Friday, September 25, 2015

Interview with noir author Francis H. Powell

The spotlight shines on the noir short story collection called Flight of Destiny by Francis H. Powell today.

What better way to put all my angst into short stories. Born in a commuter belt city called Reading and like many a middle or upper class child of such times I was shunted off to an all-male boarding school aged eight, away from my parents for periods of up to twelve weeks at a time, until I was 17. While at my first Art college through a friend I met a writer called Rupert Thomson, who was at the time in the process of writing his first book “Dreams of leaving”. He was a bit older than myself, me being fresh out of school, but his personality and wit resonated, despite losing contact with him.  I had a stint living in Austria,  where I began writing.  It wasn’t until I moved to Paris, that my writing began to truly evolve.  I discovered a  magazine called  Rat Mort (dead rat) I sent off a short story, in the hope it would match the seemingly dark world the magazine seemed to embroiled in. I got no answer. Not put off I sent two more stories. Finally I got an answer. It seemed the magazine editor was a busy man, a man prone to travelling. It seemed my first story really hit the right note with him. His name was Alan Clark.  I began writing more and more short stories, some published on the internet. A bit later my anthology Flight of Destiny slowly evolved,  published April 2015, by Savant publishing.

Please tell us about your current release.
My book, Flight of Destiny, is a book of 22 quirky short stories. I would say in the current climate It is an unusual book, that bucks the trend. The stories are very dark, but are mixed with an element of satire. My stories are influenced by Roald Dahl’s short stories, I read Kiss Kiss when I was a boy and the format of Dahl’s stories, with a twist at the end, stayed with me over the years. I am also an artist and there are 22 illustrations that go with the stories.

What inspired you to write this book?
I saw an advert for short stories, submitted some work, when the literary magazine Rat Mort finally published my stories, I got hooked on writing short stories and developed a style.

Excerpt from “Snatched”, a story about a man who goes out for a walk with his newborn baby and returns with an empty pram. It is a story about a parent’s worst nightmare, that get worse…

Renton Graverson arrived home with a pram which should have had a baby in it. Instead it contained a gaping void, which he should have noticed long before his hysterical wife pointed it out.

“Where’s Baby?” Nancy, his wife, shrieked.

Renton couldn't answer her. He hadn't the faintest idea. He had presumed the baby was in the pram, fast asleep, though upon further inspection, it clearly wasn't. He raced out the house and retraced his steps, repeating in his head the same words over and over like a dark mantra: Baby's been snatched. Baby's been snatched. Baby's been snatched.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I am mostly working on promotion, but hopefully there will be a follow up to Flight of Destiny

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
It is quite hard to say…I am a jack of all trades…I write music…make videos…I paint…make sculptures….I write poetry…I blog…

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
As I explained with the above…I do many things…as well as being a teacher…My day begins early…with my toddler son waking me up…I try to fit in a lot into the day…When I am not teaching my focus is on promoting my book…writing articles for blogs…After my son is asleep I am able to focus on my writing…

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
My stories have been described as quirky…I would say one feature of my stories is that they start with a powerful first line…

Opening excerpt from “Bugeyes”
Bug-eyes was destined to a life of toil. As his mother, Lady Harriet Lombard, remarked gruffly when holding her swaddled firstborn, "He has disproportionate eyes," adding tersely, "the child's abnormal."

Opening excerpt from Seed
Captain Spender's wife was ovulating, and her husband was, as always, off somewhere on another "top secret military mission," to which, as ever, she was neither privy to his location or the mission's significance.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Some awful things I am glad never came to fruition…I wanted to be in the army at one point…(now I am a pacifist…)

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I have a friend who seems to have adopted a “personage”…He goes under the name Lord Lupine…He very kindly agreed to do a reading from one of my short stories…Lord Lupine seems to like his sherry…and seems rather debauched…The video is very Monty Pythonesque… My stories are very British in character…So this works very well…
Here is the link…


Thanks, Francis!

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