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“False Impressions” – – Stanley Woods-Frankel

Biographical Information

Dr. Stanley Woods-Frankel is a member of the American Society of Forensic Odontology, (a Forensic Dentist.) He has worked closely with the NYPD, written articles for professional publications, testified as an expert witness, lectured extensively, and appeared on radio and TV.

In addition to his curriculum Vitae, Dr. Woods-Frankel completed the masters writing program at NYU, is a member of the Mystery Writers of America, and participates in a bi-monthly writer’s group. He has also attended several conferences and workshops to hone his skills. Drawing on his background, he has fictionalized the most interesting cases in his research and career to create compelling backdrops for his manuscripts. Dr. Woods-Frankel lives in New York City with his wife.

Things We’d All like to Know

We would like to understand what makes you tick…your character, what, why, and how you write. We’d like our readers to get to know you. With that in mind, we’d like you to please answer the following questions as thoroughly, and as humanly, as possible. Go ahead, be yourself!

You, the Author

Why do you write?

When the practice of general Dentistry started to lose its appeal to me after 45 years at the dental chair, I entered an intensive program to learn the intricacies of forensic dentistry. Once I completed the comprehensive courses and was admitted to the AFSO (American Forensic Society of Odontology, I found the cases I worked on, and the articles of the work of my colleagues was just too damn interesting not to share with mystery readers. I had written for my school newspaper, and tried my hand at a few short stories and even wrote a three act play. When I accidentally came upon my earlier efforts, I surprised myself by how much I enjoyed reading my work. After sending my stories to NYU, I was accepted in a master writing course with eight other gifted writers. This was the genesis for False Impressions. Midway through the course, I was smitten by the process. I had found my long-lost love, and I keep nourishing it by continuing to put my pen to paper.

What do you write?

I had considered myself an exclusive mystery writer, but while putting the finishing touches on my 7th novel in the Steve & Nita series, my childhood friends who I had grown up with in a tough section of Brooklyn had suggested I write a memoir of our earlier days. I am having a ball collecting all our memories, and I find myself smiling as soon as I sit down to write about our escapades.

Who inspires you? Numero uno

-my wife Elayna who is a gifted singer and poet inspires me with her talent and honesty. My family has remained close and supportive throughout my adventure, and will always play a special role in my life. My personal heroes are F.D.R., Jacques Cousteau, and Jackie Robinson.

Who are your influences?

I am especially influenced by my favorite authors, most of whom I have met at various MWA (Mystery Writers of America,) conferences and meetings. These include Nelson Demille, Michael Connoly, Robert Parker, Carl Hiaasen, and I still get silly with Janet Evanovich. Lee Strassberg was a strong influence during my earlier acting career.

What are your three most favorite books and why?

Black Beauty—The first book I ever read for pleasure as a young boy. John Fowles, The Magus, and Tom Conroy, The Prince of Tides

The Mechanics

How do you write?

Mostly with a full head at the start which slowly empties out by the end of the session. I write first drafts by hand on a legal pad, and then transfer it onto a computer, where I write and polish from three to five more.

Where do you like to write?

I have three favorite locations. When I’m in the city, I get a lot of inspiration by sitting on a bench in Washington Square Park, and checking the parade of people going by.

When I write in my country house, I sit in my mama-san chair in our sun porch and use the songs of the birds and the scents of our perennial garden to help me.

During the winter I write in front of a roaring fire in our stone fireplace.

Do you set a goal of so many pages per day, or something else?

The short answer is no. Some days I can write eight pages, and some days none. Whatever production I manage each day is OK.

What program(s) or tool(s) do you use to write?

I don’t use any aid outside of my own outline.

What do you do when you get stuck on a problem which blocks the writing process?

Luckily, it happens so rarely, I have no set rule.

Do you envision the entire story at once and just fill in as you go, or do you just see where the writing takes you and troubleshoot as necessary?

I utilize all three methods, plus a combinations of the three plus some of my own inventions. Most novels I write an outline and follow it haphazardly, while others I have written by the cuff of my pants, and others I don’t know the ending until I get to it. I do know that for every manuscript I write, I go over each of my self edited versions with a fine tooth comb until I am completely satisfied.

What do you have the most fun with during the creative process?

Whenever I rewrite a so-so section with something more intelligent, creative, or humorous with emphasis on the comedic.

Do you have any special rituals or superstitious behaviors you must follow while writing?

None, other than standing on my right foot while writing the even pages. (Just kidding.)

Human You

What is a cherished memory from your life you’d like to share?

When I assisted the obstetrician deliver my first child, a daughter at the Keesler Air Force Base hospital

Do you prefer coffee, tea, or something else entirely?

Fresh orange juice, strong coffee, dark beer, and red wine.

What comes first, the chicken or the egg?

In the writing process the egg hatches first in my head and then the writing, or the chicken comes second.

What is your favorite movie? (Your choice)

My favorite movie was and is The “Search,” Montgomery Clift’s first film. It taught me how natural an actor could be while portraying a very complex character.

This Particular Story

Who do you most identify with in this work?

Two characters. The protagonist, of course Steve Landau since we are both forensic dentists and have good senses of humor. Art Powers the actor who plays Dracula, as I did in my early acting career.

Why this story?

That is a question I’ve been asking myself for years. You never know what is percolating around you gray matter until you start putting it on paper. I’ll have to consult with my shrink friends.

Who do you think would be most affected by or touched by this work?

Dentists all over the world. For over a century, my brethren and I have been held in low regard in literature, movies, the theater and TV. Either we have been portrayed as maddened killers as in Blue Velvet, comical characters played by Don Knotts, or as a bad songwriter in Bells Are Ringing, and even Doc Holiday. Now we have a hero in Steve Landau, who does root canal on a Bengal Tiger, and helps the NYPD capture a serial killer.

What is a profound memory from this title’s writing process?

The final time I wrote The End, and years later receiving the most complimentary letter from Zharmae Publishers that they are taking me on as one of their authors.

What do you hope the reader will take away from reading this story – is there a theme, or philosophy?

That good defeats evil, humor trumps sadness, & love conquers all.


One Comment

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  1. Sara (Sally) McPherson / Oct 2 2012 6:56 pm

    You go, Stan, and the best of luck! More books, please! Love, Sally

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