Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Premier with Janie Franz

Today, my guest is multi-published MuseItUp author, Janie Franz.  Janie has an intriguing background in the music business which has given her insight into the glamorous world of entertainment.

AUTHOR: Janie Franz
BOOK TITLE: The Premier
PUBLISHER: Muse It Up Publishing

When and why did you begin writing?
I come from a long line of liars and storytellers with roots deep in east Tennessee. I’ve written since I was a child. Writing has been a great friend and great therapy. Like Ann Rice, it’s been my comfort when life stopped me short with personal trajedies and heartbreak. Through stories I’ve learned about myself and the greater world around me and worlds of my creation.

Most of the things I wrote about dealt with relationships---not necessarily romances but how people interact with each other.  I’ve always wanted to write adventures stories with strong heroines and discreet and often inscrutable heroes.

Over the years, however, I turned to journalism as a profession, working freelance part-time for years until I could do that full-time in 2000. My curiosity has generated thousands of feature and cover articles over a vast range of topics for more than a hundred regional, national, and international publications.  I’ve enjoyed interviewing musicians, artists, writers, chefs, business people, contractors, and scientists.  I even co-wrote two books with Texas wedding DJ, Bill Cox, (The Ultimate Wedding Ceremony Book and The Ultimate Wedding Reception Book), and self-published a writing manual, Freelance Writing: It’s a Business, Stupid!  I’ve also led workshops and spoke about writing for writers groups. 

Over the years, I’ve been a book and music reviewer, recorded live theater commentaries for radio, was a radio announcer and board operator,  spent several years as a booking agent/publicist for a groove/funk band, and drove to rural communtities offering classes in yoga and relaxation. In addition, I raised two wonderful childen and earned a degree (summa cum laude) in anthropology as a much older than average student.

Currently, I run my own online music publication, Refrain Magazine (www.refrainmagazine.com), and still do a monthly music column for skopmag.com.

Tell us your latest news?
 The Premier” is my seventh work of published fiction. It is a short book about Hollywood.  Here’s the blurb:

Susan Davyss faces Hollywood temptation when filmstar David Salizon threatens to become more than a dream hero in her novel.

Sam Mattingale’s office gleamed with chrome and glass. A bank of windows exposed the city below like a cubist painting in muted shades of gray and dull blue. Author Susan Davyss, feeling both ill at ease and excitedly decadent in the glamorous surroundings, sipped champagne at two o’clock in the afternoon in the comfort of a black leather and chrome couch. She was in Los Angeles to celebrate the premier of Mayan Heart, the movie made from her book.
“How was your flight out, Ms. Davyss?” Sam Mattingale asked.
“Oh, I didn’t fly. We made this a family trip. My husband’s in San Diego with the children visiting his brother. They’re taking in the zoo. We thought it best not to have the children underfoot during all this excitement. Ted said it was my glory, and I should bask in the accolades without someone yanking my jeans, needing to go to the bathroom.”
Sam laughed, his gray mustache curling around his smile. He looked more like a fatherly lawyer—in fact, very much like the one who had read over her contract back in Aberdeen—than a producer. “I’d forgotten about your little ones. My own kids are grown. One’s an agent in Burbank, and the other’s a cinematographer for MGM. Both are too busy for children—or at least none they’ve told me about.” He rose from his chair near her. “Here. Let me freshen your drink.”
“You’d better not. One, and I can navigate to the door unaided. Two, and I’ll need help.”
He laughed again. “We’ll provide all the help you need.” He took her glass to a small bar in the corner of the room. “You have much to celebrate. The film looks like it will be successful and very profitable for you. You had a shrewd lawyer who negotiated a tight royalty contract. I didn’t think they bred that kind of lawyer in South Dakota.” He handed her another glass of champagne.
She held the glass but only sipped its contents. “Gus Haickman’s a South Dakota transplant like myself. He comes from a long line of Tennessee horse traders. He did a fellow Southerner a good turn.”
“Quite a good turn,” Sam said, sitting once more and swinging a long leg over his knee. “If this movie paces the way I think it will, you’ll be able to move out of the wilderness into civilized country.”
Susan smiled. “I’m not sure we’ll do that. We appreciate the advance though…I don’t dare spend it yet. I still feel someone’s going to come and take it back.” She laughed. “The book sales have been steady, and that provides us with a degree of comfort. We’re putting as much as we can into college funds.”
“Your book sales should increase. We’ve noticed quite a trend toward reading the original after a film like this comes out, and that leads to reading other books by the same author. It should be very good for you.”
“I think I’m going to need lead shoes to keep from floating away after all this is over. I appreciate your including me in the celebrations.”
“It’s customary. After all without your story, we wouldn’t have a film—and without David Salizon, we wouldn’t have such a promising one. Why did you ever write him into the contract?”
Susan’s eyes sought refuge in the bubbles of her champagne glass while she smiled with some embarrassment. “I wrote the story around eight years ago about a stranger I’d seen while I was in Arizona visiting my father. As the story developed, and I saw more of David Salizon’s work, I discovered during the eighth and last rewrite that the character was, in essence, David Salizon. It was a rather eerie revelation.”
“A very profitable one for us, I hope.”
The intercom buzzed. Sam Mattingale stood to reach over his desk and punched a button.
“Mr. Salizon is here, sir,” a female voice announced.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I chuckle about this question because it’s one most writers are asked. I think when I got my first check, I could honestly say I was a working writer.

