Photos by John Schell
Sean Patrick Flanery wears a lot of hats. The star of “The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles,” “The Boondock Saints,” Powder,” “The Young and The Restless,” “Saw 3D: The Final Chapter” and more than 100 films and television shows is also an accomplished director, writer and a black belt Jiu-Jitsu athlete and instructor. Now, he adds published author to that prestigious list of accomplishments. Flanery’s new book, “Jane Two” was just released April 5 and the story based in 1970s Texas is written in a romantic style that chronicles the coming-of-age story about Mickey and the beautiful girl he longs for who has just moved in behind his rear fence. Mickey must try to navigate his way through a flood of feelings he’s never encountered before. Along the way, he is gifted with life lessons given to him by his Granddaddy. The warm and rich manner in which “Jane Two” is written makes the characters spring forth from the book in vibrant fashion.
Becoming Jane Two
Flanery took the time to talk with Scottsdale.com about his foray into authorhood and the buzz surrounding the release of “Jane Two “. Flanery explains, “It’s pretty crazy. It’s all brand new to me. I’m learning a lot and having a great time.”
What was it about the ideas behind “Jane Two” that Flanery saw as potential for telling its story? “It’s a collection of things that happened to me when I was a kid that to me, I thought they were important.” He quickly notes that many authors or entertainers might feel the need to share special experiences out of a variety of motivating factors. “I really didn’t set out to have this published in the traditional sense. I wrote one of the story lines as a short story for ‘Jane’ Magazine. A number of companies came out of the woodwork to try and procure the rights. I was very flattered, but I said, ‘I’ll turn it into a script and approach you guys in the order in which you approached me.’ I turned it into a script and initially set it up with the first company. Then they didn’t make it on their first contracted period, so I got the rights back and sat on it.” After several years, Flanery decided that he would write the material as a book. His intent was to self-publish and sell the book on his own website.
In an effort to get feedback, Flanery sent the manuscript to friends. “One of my colleagues that read it said, ‘Hey, this is too good. You can’t self-publish it.’ I was very flattered, obviously. I said, ‘Thank-you, but you’re a friend of mine.’ He said, ‘Hey, look. I have a friend who is a literary agent in New York, do you mind if I send it to her?’” Flanery gave the green light and his manuscript was bound for the literary lion’s den in New York.
“It ended up being Erica Silverman of Trident Media Group and Trident is one of the top five literary agencies in New York and she loved it,” Flanery explains. “She called and said, ‘I’d love to represent this and I think you can get this published. I said, ‘What the hell? Let’s try.’” Flanery points out that he did get a lot of rejection letters before “Jane Two” found a home with Center Street, an imprint of Hatchette Book Group. “I didn’t sit down hacking away on my laptop thinking one day it was going to be at a company like Hatchette. That wasn’t the intention.” What began with the intention of a self-published book has now become much more.
An Ode to Love and Relationships
“Jane Two” has a colorful and insightful character in Mickey’s Grandaddy. “My dad is very similar to my granddaddy and I think I’m very similar to my dad,” explains Flanery. “I didn’t want two characters exactly the same so Grandaddy is kind of a combination of my dad and my granddad. It just worked better if I put them in one character and made who really my dad is take a smaller role in the back seat. They were both almost identical in my upbringing. My dad was a huge part of me becoming the man that I am today. I’m not saying that’s good or bad, but my dad is a roadmap of how I arrived here, whether you like it or hate it. It’s important and it’s part of the story.”
“I didn’t grow up with any money. I didn’t have any money, but I was filthy rich as far as family is concerned,” Flanery recalls. “My mom and dad were at every sporting event I ever had. We ate as a family and did all the things that are kind of rare today.” In Flanery’s personal life, he is married and has two children. Together with his wife Lauren, they embrace their time with their kids and are cognizant of instilling family values. Flanery feels that with his own upbringing, he has been given that good roadmap via his father and grandfather and now can use that with his own kids.
Some of the scenes in “Jane Two” are verbatim recollections of things from Flanery’s own experiences growing up in Texas. “Somebody quoted a writer who is far better than I,” he says. “I have a quote that I really like. It goes, ‘There’s a little bit of autobiography in everybody’s fiction.’ I think maybe more so in mine than others. I write from what I think is a place of my truth. I think all writers do. There’s a lot of ‘real’ in there.”
“Maybe some writers sit down with a purpose and they start writing with, ‘I want this to be the message,’” adds Flanery. “But I think the story is the message. If you tell a truth, you just tell it. To me the message is that windows of opportunity are portals, not bay windows. When opportunity presents itself, you can’t count on it doing more than one lap. You may never see it again. If you want something to happen, no one can do that other than yourself. Regret will hold you responsible for everything cool that you never did in your life.”
