Monday, May 23, 2011

Introducing Tyler Trent

Do You love mysteries?  Well, let me introduce you to Tyler Trent as he tells you about his experiences with our author Fran Orenstein...I think you will enjoy this interview.

                                   When Characters Speak Out

Um…hi! My name is Tyler Trent and doing this scares me to death. I’m only twelve, well almost thirteen, but you know, I’ve never done something like this before. My mother, the English Lit professor is probably going to freak out when she reads this, but here goes.

I’m a character in a fantasy adventure series written by this cool author, Fran Orenstein. She has a really scary mind, and dreams up these strange stories for me and Zack. There’s this really weird dude, Bartholomew B. Beadlesberry, and he owns this disappearing bookstore. He has this book with no stories, just titles called The Book of Mysteries. I’m not telling you any more, you’ll just have to read the books. Just don’t tell anybody, but I still have nightmares about dragons chasing me through the streets of New York. And those gargoyles, man, I hate going out at night. It might be cool to have a unicorn and ride it through Central Park.

It seems like everybody in my family, well just the guys went on these adventures through this Book of Mysteries. My dad, my uncle, my grandfather, probably my great, great, great grandfather going back to the first Trent, whoever he was, met Beadlesberry. The old guy must be a thousand years old, and he looks like it, too.  

I come from a really strange family, and I mean weird. Dad is an archeologist and a professor. No he’s not Indiana Jones, but my Uncle Tad, now he’s another story. He’s an adventurer. He goes on these dangerous trips all around the world exploring sunken wrecks, climbing mountains, hacking through snake infested jungles, and once he went to the North Pole. Dad says he a biologist…it’s a kind of scientist, but sometimes I wonder about my Uncle Tad. It’s like he enjoys the adventure more than the science.

We live in a tall apartment house in New York City. My best friend Zack Vander lives down the hall. Zack’s dad is a ‘very important attorney’ who knows everybody, including the mayor. His mom is cool, she’s a photographer. Her photos are in magazines and newspapers, so I guess she’s pretty famous. He has this obnoxious little sister Carrie who thinks I’m the bomb. Yuck! Then there’s Scarlett, she’s gorgeous, except she’s a dog.

Zack and me, sorry Mom, Zack and I have been on two adventures so far. My creator says she’s working on the third adventure, with all kinds of mythical creatures. It sounds scary, but I have to survive because I’m the hero, right? RIGHT?

Check us out in The Wizard of Balalac and The Gargoyles of Blackthorne, from Sleepytown Press. We’re on and other on-line bookstores. Oh, and Fran Orenstein says to check out her website for more information, 

Here’s a teaser from The Wizard of Balalac:

            As soon as he stepped off the bus, Tyler knew this was a big mistake. Black clouds threatened overhead. Cold fingers of electric-tinged air tickled the back of his neck. He shuddered and rubbed his skin as he waited for Zack to catch up. They walked north and turned the corner. The bookstore was visible today. Tyler shook his head. That was stupid. A store was either there or not there. It didn’t just come and go whenever it felt like it. From where he stood, he could see the wooden sign swinging in the increasing wind, BEADLESBERRY’S RARE BOOKS. An eerie glow spread beneath the dark clouds. Thunder rumbled in the distance.
            Zack poked a finger in his back. “I guess that’s the bookstore.”
            Tyler jumped.
            Zack laughed. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you.”
            Tyler said, “You didn’t scare me.” He looked back the way they had come. There was still time to change his mind. “Maybe we should come back Monday, after school.”
            “No way,” Zack said, taking off down the street. Tyler clenched his fists and hurried after him. It was always easier to be brave with your best friend. Maybe they could still beat the storm if the book he wanted was on the shelf.
            The boys stopped short in front of the shop. A hand-lettered sign hung in the glass-fronted door. “WE CLOSE FOR STORMS.” The lights were out inside the shop.
Tyler cupped his hands along his face and peered in the window. He couldn’t see anything in the blackness. Suddenly a candle flickered and a white oval appeared an inch from his eye. Tyler jumped back, the beat a bass guitar thumping in his chest. “Did you see that?” he yelled. An entire heavy metal rock band was where his heart should have been. The banging rose to his head and down to his toes.
            “See what?” Zack asked, putting his face against the door. A crack of thunder masked the click of the door. A claw snaked out and snared his wrist, pulling him through the doorway. Zack yelped, struggling to free his wrist. Another cold claw pulled Tyler inside, and the door slammed shut behind them…

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Spice Merchant's Daughter - Interviews

Author: This next interview is with Stefanie Mandelbaum, the woman who was instrumental in my writing The Spice Merchant’s Daughter.

