Charles Frankhauser started writing about his life on the road with the big bands, morphed into fiction after a kindly agent advised him otherwise and in amongst his writing has produced The Slushpile Inspector – something many of us might feel a kinship with. His goal in writing fiction is to entertain readers at as reasonable a cost as possible whilst recognizing that status as a “household name in literature” is not likely to happen (his words and not mine!). Hopefully, he’ll get a little more recognition as a result of appearing on the Thursday Throng.
Historical fiction is a genre that generally appeals to the more literary reader, unless of course you are reading a murder mystery from the medieval period. It isn’t something that one would usually associate with comedy and parody, until now perhaps. The Last Pirate at Fort Matanzas does have elements of truth about it; the location for instance does exist and it was built to protect the community of St Augustine. It did defend against pirate as well as enemy attack and was built by convicts, slaves and other ne’er-do-wells. Forced conscription into the newly minted navy’s of the world was also common and the life of a lowly sailor was beset with difficulties and the ever present threat of being overrun by ships sailing the jolly roger.
But that is where the similarity ends and the comedy takes over. Our hero’s story is not one that you’d expect to read and it does have moments that make you think ‘Really! Could that really have happened?’. It is written as a memoir and the tone and voice used is one that deprecates our hero’s own experience presenting it to the reader as something we can either believe or not, as we choose. It also jumps about, as the memory often does and we find ourselves transported from the garden of a Spanish nobleman to captaining a pirate ship and then back again. It’s a great little parody and I almost wish that Captain Alberto Dicer did indeed exist as he might have made history lessons a little less boring.
The Charles Frankhauser Interview
What is one thing that no-one would usually know about you?
No-one would usually know that I am a published author on Amazon and Kindle.
What did the best review you ever had say about you and your work?
The reviewer commented that he was a history buff and the storyline seemed plausible. Then he asked if this was a true story. The work was historical fiction based on my childhood during travels with some of the Big Bands of the World War II era. A search engine entry of “charles frankhauser trumpet” will surface the career of my dad with the Big Bands. (5 stars)
What did the worst review you ever had say about you and your work?
The reviewer commented that they had only read a small portion of the book. She mentioned that she was a fan of historical fiction, and that this work was not what she expected. (2 stars) My guess is that she got her money back? Note: Two stars averaged with four and five stars really knocks down a rating.
Are the names of your characters important to you?
The names of characters are extremely important because readers must identify with particular characters in order to become absorbed in the storyline. The names that I use are researched prior to usage in order to fit the locales and settings of particular scenes. Care must be exercised in the selection of characters’ names.
The best approach is to attempt to stay with first names whenever possible, especially in some works of nonfiction. The names should be easy to remember and to spell. For example, Alberto is a boy’s name of Spanish origin, and Bonita is a girl’s name of Spanish origin. The goal is to eliminate confusion in a reader’s mind as more names enter the story.
How did you choose a title for your book?
The title is in my opinion the most important element in terms of marketing the product. First, attempt of limit the length of the title. My goal is to provide a title that is unique without a long string of modifiers to make it unique.
One word titles might work for some authors, but I don’t like them because not enough information regarding content is conveyed in a single word. Moving toward two word titles eases the above constraint slightly, but the best titles are three word titles (IMO). Why are three word titles a good deal? Well, three words usually fit onto a cover. A good example is my book, Slush Pile Inspector, a parody on the publishing industry. Also, one of my best reviews was by a reader that wrote a first comment to the effect — they had to stop reading the book because they could not stop laughing. The reader edited the comment and another (5 star) rating resulted after completion of reading the book.
I had to violate my three word title guideline with the work Last Pirate at Fort Matanzas. Why didn’t I take my own advice? Well, Pirate stories attract readers of all ages. A last one-of-a-kind character is of interest as well. The historical aspects and locale of the book are introduced with “…..Fort Matanzas.”
Are there any occupational hazards to being an author?
Yes, the requirement to remain unknown to my neighbors as being an author is a hazard because I made the mistake of mentioning one of my books that is published on Amazon. It seems that many people have stories to tell in relation to nonfictional adventures they experienced while growing-up in rather boring locations (IMO).
Great interest is sometimes exhibited in “how did you do it?” type questions. One of my neighbors got excited when he learned about my novel, Slush Pile Inspector. He rushed to purchase it and never mentioned his reactions after reading it. We often walk our dogs together in the mornings. I asked him one day, “What did you think of Slush Pile Inspector?” He replied, “It was not for me.” We never mention the book and yet we are still good friends. Now that’s a good neighbor. I don’t think he mentioned that I am an author to anyone. That’s true friendship.
Where can you find out more about Charles and get his book?
You can also meet Charles in the following locations online:
- On Goodreads at goodreads.com/author/show/6493915.Charles_Frankhauser
Why ‘The Thursday Throng’?
These posts are called The Thursday Throng in honour of the throng that waits eagerly outside the book store when a new author is doing a book signing event or appearance. On this website it takes the form of a ‘Meet the Author‘ online event with some information about our author’s latest book and an interview. If you would like to take part in the Thursday Throng then why not visit Thursday Throng Author Interview Guidelines to find out more.
If you would like to see all the Authors who have been featured on The Thursday Throng you can click here: womanontheedgeofreality.com/2012/06/17/the-thursday-throng/