Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I Gotta Be Me

Okay. Here goes.

Introductions are tricky things for me. I never know where I should start? If at a party, typically I'd start off by stating my name and occupation (Frank Cole, author) and then I'd make some comment about the lovely spread. Can't do that here can I?

Do I go back to my younger years in Kentucky when I grew up under the parenting of a southern mother from backwoods parts unknown and a tough, half-Sicilian father from Brooklyn. Do I throw out random stories about myself? Like when I was attacked by a psychotic turkey in the mountains of the Philippines, or when I made it on national television as a 14-year-old because I slapped a sweaty, professional wrestler on the back a little harder than he would've liked?

Or do I start simpler?

Simpler always suffices.

I fancy myself as a storyteller. Not a great one, but I'd say decent. I've always loved books and not just because I enjoy reading stories. I love holding them and staring at the covers.  Sometimes I like to throw them at the walls when they tick me off, which is part of the reason why I haven't broken down and bought an e-reader yet. Temper, temper. It's because of this love of books and storytelling that drove me to take a stab at writing.

I wrote my first completed novel almost 10 years ago and started the journey of publication shortly after. It was brutal. Rejection after rejection. I tore into that novel every day. I cut scenes, characters, changed beginnings, endings, point of view. Nothing worked and I grew frustrated with the story in general. I figured after a few rejections I'd start seeing some interest, but no. Not a bite.

During a particularly difficult time in my quest to get published, I began writing The Adventures of Hashbrown Winters as a release. I pulled from my own experiences, changed a few names to protect the innocent, and then went AWOL with the exaggerations. The result: A fun little tale about elementary school drama. To my surprise (serious surprise), someone (Cedar Fort) accepted Hashbrown for publication a little over 2 years ago. From that I learned an important lesson. You have to enjoy what you're writing. Is Hashbrown a literary masterpiece? Pssh! Please. Am I a literary master? Give me a break. Do I even know how to write? Barely. But because I loved writing the story, used my own voice to tell it, and didn't care about how over-the-top ridiculous I sounded, Hashbrown was born. I love that kid. I now have three Hashbrown stories published and in bookstores.

I also have a new series coming out in March called The Guardians of the Hidden Scepter. It's by far the most creative thing I've ever written and I'm so excited for people to read it.

For me, writing stories and getting published is living the dream. Yes, sometimes the dream is a good one, like when I can fly or when I'm winning the Kentucky Derby on foot. But other times, I'm at my grandma's house and the whole place is flooded and all I'm wearing is a sleeping bag. You get me?

I'm thankful for the chance to hang out on this blog and hopefully I'll share something worth your time to read.


  1. Frank- Fun introduction. What age are the Hashbrown books written for?

  2. Frank, you've really cranked out the books since the first Hashbrown. I didn't know you faced so many challenges in the beginning, but your career is an example to follow!

    A little off topic, but your Hashbrown book covers are some of the best book covers I've ever seen--incredibly appealing and memorable.

  3. Steve, the Hashbrown books are geared toward 3rd-6th graders. Dan, thanks man! And yeah, I lucked out with the covers. Adam Record is an amazing illustrator.

  4. Great intro! You are going to have to share some of those real life stories you hinted at. I'm all curious and stuff now.