Q (Katrina Gray): I think I speak for the masses when I ask this burning question: are you a girl Frankie, or a boy Frankie? And what brought you to Fictionaut?

A (Frankie Sachs): I didn’t realize this was a burning question. I better answer before curious people start trying to flip up my tail and check for themselves. I am a girl Frankie. And Marcus Speh deserves all the blame for bringing me to Fictionaut. I suspect I may be a cog in his plans for world domination.

KG: I trust Marcus will handle the world with kinky elegance, so no worries here. So. New Sun Rising looks like a group with a purpose. I think it involves the sun, Japan, a book, Donald Trump, and kittens. Please help me connect the dots, and/or clear up any misconceptions.

FS: New Sun Rising does have a purpose! It is for the charity anthology, New Sun Rising: Stories for Japan. It’s a book we’re putting together to raise money for the Red Cross to aid Japan after their recent series of disasters. The stories and poems and art in the book are all about Japan. And there’s one with a cat. And we’ve got lots of foxes, and some dumplings! No Donald Trump, though. That’s a vicious lie.

KG: Did you have a particular affinity for all things Japanese (sushi and teriyaki chicken count) before the earthquake and tsunami prompted you to undertake this incredibly generous project? Or have you learned something about the country that you never knew before?

FS: Actually, I did not know very much about Japan. Murakami, Miyazaki, Kurosawa, and sushi pretty much sums it up. Making the book has been very educational. I’ve learned so much about haiku from Lou Freshwater, who’s been our acting haiku expert for the anthology. She’s been an amazing asset because haiku is one of those things that’s real easy to do and real hard to do well; she’s taught me how to look at it.

KG: We will want to buy a copy, every one of us. I just know it. Do you have the deets?

FS: I do not have them yet. Tentatively, the book will be available at the end of May. My initial goal was May 4th, but that was naive and optimistic, and I seriously underestimated how excited people would be about contributing to this book. My conservative estimate for the total word count of submissions, in under a month, is in the 500K range. That’s a lot of reading! I thought my eyes were going to melt a couple times.

I don’t know how long all the magic typesetting things (including the pictures, did I say there’s gonna be pictures?) will take after I send our final selections to the publisher (Endaxi Press), but I will definitely post the details in the group when I’ve got ’em.

Katrina Gray checks in with Fictionaut groups every Friday. She lives in Nashville with the writer John Minichillo and their lovechild. She is the editor-in-chief of Atticus Review, and she blogs about mostly non-literary things at

  1. Lou

    I have been awe-struck by the talent and effort shown by Frankie on this project, and it has been a real honor to work with all of these editors. Thank you for doing this, Katrina.

  2. Marcus Speh

    excellent, fun interview, katrina thank you – “new sun rising” is going to be a great book! and the ordeal of the japanese isn’t over, it’s only gone from the highest headlines… also, i’m not really responsible for the damage done by frankie around here … she’s a big girl with a big vision & a fabulous writer, too.

  3. Katrina Gray

    Funny, Marcus, how you did not deny taking over the world.

    But, yes, this is a project worthy of all the attention it can get. I can’t wait to see the finished product, and see how artists benefit the people of Japan. Art and artists keep the earth spinning on its axis, I’m convinced.

  4. James Lloyd Davis

    World hegemony a la Marcus Speh, a cat, dumplings, the Donald, foxes, and haiku. All the makings of a cult movie there. I’d always suspected Frankie was a girl. Nice to have my suspicions confirmed, though in all humility, I should say that I wasn’t really sure. Where a writer’s concerned, should it really matter? I doubt it.

    Here’s hoping that New Sun Rising will be a huge success and that the manifold tragedy in Japan will be eased somewhat by the effort. Frankie, Lou, and every one involved deserves a round of applause, (two hands, one hand, just but be sure and buy the book).

  5. Marcus Speh

    update: The Word Count has just published a special show “podcasts for Japan” put on by r b wood, where contributors to this anthology (including myself) read their stories. enjoy!

  6. Frankie

    Beat me to it, Marcus!

    Really, it’s worth downloading the whole thing just to listen to Marcus read “Gyoza Express.”

    And all the other wonderful stories and poems. Hearing them all put together, I am even more thrilled than I was listening to them individually.

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