J.S., please introduce yourself:
A: My name is Jesse S. Frankel, pen name J.S. Frankel. I was born in Toronto many moons ago, but moved to Japan many moons later and have been here over half my life. My wife is a native of Osaka, and that’s where we make our home with our two sons. I teach ESL during the day, and write during the evening. It’s something I love doing, and I can’t see myself doing anything else.
Q: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
A: Pretty late in life, actually. I didn’t start writing until I was forty-eight. Then I had an idea, which eventually became my first novel that was published a year later. While it didn’t set the world on fire, it did light a fire within me, and I’ve been at it ever since.
Q: How long does it take you to write a book?
A: Believe it or not, I get my first draft done in three weeks. That’s for a novel that’s approximately 67500 words in length. At that point, it’s readable, but by no means publishable. It takes me another two weeks to polish it, and then I send it off.
Q: What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
A: Strange. I don’t work as many hours as I would like, so I write in between classes. I teach at schools as well as in cafés, so whenever I have time to write, I do.
Q: What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
A: Nothing, really, save to say that I occasionally take breaks to watch music videos. That fuels my imagination, and I’d say that no less than six of my novels have been inspired by music videos. It may sound wonky to some, but it works for me!
Q: Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
A: I get them from everywhere, really. As mentioned above, I watch music videos, and that helps. Sometimes someone will toss a throwaway line at me on a social site and it stirs something within my imagination. Or, I’ll read about a scientific breakthrough or potential breakthrough, and think “What if?”
That’s really the key. What if. The late W.K. Kinsella said that, and I’m sure every writer has thought the same thing. I’m no different. I take that what-if concept and run with it and see where it leads me.
Q: When did you write your first book and how old were you?
A: I was forty-eight when I wrote my first novel. It came out a year later.
Q: What does your family think of your writing?
A: My wife is supportive, but also practical. She does ask, “How many books have you sold?” or “Any luck?”…and I answer her. At the very least, she has never discouraged me.
As for my sons, they are eighteen and fifteen, and they think it’s cool that their father is a writer. Good enough for me.
Q: How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
A: So far, I’m up to thirty-five, with more on the way. Out of all of them, it’s a tossup between Catnip—the first in a five-book serial—and Twisted, a gender switch novel. The latter’s narrative isn’t as polished as my other novels, but I had an awful lot of fun in writing it. Chivalry isn’t dead. It just wears a skirt.
Q: Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
A: Most of them say they enjoy my novels and my style, but they’re not afraid to level critique at me, and that’s how I take it. I don’t take it personally, even though it may hurt. A writer has to have a thick skin, and I’ve developed one over the years. I take the criticism to heart, and I do my best to improve each and every time out.
Q: What do you think makes a good story?
A: For me, it’s a storyline that resonates with me on some level. I have to be able to relate to the character(s) in some way. If I can’t relate, then it isn’t worth it for me to continue. If the characters are well developed, if the pace is reasonably fast, and if the dialogue is good, then for me, that’s all that matters.
Q: As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
A: A baseball player. Guess I ended up doing something different. (Laughs).
Synopsis of Master Fantastic
High school student Paul Coleman’s life is an ordinary one. His existence takes a turn for the extraordinary when he and his best friend, Rory, are attacked by a winged demon one day. The demon, which calls itself Hekla, possesses the power of sound, and kills Rory with its scream. Paul survives, but the force from the blast has left him mainly deaf.
A year later, Paul is out of school, working part-time, and is fearful of going deaf forever. Although he has learned sign language well, he wonders where his life will go. All that changes when Montague (Monty) Trillian, also known as Master Fantastic, enters his life and requests his services as a sign language teacher for his daughter, Myrna. Paul accepts, and soon finds out that Trillian is not just any magician, but an Elementalist, one capable of wielding the four elements of Earth with ease. He can also open portals to other worlds, and often does so, visiting those of earth, water, and fire.
Many adventures follow, and Paul and Myrna grow close, but Hekla returns and demands Myrna be given to her. It seems that Myrna is the product of a union between Monty and Hekla, and like all mothers, she desires to protect her own. Now, Paul must do everything he can to save Myrna from being used for a fate far worse than death, and only the abilities of Master Fantastic can save them all—or can they?
Review blurb: (From Amazon, so you can check it, if you wish). “The world building was fantastic. This was true not only for Earth but also for the other places that Paul and his employers explored every time a portal opened. Every single setting was described in such great detail that I felt like I’d been there myself once I finished reading about them. Any one of them would have made me want to give this story a five star rating. The fact that this happened so many times made it impossible for me to pick any other rating!”
