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! Thank you for joining us for another interview in our ongoing series. For this interview, we were able to speak with our multi-award-winning honoree, Joni Franks, about her newest book, Corky Tails: Tales of a Tailless Dog Named Sagebrush, Sagebrush and the Never Summer Mountains! The newest installment in the Corky Tails Series addresses belittling, the value of teamwork, and making judgments based on appearance, all woven into a fairytale setting, with a surprise ending that will melt your heart. Keep reading to find out more about Joni and her award-winning book, Corky Tails: Tales of a Tailless Dog Named Sagebrush, Sagebrush and the Never Summer Mountains!
MCA: Hi Joni, welcome back, and congratulations on yet another Mom’s Choice Award. Can we start the interview off by having you tell us about yourself, including what you’ve been up to since we last spoke with you in March?
Joni: It’s been six years since I wrote my first book while sitting on the covered porch of my mountain cabin in Howard, Colorado. I didn’t intentionally set out to be an author. At that time, I only wanted a coffee table book for myself and my sweet corgi, Sagebrush. I chose the timely themes of bullying and equality to weave into that particular storyline, and the Colorado adventures I chose to write about were the real-life experiences Sagebrush and I have shared.
Fast forward to the present and I have ten published works with a new book to be released in 2023! In addition, my writing has been honored to receive over forty literary awards in multiple genres and in illustration.
MCA: What was your inspiration for writing Corky Tails: Tales of a Tailless Dog Named Sagebrush, Sagebrush and the Never Summer Mountains?
Joni: During a four-wheel drive adventure, I witnessed the devastation of a landslide in a remote mountain region of Colorado. That image remained clear in my mind, and I decided to incorporate the experience into my Corky Tails: Tales of a Tailless Dog Named Sagebrush book series.
Follow the adventures of Sagebrush, the tailless puppy, in her high-country adventure as she journeys through the Never Summer Mountains with her companions to clear a colossal landslide that has jammed Froze Creek with rubble and blocked the local water source.
This is the seventh book in my international award-winning Corky Tails book series.
MCA: What are some of the key lessons found in Corky Tails: Tales of a Tailless Dog Named Sagebrush, Sagebrush and the Never Summer Mountains?
Joni: Each Corky Tails book has its own timely theme. This story addresses belittling, the value of teamwork, and making judgments based on appearance, all woven into a fairytale setting, with a surprise ending that will melt your heart.
MCA: How does this newest installment in the Corky Tails Series differ from the others?
Joni: In addition to the themes I have just mentioned, I included the topic of sickness in this book because of the covid virus that so many have experienced recently. I think it is important to talk about illness and the effect it can have on families.
I would love to share this passage.
“Clover Leaf already knew a lot about faith and hope. His dear mother had recently been stricken with the blue flu. No one seemed to know what caused the blue flu or just how long it might last, but Clover leaf had all the faith and hope in the world that he could cure her of the blue flu she suffered from.”
MCA: You are also the illustrator of each book in the Corky Tails Series. Tell us about the illustrations that can be found within Corky Tails: Tales of a Tailless Dog Named Sagebrush, Sagebrush and the Never Summer Mountains, and where their inspiration came from.
Joni: I am exceptionally proud of the illustrations in this book. As an indie author, I retain creative control of the artwork and the storylines of my books. I think I am considered a bit “outside of the box” as my words and artwork are my own and not infringed upon or altered by a traditional publishing house.
It has been a great privilege to receive acclaim not only for my books but also for my artwork. I have a clear vision of how the characters in my books look and how they are to be portrayed. Therefore, I would never turn this process over to an outside party.
Look for Clover Leaf and Firefly in this book. I love the way these characters turned out.
MCA: What kind of response from readers have you received?
Joni: In addition to winning the Moms Choice Gold, this new release has already earned the Pacific Book Review Star of Excellent Merit.
Here is what professional reviewers are saying:
“Thematically this is an engaging tale that revolves around sentiments of faith, hope, and love. The story represents a positive reinforcement of friendship and overcoming obstacles with group efforts, seeing brightness in the future, and experiencing love and admiration for those who defend individual talents and uniqueness.” Pacific Book Review Star of Excellence
“Franks, who previously wrote The Crooked Forest: Legacy of the Holey Stone (2021), is particularly adept at describing scenes of nature, as when she notes the “fierce howling winds, deep snowpack and unexpected blizzards” of the Never Summer Mountains. She also cites specific and real plant and animal species, such as chokecherry bushes and yellow-bellied marmots, which young readers may find informative.” Kirkus Review
“The story lights up the imaginations of the reader or listener with the story of the Shuns and their magical world while helping one understand the value of differences and connecting to one another no matter the differences. In short, the author has crafted a truly magical, uplifting story.” RECOMMENDED by the US Review
“The illustrations are crisp and detailed. Sagebrush and the Never Summer Mountains is an entertaining tale with lessons on overcoming naysayers and working with others toward a common goal.” Blue Ink Reviews
MCA: Tell us what we can expect to see next from you in your writing career!
Joni: The success of “Corky Tails” has given me the courage to begin a companion book series for a slightly older audience. I wanted to write a book about overcoming a broken heart and finding one’s destiny. “The Crooked Forest, Legacy of the Holey Stone” was born, and I am thrilled to report that it has been a great success!
In August of 2022, this book was honored by Colorado Independent Publishers Association with the prestigious EVVY Award. I received two bronze medals for best in the categories of Women’s Fiction and Illustration for an adult book.
“The Crooked Forest, Cloud Crazed” is the sequel and will be released in 2023. The overall theme of this book addresses the struggle of finding forgiveness, not only for those we feel hurt by but for ourselves as well.
I feel privileged to call myself a successful multi-genre author. Often times we find ourselves stereotyped as only being able to succeed in one field when in reality the sky is the limit!
MCA: That is so exciting, we cannot wait for “The Crooked Forest, Cloud Crazed” release!
You can learn more about Joni Franks and her award-winning book, Corky Tails: Tales of a Tailless Dog Named Sagebrush, Sagebrush and the Never Summer Mountains by visiting her MCA Shop pages.