This evening in the Library we have Francis H Powell, who has dropped in to say hello and to share some insights into his life as an author.
You are very welcome, Francis, please introduce yourself:
Born in a commuter belt city called Reading, (England) 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 up to twelve weeks at a time, until I was 17. While at my first Art college, I met a writer called Rupert Thomson, who was in the process of writing his first book, Dreams of Leaving. His personality and wit resonated, although I have long lost contact with him. Later I lived in Austria, and in 1999 I moved to Paris. During my time in Paris I met Alan Clark, who had a literary magazine called Rat Mort (dead rat). I began contributing and got hooked on writing short stories. My book, Flight of Destiny, is a result of this obsession. I also write poetry.
Did you read much as a child? Are you an avid reader now? Do you prefer books in your own genre or are you happy to explore others?
I would like to read more than I do. I read quite a bit as child, I used to like historical books. I like all kinds of books, including non-fiction. If a book really grabs me then I will read it intently.
Are you self-published or traditionally published?
I am traditionally published.
Which genre do you write in and why?
First and foremost I write short stories. They have been described as being Dystopian. They are dark, but there is an element of wit in them. I fell into this style, almost by accident. I really like the format of short stories.
Who has been the biggest influence on your writing?
I read a book as a child by Roald Dahl called, Kiss Kiss; this book has remained with me over time. I liked this book because each story has a dramatic twist at the end.
Has your country of origin/culture influenced your writing?
Yes for sure. I would say my stories are very British in character. There is a lot of social criticism and making fun of the British establishment.
What part of the writing process do you find most difficult? How do you overcome it?
Piecing together stories. I think a lot about my stories, working out which direction they are going, how they are going to end.
Do you have a favourite time of day to write?
Not really. I guess I generally write in the evening, but if an idea pops into my head, I could be on a bus or a train, in which case I reach for my trusty black book and scribble down my ideas.
What is the best thing about being an author? And the flipside – what is the worst?
I just love writing stories, inventing characters, plots in my head. I love using a rich vocabulary. The flipside, selling books, and making a name for oneself.
Is social media an essential chore or something you enjoy? Which forum do you prefer?
I have been using the social media for quite a while. Doing a lot of co-promotion, re-tweeting other people’s tweets. You can’t really tell what impact you are making. It becomes a daily chore …
If you weren’t an author, what would you be up to?
Any other creative activity. I went to art school … I still paint … I have an exhibition on the go at the moment. I also write music. To earn my bread and butter, I teach.
It’s the last day and the earth is facing oblivion – what book would you read?
How to survive an oblivion, perhaps. I think in that situation I am not sure I would be able to focus enough to read a book.
Please tell us about your latest published work.
My latest published work is called Flight of Destiny. It 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 in 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. I have had a few interesting comments from reviewers. “They’re a little Ray Bradbury, a little Stephen King, but with Powell’s own unique twists.” I hope to start work on the follow up, next year. Flight of Destiny is available on Amazon
If you would like to know more about Francis and his work, click on the links below: