Monday, December 3, 2012

In 2011 I had the pleasure of introducing ya'll to May the K9 Spy and her author mom, KC Frantzen. We talked about their first hardcover, illustrated book for middle readers (and all the young at heart!) - May on the Way: How I Become a K9 Spy. (If you missed that interview, you can read it HERE!) Today I'm excited to feature that book's sequel - May Finds a Way: Peril in Paris!

*** ***

Amber: Welcome back to the BB, KC! What was the hardest part about writing a sequel? What was the best?

KC: The hardest? Getting started! Once I give myself permission to write, albeit badly, then it’s fine. After recently editing and polishing the previous book, it was hard to start a first draft, which is inherently messy.

OOOH – the best? May sharing more adventures in first dog. Since she has no thumbs, and has difficulty typing, I’m amanuensis. She is quite something! Yes May, you’ll have a turn. Just a moment…

And an impromptu research trip, courtesy of my husband. That was marvelous. =)

It really IS fun to see where things go. Authors such as Stephen King and Jerry Jenkins have written about being surprised as a story develops… The idea being, if the author is surprised, surely readers will be. It has happened several times writing both books. Readers young and old will share their reaction to something unexpected, most often saying, “Oh NO!”

But readers have come to understand that May and I believe in Good. We strive to have satisfying endings. We hope her fans will keep turning pages to discover what happens next!

Amber: About that research trip and the main setting of this sequel... What do you love the most about Paris? 

KC: The history, paws down. Speaking of, I’m reading The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris by David McCullough. Outstanding if you enjoy historical detail.

I’ve been to Paris twice, once to research for this book! I went alone with only a backpack and was on the ground 28 hours total. (Hotel points and frequent flyer miles are a blessing!) Prior to the journey, I used my DK Eyewitness Travel Guide, listing and mapping everything I thought I would need. Then I visited each place and took notes to richly and accurately layer the story. There was one exception – the sewers. Didn’t realize I’d need that info until later. Grace prevailed when I discovered a tour video online. I really did dine at La Solana Café and visit Félix Canis (dog & cat salon and shop). Everyone was so kind, I knew those establishments must be included, by name. =)

I chose Paris for a variety of reasons, chief among them the opportunity to broaden horizons of young readers. Hopefully it’s presented well enough for adult readers to relate, if they’ve been. There is little literary license. For example, when writing May’s travel through the city, I referenced a map to ensure accurate setting portrayals. That is the fun of it, weaving the fiction in with the facts! When May and her FURiend Léonce, the feral cat, must escape Le Panthéon, we use a real group, Untergunther, to play a part. And why Le Panthéon? Because Louis Braille is buried there! Did you know he started working on a communication system for the blind (now known as Braille) when he was only 11 years old?

Those are the little things we use to make our books sparkle.

Amber: Sparkle, indeed! Sounds like you've included a lot of interesting facts and research in May Finds a Way - very cool! So, are there any more “May the K9 Spy” stories in the works? 

KC: Taking tips from other successful authors, such as Stephenie Meyer, I included a sneak peek into the next book. So, yep, there is a May 3 in the works as we speak! Okay okay May, you can tell Amber more…

Amber: These next questions are for May - Are you excited to share another story with your reader friends? What do you hope children and adults alike will learn from your latest adventure?

May: Yes! I’m wiggling my entire self I’m soooo excited to be here with you, Miss Amber, and your FURiends! Thlpbt!

My favorite part of life is getting to meet my fans, in dog. They tell me sometimes how much my stories help, knowing how I was abused and all, and how I survived to become a K9 Spy. When I’m incognito, I can be out sharing my stories. It’s a great life.

Hope –– that’s the word. Good job, Miss Amber. My second story is all about hope finding a way, even in the darkest of times. Like oh, hypothetically speaking, being lost, deep in a Paris sewer surrounded by rats or maybe… Suffering betrayal from someone close to you… Or say… Being trapped in an old crypt in the Cimetière Passy. But coming to know the Creator always, always has a plan, even if it’s not apparent when you’re stuck alone in the dark!

