Sunday, January 31, 2016

Author Spotlight: JS Frankel

Author Spotlight

In this weeks author spotlight, I meet up with J.S. Frankel and discuss his new novel, The Menagerie, a Young Adult Science Fiction novel. 

What is your book about? 
The Menagerie is essentially a YA love story, but not between people. It’s between a young teenager and the interstellar animals she’s been ‘kidnapped’ to care for and tend to until they can be delivered to an interstellar zoo haven.
Here’s the synopsis:

We do this for they bring us happiness.
We do this because they have no defense
nowhere else to go and no one to care for them.
We do this in order so that they may teach us what it means to be different, 
and for us to embrace that difference.

Karen Fox, sixteen and recovering from a terrible car crash that claimed the lives of her parents, dreams only of becoming physically able once more. Hearing a strange voice that comes from somewhere near her hospital, she investigates and is kidnapped by an automated ship transporting interstellar animals to a safe haven. Knowing nothing about how to take care of them and disliking animals to begin with, Karen learns the value of caring for interstellar life. And when a marauding band of poachers attacks the vessel, intending to seize all the animals, Karen is forced to fight for her own life as well as the animals she has come to care for.

What inspired you to write this book?   
Every day I read stories about pets being abused, abandoned, and even murdered by their owners. A pet is a living being and deserves to be treated with the same respect people do. I realize some animals are raised as food and I’m not against that practice, but having a pet in a house means it’s a member of the family. Sadly, many people don’t feel that way. The Menagerie is my way of saying no pet should be left behind or abused or exploited.

Who is your favourite, and least favourite, character in the book?   
My favourite is the heroine, Karen Fox, as we see her grow during her journey from a shy, scarred (physically and mentally) young lady who is afraid of animals into a confident and strong character that not only surmounts her fear, but defeats it soundly.
As for the least favourite, that’s the villain of the piece, Blaron. He’s large and in charge, blustering, mean—a killer. And he gets what’s coming to him, make no mistake about it!

What draws you to this genre? Do you write in any other genre?   
I enjoy writing Young Adult. It has freshness, an immediacy to it that appeals to me. When you’re young, every decision, every choice you make seems to take on greater importance. When you look back at it, no, but at the time, it is prime for you.

Is this a standalone book, or can we expect more?    
This is a standalone novel. I never say never, as Karen could have more adventures, but that’s for the future to decide, not me, not yet.

Tell me about you and what drew you to writing? Are there any authors who inspired you to become a writer yourself?   
I had a need to say something that would appeal to people. People are natural storytellers, anyway, but some do it orally while others do it in written fashion.
As for my inspiration, go back to all the great sci-fi writers from the past, Ray Bradbury, Frederik Pohl, Niven and Pournelle, and many others. They all fired my imagination of the fantastic.

Other than your own book, what is your favourite novel?  
 I’d have to say it is Gone South by Robert McCammon. It’s a southern Gothic novel, including adventure, love, twisted loyalty and self-realization. For me, it’s the perfect novel.

Have you written other books we should know about?
All of my novels can be found on Amazon under my pen name, J.S. Frankel, but here are my favourites, all in the YA genre.

If you could advise aspiring writers on only one aspect of authordom, what would your advice be?   
You have to keep writing, keep researching if necessary, and never be afraid to take chances. In a novel I’ve just submitted, the catchphrase is “Hold nothing back. Give everything.” And it is true. You can’t hold anything back when you write. Put your heart and soul into it.
At the same time, be aware of what weaknesses you have in terms of narrative, characterization, pace, etc. Always strive to improve. You’ll get there.

 Where can we find your book?


Where can we find out more about you?


  1. It's an interesting way of depicting a book review, by answering questions. I don't follow this genre myself so this was educational and informative! Great work!

  2. I haven't read a young adult book in forever but this sounds rather interesting. It's also great hearing about what inspired him to write.

  3. It is great that he treats animals so good! Love this idea, we are all neighbors

  4. Now this sounds like my cup of tea! I love YA novels and I like that he is making a stand against animal cruelty because animals have feelings too!

  5. Another great choice for an author spotlight. The inspiration to write the story makes me sad but his reason behind writing it is commendable.

  6. What a interesting interview - and love knowing that he really enjoys the freedom of the young adult style of writing. I'm not into this type of genre, but good to know its a stand-alone book just in case I get curious about checking one out!
    Karen |

  7. My brother loves Science Fiction novels, so I'm going to share this with him

  8. I love science fiction books and never thought I would. Great review of a book I must try :)

    Megan X

  9. Awesome author spotlight! I will have to put this on my Goodreads list! Love YA books, and animal welfare is a cause very close to my heart!

  10. That sounds like such an intriguing book. I haven't read a new fiction book in quite some time but this sounds up my alley even if it is more for YA.

  11. Looks like the book full of adventure! Haven't read young adult book for ages, but this book sounds intriguing.

  12. This sounds like a fascinating book. The concept really caught my attention, I think that my sister would love it!

  13. I am loving the concept behind this book...I love animals and I truly believe that caring for animals helps build love and compassion...I may have to pick this up for my son!

  14. This is something my niece will love. I will share this with her.

  15. Wow! This sounds like a very fascinating novel. Maybe not my cup of tea but I'll definitely share with my sister.

  16. What a unique concept. I love how its an unconventional love story. Sounds like a fun read.

  17. What an interesting premise for a book. I love that he has a connection to animals and their care, and that is what motivated him to write.

  18. I love this concept for a book. As a huge animal lover myself, I'm thrilled to see other people who care as much about animals. Thanks for posting this interview!

  19. Very cool that you got a chance to meet the author. It sounds like an interesting book.

  20. What an awesome spotlight! I love that he chose the theme of his book to highlight the abuse that some pets and animals are subjected to. Karen sounds like she goes a lot throughout the story. I love a strong female heroine!

  21. I love the premise of this story! A teenager dealing with loss earns to look beyond herself and help animals in need. Sounds like a great rad!

  22. Sounds good. I have a guilty pleasure for reading young adult science fiction.

  23. Ooooooo this sounds like a fantastic read! I'm on fire need of a new book so insight just have to check
    This out!

  24. This sounds so good! I love pets and I love sci-fi! The premise sounds very insightful.

  25. I have never read science fiction until last December. I always thought it was something I am not interested in and now i can't get enough. Thanks for the recommendation!

  26. I love the premise of this book, something I never would have thought of. Totally creative and fresh. I will have to read this book cause its just so intriguing.

  27. I'm a big fan of science fiction novels! I love that he has the "hold nothing back" approach, that's so important when it comes to writing!

  28. I am a big fan of science fiction and this sounds like a story that I would very much like to read!


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