I’m so pleased to welcome KC Frantzen and May (her Schnauzer) to the Diamond Mine today. They are a unique writing team with a heart for adventure and a message of hope. With three books currently published in this series (which you have a chance to win in our giveaway below) and a fourth on the way, you don’t want to miss these stories which bring smiles to children and adults.
Welcome, KC, it’s so good to have you here. You and May seem like quite the writing team. How does that work?
Thanks for asking. We’re so glad to be with you today. Here are some de-tails…
Since May speaks critter and has no thumbs, I’m officially the transcriptionist as she tells her stories. If you know Schnauzers, you know how verbose they can be. (I see several heads nodding.) So, she shares the story then I type. Afterwards, she naps while I research, add input and run first edits. She comes back in on final edits before we submit to our pawmazing editor, Sandra Byrd. Three books later, we have it down pat. 🙂
Ok ok. Seriously… She is the inspiration, especially since our stories are written in first dog. We usually find a quiet spot around the house or on the screen porch, then May cuddles in my lap or nearby as I work. When I come to a situation, she’s right there so I attempt to figure out exactly what she would do, given the particular circumstances, fictional or otherwise. So far, so good.
What is May’s story?
The series chronicles May’s adventures as she becomes a K9 Spy. The first book shares how she is rescued from an abusive situation through adoption. (By the way, most is really what happened when we adopted the real May.) She tries to figure out how to be as she interacts with the humans, “Dad” and “Mom,” and her grouchy Labrador sister and empathetic Schnauzer brother. One day she disobeys and plays outin the fields. After interaction with a Copperhead snake and a skunk she thinks might be a cat – ruh roh – she comes upon a “birdie” drone and a rickety old shed with a secret passage deeeeep underground. That starts her adventure to become a K9 Spy. Through most of this book, she wonders what herpurpose is since everyone else seems to have one. By the end, she’s figured it out, and it’s on to the K9 Service.
Book two starts in the K9 Service boot camp where an airport training exercise goes awry. She’s dognapped – Oh NO! – and lands in Paris, where she teams up with a feral cat who lives in an old cemetery. In searching for the perfect setting, I looked for the closest cemetery to the American Embassy. It was the Cimetiere de Passy, in the area Benjamin Franklin lived during his time as Ambassador. What a perfect link to American history. Of course, this called for a research trip. So fun!
In the third book, she’s finally a full K9 Service agent so the mission is classified. We can share a few things… like enemy dolphins and nuclear submarines! It’s quite the tale.We’ve just started plotting Book 4. You’ll discover what it’s about after we do! So far there’s a luxury cruise liner in the Baltic…
That sounds so exciting! And research trips are always a good idea. 🙂 What do you hope readers will take away from your books?
Time well-invested in a story that offers hope and a different perspective on what opportunity might look like in real life. We strive to offer strategies to deal with difficult situations, so when kids (and adults for that matter) find themselves in similar circumstances, they know what might work for them… or not… when they recall how May handled things.
And humor. We’ve been told May is funny. We like to think so!We write from a Christian worldview but the books aren’t “Christian” per se. They’re just good stories you don’t have to be concerned about your kids or yourself reading. We highlight morals and values and honor “freedom and the American Way.”
Do you have a favorite part of writing?
Ha! This depends on when you ask! Each new story is a challenge because we respect our fans so much. We work hard incorporating the best of our previous work, including what readers say are their favorite parts, while being true to May’s character and our mission. Creating the various stories is fun for sure. Seeing how the illustrators enhance our work is terrific too. Interacting with our fans at schools, fairs and festivals is so rewarding. When you receive a hug from a child to thank you for writing, or you hear from a parent or grandparent how you’ve changed a child’s life, or an adult fan makes a bee line to your booth to get the next book in the series or publicly shares that they purchased the set because others have told them about it or sends an email about how they sat down to read a few chapters and didn’t get up until they finished the entire book… It makes those long, long hours worth it!
If I must choose a favorite part though, it’s editing. By then our ideas are somewhat in place and much of the research is done. Then we work MANY hours to cut/craft to make it the best we know how. Finding just the right phrase or situation to illustrate what we want to say is quite gratifying. When readers comment enthusiastically in their reviews on something we struggled with, that is pure fun!
That’s a great way to look at editing. A lot of writers would say that’s their least favorite part. Speaking of which, what’s been the biggest challenge associated with these books?
Great question! Not sure I can answer what the biggest challenge is, because each phase has its share. The first major challenge is dreaming the story then allowing myself to write badly on the first draft. Editing can be challenging but as you know it’s my favorite part of the process. Writing “the end” can be daunting, because the words you write must stand on their own – there’s nothing to add once in print.One of the biggest challenges is simply to be noticed. (Gracious interviews like yours help so much. Thank you again!) You see, we don’t have a large marketing budget. Today so many good writers are available, we are honored when someone chooses to spend time with us, then thinks enough of our work to share with friends and writes an honest review on Amazon, Goodreads or their blog.
Any final words for your readers?
Come join us! We’d love you to join May’s pack on Facebook. www.facebook.com/maythek9spy . You can keep up with us there and on our website too. www.maythek9spy.com Our website has terrific sections for reader and writer resources, photos, a little more about us, a place to shop. And please email any time: email@example.com. May will write you back! PAWSOME!
Thank you so much, KC and May. We’re so glad to have you at the Diamond Mine. Make sure you leave any questions or comments for them in the comment section below. And stop by KC’s Amazon page or KC and May’s shop to purchase the books and the cutest plush toy of May! Or check out the giveaway below to win free a free copy of all three books.
Here’s your chance to win the first three books of the May the K9 Spy series! Contest runs until May 28th, after which the winner will be notified by email.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
KC Frantzen learned to speak “critter” at a young age. As a veterinarian’s daughter, she was surrounded by four-footed friends. Occasionally her dad would bring home a patient needing care during the night. He’d put the pet carrier on the dryer, and she would stand on tippy toes to comfort the guest as best she could.
She began writing in elementary school and even won the school-wide contest with a story on deep sea fishing. Though she kept writing here and there, it was mostly just for fun. KC taught fifth grade, worked for an oilfield supply company, a pharmaceutical company, created and managed her own supply business, owned and operated a franchise welcoming new movers with her husband… The list goes on…
Many years after winning the elementary school award, KC began to think seriously about telling May’s story, and completed the Christian Writers Guild Apprentice level course, which helped her to prepare.
She and her husband volunteer with a variety of projects, including the Joni & Friends Wounded Warrior Getaway. They enjoy traveling just about anywhere, which helps formulate ideas for May the K9 Spy. The family lives in the country hills of middle Tennessee with two Arabian horses and several dogs, including the real May.