I also think young humans can do a whole lot more than grown humans think they can, just like a little runt, I mean Mini-Schnauzer, can… I like to challenge their thinking in a good way, with adventures and morals, showing consequences for decisions. Maybe they can learn how to make good decisions the easy way on some things, to help make their life better.

Oui, I mean yes, I just love what I do!

Amber: That's great, May! Now, what do you love the most about Paris?

May: The smells, definitely. So many stories!!

*** ***

May's Giveaway!

Here’s the link to hear Mom read Chapter 1 of May Finds a Way. I would have read it but you might not speak critter.

Is it okay, Mom, to do what I asked about? Grrreat!

FURiends, since you’re probably unfamiliar with my story, I’d like to give away a copy of my first book, so you can know there is hope too! It tells how I become a K9 spy. I hope you enjoy it!!! BOL! (Barking Out Loud) 

Let’s go!

Amber again: If you have a U.S. mailing address and would like a chance to read (or share with a younger person in your life) May's first book, leave a comment with your e-mail address! I'll announce the winner next Monday!

Thank you, KC and May, for visiting! And, readers, you can learn more about this dynamic duo on their website:!

(Note: All photos and artwork (c) 2012 KC Frantzen.)


  1. Good morning everypawdy at BB!
    Hope you had a grrreat weekend.
    May and I, and the rest of the family, did for sure.

    We're so glad to be back with you. Thank you for asking us, Miss Amber!

    We'll check in throughout the day to answer questions and respond to comments. Fire away.

    If life finds you in middle Tennessee this coming weekend, do stop by. I'd love to meet you!

    (May isn't invited however. The Franklin folks don't differentiate between a K9 spy and a real-life doggie author...)

    I've brought some assorted teas and hazelnut coffee too. All the fixin's in the back, alongside the fruit and whole wheat cranberry muffins. Help yourself!

  2. Well it's about time May returned!!! Love the story line and love May. Great illustrations too. Five Barks!!!

  3. Oh and someone ask KC about her grueling experience in Paris researching this book. The pastries, the history!! Poor authors must endure.

  4. Wow, what a fun idea for a story, KC! I'm sure May had a blast. :)

    BTW, did you see the recent piece with David McCullough on 60 Minutes? Very interesting!

  5. HA. HA. HA, Miss Missy. Mom went and didn't invite me to Paris. Drat.
    But I DID have a blast giving her the story to go with it. :)

    Hi Missy! No! I didn't see it. Will have to go find it. Love his work. Thanks SO MUCH for stopping in!

  6. Tina,
    Yes yes, as you know, I devoured a chocolate and banana pastry from La Solana just. for. you.
    Thank you. SMILE!

    I'm glad you like the idea and illustrations. TW did a pawmazing job.

    May sends special sniffs and greetings too! We'll pop over and see you and Missy shortly, over at Seekerville! It's where we were blessed to meet Amber too!

    Have a good one!

  7. The FURther adventures of May the K9 Spy, just in time for CHRISTMAS.

    I need a copy, KC, I'll contact you properly.

  8. I love me some "May" stories! They're "Pawsome!!!"

    What a wonderful interview, gals!!! I echo the FIVE BARK rating and give this a firm paw's up!

  9. Too fun! KC, I need to set a story in Paris.... hmmm. lol

    Hugs and kisses, May, from your FURry friends in Mississippi. Dakota and her 3-week-old adorable roly-poly babies say hi. I've dubbed them: Hunk, Chunk, Galump.

    But as with most toddlers, they're starting to walk now, and will slim up a bit.

  10. KC AND MAY!!! Fun, FUN interview, guys!! Always great to learn more about my fur-rends, fur-st hand!!


  11. Hey Mary,
    THANK YOU so much.
    The book will be trotting your way shortly!
    Hope you will enjoy it during all your time OFF at Christmas, right? RIGHT?!

  12. Hey Ruthy!
    You're the PAWSOME one!
    Thank you for coming by...
    May will oblige the barks - let's see - up to 10 barks now. No worries! ;D

  13. Oooh Pam, we can check it out together. Always more to see! I recommend the Trocadero area as the place to stay. But bring your walking shoes!

