your heart and soul into it.
Are experiences in this book based on someone you know or events in your own life?
In this case, yes, as an old girlfriend of mine was really into chocolate, so I sort of drew upon that experience.
What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?
I’ve always liked Ray Bradbury for his creative use of English, and Robert McCammon for his explorations of the human heart.
Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?
Martine Jardin, who works for Devine Destinies, my publisher, designed the cover. She took my suggestions and came up with this, and I was/am very pleased with it.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
It may sound trite, but keep writing. Many writers agonize over penning the perfect sentence and by doing so, they limit themselves. Realize that the first draft of anything will more than likely be bad. You can always fix mistakes. You can’t fix an empty file.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Just to say thank you to anyone and everyone who has supported me, and to those who haven’t yet read my work, I hope you’ll take a chance on this novel and my other novels. I would also like to thank you, Wendy, for giving me the chance to appear in this interview!
My pleasure, Jess. I’m glad to have you here on the blog sharing your author experiences. 🙂
The Titans of Ardana