Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Jesse Frankel: Author Interview & Spotlight

Please welcome author J.S. Frankel to Fantasy Fun Reads!


Harry Goldman, a teenage prodigy thrown into jail for illegal research, is teamed up with a transgenic cat-girl and soon finds himself in love and running for his life.

Harry Goldman, teenage DNA researcher, genius, and total nerd, is thrown into jail for illegal transgenic research. Freed by the FBI on the condition he works under their aegis, Harry is taken to New York where he meets Anastasia, a cat-girl and the product of transgenic engineering. No sooner do they get acquainted then they are attacked by another creature, a bear which is more than a bear, and are forced to flee for their lives. Along the way, they encounter furries, Doug the Dog, find out that they are more into each other emotionally than they’re willing to admit, and end up in the Catskill Mountains where Harry finds out the shocking truth about how Anastasia was created...and what she was created for.


Nick was about to move off when he heard the sound of
Catnip someone landing right behind him. It was a faint, almost imperceptible sound, and it startled him. He stood stock-still. The impossible had just happened! No one could just up and land without him hearing it first!

He was no commando, but the years he’d spent in alleys like this one in as well as the others around New York had taught him to be wary of anything and had sharpened his senses. He whirled around and whipped out a rusty knife from his pants that he’d picked up in his travels. His feet automatically settled into a fighting stance.

“You’re tryin’ to steal from me? Mister, you just bought yourself a can of beatdown. Whoever you are, come and get some!”

A figure emerged from the shadows at lightning speed and slapped the knife out of his hands. It clattered to the pavement and Nick stared at the creature in front of him. In the glow of the moonlight, he saw the thin coat of fur, the tail whipping back and forth, and the eyes, yellow and bright. He’d never been afraid of much, but this…this…whatever it was…suddenly put the fear of God in him, and immediately he experienced the overwhelming urge to urinate. He strained to keep everything in and couldn’t. His bowels partially loosened and then a hot stream of pee poured down his leg. “Who are you?”

The creature didn’t make a sound. It took a step closer and Nick backed up in fear against the brick wall. He smelled matted fur, excrement and urine, his own as well as the more pungent smell that came from his attacker. It was a strong smell—strong, penetrating, and dangerous—like a predator’s. And he was the prey. This he knew for a fact, and in the back of his mind, he also knew his time to die had come up.

“You mess with my bud?” George growled. “That is the wrong thing to do, man!”

Oh Lord Jesus, Nick thought with relief, the cavalry’s just come in. Good old George, there to watch his back.

The behemoth clamped his huge arms around the thing. The creature struggled briefly and then hung its head as if in defeat. Nick thought it looked like a cat, but he couldn’t be sure. It had a tail, yeah, fur, spots, but the features…and the …it had breasts…it was a woman! His buddy yelled out in triumph, “I got him, man, I got him…”

Abruptly, George’s voice rose into a high-pitched scream as the creature casually raked its claws, long and very, very sharp, up and down his forearms. The big man let go and staggered back. Blood ran from his wounds and he howled in pain. “Damn it, you cut me!”

To Nick, it seemed that everything happened in slow-mo, and then the cat-lady—there was no other word he could think of—whipped her tail around and smacked George in the face. The impact sent him spinning twenty feet down the alleyway. He hit the cement hard, stirred, and stopped moving.

Beyond terror now, Nick’s mouth opened and closed spasmodically. “What are you, man?”

The creature pivoted gracefully to face him and grabbed his shirt with one hand. He got a better look at the thing now. Yes, it looked like a cat—and didn’t. About five-eight, it had high ears, long, straight hair and the fur of the typical house pet, but the features—the nose and mouth and eyes—were human. The hands, while also human, were covered in a light coat of fur and had claws instead of fingernails. The claws extended out almost two inches in length, and yes, he’d seen how sharp they were. When it spoke, though, its voice sounded totally feminine…and totally pissed off. “First off, I’m not a man—man—and second, do you have any food?”

“No, no…I don’t,” he managed to stammer out. Once more, he tried to control his bowels and failed, and this time the stink came from his back end. He stood there soaked in his own urine and excrement, and felt ashamed.

The cat-lady sniffed the air. “You need a shower. And if you don’t have any food, where can I find some?”

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1. I'm going to be publishing a German edition of Jade soon and I am curious with you living in Japan, do you have a Japanese version for sale? How is the book market in Japan overall and also for English versions?

To answer your question, no, Catnip and all its sequels are only in English. I live in Japan, yes, but to get it translated here would be prohibitively expensive and not all publishers would be open to having someone unknown like me work with them. It’s tough enough cracking the market in English!

2. Why a cat? Are you a cat person?

I like all animals, but I have a thing for cats. My sister has two cats and she has a unique talent for picking the prettiest ones out there.

3. It looks like you have a wide range of publishing experience. What have you learned about publishing that you wish you knew when you first started?

Outside of learning HOW to write, I wish I’d learned about the marketing side of things better. It’s not always how good you are; it’s how big your following is. In a lot of cases, it’s how many people you can reach.

4. You have written a lot of books in a short period of time. When do you find the time to write and do you have a set schedule and/or goal for your writing?

I’m a little OCD when it comes to writing. I hit the keyboard at night, from around nine p.m. until after midnight. On a day off, I tend to write for about five or six hours, pretty much nonstop, and do what needs to be done.

5. Tell us three things about Catnip that might convince a reader to give this book a try?

Wow, about Catnip. Well, the story is offbeat. Transgenics is nothing new, but it hasn’t been written about that often. As well, people tend to like animals, particularly cats, and the image of Anastasia (as the cat-girl) is a most arresting one.

Additionally, there is a lot of action along with a cute romance and some heartbreak. All of those things combined would make it an interesting read, I feel.

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