By Meredith Spradling and Jessica Ehrenreiter
The Adventures of Jimmy Farrell and the Magic Red Ring, written by Frank Caputo , brings enjoyment and imagination to children and is a great story for all ages.
Jimmy Farrell, a thirteen year old, loves sitting on the porch of an old Native American man named Jo-Pac. Jo-Pac recounts stories of past tribes that once lived around him. While in the woods, Jimmy finds a peculiar flower and shows it to Jo-Pac. He tells Jimmy of a Medicine Man belonging to the Takoda Tribe that planted the magic red flower there. This marks the start of Jimmy’s adventure.
Interested? The author, Frank Caputo, lives here in Florida and I managed to get an interview from him, to tell us more about his book and writing career. To buy his entertaining, fun book, go to amazon.com and search “Adventures of Jimmy Farrell,” and it’s the first one that shows up.
Interview: Frank Caputo
1. What inspired you to write The Adventures of Jimmy Farrell and the Magic Red Ring?
I once wrote a short story of about 1,200 words for a course I was taking, and Jimmy Farrell was born. As time went on, I continued to write short stories and children’s picture books, I was drawn back to this short story (eleven years earlier), finally I decided to turn it into a YA/MG fantasy/fiction. My true inspiration comes from wanting to bring the imagination of young readers to life, and more important, I like to do that in a way I feel is appropriate for young readers. Some of the content in literature today is way too advanced for the younger readers it is written for. I wanted to write the type of book I’d like my children to read, they both loved the book by the way!
2. How long was the publication process for your book?
It’s a very tedious process, from the time I sent my first manuscript to the time I had the first copy of the book in my hand was about eight months.
3. How long did the process take from the idea to the official publication?
Leaving out those eleven years from short story to deciding to write a full length YA/MG novel, I would say the process lasted about five years. Writing the book took about 120 hours, that’s all. Editing the book lasted forever, and during the process I read the book about twenty times and found something to change or correct every time. Then I found someone to give it a read and give their input, plus I’ve been to hundreds of critique groups which was not only a big help but very inspirational. After the book was ready to go I started sending out manuscripts (for about two years), I got a bite every now and then but never connected with a good publisher. I finally decided to self-publish, if it’s good enough for John Grisham, it’s good enough for me.
4. Do you have any tips for young writers?
Yes, write, write, and write some more! Writing a first book and having it become a success is like buying your first lottery ticket and expecting to hit all six numbers. These are not words of discouragement; they are words to live by. The more you write the better you become as a writer. Also join writing groups and go to writing conferences, it’s a great way to start learning how to market your work. Hang out with the people you aspire to be like. DO NOT give up on your dreams of writing; the best things in life are the hardest to acquire. Finally, one of the most important things I have found on this side of the publishing process is to be ready to market. Stay familiar with all the social networking tools out there, whether you self-publish or go traditional publishing you will be doing almost all of the marketing yourself.
5. If you could go back and change something about the story would you? Why?
I don’t think I would change a thing; I love the story itself as it is. I could probably find something grammatically to change, but I can find that every time I read the book. Besides, a lot of things I’ve “planted” in this book lead to the next book which is already complete, I just have to edit it and get it out. There are at least four books in the “Adventures of Jimmy Farrell” series.
6. Did you always want to be a writer, if not what did you want to do?
I’ve always enjoyed writing when I was younger and eventually decided to take a course in children’s literature. Writing would be the ultimate job to me, but I live in the real world, very few of us (authors) can say we write novels for a living. But yes, I’ve always wanted to be a writer, before anything else. I do hope to one day be an author “for a living.” I won’t say, be a “successful author”. To me, a successful author is an author that writes, continues writing all the time, is happy with their writing, and feels the passion for writing.