Today, Norm Goldman, Editor of Sketchandtravel & Bookpleasures
is delighted to have as a guest, Fran Capo.
Fran is quite a "cool person," as she is an eight-time author, humorist, voiceover artist, comedienne, adventurer, actress, freelance writer and keynote motivational speaker. She also holds the Guinness Book Worlds Record for the Fastest Talking Female.
Recently, Fran accomplished another amazing feat as the first and only author to ever do a book signing on the top of Mount Kilimanjaro in
Africa with the release of her book "Adrenaline Adventures: Dream it,
Read it, Do it!"
Good day Fran and thank you for agreeing to participate in our
interview for Sketchandtravel.com and Bookpleasures.com.
Could you tell our audience something about yourself and how you
became involved in your various occupations?
Sure Norm, first let me say its great to be here, and I thank you for
having me on as a guest.
Since you mentioned a bunch of the things I did up front, I guess I'll
start with how I became a stand up comic, as this was my first entry
into the entertainment world.
In school I was known for my sense of humor and some of my classmates
suggested a career as a stand-up comic. This had me thinking as to how
life would be as a stand-up comic, and I started to watch comics on
TV, comedy clubs, listening to comedy albums, etc. I said to myself, I
could do this. I asked God to give me the right sign if I should do
Two occurrences happened that were my go ahead signs. One, when
someone turned around in a movie lineup and complimented me on my
sense of humor, after hearing me crack jokes to my friends. He
suggested I audition for the Comic Strip. Another happened at a car
convention, where a fortune- teller analyzed my handwriting and told
me I had a good sense of humor and use it to make money.
I eventually did audition at a club called Creighton and Gray's Comedy
Room that was very near my home, with material given to me by my
friend Barry, who was in my acting class at the time. This was my
first success as a stand up comedienne and I received a standing
ovation as well as $10. I was a mini-local celebrity, with rave press
reviews. I spent the next 15 years of my career figuring out ways to
get in print, on radio and television.
What is this about- the holding of the "Guinness Book Worlds Record
for the Fastest Talking Female?"
Well the stand-up comedy gig lead to my fast-talking by
accident. My philosophy is just always say yes and figure it out
after how I am going to do something.
My stand up landed me a job doing weather and traffic at a radio
station WBLS-FM in New York. I was doing it as this comedy character
June East (Mae West's long-lost sister). One day, Dinah Prince, a
reporter from the Daily News called and said she wanted to do an
article on me. When she had finished interviewing me for the article,
she asked-What are you planning to do next?
Next? Well at the time there was nothing I was planning on doing
next, so I asked her what she meant, stalling for time. She
said she really wanted to follow my career. Here was a woman
from The Daily News telling me she was interested in me! So I
thought I'd better tell her something.
What came out was, "I'm thinking about breaking the Guinness
Book of World Records for the Fastest Talking Female." The newspaper article came out the next day, and she included my parting remarks about trying to break the world's
Fastest-Talking Female record. At about 5:00 P.M. that afternoon, I received a call from CNN asking me to go on the Larry King Live Show. They wanted me to try to break the
record. They told me they would send a limo to pick me up at 8:00. That was only three hours. Talk about pressure!
I had never heard of Larry King Live, and when I heard the woman say
she was from a Manhattan Channel, I thought, "Hmmm that's a porn
channel, right?" She patiently assured me that it was a respectable
national television show and that this was a one-time offer and
opportunity - it was either that night or not at all.
I managed to find a replacement for a gig I had in New Jersey. I next sat down to figure out what on earth I was going to do on the show. I called Guinness to find out what the rules were to break a fast-talking record. They told me I would have to recite something from either Shakespeare or the Bible. Suddenly, I started saying the ninety-first Psalm, a prayer for protection that my mom had taught me. Shakespeare and I had never really
gotten along, so I figured the Bible was my only hope. I practiced over and over again, timing myself with a stop- watch to see how fast I could do it. I was both nervous and excited at the same time.
At 8:00, the limousine picked me up. I practiced the entire way there, and by the time I reached the New York studio I felt as if my tongue was going to fall off. I asked the producer, "What happens if I don't break the record?' She replied, "Larry doesn't care if you break it or not. He just cares that you try it on his show first." So I asked myself, What's the worst thing that can happen? I'd look like a fool on national television! A
minor thing, I could live through that. Then I asked myself , And what happens if I break the record?" Now that would be great.
I decided just to give it my best shot, and I did. I broke the record, becoming the World's Fastest Talking Female by speaking 585 words in one minute in front of a national television audience. (I broke it again two years later at the Guinness Museum in Vegas with 603 words per minute.) My career took off.
Why did you want to have a book signing on Mount Kilimanjaro, and
could you describe to us a little about your experience, particularly
your voyage up to its summit, and how did you plan for it? Were you
Again, it goes back to my basic philosophy's?of seize the day?and just
going after things with a passion. I was actually researching a
chapter in my book Adrenaline Adventures: Dream it, Read it, Do it. I
read that an 83- year old women climbed Kilimanjaro. So I figured if
she could do it, so could I.
I enlisted my son, Spencer into the effort, contacted a top outfit,
CorbetBishopsafaris.com in Africa (the same guy that lead the IMAX
movie team up the mountain.)
Then I figured if I was going to train, climb and do this feat, I
might as well make it memorable at the top. So I decided to do a book
signing up there, I managed to get two sponsors, my publisher
Authorhouse and Snickers Marathon Energy Bars.
It took us 7 days to summit, going through 5 climate zones. The night
of summit we were woken up at 11 PM, it was unseasonably cold. Minus
15 degrees and 45 mph winds, our camelbacks froze, and you felt like
sleeping while standing up.
