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J.S. Frankel: A Sapphic Fiction February Interview

J.S. Frankel made me laugh before I’d even gotten around to reading what he had to say in this interview. My first question on the Google Form with the questions on was ‘who are you?’ – a fair question, given that thirty-odd authors were going to be using it. J.S. replied, ‘a human being, hopefully’, which tickled me. Luckily, he also clarified who he really was, otherwise we may have had an issue, especially with how great his answers were. Read to the end to find out just how much he’s putting in his ideal ice cream sundae…

So let's kick off - tell us a little more about you! Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Jesse S. Frankel, but I go by the pen name of J.S. Frankel. I'm an expat Canadian, living in Japan, and I've been here a very long time. I started writing about twelve years ago, but I didn't take it seriously until around eight years ago, and it's something that I enjoy greatly. I came from Toronto to Japan over thirty years ago, and I teach ESL to anyone here who will listen to me. I got married sort of late, and my wife is from Osaka. We have two children, and we're pretty set here.

How did you become an author?

I started writing in 2008, shortly after the death of my mother. It was a catharsis, but I didn't commit the words on paper--I used paper, then!--to cyber paper until 2010. After that, I shopped the novel around until someone finally took a chance on me. The Tower is the name of my first novel, it's still on Amazon, and it remains one of my favorites, mainly because it the first novel I ever wrote that made it into the world.

Who’s your favourite character that you’ve ever written?

I'd have to say Charlie Matthews, the MC of Twisted, a gender-bender novel. He's your average straight guy, wants "the perfect girlfriend" and finally meets her, but only after interfacing with a computer's RPG and ending up in the form of Angella, a tall, blonde, female avatar. (You'll have to read the novel, okay?). Charlie is flawed, but basically good-hearted, and over the course of the novel, he accepts the form that he's in. A line I wrote sums it up perfectly. "Love is where you find it, no matter what form it's in." And I find that to be true in real life. Twisted is a love-is-love novel, although I don't push that viewpoint. I simply present it.

Do you ever experience writer’s block? If so, how do you overcome it?

Rarely. My mind is always in overdrive. But on occasion, I get a little burned out, so I take a couple of days off, watch movies, listen to music, chill, and then get back at it.

What do you consider to be the hardest part of writing?

I'll give you two: creating a smooth narrative, and marketing. I realize that the latter isn't writing per se, but it's part of an author's life, and I'm not the only one to say that. In both cases, though, you have to work at it. With the narrative, it means revising, reading the prose aloud, asking others for their input, and sweating a lot. The latter involves begging and pleading. (Just kidding...sort of).

And how about the most rewarding?

The most rewarding is when someone says to me, "I enjoyed your novel." Sure, I'd love gazillions of sales--who wouldn't--but earning praise for a job that is hopefully well done is something special.

What is one piece of advice you wish you had listened to, either in life or with regards to being an author?

I wish I'd networked earlier. My late sister always told me to build a following, and I did...but I wish that I'd done it earlier.

You’re putting together a party. Which characters from the Sapphic Fiction genre would you invite?

Hmmm...outside of Charlie or Rinarra--from Fight Like A Woman, another gender-switch novel I've written--I'd invite the characters from Mildred Digby's Perfect Match novels. Any characters from Kelly Aten's work are great, too.

Is there anyone you’d like to highlight, while you’re here?

Oh, yes! As mentioned above, Kelly Aten, Mildred Digby, Annette Mori (a friend and a great writer, like Mildred is)...they're all terrific writers, and they deserve to be known wide and far. Their novels aren't just sapphic fiction. They can, I feel, be read by anyone. Their prose is that good!

How can people connect with you?

You can find me on the American Amazon. I'm also on Twitter and on Facebook.

Finally a light-hearted one. What ice cream flavours and toppings would you put together in your ultimate sundae?

As the late Randy 'Macho Man' Savage would say, "Ooooooooooh, yeaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh! Dig it!" Ice cream rocks, so chocolate fudge, jamocha almond fudge, Rocky Rhode, cookies-and-cream, chocolate syrup, lots of M&M candy's, and whipped cream and maraschino cherries. My arteries would shut down, but it would be worth it!

Not to mention you’d be completely buzzed on sugar…

If you enjoyed this interview, then make sure you’re following my social media accounts (@kblakemanwriter on Twitter and @katherineblakemanwriter on Instagram) to get all the latest updates! And if you want to support my own Sapphic Fiction journey while you’re here, The Summer We’ve Had is available now, and Love You However is coming on March 22nd!



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