Author: Hello, Stefanie. Before we talk about your amazing experience, please tell us about yourself.

Stefanie: Hello, Fran. I pleased to be here for this interview. I'm an artist, author and an adjunct assistant professor of mathematics and tutor.

Author:  That is an interesting combination, art and mathematics. Can you tell us more about it.

Stefanie: My education and experience is in both art and math and I’ve developed a connection between them.  Arthematics is a term I first used to describe my work in 1996. It refers to artwork in which mathematics affects the selection of shapes as well as the overall composition of the piece. Mathematics sends a certain rhythm in the art. Colors are chosen, which enhance the movement in the artwork.

Author: That’s a fascinating definition of your concept. What have you done to promote it?

Stefanie: As a result of workshops I developed over the years, I wrote a book, co-authored with Jacqueline S. Guttman. It’s called Arthematics Plus: Integrated projects in math, art and beyond, which was published in 2003. It is a resource book for teachers in grades 4-6, but many of the lessons and ideas can be applied to other grades.

Author: Is there a website people can go to find out more about the book and your art.

Stefanie: At this time, I have two websites:  I am working on setting up a website for Arthematics.

 Author: Tell us your experience in France?
Stefanie: A number of years ago, I was visiting the Loire valley in France. I looked out one of the windows of a castle overlooking a small town and had the sense of having done that before around the turn of the 18th century. I was a young girl, dressed in a long 17th century gown, not a fancy lady, but one of the servants. I wasn’t French, but a foreigner. I sensed that in that life I had become pregnant by a noble and they took the baby away. It was a sad situation, because I died young and in prison.
Author: Were you actually in the experience or watcher?
Stefanie: When it happened I felt like I was in the 20th century looking out the window, but I had a feeling of deja vue, wearing that long gown. So, you could probably say, both were present.
Author: The storyline I created is not exactly related to your previous persona. What do you think of the adaptation of your story?
Stefanie: I really enjoyed reading the book and seeing all the embellishments and creative spins that you put on the original experience.
Author: If I were to interview your past life persona, what do you think she might say about Katy Dubois?
Stefanie: She might have thought Katy was adventurous, admirable and brave because she was in a foreign country away from everything she knew. She was young and kind.

Author: What might she have said about Gilles Ferrier?

Stefanie: She probably thought he was handsome and that their love was so romantic.

Author: I wonder if your past life persona knew Franz Von Klaus.

Stefanie: Speaking from her experience, I think she might tell you that Katy should be very, very careful, because he was a dangerous man, especially to women.

Author: Do you have any other comments?

Stefanie: Teens will get a feeling of life in another time and what it would have been like to be their age living over 300 years ago. Adults will also enjoy the book for the story and the historical value.

Author:  Thank you so much Stefanie. Good luck with Arthematics and your book.

Thank you so much for joining me in Fran’s World and reading the interview. Please don’t forget to check out the question below. The answer is imbedded in the interviews. Email me at with your answer and if you have the correct answer your name will go into a hat. The contest closes on Monday, Nov. 1st at midnight. On Tuesday, I will randomly pick one name from the hat and the winner will get a signed hard copy of The Spice Merchant’s Daughter.

Question:  Someone besides Katy is in love with Gilles. Who is she and what is her name?
(Remember the answer is in the interview.)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

We All Love Interviews....

Have you ever read interviews with your favorite celebrities? Do you read biographies because they are the stuff of interviews of people you love or respect. Have you ever wished you could read  or conduct interviews with the characters in your favorite books?

Well, today is your chance:

Welcome everyone to an interview with Katy Dubois, the protagonist in The Spice Merchant’s Daughter

Author:  Hello, everyone, I am Fran Orenstein, author of The Spice Merchant’s Daughter, a young adult historical romance, suitable for ages twelve through adult. Today I am meeting with Katerina Marie Dubois, the heroine of the book. Hello, Katy. I’m so pleased to have you join me.