It took us 18 hours to get up over and down to camp. It was the
hardest thing I've ever done (and this is coming from someone who has
run the marathon, flown combat aircraft, rode a bike non stop for 100
miles, driven race car, dove with sharks etc?(all of which are talked
about in Adrenaline Adventures of course.)
But after Spencer and I climbed it was such a feeling of accomplishment. Plus I had wanted to do it now, since global warming will melt the ice caps by 2015 if not sooner.
The picture of me doing the book signing circulated around the world,
and it led to Brian Day O'Conner (Supreme Court justice Sandra Day
O'Conner's son) contacting me.
I am now raising sponsorship money to go down in a two-person
submersible to the Titanic with Mr. O'Conner. My publisher,
Authorhouse, Ripley's Believe it or Not (Planet Eccentric) and
GoldenPalace.com the #1 online casino, so far have jumped on board as
sponsors. (You can read all about it on my website under sponsorship.)
While down there I am going to be doing a memorial service for the
titanic passengers, saying a non-denominational maritime prayer direct
from a Navy Chaplain. Did I mention I am also an ordained minister?
Yup, became one so I could do this the right way.
Which one of your occupations do you find the most enjoyable and why?
Wow, that's a hard one, because I really enjoy all that I do. I love
making people laugh, so stand up feels great. I hopefully make people
forget their problems at least for that night.
I love inspiring people, so I get a real kick out of doing my keynote
motivational talk for people called, "Dare to Do it!" Especially when
they come up to me and hug me, or when I get an email that they went
out and did something they've always wanted to do because they, "Dared
to do it."
I love doing my adventures, because it challenges me personally and
makes life exciting.
I love writing, so nine books later it feels awesome to see my books
in store windows, on websites, and especially when I catch someone
reading it on the bus or subway.
I just love communicating with people. As long as I am making them
laugh or inspiring them, I'm happy.
Please tell us something about your most recent book Hopeville: the
City of Light.
The Hopeville book, came to me in a strange way, just like the comedy
did. It's a story about four people that on the same night pray for
light in the world, because they are discouraged. An angel of light
appears to each of them and tells them a secret of how to change their
town. Each of them does it in his/her own way?and finally after the
people see the light, the town is forever changed. It's a book of
hope, light and following your dreams. But like I said the book came
to me in a very strange way.
Could you tell our audience about some of your other travel
adventures? Which one up to now has been the most exciting, and why?
Well, I've done 50 different adventures, ranging from mild to wild; I
mentioned some before but others like flying a helicopter, doing the
luge, the polar bear plunge, rock repelling, biking down a volcano,
going in a deprivation tank etc.
They all give you an adrenaline rush in a different way. Mind you, I'm usually scared when I do all of them?its just that I have a philosophy of "FEAR NOTHING, but if you
do, do it anyway." See all of us have fear, the key is some of us let it paralyse us, while others use it as the spark for the engine. As far as hardest it was definitely climbing Kilimanjaro. As far as a rush; my four favorites Skydiving, driving racecars, cavern diving and snorkeling with manatees. Okay who am I kidding, I really love them
all, except maybe the glass blowing?I wasn't too thrilled with that.
But my fianc?e loved it?so everybody's different.
The cool thing about the book though is it has adventures that you
can't find in other travel books. Plus it has 50 motivational quotes,
50 funny adventure stories, and 50 "Adventure at a glance" pages that
tell you all the details so you can do the adventure if you are so
Could you tell us how you go about marketing your books?
Fran: I do many things. First, realize that writing the book is
usually the easiest part. Getting people to know about it is the real
challenge. And the key is YOU as the writer needs to do most of the
? Okay, so I send out galley copies to newspapers before the book
? I send press releases to radio stations, mag. Etc.
Using my hook as a fast talker to catch their attention.
? I set up some kind of publicity event so that my book stands out.
? I have a bookstore on my website.
? I carry a box of books in my car at all times. I once sold a book on top of the Sydney Bridge in Australia, thus getting the phrase from my fianc?e, "No one's safe."
? I set up book signings. ? I contact local media.
? I mention the books at all my speaking engagements and comedy gigs.
? I do interviews like this to let people know about my books ? I link with other sites
that have readers that may be interested in my books.
? I offer my books to charity's for fundraising events.
Has the Internet boosted your career and if so, how?
Absolutely. I'd say 90% of my speaking engagements come to me from my
website. Usually people will be searching comedian, fast talker, or motivational speaker and my name pops up.
Also, I notice when I do radio shows and mention the website I get a lot of
requests that way as well. I think it is essential for every business
person these days to have a easily navigatable website.
How do you want the world to remember Fran Capo? (I know you are not
leaving us just now!)
She lived life the way she wanted to?with love, with laughter, with
passion and never took no for an answer. She used up all God gave her,
and tried to inspire people to do the same.
Is there anything else you care to add that we have not covered?
Yes, remember-Live everyday as if it's your last, and one day you'll
And of course what kind of marketing author would I be if I did not
mention the following: I have a newsletter that keeps people updated
on the Capo happenings, simply called, CAPO UPDATES. Anyone interested
can go to my website and ask to be on the list.
And of course if you would like to be part of the world record event
at the titanic?the sponsorship information is available at my website.
Thanks so much Norm, I hope your readers enjoy the interview.
Norm Goldman is the Editor of bookpleasures.com & sketchandtravel.com. The former is a book reviewing site comprising over 25 international prestigious reviewers. The latter is a travel site where Norm and his artist wife, Lily, meld words with art.
Norm is always open to receiving book review requests, as well as invitation to romantic resorts, B&Bs, hotels, etc in Florida and the New England States.