Rory then squinted up at the sky. Something large and dark was approaching our position, and it didn’t look like a bird. “What is that thing?” he wanted to know.
I wondered the same thing myself, and strained my eyes in order to get a better look. Definitely not a bird, it looked almost like… like, oh, hell! “Rory, get your ass out of there!”
I took off down the street, but Rory seemed to be paralyzed and stayed rooted to his spot, staring in shock at the rapidly approaching thing. It looked like a demon from some third-rate horror flick, except this was not a movie, and we weren’t part of a cast. The thing had to be around seven feet in height, with long, misshapen leathery wings twice the length of its body, and a face only a mother fug-ugly monster could love. Rory still didn’t make a move. He just stood there like a scared deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming car. I ran back to help my friend, but the thing moved faster. It came in with a burst of missile-like speed, hit my buddy like a runaway truck and smashed him to the back of the alley. A solid brick wall lay at the end so no way anything could go through it. Rory’s body hit the wall and made a sickening crunching sound.
Inside the alley, I got a better look at the monster that had just obliterated my friend. The demon straightened up, a grin on its face. It looked like a cross between a lizard and a dog, with the high, pointed ears of a Doberman and the long, pointy snout, greenish-red scales, and bright red reptilian eyes a large Komodo dragon on steroids would own. The thing’s body scared me even more than its face. The skin resembled aged leather which had been left out in the sun too long, but parasite-like things erupted from hundreds of tiny little holes in its wings and torso, and each of them had teeth. It was too damn gross for words. I didn’t want to look and yet I couldn’t look away. The skin on my body, especially my back, immediately started to itch and it couldn’t have come at a worse time. The creature bent down and started to chew on Rory’s stomach. Blood erupted into the air and all over the thing’s face. When it opened its pie-hole a little wider, a full set of very sharp-looking teeth appeared like a whole row of canines, but much longer. It turned its head in my direction. “You’re next.”
When the thing got within three feet of me, it suddenly stopped. The long ears on its reptilian head pointed straight up and then twitched. Then it whirled around and withdrew its talons. “No,” it cried out, “I’m not ready yet!”
Not ready for… what? Although I couldn’t hear anything clearly, I could still see. An opaque opening, five feet in diameter formed out of nothing right behind the monster. With its formation, a wind, harsh and cold, began to rise, and it began to pull the creature inside. Impossible. It was pulling the creature inside, yet everything else in the alley was untouched. “No, not yet,” the creature bellowed. “I’m not finished!”
Apparently, the vortex didn’t care, and it continued to exert its pull. The creature howled in rage and reached out for me, but the gravitational force of the hole proved to be too much, and the thing got yanked inside. Then the portal closed, the wind died away, and only the cold air remained. Oh, man, it just vanished, like it had never come in the first place. I sat in the alleyway along with the corpse of my best friend. I heard nothing save the roar of blood in my ears. Then silence settled in along with the smell of blood, and I knew the rest of the day wasn’t going to get any better…
Buy links for Master Fantastic:
Devine Destinies: http://www.devinedestinies.com/js-frankel/master-fantastic/
Brief intro of me!
Hello! My name is Jesse Frankel, pen name J.S. Frankel, and I’m the writer of Master Fantastic, a YA Fantasy novel that I’m very proud of having written. I was born in Toronto, Canada, many years ago, but now I live in Japan where I teach ESL and write when I have the time. I live here with my wife, Akiko, and my two sons, Kai and Ray.
About Master Fantastic. Imagine you could simply step through a portal to another world without having to wear a spacesuit or travel on a rocket. Impossible? Not for Master Fantastic. Our main character, Paul Coleman, is a high school graduate, partially deaf due to an attack by a demon. (Yes, this IS a fantasy, so go with it). He is broke, in need of direction, and meets Master Fantastic–real name, Montague Trillian–one day, who offers him a job as a sign language teacher for his daughter, Myrna. Without any cash on hand, Paul accepts, and finds out that reality isn’t what it seems in the Trillian household. Montague–“Monty”–is not only an Elementalist (able to control fire, earth, and water)–but can also open portals to other worlds.
Paul travels with him and Myrna, and soon falls in love with her. However, love will have to wait, as the demon that attacked Paul returns to claim Myrna for a reason that cannot be explained here. (You’ll have to get the book!). It becomes a race to find out how to defeat the demon, and also becomes a battle of magic versus power. Only one side can win, so which will emerge as the victor?