    Hi Miss Pam!
    /backflip/ PUPPIES!!!
    I love puppies, they like to play ALL the time, kinda like me. BOL! Those are grrreat names, I must say. You'll have to send me and Mom photos. OR, better yet, post to my Facebook page. We <3 seeing photos of puppies! Thanks for the bark out too!!!
    Have a wonderful day!!!

  14. Way to go, Miss Julie.
    You've got it!

    ("") ("") Two paws WAYYYY up!

    So happy you stopped by. Thank you!!!

  15. It's come to Mom's and my attention that some already HAVE book 1.


    If so, just let us know if you win, and we'll be pawsitively tickled to send book 2!

  16. Wow, to get to do research in Paris! How wonderful to know the background scenes to the story. Good luck with your new book, May and Karen!!! We'd stop by this weekend, but doing a show ourselves. Good luck there as well.

  17. So fun to have you back at the BB, KC and May! :) Always a treat!

    And it's awesome to see all these Seekerville friends here, too!


  18. Hi KC and May:

    I checked in here earlier when there were five comments. I went to PT for an hour or so and when I came back there were seventeen comments. Way to go!

    I read the first book and am now reading the second. I have a few questions, as I always do.

    Has May seen “Midnight in Paris”? Does she know they let dogs sit at the table and eat in the finest French restaurants? It’s in the movie. I’d love to get a picture of May eating in the finest Paris restaurant. Can dogs get frequent flyer miles?

    Did May pick up any doggie French words? I hope her next trip can get her someplace like Montréal or New Orleans where she can use her acquired French.

    Do you have pictures on your website showing how you did your Paris research? I would love to see them.

    My dog Aristotle wants to go to Greece now. He says May as all the fun. What can I say. May is a great example to all of us, young, old, human and furfriends.


  19. Hi Amber:

    How have you been doing now that you’re a college grad? How is your editing business going? Do you do contest entries for all kinds of mistakes? I might need some help.


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  21. Vince,

    Love your questions for May and KC! Too fun! :)

    As for your questions for me - first of all, thank you for thinking of me! :) I'm still in a transition phase, but life keeps going! I've been helping my dad with his business (doing background investigations, mostly for law enforcement agencies) and his teaching (at a local police academy). Consequently, I've also been getting some driving practice, and I'm feeling much more confident behind the wheel!

    As for the editing business, I'm still trying to get the word out there! It's a bit of a waiting game...waiting to see who's brave enough to take a chance on a recent college grad. ;)

    I'd love to help you out! What sort of contests? My business is geared toward fiction, but I'd be willing to take a look at whatever you've got. :) Here's the link to my website:

    Feel free to browse around and contact me through the form there!

    Also, I'm doing a fun "craft"-themed week on my blog this week, and on Thursday I'll be offering a one-day only special discount on my editing packages - so if you'd like to give my services a try, I'd recommend checking it out! :)

    Thanks, Vince!


  22. Hey Rita,
    Thank you for stopping by to see us here. We'll take you any time we can get you!
    All the best to YOU at your show!

  23. Hey Amber,
    We're so pleased that you invited us.
    Thank you much!

  24. Hey Vince,

    You're known for thoughtful questions...
    So glad you came by!

    YES - my husband and I saw the film and really enjoyed it. If May had been able to go, no doubt she would have finagled the best seat at the best table. She's like that!

    (No escargot, thank you. ;D

    I've asked May's Facebook pack if we should post some of the Paris shots. There's been interest so... I guess we will!

    I take a LOT LOT LOT whole bunch many photos, so will have to sort through. It was a truly memorable trip, though how nice to have been able to share with the ones I love. It can be a fantasy land, but there is a dark side too, as with most places. I made sure to be at the hotel long before evening set in since I was by myself.

    No K9 French, that I know of. I'll have to ask her. She doesn't tell all she knows...

    Oh YES - Ari should head to Greece. Make sure you get to go too!!!

  25. Amber,
    You continually amaze me.
    How wonderful to do this kind of work for your Dad! Wonder how the Lord will use these experiences? I'm excited to find out!!!

  26. Loved May on the Way. Can't wait to read about her next adventure!!

  27. Hey Ruth!!
    So glad you came over. Thank you!
    You have some adventures of your own in progress.
    I am excited for you!! :)


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