Tuesday, January 4, 2011
Interview with Marc Franco, author of the Kringle Chronicles
Writing is a second career for today’s author, Marc Franco. Prior to being published, he grew up living around the world, spending fourteen years in different countries and moving eight times before graduating from high school. This is what helped to inspire him in his writing. He has had a varied career from spending time as a Sheriff’s Detective to being a senior level technology architect. Although he has been writing fiction for over 20 years, he didn’t make the push to being published until the last few years. It seems that life -- marriage, children, career, and more got in the way, which we can all understand.
How did you come up with the idea of your most current book, The Kringle Chronicles, Catching Santa?
I was on an airplane when the idea came to me. I’d write a story about four central Florida sixth graders and use their story to introduce readers to a cool and hi-tech Santa universe. It really bothered me that Santa was considered this overweight magical elf. There was nothing cool about him. Why not make him cool and hi-tech? The youth today, the digital natives, are video gamers first, readers second. I figured it was time to create a twist on American Santa lore that would interest readers and video gamers alike. The twist: A Santa commando and a reindeer-named commando team inspired by Microsoft’s bestselling video game, Halo. I imagined that on the surface the commandos looked like reindeer because of their holograph emitting cloaking belts. But in reality they were really these jacked up commando dudes with these ballistic plated suits. Their mission: Protect Santa on Christmas so the Jolly Old Elf could focus on delivering presents but I had a problem. I needed a bad guy—someone the kids would appreciate—someone that was Michael Myers and Freddy Krueger evil.
Could you give me a short synopsis on the story for my readers?
It is six days before Christmas and incredibly weird things are happening in 11-year-old Jakob’s Florida neighborhood. His best friends -- Logan, Shig, and Fleep -- are convinced their Christmas is in danger, and then live snowmen strangely appear and confirm the threat. Jakob dismisses the bizarre events as nothing more than an elaborate hoax concocted by the bully down the street. But when the bully turns into smoke, a magical and powerful stranger appears as the mastermind behind the mayhem. The stranger demands the unimaginable and impossible: that Jakob catch Santa...or else!
Prior to getting this book published what other writing credits did you have?
None professionally, but I have been writing since the late 80’s. Writing has always been a hobby. I guess if there were any semblance of professionalism in my writing it was when I wrote reports as a property and sex crimes detective for a Sheriff's Office. It was a fun job and paid for my college.
From the time you sent in your manuscript to this publisher how long was it before you got any feedback?
Pants On Fire Press responded to my query letter within a week requesting the manuscript. Within two months I had a contract.
How many other publishers did you contact to produce your book?
Sixteen! I researched which publishers accepted unsolicited queries and scripts and sent them my script. There are not many publishers who do this. I did not have an agent.
What was the total time frame from the point of submission of the original manuscript to the actual printing of the book?
What type of publicity does your publisher do to promote your book? Obtaining reviews, writing press releases, attending librarian and educator conferences, promo materials like high quality book marks and posters, book trailer, giveaways (like goodreads.com, local hospital), industry advertising in Ingram magazines and consumer advertising on Facebook and Google.
What do you do to promote your book? I did an extensive book tour of schools, public libraries, and bookstores. I also do Facebook promotion, networking with bloggers and entering competitions.
What do you wish you knew about this publisher now that you wished you had known prior to submitting your manuscript? I just wish I knew of them sooner. I would not have wasted so much of my time trying to find an agent and publisher. Don’t get hung up on the big six -- the New York presses. A small press can do just as much for you if they know what they are doing.
What advice would you give someone who wanted to submit a manuscript to this publisher? Do it! Pants On Fire Press is great.
There is a sequel to the Kringle Chronicles coming. If you would like to learn more about Marc Franco and his writing, here are the details…
Website: www.marcfranco.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Additional information can be found at…