"KC Frantzen learned to speak critter at a young age, which helped her tell May's story. The family lives in the Tennessee hills - two humans, two horses, and several rescued dogs, including May."
Amber: Thank you so much for joining us today, KC! To start, could you share with us a little about the star of your book, May, and what readers might be surprised to learn about her?
KC: Amber, thank you for asking us.
Sure. Our May is something else. We rescued her, in about the same way as the book. Many of the adventures are true, with some literary license tossed in just for fun. Up to the reader to tell which is what, BOL FTITK. (That's Barking Out Loud, for those in the know.)
When meeting May in person, most people are shocked to learn she is 11 yrs old. She is still so playful, she acts like a puppy. It's pawmazing. We stopped by our local library last Friday in preparation for our summer reading program presentation and PAWograph session this week and she was an instant hit. She takes it upon herself to make sure no one is left out and EVERYONE has the opportunity to play.
She never met a stranger and not assume you will love her, which still amazes us considering her start in life. Plus, most smaller dogs are careful around kids but not our May. She adores kids of all ages. I admire her and it seemed that God gave me this story and wouldn't let me alone until I told it.
Amber: May sounds like quite the special dog!
What sort of audience do you think would most enjoy May on the Way: How I Become a K9 Spy, and what do you hope readers will gain from May’s story?
KC: We say animal lovers 8 and up. It's in 13 point font so it's large enough for younger and older readers, like*ahem* myself. The story seems to appeal to a variety of ages. One reader who is 6 and home-schooled totally got into the story and flopped on her belly, just like May does in one scene. That makes an author's heart do a happy flutter, let me tell you!
We've heard from some teens who enjoyed it, on up to people in my age group (50's – can it be?!) and even into 70's and 80's. I'm not sure what to make of this yet but it's been fun so far to hear the responses. In fact, one of May's Facebook fans (a lovely Border Collie named Zoey) sent an original paw-painting for May's birthday. It's just too much fun.
Some have related to the animals in the story, their methods of communication and seem to have developed or enhanced their empathy for them. Others have talked about the overall theme of hope and how things can look bleak but turn out alright. Several have mentioned the Biblical principles I tried to infuse in a palatable way. (I'm a Christian and write from that worldview, but it is not a "Christian" book.)
Amber: That's great! It's neat when a book can appeal to all age groups.
These next two questions are for May: You must be one adventurous pup! Can you give us a glimpse into the life of a K9 spy?
May: Hi Miss Amber. /waving paw/ Hello readers! I'm wiggling my entire self!!! So happy to meet you.
Would you like to play toss and fetch? Hide and go seek? Yes?! I have a variety of toys nearby, what's your pleasure? Lobbie (the lobster) is my FAVORITE!
I can give you just a little, because most of it is secret. Perhaps when I retire, whenever that might be… I could tell you more. But I can say it is an honor to serve our country, as I defend freedom and the American way. I wondered what I, just a small dog could do, but the Creator loves to give us the desires of our hearts doesn't He? My pesty qualities (as my grouchy big sister April says) have served me well.
Amber: It's a pleasure to meet you, May! Your sacrificial and loving heart is a great example to dogs and humans alike. =)
So, would you say you’re a type of detective? If so, do you have any advice for us humans about discovering doggie clues and solving the mysteries of doggie behaviors?
May: Well, I guess you could, but I'm really in the K9 Service. Our job is to track anarchists who seek to do us harm and stop them by whatever means necessary. Uhmmm. That's all I can really tell you about it. But thank you for asking. (Piffle. I may have said too much already.)
There's no mystery on our behavior, really. My advice is to pay attention, we communicate all the time! And… unless we've been trained otherwise, we inherently are loyal to humans and kind. Of course, some of us K9s are evil, just like you humans. But that doesn't happen very often, at least in my experience, though I'm still new.
Would you readers like a sneak peek? This is about ½ way through my story. I'm out in the woods (when I shouldn't be) and…
Odd. It’s sure clumsy.
It tilts its wings and hovers before plunking down on the shed. “Thanks for sharing.”
I plunge my tongue into the cool water. Lap, lap, lap, lap. It has a pleasant algae whang, so different from city water in a grimy bowl. There’s another taste though, not damp wood… more like…
Is this log made of concrete? Need to check this out. Sniff, sniff, snuffle.
As I trot to the side nearest the shed, the bird makes an awkward landing on my back. “Hi again. Want to help? Hey! Stop buzzing me. We can play later.”
It makes another pass by and slams into my ear. “Stop it! What’s wrong with you?” Sniff, sniff. “You don’t smell alive.”
We square off. As it veers nearby, I duck and take a swat at it. “I’m sorry, but don’t play so rough.” But it doesn’t quit. After several passes, I make contact. Definitely not a bird. And I think I broke it!
The contraption nosedives into the side of the shed – CLUNK. It makes a whirring motor-type sound but can’t seem to take off. As I advance, it starts smoking, then lies silent.
Is it a security guard, like April? For what? Better check out this shed.
Amber: Well, that should intrigue readers, for sure! Thanks, May!
Back to KC: Will we be reading more stories about May the K9 Spy in the future?
KC: Book 2 is in the works now! You can read an excerpt at the end of May on the Way. In fact, would you like a quick story about that?
The idea for the book sprang from a comment by Sandra Byrd, one of my mentors in the Christian Writers Guild. After writing the same scene from three different viewpoints, Sandra said how much she liked the character. It never made it into the first book, so that's how I knew we'd have a series! May is such a strong character, perhaps we will have many adventures. That's up to her readers!
Amber: Very cool! Thank you again for sharing more about May and her adventures with us today!
Readers, you can learn more about KC and May, as well as purchase a copy of their book, at their super cool website!
And you can also learn more about the book by visiting my personal blog, Seasons of Humility, today as we begin "Mystery Week!"
Also, be sure to stop by the BB on Friday for a chance to win a copy of May on the Way: How I Become a K9 Spy!
(Note: All photos and artwork (c) 2011 KC Frantzen.)