20 October, 2015

#Interview with Francis H Powell, #Author of Flight of Destiny

An Interview with the Author:

When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer/ a storyteller?
It is not possible to isolate a particular moment, however when I was at my first Art School,  I met through a friend a writer called Rupert Thompson, who was at the time writing his first book “Dreams of Leaving”.  I have followed his career and really like his style of writing.  When I was living in a remote village in Austria, it gave me the perfect opportunity to start writing stories…Maybe at the time my writing was very raw…When I moved to Paris some years later, I saw an advert for short stories…I began to write short stories and began to develop a distinctive style. 

What inspires you to write?
Many things…ideas can pop into my head at odd moments…I can be on the Paris Metro… I can be overhearing somebody’s conversation…A character name can suddenly come to me…For example once travelling the name Little Mite” suddenly came to me…Then I tried to figure out what kind of character a person named Little Mite, might be…This evolved into a story about the Sister bitch from Hell, who ruins her older sister’s ideal wedding plans…I write about freaks…oddballs…outsiders…tyrants…
In a way I am outing my own “demon” some of my own irrational fears…

How did you come up with the idea for your current story?
As I said I began writing short stories and really got involved with this, it seemed logical to put together an anthology…so Flight of Destiny is a book of quirky short stories…

Are there some stories tucked away in some drawer that was written before and never saw the light of the day?
My computer has a lot of short stories stored away…Some might be revamped…some will hopefully be used in a follow up to Flight of Destiny…

Tell us about your writing process.
Ideas can pop into my head. I don’t have a set formula how I write my stories.  Once I have a concept or theme, I build and build on it. The first line in my stories is crucial, For example, 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." As she handed the squalling reject back to the doctor, she
decreed, "Drop it down the well for all I care."
 This really sets the tone for the rest of the story. I have to build up characters quite quickly, as I write stories. Each sentence has to be pertinent and engaging and push the story along, towards the ending.  The endings of the stories also have to be strong and I always aim to include a twist, at the end.  I try to use as much rich vocabulary as I can.  I like to use very descriptive writing as possible, setting the scene where the action takes place, describing my character’s facial features, mannerisms etc.  I really live with my short stories, while I am writing them…always thinking about the direction they are going.  Character names are very important to me…for example “Duke” in my story Duke.  I annoyed my editor no end, because my character names are like nick names…we never know their real names…but for me this gives my characters an air of mystery.  I sometimes scribble ideas on pieces of paper or in my black book. 

What is your favorite scene in the book? Why?
One rather complicated scene was to describe an entity coming out of another’s stomach.  This occurs in my first story, “Arrival”. A man becomes obsessed about a name, and a man he can’t place.  It gets to the point where by he imagines this man/entity exiting his stomach, like in the film Alien. 

Bent over, grasping his excruciatingly painful belly, he staggered to the bedroom and threw himself on the bed. He felt an inexplicable pressure building inside him, as if an entity which had somehow embedded itself in his stomach was slowly but methodically clawing its way outside. 
Writhing on the bed, screaming in agony, the buttons of his shirt popping off as his stomach continued distending, his last cohesive thought was that the force inside him was seemingly poised to make a decisive thrust to exit his belly. Something jostled inside him and he watched with horror, the seam of his belly split open like a sliced ripe watermelon. Blood, the deep red of mature geraniums, abruptly began pouring out, soaking the bedsheets and dripping onto the floor.
As he watched in stunned astonishment, a pair of wrinkled, babysized hands appeared from within the opening, followed by a grapefruit-sized, shiny bald head. The two hands grasped tightly onto
either side of the ragged incision and began pushing and stretching the cleft open until the head popped out. The head however was fully developed, like a man who'd almost reached his twilight years, replete with age-lines, wrinkles, and sagging features, the eyes turned and stared at him blankly, without recognition, as if the man had awakened from a long deep sleep.

Did any of your characters inherit some of your own quirks?
Maybe some of the freaks and odd balls. 

What is your most interesting writing quirk?
As I have said before, things like not giving my characters proper names.  Uncompromising starts to my stories…

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
(From Seed)

Mercedes Schwartz had just had the most incredible orgasm, but her pleasure was still incomplete. While the man on top of her was still pumping away, she stretched an arm over to her bedside table and grasped the small sharp-pointed hat-pin she kept there. Rather than let him reach fulfillment, she plunged the pin into his back and killed him.
(From Black Widow)

Do you read? Who are your favourite authors and how have they influenced your writing style?
I was lucky enough to meet Rupert Thompson, when I was at my first Art School, he was writing his first book “Dreams of Leaving” I have read most of his books. The writer Roald Dahl, is also a big influence. I read Kiss Kiss as a child and this book has deeply influenced the style of Flight of Destiny…especially with a twist at the end of the stories.

What is the best piece of advice you would give to someone that wants to get into writing?
Stick at it, don’t fall by the wayside. Get your name about, blog, submit to websites. 

What would be the Dream Cast for you book if it was to be turned into a movie?
A cast of oddballs outsiders…Jack Nicholson, he’s just a huge actor…Johnny Depp, Christina Ricci, Christopher Walken…

If you were to be stranded on the famous deserted island, what three things would you carry?
A computer with WIFI
A never ending supply of canvasses, paints, paint brushes, etc.
A piano, saxophone and fully equipped  recording studio…
Maybe I am asking too much…

How do you spend your free time? Do you have a favorite place to go and unwind?
I don’t have much free time, I like to go to see films and grab a meal. There is an obsession with food, in France where I live…and some brilliant restaurants in Paris…Thai, Sri Lanken…etc…

Can you share with us something off your bucket list?
I would like to go to India, or perhaps Bali, I have heard a lot of good things about it…

Tell us three fun facts about yourself.
I was in a Pigbag video, dressed as a gorilla, stealing a trumpet, then playing it…
I was an extra in a film with Kate Winslet, pre Titanic. It was called “Jude” it is a very depressing film, I appear for about two seconds…I was at the shoot for two days.
I have been on Austrian TV, dressed as a Scotsman, in a kilt…I was supposed to be a Highland games player…at the time I was tall and lanky and was the wrong person for the job. 

What do you have in store next for your readers?
Hopefully a follow up to Flight of Destiny…

Is there anything else you’d like to share with your readers?
I have a friend who kindly agreed to read from my book Flight of Destiny. 
He has a personage called Lord Lupine. Lord Lupine seems to like his sherry and comes across as a lecherous old man. The video is very funny. Here is the Link

Flight of destiny Is a collection of short stories about misfortune. They are characterized by unexpected final twists, that come at the end of each tale. They are dark and surreal tales, set around the world, at different time periods. They show a world in which anything can happen. It is hard to determine reality and what is going on a disturbed mind. People's conceptions about morality are turned upside down. A good person can be transformed by an unexpected event into a bad person and then back again to their former state. The high and mighty often deliver flawed arguments, those considered wicked make good representations of themselves. Revenge is often a subject explored.

Goodreads I Amazon

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