Thursday, September 3, 2009

Book Review of The Adventures of Hashbrown Winters and Interview with Frank Cole

If you want to sit down with a book and have a wonderful time with delightfully funny characters than buy The Adventures of Hashbrown Winters by Frank Cole. Cole’s storytelling ability ranks up there with the great Bill Cosby when it comes to creating memorable and funny characters who you want to follow on their adventures.

The main character, Hashbrown, has a tree house club with his friends Snow Cone, Four Hips, Measles, Bubblegum and Whiz. They attend Pordunce Elementary where they come in contact with their rival Hambone Oxcart, who is the death dealer of Pordunce. As the story progresses Hashbrown and Hambone collide and Hashbrown is challenged to the ultimate knock-down-drag-out. Hashbrown turns to the Figanewty Organization--run by Cordovo Figanewty and his sidekick Tony Ten Fingers--for help. I won’t spoil the ending for you, but it’s a wonderful surprise.

After reading this short, wonderfully humorous book you’ll want to know more about the author, so I’ve interviewed Frank.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?
I don’t think I realized it was something I could really do when I was young, but I’ve been writing and telling stories since grade school. I used to get some time in my high school chemistry class at the end of the period to share stories to the students. It’s been in my blood for a long, long time.

Tell us a little bit about your book.
The Adventures of Hashbrown Winters I think is best described as a modern-day, over-the-top, Little Rascals, if that makes any sense. Hashbrown is a cool kid with a tree house gang of hilarious friends, including his best friend Snow Cone Jones and Whiz Peterson (an unfortunate boy with a tiny bladder.) When Hashbrown ignites the wrath of Hambone Oxcart, the Death Dealer of Pordunce Elementary, by accidentally smashing Hambone’s pet cockroach, he has to pull out all the stops to save his neck. Without adding a spoiler, Hashbrown’s survival involves the school’s all-seeing Oracle (a kid that’s been trapped in his locker for 7 years) and an appointment with Cordovo Figanewty, the leader of the 6th grade mafia.

I noticed in the Acknowledgment of your book you have very unique nicknames for your children. How did you come up with them?
In all honesty, my kids have a lot of nicknames. Plus, I’m sure they have a few nicknames for me as well. I’m the biggest kid in the family and I love to pull pranks and joke around with my kids more than anything else. My sons, particularly, have very unique personalities. They both fit the mold of a Hashbrown or a Snow Cone which I think is awesome.

What inspires you and motivates you to write the very most?
I love to make people laugh and writing has given me another opportunity to do that. Now, since I’ve finally been published, I’m inspired whenever I hear that someone, especially a kid, has read my book and got a kick out of it. That’s why I do it.

Is there an established writer you admire and emulate in your writing? Do you have a writing mentor?
There are so many writers that I respect for their writing style. Particularly, I love Rick Riordan, J.K. Rowling, of course, and Eoin Colfer. I also think Brandon Mull is one of those authors you have to cheer for. He works so hard and is such a down-to-earth, cool guy. I want to see him win in everything he does.

Location and life experience can sprinkle their influence in your writing. Tell us about where you grew up and a little about where you live now - City? Suburb? Country? Farm? If you could live anywhere you want to live, where would that be? I grew up in an amazing little town called Winchester, Kentucky. The school Hashbrown attends is patterned loosely after the school I attended as a kid. I still vividly remember sitting in my classroom in the 6th grade and hearing the rumbling of a herd of pigs charging down the road outside the window. That sort of stuff happened from time to time. Ms. Borfish is real… scary, I know! I obviously changed her name, but she existed nonetheless. She may have passed on by now and if so the world is a sadder place without her. I now live in a really cool neighborhood in Utah. It’s a completely different world than the one I grew up in, but I love it. Still, would I go back to Winchester to live if I had the chance? In a heartbeat!

Bring us into your home and set the scene for us when you are writing. What does it look like? On the couch, laptop, desk? Music? Lighting, handwriting?
I’m quirky when it comes to writing. I have a typical setup with a laptop resting on a breakfast tray, but it has to be dark with all the doors closed and no distractions. No television, music, or screaming children. Usually, I write when all are asleep, but I have to wake up my poor wife every few minutes to bounce an idea off her before I can go on.

Do you watch television or movies? If so, what are your favorites? Do they inspire your writing?
I really don’t watch television. There hasn’t been a show I’ve followed for several years, but I do watch a ton of movies. I love anything epic like Lord of the Rings or Pirates of the Caribbean. I also really love the Goonies and Sandlot. Great, great shows with some of the coolest characters you’ll ever find.

How has being published changed your life?
It got busier and more nerve-racking, but in a good way (if that’s possible.) Now I know there are people out there reading my book and that can scare you a little. What are they thinking? Do they think I’m a nut? Because if they don’t, I didn’t do my job! :)

Do you have any book signings, tours or special events planned to promote your book that readers might be interested in attending? If so, when and where? Also tell about your blog and website.
I’ll been doing some signings here and there over the next couple of weeks at Costcos and Seagull Book. In September, I’m heading on a school tour throughout Utah and visiting close to 60 schools. I’ll have a listing on my website in a week or two to keep everyone posted. Check out my blog at or on my website at

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