April Author Spotlight: Frank L. Cole

From now on, I’m going to try to spotlight different authors I am discovering, hopefully about once a month.  I’ll try to review at least on of the authors books and have an author interview.  As well, you will find a picture of the author on the blog’s sidebar linked to their blog or website.  I know I’ve heard about many great authors by word of mouth, and so consider these my personal recommendations.

This month I’m starting out with Frank L. Cole.  I’ve already reviewed both of his books-here are the links to those reviews on my blog:

I also had the chance to interview Frank so you all can get to know him better.  Without further ado, the interview: 
1.      We’re you an imaginative kid? Do you write/tell stories growing up? I think I qualified as an imaginative kid. I started actually writing stories down in grade school. Of course, I was lucky enough to go to a somewhat unique elementary school and live in a neighborhood where out of the ordinary situations happened. It was bound to make its way into my writing.
2.      Are any of your quirky characters based on people you knew in grade school? If so, I sure hope it wasn’t Whiz. A lot of the characters from my stories are based on actual people. Luinda “The Manatee” really existed, as did Ms. Borfish. Mr. Buse was my 6th grade teacher (though his name was changed slightly.) Fibber is a guy I know today and Whiz, unfortunately, holds a special place in my heart. Don’t we all have those moments where we wished we wore rubber pants?
3.      Do you have specific plans for the Hashbrown series, like how many books you’d like to write? I’m thinking of writing at least 4 maybe more. The third one is finished and I’ll be turning it in really soon. I think it’s my best one yet. Do you have plans for any other projects? I’ve written another novel for the older middle grade crowd. It’s called The Guardians of the Tebah Stick and it is by far my most thrilling manuscript. Hopefully I’ll have some news about that book really soon (fingers crossed.)
4.      When did you decide you wanted to write books? I think it was around nine years ago when I decided to take a stab at writing for publication. Like I said before, I’ve always written and told stories, but it wasn’t until after I was married and my first son was on the way when I decided children’s books would be a fun adventure. I really had no idea what I was sinking my teeth into, but it’s been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
5.      Is there a certain place and time that helps you write? There’s really not a specific time I need to write, although it has to be quiet and I have to be all by myself in the room. If I have a lot of distractions nothing productive happens. I’m pretty quirky when it comes to writing. Doors have to be closed (including closets), the lights have to be dim, and I need to be wearing socks. Yep socks. I can’t write with cold feet. Can you? Do you set goals to help you write? I usually set a word count, like 2,000 words or something like that, but that doesn’t always mean I’m writing quality stuff. Still, I have to have a goal to keep me motivated.
6.      If they made your books into a movie, who would you want to play the main characters? Oh boy. Unfortunately, the perfect matches for my characters have all grown up and would have a difficult time playing convincing 5th graders. Other than a few unique characters that own visually strange qualities, there really aren’t too many descriptions of my characters that would single out any one actor in particular. My son, Jackson, would make a pretty good Hashbrown once he’s aged a bit.
7.      It sounds like you like to do school visits. Could you share with us one of your favorite experiences visiting a school? I really enjoyed my visit to St John the Baptist Elementary. I was up on a stage in the junior high auditorium and all the seats were filled with excited kids. I think I performed my best and it was a really fun presentation. There were a few schools where I had a blast afterwards when about thirty kids came up and had me sign their hands and scraps of paper. That really made my day.
8.      Is there anything else you would like to tell your throngs of adoring fans? Seriously, thank you for even reading Hashbrown’s Adventures. They’ve been fun to write and I never dreamed they could actually be published. The fact kids are reading them and somewhat enjoying them is very flattering. Stay tuned for more wackiness with Hashbrown. I’ll try to keep him out of too much mischief… yeah right!

Second Helping of Hashbrown Just as Tasty

http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=thecant-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=1599553783&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrI found the first book so quirky and fun that I decided to read the sequel right away.  The series is a grade-schooler’s dream: crazy situations, funny dialogue, and a little bathroom humor thrown in for good measure.  (Pretty tame though, in a day when children’s books can be called “Captain Underpants.”)

This time around Hashbrown is confronted with a rival student who has just come into a lot of money and is building a treehouse to eclipse his own.  (The rival student is the “Mashimoto” from the title, in case you were wondering)  The book does of a great job of building on the previous material and adding its own touches.  In addition, it is quick and well-structured storytelling that I think even adults can enjoy. 

If you haven’t already, give this series a read.  I here there is a third helping in the works…

"Hashbrown" is a tasty treat

http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=thecant-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=1599553031&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrI had no idea what to expect from this one when I picked it up, only that the cover brought me back to those Saturdays of my youth watching cartoons.  The book follows the exploits of “Hashbrown” and his fellow elementary school pals who all have descriptive nicknames.  I found myself chuckling and smiling at the zany situations they found themselves in and was impressed with the author’s imaginative flair.  In which other book does the character seek help from the elementary school mafia boss, or seek advice from a person trapped in a locker for seven years?

It is a quick, fun read rife with fifth-grade style humour, and I would recommend it.  It looks like it is turning into a series.  The second book is already out and I hear the author is making headway on a third book.  I only hope someday that we get the zany cartoon version that my kids could watch on Saturday morning.