Writer examines ideas of justice and revenge while handling delicate subjects with sensitivity in debut novel ‘Eye for Eye’
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CORAL GABLES, FL – J.K. Franko’s debut thriller ‘Eye for Eye’ (June 22, Talion Publishing) explores how far normal people will go, given the right circumstances, to avenge wrongs when the legal system fails them.
The first book in the Talion series, “Eye for Eye” follows two sets of parents who seek revenge for crimes committed against their children: two families, two daughters. One killed by a driver texting at the wheel. The other date-raped by a young man the courts judge “innocent.”
In a story of vigilantism and revenge, Franko writes with sensitivity about delicate subjects like college rape culture and sexuality; with wit and cynicism about a broken legal system; and with dark humor about planning and getting away with murder. A fast pace and numerous unpredictable twists make “Eye for Eye” a guilty pleasure, a standout contribution to the thriller genre.
J.K. FRANKO holds a BA in Philosophy from the University of the Incarnate Word, a JD from St. Mary’s Law School where he served as Law Journal Editor, an MBA from UT Austin, and completed PhD work at UT Austin. As a lawyer, he was able to pursue a passion for writing, and his non-fiction work has been cited by courts and appeared on the National Law Journal’s “Worth Reading” list. True to his Cuban-American roots, Franko now lives in Florida with his wife and three children. For more information on J.K. Franko visit jkfranko.com.
Eye for Eye
J.K. Franko | April 8, 2019 | Talion Publishing
Paperback | 978-1-9993188-0-2 | Price:
In an interview, J.K. Franko can discuss:
- His firm belief in the outline process and the form his outlines generally take
- What inspired him to write a book focused on trauma
- His background in law and business and how this informs his writings
- Authors and books that inspire him
- How he implemented specific locations in the book based on his local connections
- How he approached writing about controversial topics
- Why the legal system often fails to deliver justice
- Whether there is a place for vigilantism in modern society
- The twenty-year slog to finishing his first novel
- Why it is still possible to get away with murder
- Fake news, Orson Welles, and the UK marketing for “Eye for Eye”
An Interview with J.K. Franko
Do you have a method that you typically practice when you write?
The most critical part of writing for me is outlining. It’s also the most time consuming. When you’re weaving multiple story arcs together, putting all the pieces together in a way that makes it easy for the reader to keep up with plots and subplots is critical. It’s like assembling a puzzle.
How does your education and involvement with the justice system inform the themes you explore in this book?
Working as a trial lawyer you learn how to craft a story that is a specific version of reality based on the facts that best serve your client’s interests. But, you also learn how alternate versions of reality can be supported by the same facts. That sort of training is great for being able to present a story in a way that takes the reader down one path, but then twists in a different direction that is surprising, but consistent with the same set of facts. That’s probably why there are so many twists built into my novels.
Do you think that revenge and justice are mutually exclusive?
As far as the target or focus of the justice or revenge is concerned, there is no difference. The verbs associated with the two words tell you a lot. Justice is “meted out” while revenge is “inflicted.” Justice is an almost institutional concept in terms of how it is rendered, while revenge is much more personal. In the last decade, social media has made everything more personal – from advertising, to shopping to, to politics. One of the themes the Talion Series grapples with is the blurring between justice and revenge based simply on the addition of that personal, social component.
How did you deal with writing a story with such traumatic and violent elements?
How violence is portrayed in a story to some degree depends on the genre. The way a killing scene is written in a horror novel—for example—is very different from how it would be written in a drama or a romance novel. For purposes of this book, the violent elements are critical to the storyline, but descriptively are not something that most readers are “into.” That said—I have had readers who wanted more “detail” on some elements of the violence, and I actually had one editor that “quit” because they were uncomfortable with “the morality of the storyline.”
The production of this book was a long process — what made you keep going?
I started writing fiction in the year 2000 – and this is my first completed novel – so yeah, a very long process. That said, I wrote the first draft of Eye for Eye in a month. Revisions and editing took a bit longer. Over the course of the last almost twenty years, I have been writing fiction on and off. Started and abandoned seven or eight novels. From each, I learned something about how to write better. It all came together for this book.