What inspired you to write your first book?
My first book? My first book was an adventure story I wrote when I was in middle school but it’s long gone. I wrote it in pencil and it faded to nothing.  My first published book was The Bowdancer, and I actually got the idea for it in a meditation. The character just came full-blown and I knew her story. When I began to write it all down, there was more to the little book.  It was really a novella.

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?  (Has anyone ever realized it?)
I think every writer draws from his or her own experience. When I wrote Sugar Magnolia, all of the interview references were from my own work as a music journalist. I’ve drawn traits from people I’ve met and crafted characters fully-drawn of them.  And I have added bits of my own life and experiences. I think most of my female characters are alter-egos.  But most of my readers will never be able to figure out which parts are true and which are totally fiction—or it’s my hope.

What book are you reading now? What do you like, or not, about it?
I’m reading Michael P. Spradlin’s Orphan of Destiny, the third book in his The Youngest Templar trilogy. I love adventure stories and this one is really fast-paced. I try not to read it at bedtime or I’ll read well into the wee hours. My next book on my list is The Peripheral Son by Dorien Grey. It’s a Dick Hardesty mystery. I’m hooked on Dorien’s books. I just finished Cesar’s Fall, an Elliot Smith paranormal mystery, also by Dorien Grey.

What are your current projects?
I’m writing a self-help book geared for women over 40 who are starting over. It’s called Starting Over, Standing Strong: Lessons on the Journey to Change. I hope to do a lot of professional speaking and workshops about it.

I’m working on a book trailer with my good friend Bryan Grob who also has written the soundtrack. This book trailer will be for Ruins Discovery, the first book in my archaeology romance thriller trilogy. It was the first book released by Muse It Up Publishing.
I’m also going into edits for The Lost Song Verses, the first book in a trilogy that continues the Bowdancer Saga that launched my career as an author. This will be the first Bowdancer book Muse will publish. Not only is the publisher publishing the other two books in this trilogy, but she will pick up the original three books in the Bowdancer Saga when my contracts with another publisher expire beginning the end of this of this year.

What do you do when you’re not writing/editing or thinking about writing/editing?
I dance. I try to get out to a local dance at least once or twice a month. I attend church, and I am part of a spiritual book group where we read a book aloud and discuss it, then visit over a potluck meal. We are currently reading The Dancing Wu Li Masters, wading through the philosophy of physics. I hike with a group when the weather in New Mexico here is sunny and warm. (We do have snow.) I also am beginning to explore my new home state, especially visiting archaeological sites. I get out to listen to live music (yes, that’s still under the realm of writing but it’s fun).  And I hope to do some fishing and camping this year.

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Stuart Clarke and Gregg Hurwitz. I can’t just pick one.

I love Gregg Hurwitz’ use of language and his ability to make me keep turning the page. He knows how to grab a reader.

Stuart Clarke writes science fiction for young adults. His first book reminded me so much of early sci-fi I read as a child but couldn’t seem to find anymore. His second is a masterpiece in plotting. His ability to create small French scenes and link them together like multiple images in a movie is remarkable. And even more so when I found out he doesn’t outline!

Who is your publisher and how did you connect with them? 
Muse It Up Publishing. I had been attending the Muse Online Writers Conference  since it started. Therefore I knew Lea Schisaz who is the founder of that conference and the new publishing house. When she was forming her company in the spring of 2010, I was one of several conference attendees and presenters who were asked for input. Most of us became the first authors accepted into the publishing house. We are in-house authors. Those first 25 or so authors have grown to nearly 200.

How can we find you? Website, Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc. - please share your public links.

Author’s website:  http://janiefranz.fourfour.com/home

Writing at the River’s Edge:  www.janiefranz.wordpress.com
Twitter: @ jfbowdancer


  1. Thanks, Penny, for hosting me. It's always my pleasure to appear on your blog.

  2. A well-done and informative interview with a remarkable and multi-faceted writer (and I was flattered and surprised to see my own name and books mentioned). Congratulations to you both.

  3. Hey Janie,
    Its been a while.

    I love this line. "I come from a long line of liars and storytellers"

    How true is this for any writer. LOL

    The book sounds incredible!

  4. Janie, great interview! Penny always does great interviews, because she gets her guests to feel so welcome.:) I have The Premiere on my TBR list and I know I will enjoy it as I did The Bowdancer. For anyone who has not read The Bowdancer, you should read it before you read the next books in the series. The character is such as strong and independent woman and I think I even gave it a review. I'll check and see if I can dig it up.:)

  5. Janie, likewise, it's always a pleasure to host you. Having worked with you on this story, I can attest to the entertainment value. Anyone who purchases it will be in for a treat.