Today’s interview is with J. F. Frankel, an action writer who lives in Japan.
LQ: Tell me a little bit about yourself.
JF: I was born in Toronto, Canada, a number of years back, managed to scrape through high school and university, and after working in TO for three years, I moved to Japan and haven’t been home that much. That was…over thirty years ago. My wife is a native Osakan, and we have two sons. I make my living as an ESL teacher and dream of the day when I can write professionally and full-time.
LQ: What does your writing process look like?
JF: It’ very simple. I do a basic, written plan of what I want to say each chapter, jot down some of the narrative, anything interesting dialogue-wise, and then I commit it to cyber-paper. Everything is subject to change, but what never changes is me leaving a mini-cliffhanger at the end of each chapter. I’m known for doing action novels, and depicting action is something I excel at.
LQ: What was your favorite book to write so far?
JF: All of them…ALLLLLLLLLLLLLL of them! Okay, The Professional reference aside, I’m going to give you two. First is The Titans Of Ardana. It’s an action-romance showing that a nerd can win the day through brains as well as brawn, and it remains one of my best in blending action, funny dialogue, and a very sharp narrative.
The second is the Catnip series of five novels. It was the first series I’d ever written, and it was fun to take the MCs, Harry, and Anastasia, on a journey from being outcasts (due to them being transgenic cat-people) to valuable members of society. Those five novels encompass Harry’s journey from nerd to cat-person to a stalwart defender of justice to a devoted husband and father, and Anastasia, his wife, matches him every step of the way. It was fun watching them grow together!
LQ: Who is your favorite character to write about?
JF: Hmm…good question. I’m going to say Kyle Sorton, star of Fight Like A Woman. It’s a gender switch novel, and our MC, Kyle, crashlands on an alien world and has to use a machine to transfer his consciousness to the nearest recipient–an alien woman. His initial terror gives way to a sense of wonder and then acceptance, even though he finds out that his female ‘host’–Rinarra–is married to another woman! I wanted to explore the concept of gender fluidity in this novel as well as do my favorite thing–action–and I think that I succeeded quite well.
LQ: Who are your favorite authors? Have any of them influenced your work?
JF: Favorite authors? In no particular order: Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, Robert McCammon, N.K. Jemisin, and Ray Bradbury. They all had/have different styles, but they captured my imagination, and that’s the mark of a great writer. To answer the second question, while they haven’t influenced my work, they showed me what pacing and narrative and characterization were all about.
LQ: How are you doing during the current pandemic?
JF: My wife and children are coping. It’s hard; I won’t lie to you. I would love to go out for runs and to see movies and eat out in restaurants, but we simply can’t take that chance. We’ll cope. In the long run, that’s all we can do.
LQ: What are you currently working on?
JF: As I write YA Fantasy, I’m about 35,000 words into my latest, Port Anywhere. Imagine a 1950’s-style diner in space serving Earth food to various races.
Our MC, Richard Gargan, has to deal with raiders, salvagers, and the usual scum of the universe, all the while protecting an alien woman who carries the secrets of a universe inside her–literally. It’s still very rough, but I’m having fun with it, and fun is what it’s all about for me. If a writer can’t enjoy the process, then they shouldn’t be writing.
LQ: Anything else you would like to share?
I would like to say a huge thank you to you, Ms. Skinner, for allowing me this interview.
I’d also like to thank all the writers as well as the readers for their support. It means an awful lot to me, and it’s what drives me to do better each and every time out.
LQ: My pleasure!
Disclaimer: There are two Smashwords links in the interview. These links are affiliate links, meaning I get a small commission if you purchase the book through one of these links. I donate half of my affiliate earnings to Trees for the Future.