1. First, introduce yourself a bit. What is your name (or pen name) and where are you from?
Hi! My name is Jesse S. Frankel, but I write under the pen name of J.S. Frankel.
2. Next, tell us a bit about your most recent work. Is this your first published book? What is it about and what genre would you classify it as?
I have so many, but my most recent would be Sara Satellite. It’s a Young Adult Fantasy, and it’s essentially a love story–unlikely though it may be–between a teen shut-in named Marvin Frontier and a sentient computer program called Sara. Love is where you find it, even if it’s twenty thousand miles away–straight up.
3. Tell us a bit about your main character; what are they like, how did they come about, and what are some of their strengths and weaknesses?
Marvin is a hemophiliac of the worst sort, a social pariah, and a bit of a nerd, although he’s likeable. His weaknesses are physical, yes, but his strengths are his mental processes. He’s forthright, steadfast, honest, and intelligent. That allows him to best his opponents.
4. What was your hardest scene to write in this (or any) book?
For Sara Satellite, it was a death scene. I had to tread a fine line between being too graphic and not showing enough. In the end, it worked out well.
5. Did you go the traditional route when publishing your book or did you choose to self-publish?
Traditional. I’m not against self-pubbing and I may do so one day, but for now, traditional pubbing is it.
6. What would you say is the most difficult part of your writing journey and what advice would you give to other writers?
It isn’t the writing! It’s the marketing!! And for any new writer, the first thing I’d tell them, outside of writing a good book, is to network, market wisely, and hopefully, profit.
7. Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
I’d like all my books to stand out for what they are: good stories. I do refer to some of my earlier works, but that’s more of an inside joke.
8. What are some of your favourite authors and books and what inspired you to become a writer in the first place?
In no particular order, Robert McCammon, Stephen King, and N.K. Jemisin. All are great in their own way.
As for becoming a writer, years back, my older son (who was around ten at the time) said something about trees in an animated feature he’d seen. He said, “Wouldn’t it be great if trees talked?” And while I found that odd, it gave me an idea, and I ended up writing The Tower, my first novel.
9. What would you say has been the best way to market your books?
For me, using media like Twitter and Facebook. The key thing is to engage others, and hopefully, they’ll spread the word. Word of mouth really does work, and with the Internet, the word can spread fast.
10. Are there any tropes, clichés, or writing styles that you dislike and, if so, what are they and why?
No, none that come to mind save insta-love. I think romance should be a slow-burn kind of deal, sex or no sex. If two people find each other and suddenly they’re in bed, well, where do you go after that? Building up to the heavy romance is far better, in my opinion.
11. Do you read reviews of your book and, if so, how do you handle negative feedback?
Opinions are like noses; everyone’s got one. I don’t know one writer who hasn’t gotten a one-star job. If someone doesn’t like my novel, I look at their critique. If they say, “This sucks!” and nothing more, then that’s not helpful. If they, however, critique the pacing or characters or whatever, if it’s honest and not mean-spirited, then I think about what they’ve said and try to do better next time.
12. What are some of your quirks as a writer? Do you like to plot everything out or do you prefer to just “wing it” and see where the story takes you? Do you listen to music when writing and, if so, what do you listen to?
Quirks? I listen to pop music–all sorts–when I write. I’m not a pantser; I’m a plantser. I plan things out–mostly–but I’m also not afraid to change things up if necessary.
13. What is the best advice you’ve ever had when it comes to writing and what advice would you give to new writers?
When I first started, I got discouraged when no one bothered to help me or take a look at my writing. An older, wiser writer sent me a message out of the blue, saying that I had a voice, that I had a story to tell, and that I shouldn’t give up. I never forgot that. And when I have the time, I do my best to help others.
14. What’s next for you? Are you currently working on any new books or stories?
I’m always working on something new. Right now, I’m working on another Young Adult story entitled Windows. I can’t say much about it save it involves portals, elf-like beings, magic, and a bang-up final battle.
15. Finally, feel free to plug your social media, website, and links to Amazon, GoodReads, and other relevant sites below, and detail any current offers available for your book/s:
Sure thing, and thank you! Extasy Books, my publisher, have a sale on my novels until the end of August.
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