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Interview with Frank L. Cole

Tell us about yourself: one thing mundane, one thing fun, one thing exciting, one thing happy, one thing weird, one thing hilarious, and one thing of your choice.
  • Weird – I take baths. At least 3 or 4 a week. That’s where I go to read and to plot out a book. In the bath.
  • Mundane – I don’t like Jell-O at all. I think it’s stupid, like an annoying table decoration, wobbling in a bowl, which I won’t eat from. Ever. Oh, and I can’t stand whipped cream. Vomit.
  • Fun – In awkward situations or group meetings, I like to do stupid human tricks. Yoga poses, double-jointery, horrible impersonations (that sound nothing like the person I’m impersonating), and such.
  • Happy – I like to write while wearing wool socks.
  • Hilarious – I’ve been on National Television for slapping a wrestler.
  • Exciting – I sold another book! The World’s Greatest Adventure Machine will come out some time in 2017 from Delacorte, Random House.
  • My Choice – I’m a sleepwalker, sleep talker, night terror professional. I’ve stuck my hands in ceiling fans more times than I can count, and there are permanent indentations in my walls from where I’ve run headfirst into them because I was being chased while sleeping. Ask my wife, who had no idea I did this sort of thing before we were married. 
There you have it, folks . . . Frank has slapped a wrestler. I’m totally taking you out to Jello to celebrate. Not that anything can top wrestler-slapping, out of everything that has happened throughout your publishing career, what is your single best moment ever?

That phone call from my agent when we sold The Afterlife Academy. I thought I would be more composed, but I was standing at work surrounded by other managers and my boss, and my boss’s boss, and I squealed and leapt and twirled like an idiot.

Your favorite worst review (I’ll tell you mine if you tell me yours).

They all hurt, but this one was particularly rough and yet funny: 1-star on Goodreads. “Cute, imaginative, fun characters–but, boy, does it drag on. Too over the top for me. Should’ve been a short story.” That was my first Hashbrown book, which was not even 100 pages long. 

Mine was a one star, one word, three letter review: BOO. I’m pretty sure she wasn’t trying to scare me but was instead boo-ing me off the literary stage. I felt terrible for all of three minutes before it struck me how hilarious a boo-review really was. And on the topic of reviews: what is your favorite book to read? And why?

I’m about to start reading Harry Potter again, for the umpteenth time. I just need to be whisked away into a believable world and I can’t think of another series that does that for me quite like those amazing Harry Potter books. I think I’ll start with book four this time, and work my way around to book three to finish, because why not?

You’ve been around a lot of authors throughout your career and, doubtless, have heard all kinds of writing advice. What’s the best thing anyone has ever told you about writing?

Move on from my book and write something else. If I had never listened to that piece of advice, I would still be peddling my first novel to agents and publishers and touting it as the greatest book ever. It’s not. And it took writing something else to help me realize that.

That is GREAT advice. What advice would you give to an aspiring author?

You should perpetually be working on your next project. I get excited just as I’m about to wrap up a book, knowing that I can start on something new. The discovery phase of writing is where I think someone advances the most as a writer.

Also great advice. Sooooo . . . E Book or paper?

Oh, paper. A million times over. You can chuck a book when something happens that ticks you off. You can’t do that to an iPad

Dude? You throw books? I don’t know how I feel about that. I sing to books and tuck them into shelves lovingly and pet new books who come to live in my house. (okay fine, I’ve thrown a book or two as well. Some of them just deserve it). Tell us about your process (not in book throwing, but in writing). Do you have daily word goals? Or do you squeeze the words in wherever they might fit?

I think my writing process is really unhealthy. I have to take days off work to write for huge chunks at a time. And then I won’t write for a week or two. Then, I have to reread what I wrote, which takes forever, and start all over. It truly is a miracle I was ever able to finish a book.

Any process that results in a finished work is a successful process to me. Speaking of success, if you could take any three authors to dinner, who would they be and why?

J.K. Rowling (but she’s buying), Stephen King (because I’m a nervous eater anyways, might as well give my indigestion a face), and Julie Wright because I hear she’s a hoot!

J.K. is buying? I am SO there! As long as we’re dreaming about meeting people we’re unlikely to chat with face-to-face, if your characters, Walter and Charlie, were to have a chance to say something about you as their creator, what would they say?

I think they would ultimately be happy with me, although they would have some bitterness towards me. We’d have to have one of those get togethers where they tell me how awful I was as a creator, because I just about gave up on them. Shelved them. Stuck them in a folder hiding on my desktop, because I didn’t think anyone would want to read about them. And every so often, they would scream at me, and I would read what I wrote and think, man, I really like these kids.

So there you have it. Frank is decidedly awesome and also signed a new book deal, which means we have more great stuff to read! Check his book out! He’ll also be speaking on panels at Comic Con, so if you’re going to be there (and you really should), make sure you check out his panels or have him sign your book at the Shadow Mountain booth where he will be signing copies of The Afterlife Academy.