On Robot Ponies and Indie Publishing: An Interview with Author Madeline Claire Franklin

Author Madeline Claire FranklinMadeline Claire Franklin is a feisty lady. The debut author of the exquisite original fairy tale novel, The Poppet and the Lune, you can find her most days at a coffee shop, surrounded by cups of espresso and notes for her upcoming release, The Hierophant. Maddie is my best friend, and–together–we released our first books on the same day back in May–May 17th, Maddie’s birthday~ ❤

I've known Maddie for many years, and have always been both humbled and inspired by her drive and passion surrounding the soul of Story. Today, she released a new short story entitled "Robot Pony,” one that I fell completely and madly in love with. Here to celebrate that release, and to talk a little about indie publishing, the creative process, and robotic toys is an interview with Madeline Claire Franklin!


Sarah: You are the author of such epic works as The Poppet and the Lune, the forthcoming The Hierophant, and the beautiful short stories “A Lover and Its Ghosts” and “Robot Pony.” As such a beautifully varied author, what would you say are the commonalities in all of your work?

Madeline: I think the thing that you will find in all of my work is something that is a combination of honesty from both the characters and the author, and a kind of purity of expression. I try to be blunt, and make my metaphors obvious. I like to think it makes it more powerful when the characters uncover real beauty or love… and make it hurt all that much more when I cut a characters heart out }:D

I tend towards younger characters for those reasons- they have an innocence that usually strikes the adult reader even more strongly, and resonates truthfully with younger readers.

Sarah: I was completely touched by your most recent work, the short story “Robot Pony.” I haven’t been able to get it out of my head–one of the most endearing and lasting imprints of a really GOOD short story, I believe. How did you come about creating it? Were you trying to say anything specific with it (I, personally, took A LOT away from it)?

Madeline: Honestly, when I set out to write it I had something totally different in mind. But like everything I write, it has a mind of its own. I was inspired by a song I heard on a Canadian radio station (i’m pretty sure if you look up “robot pony” on youtube it’ll come up) that was about, you know, robot ponies. And it was played entirely on a thumb piano. That song’s meaning has nothing to do with what my story ended up being about, though.

I think in the end my intention was pretty simple: to look back on those strong relationships we have with childhood toys, and explore their meaning. Also, explore what that toy might have thought of us.

I think there might have been some commentary on bratty children, too, lol.

Sarah: Maddie, you and I have been meeting once a week for many, many years to hang out, write and talk books and writing–we call it, jokingly, “Writer’s Therapy Night,” but it does have a touch of the magical in it. We’ve often spoken of why we write stories–but I would love if you’d take a moment to touch on that now, here, solidified in the written word. 🙂

Madeline: Ooh. Well, put simply, I write stories because I must. It’s as much of a need to me as breathing. I have stories in my head that I can only contemplate and explore for so long before I have to put them down in words. If I don’t, I’m a miserable wretched waste of a human :p

Writing basically is my religion, and I mean that wholeheartedly. All the concepts I apply to my writing I can apply to my spiritual life, too. It’s much less about craft for me than it is about magic. Not as in “magically, a book appears!” but that kind of un-namable magic that is in everyday life, and in the things that drive us to live our lives to the fullest 🙂

Sarah: Beautiful~ ❤ I noticed a lot of the reverence of that everyday magic in The Poppet and the Lune. Every book we write has some deep compulsion and spirit for us to write, but this one seemed even deeper and brighter for you–what drove you to write that story?

Madeline: omg that story. What a tremendous love affair. She was always steadfast and giving and loyal, even when I abandoned her for months at a time, she was always there, ready and willing and able, when I came back. ❤ …

I had been reading a lot of YA and a lot of fairy tales when I began TPaL. I had it in my head that both of those things had a lot of tropes that I found disagreeable, namely weak females getting rescued, and love based on beauty, and men who were always strong and females who were afraid. I didn't even realize it until it was halfway done, but I'd written a pretty feminist book.

But I also wanted it to be something that could capture the magic of the old fairy tales I loved as a child, something that even jaded adults could look at and remember that magic without being like "sure, magic. whatever. can't use that in real life, buddy." Because I think most of the truths that the patchwork girl and Faolin learn are truths that have nothing to do with magical power, but with the Human Condition, and the life-long journey of discovering yourself and where you fit in the world

Ultimately what drove me though is the patchwork girl herself. I channeled her patience and fearlessness like nothing else when I was working on that book, and when I decided to self publish. She changed my life and my career forever.

(Gotta say, I'm only realizing a lot of this right now.)

Sarah: Wow–I absolutely love that. And it’s so true, too. What better time to realize it than now? 🙂 Speaking of self publishing, and to wrap things up, what single piece of advice would you give to some lady or lad who has decided to go down the path less trodden, as it were, into the Land of Self Publishing (unicorns not included)?

Madeline: Oh but I can’t pick just one. I have one for the two sides of the brain. For the right side: Know yourself, and follow your heart. I know reading about other people’s experiences was both uplifting and depressing for me, so ultimately I stopped reading them. There are some things I do that other self-pubbers do, but a lot of what they do I don’t want to. And that’s okay, because I’m still writing, still publishing, and people are still enjoying my work. It’s not a get-rich-quick scheme for me, it’s just about writing, and putting my writing out into the world. For the left brain: make lists. lots of them. Processes, checklists, book blogger sites, your personal promotional sites, people on your contacts list, everything you need and want to do when you launch a book, everything you want to do to promote it before, during, and after launch. Keep them organized and up-to-date. They will become invaluable when you’re in the throes of a launch and can’t even remember what you had for dinner last night, let alone if you stripped your .doc of tab indents before converting it to an eBook. 🙂

Sarah: Perfect! Anything you want to add? ❤

Madeline: Always trust the story! Even when it seems to be leading you astray, it could be creating something even more wonderful than you had planned for it. ❤


You can find out more about Madeline’s books at MadelineClaireFranklin.com, connect with the author on Twitter, or fan her on Facebook to stay up to date with her coming releases.

Madeline Claire Franklin — Fueling impossible dreams since 1985.


About Sarah Diemer

I write about heroic, magical girls who love girls. I drink a lot of coffee. Follow me at http://twitter.com/sediemer or find out more about my work at http://sarahdiemerauthor.wordpress.com
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One Response to On Robot Ponies and Indie Publishing: An Interview with Author Madeline Claire Franklin

  1. Gemma says:

    🙂 I am so excited to see this new story I can’t even stand my own self. KEEP WRITING MADDIE the world needs you. YAY!


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