Author Interview: Francis Powell

1. Tell us a little about your book.
Flight of Destiny is a book of 22 quirky short stories. They are dark surreal tales, with a dramatic twist at the end of the story. They are also satirical, with elements of social satire and wit and wisdom. They are British in character. They have been compared to the work of Edgar Allan Poe, a little Ray Bradbury, a little Stephen King.
2. Did this book go exactly how you envisioned, or did it take on a mind of its own at some point?
It developed a lot over a period of time, especially due to the editing process, there were a few twists and turns along the way.
3. What about your characters? Did they ever surprise you by going in a different direction than you intended them to?
Maybe sometimes. I write about freaks, outsiders, oddballs as well as despicable characters…Sometimes they do unexpected things at the end of the story…
4. How do you decide on character names, attitudes, and appearance?
The character names are very important for my stories. Often the name of the character is also the name of the story. Sometimes I am inspired by a name to write a story. For example for some reason the name “Little Mite” popped into my head, so I tried to imagine what kind of person she might be…I came up with the idea of a younger sister, a bitch from Hell, who ruins her older sister’s dream wedding, by playing a malicious prank, which involves gluing the groom’s younger brother to a coffee table. Unfortunately for Little Mite, another of her pranks, brings about her own undoing.
5. Where do you find inspiration for writing?
Many sources. Reading newspapers, you sometimes come across obscure articles. I think I read an article about somebody who pretended to be an aristocrat, and this gave me the idea for “Duke” about a man sentenced to death for some unspecified crime, who demands to be treated like a Duke. Also some films I find very inspiring.
6. What made you decide to start writing?
I moved to a remote village in Austria. It was not far from Vienna, but a very oppressive and strange environment. I thought I should try writing a book. I launched into it…nothing came of it. I do many creative activities, painting as well as writing music. Writing lay dormant, put to one side. Then later, living in Paris at this point in time, via an advert, I made contact with a man called Alan Clark, who had a literary magazine called “Rat Mort” (dead rat). I submitted four short stories for this magazine, encouraged by Alan, I began to write more and more short stories, and developed a style…I guess if I compare these stories to earlier efforts at writing…there has been a huge development…I am sure my early attempts were imaginative but raw.

7. What's the longest amount of time you've dealt with writer's block?
I can’t really recall, having such a problem…sometimes it might take me time to work out an ending to a story…things revolve around in my head…
8. I reward myself for writing with chocolate, pie, or Facebook. Do you give yourself any incentive for writing?
Not really, but the chocolate pie, sounds a dangerous strategy.
9. Is there a specific place you prefer to write?
I have not much choice…in my living room…but I do scribble things in a black book, on the metro, from time to time…
10. Do you write in the same genre that you read? Why/why not?
Not really, I can enjoy a biography about an interesting person’s life, for example…
11. Do you have any hobbies or activities that you enjoy?
I went to Art School after leaving school. I still paint as well as making sculptures. I have had some one man shows as well as taking part in group shows, in Paris. I work as a teacher and work in different universities and some Architecture schools around Paris. I write music (electronic) with my computer and I also make videos, which I post on youtube. Recently a friend who has adopted a character called Lord Lupine, agreed to do a reading of one of my short stories “Bugeyes” with his Lord Lupine persona…Lord Lupine seems to like sherry and seems a debauched Lord. The video is very Monty Pythonesque. The link is.

12. Tell us a little about your family and daily life.
I am married and have a young son who is just over two and a half, he talks nonstop and is bilingual, (French and English); He goes to crèche, he loves being read to, and has a bit of an obsession with Firefighters…My life is very busy, trying to combine teaching and promoting my book…amongst other things…
13. Are you working on anything specific right now?
14. Do you have any hidden talents?
I used to play saxophone…I can be quite a good cook…I make a nice vegetable curry…
15. Most importantly, what's your favorite dessert?
This is the hardest of all the questions to answer…I love desserts…don’t ask me to choose one…
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