Today I am privileged to interview Frank L. Cole, author of The Guardians of the Hidden Scepter (you can read my review here).
I read on your blog that you come from a family of storytellers, can you tell us more about that? What was it like? Is that how you got started writing?
My mom came from a backwoods Kentucky town and my Dad from Brooklyn, New York. Storytelling was the only means of communication. Every holiday was spent listening to my parents conjure up scary, or historical, or awe-inspiring stories. It was a great boost and definitely helped inspire me to write.
You also said on your blog that daydreaming is one of the most important things anyone can do. What do you daydream about?
I think I usually daydream about new stories and ideas. My mind creates dialogue for characters all the time to the point I frequently talk out loud to myself. I just love magical possibilities and unexplained things which create mystery in the world, so I daydream about those sort of situations as well.
You do a lot of workshops at schools. What is the most important or interesting piece of advice you have for children or for any aspiring author?
I think I've learned my best writing is yet to come so in order to reach that level I have to keep writing. So often we marry ourselves to our first novel or story and never let it go or move on. My advice is to move on… it gets better.
I loved the imagination displayed in your book, what do you do to nurture your own imagination?
Reading books in my genre, watching movies, making up bedtime stories, brainstorming with people who I feel have super creative minds… It all helps.
Who or what encouraged (or still encourages) you in your writing?
My wife and family are huge supporters of my writing. It's great to call upon them and run by ideas or read pages of manuscripts, or even wake them up in the middle of the night to share a scene I thought up while sleeping.
What challenges have you faced in your writing and how did you overcome them?
Rejection. I've been rejected so many times and sadly, continue to face rejection with new ideas and stories. That's just part of the business, but it is difficult to cope with. Marketing my books has been almost as tough as writing a book. There is a lot of work that goes into any book to make it successful and I don't think I realized it prior to getting published.
What do you do when you are not writing?
I'm ornery. I fidget a lot. I do play a little basketball, watch sports, play games with my kids.
How do you incorporate writing into your everyday life? How do you fuel your writing?
I have to commit to write or it won't happen. I don't do it every night, but I need to see something advancing in the way of a story each week or I'm failing at my goals. Other authors' successes definitely fuel me to become better at what I do. Always staying hungry and searching for the next great story.
Do you have any special routines or rituals for writing?
It has to be dark and quiet and the whole rest of the day has to be completely wide open (no appointments, no scheduled events, no work) or I struggle to write.
Humour seems to be a big part of your life and writing. Your earlier books (the Hashbrown Winters series - I am afraid that I haven't read them yet, but I have added them to my "to read" list) look like they are for a younger audience and are funnier than Guardians of the Hidden Sceptre. What prompted this change?
I love humor and I enjoy making people laugh. I think I strayed from the Hashbrown style humor writing because I wanted to prove I could be versatile, but I will always incorporate humor into any story. That's just me.
Is there anything else you want to tell us about your book?
(I answered this with the next question.)
What new projects are you working on or are excited about right now?
There will be more books in the Guardians of the Hidden Scepter series. I'm working on the next in the series as we speak and I hope to have other books in the works soon.