Overwhelming feelings of love and want permeate “Jane Two.” All the insight and logic from his Grandaddy cannot properly prepare Mickey for the rollercoaster of emotion that the beautiful little girl causes and it ultimately changes him. The longing and pure feelings emanating from Mickey will surely give readers a reason to think back at their first love, or first crush, and their first heartbreak.
Some may know that Flanery is an accomplished Jiu Jitsu athlete and instructor and owns his own studio in Los Angeles. Flanery is a fixture at Hollywood Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and his prowess in the martial arts is something to behold. Several years ago I got the chance to shoot a promo video at Hollywood Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and watched Flanery grapple with an opponent on the mat. After I picked my jaw up off the floor, I had gained a whole new respect for the power and discipline of Jiu Jitsu, and of Flanery’s mastery of it. In fact, now when I think of Flanery, I think of him equally as an athlete and actor. The sport is being passed on to his kids, too. ”My son is in Jiu Jitsu now,” Flanery explains. “When I see the things he can do at 4 ½ years old – single legs, run the pipe, mount, chokes, arm locks – He also knows that it’s tempered with compassion. But he also knows to have compassion all the time. But be ready to not have compassion at the drop of a hat, should the need arise, but he’s only 4 ½. He’s respectful and he doesn’t get into fights at all. Right now, he doesn’t’ know that Jiu Jitsu can be used to impose his will. All he knows is, ‘That’s the game me and daddy play.’” He’s being taught a solid method of self-defense and how to avoid conflict with a solid measure of self-confidence.
The Grand Prix Association of Long Beach and Toyota recently announced that Flanery and actors Brian Austin Green, Frankie Muniz, and last year’s overall winner, Alfonso Ribeiro will be among the 21 participants from film, television and sports, who will return to compete in the 40th Anniversary of the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race during the 42nd Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach during the weekend of April 15.
This year’s event is 40th and final edition of the longest-running corporate-sponsored charity race in the U.S. The1.97-mile street course zooming through downtown Long Beach, CA and Flanery is anxious to get back behind the wheel. “They give you the keys to a race car and then turn you loose. It’s insane,” muses Flanery. “It’s one of the best events of my life. When I look back at the two times I did it prior… oh man! It’s a dream come true and it’s something that every kid fantasized about growing up.” Over the years and in an association with Racing for Kids, the race has raised more than $2 million for charity. “On April 14 we go on a hospital visit and we’re wearing race suits and they look at us like heroes,” says Flanery. “It’s a killer experience. The Toyota Pro Celebrity race has been good to me and I’ve been very grateful to be able to give back. It makes you feel good. It really makes you feel good.”
I asked Flanery when he and Norman Reedus (“The Walking Dead”) will be back to raise some hell in Boondock Saints III, since it is not a well-kept secret that there is a script out there for the film franchise that has a cult following. “We were just talking about that two days ago,” laughs Flanery. “Yeah everbody wants to make it, it’s just an issue of us getting our schedules aligned correctly. I wouldn’t bet against seeing that!” I made Flanery assure me there Reedus wouldn’t be dragging any zombies into the third Boondocks installment and he did give me the spoiler that indeed, no zombies will be appearing in Boondock Saints III. There’s a little nugget for the all the diehard Boondock Saints fans out there!
A handful of filmsin various stages of production are also in the pipeline for Flanery. “We just had ‘Johnny Frank Garrett’s Last Word’ premier at South by Southwest,” he says. “It’s a Simon Rumley film – a killer director. I think he did an amazing job with this film. So that will be coming out soon, probably closer to fall or at the end of the summer.” Flanery was thrilled that “Johnny Frank Garrett’s Last Word” premiered in Austin, Texas at South by Southwest since he grew up in the Lone Star State.
Flanery continues, “I have another film called ‘Unhinged’ that I did with Eric Balfour, “It’s a crazy dirty script and I think that’s going to be a neat film, too. It’s from Smokehouse Productions.” He will next be traveling up to Northern California to shoot what he calls “a weird, David Lynch-ian type Western” where he plays a one-armed cowboy. That film is called “Lasso.” “Todd Myers produced this and got the script off the ground. I think he did a great job putting this together.”
A list of Flanery’s upcoming book signings and appearances:
April 12:Los Angeles at 7 p.m. Barnes & Noble (The Grove)
April 15:Pasadena, CA at 7 p.m. Vroman’s
April 21:Houston at 1:30 p.m. Texas Library Assoc.
April 21:Houston at 7 p.m. Blue Willow
April 22:Austin at 7 p.m. Book People
April 23:Dallas at Dallas Comic Show (https://t.co/0WGyl6dXTV) TBD
April 23:Dallas at 3 p.m. Barnes & Noble (Lincoln Park)
October 14/15:Southern Festival of Books
“Jane Two” was published April 5, 2016 and is now available at Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com and at the dedicated website, www.JaneTwo.com. Visit the book’s website for a complete list of book tour dates, book quotes and original photography.