Mom’s Choice Awards is excited to announce another post in our interview series where we chat with the inventors, designers, publishers, and others behind some of our favorite family-friendly products.
Hello, Mom’s Choice readers! Welcome to another interview in our ongoing series. For this interview, we were able to catch up with one of our multi-award-winning honorees, Joni Franks, and see what she has been up to since we spoke to her last April! Since her last interview, she has come out with a new MCA award-winning book, The Crooked Forest: Legacy of the Holey Stone. The Crooked Forest: Legacy of the Holey Stone is a spell-binding fairytale that transports its readers in time, to a place between places, separated from reality by a crossroads, that leads to the mystical Crooked Forest, a botanical mystery as old as the earth. The Crooked Forest deals with loss and purpose through a delightful and charming fantasy read that you will not be able to put down! Readers can also look forward to beautiful illustrations from artist Ayin Visitacion that help bring the story alive. Keep reading to find out more about Joni and her wonderful book, The Crooked Forest: Legacy of the Holey Stone!
MCA: Hi Joni, it is so nice to be able to catch up with you again! It has been a while since we last spoke with you. For our readers who missed your last interview, can you briefly tell us a little bit about yourself, and also tell us what you’ve been up to since our last interview?
Joni: I am an international award-winning children’s book author and my books have earned bestseller status and have won over thirty literary honors since 2018, including the Mom’s Choice Award and the American Fiction Award. I have been devoted to making a difference for the new generation through teaching problem-solving techniques and addressing timely subjects like environmental conservation, uncovering one’s life purpose and destiny, and recognizing that all beings are created equal. I draw inspiration from the magnificent beauty of the Rocky Mountains where I currently reside. I spend time in the high mountain meadows where the unseen and overlooked spaces of the western landscape offer me the ability to create stories that are changing the world one heart at a time.
Since our last interview, I have completed the seventh book in the Corky Tails, Tales of a Tailless Dog Named Sagebrush book series. I am so excited about this story that will be published and released during 2022! This book addresses belittling, making judgements based on appearances, and the value of teamwork. The life lessons taught are all woven into a beautiful fairytale setting, with a surprise ending that will melt your heart. In addition, the first book in my new series, The Crooked Forest, Legacy of the Holey Stone has been released and I am thrilled to have earned the prestigious Moms Choice Award.
MCA: That is so exciting! Please be sure to keep us posted when it is finally released. The Crooked Forest Series differs a bit from your other Mom’s Choice Award-winning series, Corky Tails. What was your inspiration for writing The Crooked Forest: Legacy of the Holey Stone?
Joni: I am often asked what the appropriate age group for my Corky Tails book series is. Typically, I would answer grade school. But the range of interest in my books has proved to be beyond those limits. I have expecting mothers who read my books to their unborn babies and want to raise their children based on my messages. My oldest fan is Queen Elizabeth who has my books and has sent me royal mail from the palace to thank me for making a difference for the new generation. Knowing that my books appeal to all age levels, inspired me to create a companion series to the Corky Tails books, for a slightly older audience.
MCA: That is amazing, what an honor that is! It must be incredibly fulfilling to know that your books have made such an impact. The Crooked Forest: Legacy of the Holey Stone Is the first book in a new series. Can you tell us what this new series is about?
Joni: Willow struggles to access her true inner strength when an unforeseen tragedy tests her bravery. Left alone and feeling heartbroken after being separated from her mother, she navigates the life path she has been handed, overcoming obstacles, and realizing her true potential and her destiny to become a heroine. With the help of her trusted companion, Sir Gyzmo, an enchanted fairy dog, the pair overcomes desperate odds, while weaving a special bond based on trust, companionship, and love.
MCA: What are some of the key lessons readers can expect to find in The Crooked Forest: Legacy of the Holey Stone?
Joni: In this new book I explore the concept of dealing with loss through the emergence of a new fantasy heroine. When young Willow finds herself separated from her mother Luna, she must find a way to not only overcome her broken heart but discover the truth of her mother’s fate and what her purpose in life is. Delving into new and established mythologies and legends, the novel explores a heroine’s rise through story-driven narratives and beautiful artwork from artist Ayin Visitacion.
MCA: This is your second book series to win a Mom’s Choice Award! How does this series differ from the Corky Tails Series?
Joni: I wanted to create a book series for all age groups. This book has been referred to as a novel for all ages, so it suitable for both children and adults.
MCA: I think it’s safe to say you have done just that, The Crooked Forest: Legacy of the Holey Stone is an entertaining read from start to finish for readers of all ages! What has the response been like from your readers?
Joni: My readers are calling this book brilliant!
Here are two professional book reviews that I am so proud of!
“Franks delivers one powerful message after another focused on the intense, intimate, and inevitable connection to nature, where true magic lies. Impeccable worldbuilding spearheads this imaginative tale of Shuns, humans, and the magical beings of the Crooked Forest. Like many tales of fantasy, there are memorable archetypal characters like the Mystery Woman of the Hills, who plays the role of the oracle or seer. Similarly, the characters are all rooted in truth as they support Willow’s coming-of-age journey toward embracing her destiny as the face of the Shuns. More than anything else, the author delivers a free-flowing narrative with endearing characters and a thought-provoking storyline that readers of all ages will relish.” ~ RECOMMENDED by the US Review of Books.
“This is the perfect novel for those who enjoy fantasy reads, especially those that enjoy fairytale style narratives and powerful female heroines who overcome great odds. As a fan of this genre, I think the author did a brilliant job of crafting a wholly original narrative and relatable characters which made the magic of the story feel out of this world yet attainable through the wonder of the mind’s own creativity, making this story shine brightly. A breathtaking, artful, and entertaining fantasy read; author Joni Franks’ book The Crooked Forest: Legacy of the Holy Stone is a must-read story. Full of heart, imaginative new mythos to explore, and the promise of a new fantasy series that readers can absorb and engage with, this book is a gripping new narrative that fans of children’s and middle-age fantasy and fairytale novels will not be able to put down.” ~ Pacific Book Review
MCA: Those are some amazing and very thoughtful reviews, congratulations! If you could ensure readers of your book walk away with one main lesson, what would it be?
Joni: The Crooked Forest: Legacy of the Holey Stone, is steeped in ancient folklore but sends a modern-day message concerning the kinship between the land, the water and the animals and protecting nature’s perfect balance, by finding solutions that benefit all beings.
MCA: Thank you for another great interview, Joni! Please be sure to keep us posted on the release of your next Corky Tails book!
You can learn more about Joni Franks and her award-winning book, The Crooked Forest: Legacy of the Holey Stone by visiting their MCA Shop pages.