Hey everyone, welcome Frank L. Cole to Cool Kids Read! Let's talk with him a little bit about his new YA book The Guardians of the Hidden Scepter ...
So Frank, how long have you known you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve loved writing and telling stories since I was a kid, but I didn't realize I wanted to try for publication until after I got married. I have memories of tape-recording my stories when I was in 4th grade.
Who specifically would you recommend Guardians to?
I think the book is perfect for the older middle grade readers. 4th grade and up, but I would include adults as well. This genre appeals to me as a reader. I love Fablehaven, Harry Potter, Percy Jackson and not just because my kids enjoy reading them. If you like action and suspense, but also enjoy laughing along the way, this book should appeal to you.
Who is your favorite character to write about in The Guardians of the Hidden Scepter?
I love Trendon. That dude cracks me up! I just enjoyed writing his sarcastic dialogue and imagining his curly hair flopping all about as he munched on anything he could clutch within his fingers. He definitely helps keep the situation enjoyable. During the times in the story when the suspense grew and the situation seemed so dire, Trendon's humor lightened things up quite a bit.
What has been your most rewarding experience since becoming an author?
I love seeing a book I wrote on a bookstore shelf, but I think the most rewarding experience has been whenever a parent or a teacher at an elementary school approaches me and tells me my books have helped ignite a love of reading within their child or student. That's what it's all about!
Did you have to do any sort of research?
Actually quite a bit. I wanted the story (though completely fictional and speculative) to have a realistic feel to it. The locations they travel to are real and researched. The food, culture, and superstitions they experienced in the Philippines were authentic. There's even a scene with an Androctonus Scorpion that can be found primarily in Turkey and Syria (places either mentioned or traveled to in the story.)
What are some challenges you faced on your road to publication?
I think I've been rejected well over 100 times from agents, publishers, family members, and strangers. You name it and they've rejected me. Granted, most of my rejections came from the first novel I wrote called The Gothian Box, which deserved every single rejection it received and then some. Probably the biggest challenge I've faced with publication is marketing my books after they're in print. That's a tough obstacle involving a ton of time and energy. How does one spread the word to the masses with only a facebook account and a blog? That, my friend, is the million dollar question and I wish I had the answer.
What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Don't give up and keep writing. Rejection is part of the business. If you give up after the first or fiftieth rejection, you'll never realize what you could have accomplished. Don't stay married to your first novel. The best thing you can do is to keep writing and learning. You abilities will develop after each book you finish. It's likely your first novel won't be the one that receives the contract. So, start cracking out your second and third.
If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, what would it be?
I was one of those kids that groaned whenever there were reading assignments in school. I always enjoyed reading, but I firmly believed the books my teachers recommended weren't for me. Then I read Lord of the Flies and Huckleberry Finn. Completely changed my opinions. Scary, funny, thought-provoking. After reading those books, I always considered my teachers’ recommendations as worthy of my attention.
Thanks for stopping by Cool Kids Read, Frank! For more information about Frank L. Cole and his books, go here.