Katy: Merci, thank you, Madame. I am happy to be here.

Author:  Tell us about life for girls at the turn of the eighteenth century.

Katy:  It was a difficult time for girls and women. We were at the mercy of our fathers, brothers, and husbands. You could not make choices about the kind of life you would live.

Author: Your father figured greatly in your life. Tell us about him.

Katy:   He was a loving father to all of us. He loved my mother dearly. But he was master of the home and family as it should be. I think that his heart was hard and angry. He had suffered greatly as the child because of his family’s religion. At sixteen, he had to leave his father and his life behind, and flee to a strange land. He suddenly had to become a man and look after his younger brothers.

Author:  He met your mother on this journey.

Katy (smiling):  Oh yes, and that was what saved him. She was so beautiful. Her family was on the same Dutch ship also running away. They fell in love the first time they saw each other.

Author: That is so romantic.

Katy (giggling):  We French are romantics at heart, don’t you know?

Author: You grew up in Konigsberg, Prussia, though.

Katy: Yes, for that is where my parents settled. But we retained our French language and manners.

Author: Your father sent you away at thirteen to become the companion of the Margrave’s daughter and teach her French before her marriage to a French count. How did you feel about that?

Katy:  I was very angry and very sad, but there was nothing I could do, except run away…and where would I go? I was a girl and I had to obey. It did change how I felt about my father, for I believed he had betrayed me.

Author: In the end it worked out well for you, though.

Katy:  Oh yes! Although she was very spoiled and sometimes mean, Charlotte became my best friend. I learned so much living in the Margrave’s castle that I would never have known as a spice merchant’s daughter. I lived a fairytale life I could never have dreamed of having.

Author: Tell us about your journey to France.

Katy:  I was terrified and enthralled at the same time. It was so exciting to be sailing away on a ship, something that I had dreamed of doing most of my life. I was very frightened of traveling to France where my parents had suffered, for I knew it had not changed since they had left. I felt sad leaving my parents and the children, for I knew I would never see them again, especially baby Charles.

Author: So your feelings were mixed. Tell us about Franz.

Katy (shuddering):  He was truly a monster. I was petrified of him. He was always drunk and trying to touch me and kiss me. I hated him, but he was the Margrave’s son and heir and there was nothing I could do to help myself, except never be alone if he was around.

Author:  Then you met Gilles. Was it also love at first sight?

Katy:  I don’t think so. By then, I acted like I was royalty, too, even though as a companion to Charlotte, I was something between a servant and a governess. I thought he was an ignorant stable boy who was rude. I imagine I was the one who was rude.

Author:  He didn’t give up though, did he?

Katy (giggles): Of course not. He saw right through me. He had a wonderful sense of humor and he was so handsome. (sighs)

Author:  So you fell in love.

Katy:  Absolutely! I adored my blacksmith’s apprentice.

Author: How did you feel about moving to Versailles for Charlotte’s wedding?

Katy:  I was so upset. All my life I had been taught that King Louis the Fourteenth was a devil who persecuted us as Huguenots and murdered my grandfather. Now I would be living in the same castle as the King and have to see him nearly every day.

I worried that I would be separated from Gilles and that he would stop loving me and perhaps fall into the arms of Rose, the kitchen maid. Then I still had Franz’s evil intentions to contend with. It was not the best of times for me. I was very lonely and sad.

Author: There is so much more Katy can tell us, but we don’t want to give away any more of the story and spoil it for the readers. Thank you, Katy for this interview.

Katy:  You are very welcome, Madame. I hope everyone reads the book so they can share the adventure, and learn what happens to Gilles and me. A’bientot!

Author:  Good bye, Katy, and good fortune to you. Katy and I both hope you will get a copy of The Spice Merchant’s Daughter on ebook or hard copy from Whiskey Creek Press, or on order from bookstores everywhere. Go to to find out more about the book and read an excerpt from Chapter 1.

And Sunday we will take another look at another person--
Stefanie Mandelbaum, the woman who was instrumental in Ms. Orenstein's writing The Spice Merchant’s Daughter.
Come back - and come back again for another on Monday...This one from a different book/series his name is Tyler Trent and you are sure to love him.