Cal State Fullerton alumna Jessica Watts loves the unusual. Her children’s book, titled “Frank N’ Goat,” is just that. The book is about two unlikely friends, Frankenstein and a goat named ‘Goat.’ They go on numerous adventures together from sharing a cup of tea to creating online dating profiles. Watts doesn’t have a specific audience for this book, but said it is intended it for “immature adults and kids alike.”
A big fan of wordplay, Watts hid plenty of puns and pop culture references throughout “Frank N’ Goat”. If the reader looks closely, he or she will find references from the original Frankenstein novel by Mary Shelley, goat heads and Winnie the Pooh in the pictures.
“It’s the type of book where the more you read, the more you find,” Watts said. It took almost two years to write and illustrate “Frank N’ Goat.” Watts, who minored in fine arts at CSUF, illustrated all of the watercolor artwork included in the book.
During her time at CSUF, Watts studied abroad in Florence, Italy as part of her fine arts degree. In Florence, she was able to tap into her creative side. She had written for fun, but never seriously considered a job in writing until she studied in Italy and discovered the passion to write a book.
The book’s inspiration came a few years ago when she visited a farmer’s market that had a petting zoo filled with baby Pygmy goats. Having a fun, quirky sense of humor, Watts is inspired by things that are out of the ordinary. As for her Frankenstein character, the inspiration wasn’t as immediate. “But I guess it feels quite natural, right?” Watts said. “ I mean, who else would be friends with a monster? Goats don’t really care what you look like or smell like.”
Watts majored in advertising when she graduated from CSUF in 2011. Her artwork was displayed in the Pollak Library Honors Center during her time as an undergraduate. She is currently working full-time as a senior strategist at an advertising agency, which allowed her to understand how to advertise and market her own book. She said that writing and promoting her book seemed like another full-time job.
“Writing has been my second shift,” Watts said. “Once work is over, I go home and another type of creative work begins. The evenings are for art and writing mostly.” Watts is currently working on a small novel that she describes as a “national treasure story centered around art.” The inspiration behind this piece stemmed from a trip to Italy where she learned about an artist named Piero Manzoni.
Manzoni did various odd artwork and one of the pieces that she saw was a can filled with Manzoni’s poop titled, “Artist’s Sh**.” Watts said it would be an odd but interesting subject to write it about the story behind the piece. Fond of puns and tricky wordplay, Watts intends to include plenty of “refined potty humor,” in her new novel.
“Frank N’ Goat” was a success and there is no doubt that Watts will continue writing in the future. She has received many positive reviews and questions about a sequel for the book. She isn’t sure if she will actually do a sequel to “Frank N’ Goat,” but will probably explore the idea of an unlikely friendship again in the future. Watts is happy she’s able to share the story of “Frank N’ Goat” with the world. Although perfectly Halloween themed, the unlikely friendship is a universal concept that transcends time and age.