Q&A with Francis Powell


1. Welcome to Bookidote 🙂 For our readers to know you a little bit better, please tell us about your background and life’s journey.

I was born in a “dormitory town” called Reading, not famous for much, apart from a huge Rock festival, and for the fact that Oscar Wilde was sent to prison there and wrote “The Ballad of Reading Gaol”. My family then moved to a farm in the country, in Sussex, not too far from London. I was sent aged eight, to a boarding school, so I would spend long periods away from my family.  Imagine having regular prison sentences, imposed upon you, as a child. At some of the schools I attended, there were psychotic teachers and cruel nasty children.  I used to count the days when I could be reunited with my family.  I became a recluse in the art room and painting was my salvation. I had a teacher who encouraged me to paint and introduced me to various artists, including Kandinsky. I went from austere harsh boarding schools to Art College, a very different environment. 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…When I am not writing, I am making music or some kind of other creative endeavor.  I make videos that go with my music and have a Flight of Destiny youtube channel.

2. What made you decide to sit down and actually start something, writing a novel? 

 I have always had it in the back of my mind, to try and have a book published, as I explained in my previous answer, it took some time to come to fruition.
3.  What is your book about and why the readers should grab it? 

My book is called Flight of Destiny, it is 22 short stories.  They are dark and surreal stories, often with a dramatic twist at the end of the story. They are full of quirky characters…oddballs, freaks, outsiders, as well as despicable characters, odious tyrants. They  were described by one reviewer as being a little Ray Bradbury, a little Stephen King, but with Powell’s own unique twists.  I think in this day and age they are unusual, they buck the trend.  Why should readers buy my book…I think the characters I come up with. My range of language. My descriptiveness.  The fact that each sentence is really considered.

 4.   What were your inspirations for your novel? 
To some extent my stories are indirectly autobiographical, my life has not been a smooth journey, as you might ascertain from my first answer…with many setbacks along the way. I don’t think I consciously draw a line between real events and the fiction I write. I doubtlessly draw from my experiences, good or bad. I think writing can be quite cathartic…a good way to externalize any dark inner thoughts.
4.    What is the hardest part in publishing your novel? 
Getting a book noticed. Doing all manner of promotion.
6.   What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?  
To write entertaining stories, that start in a powerful manner…that really engage the reader from the start and keep them hooked right up to the last sentence.  I also like to play around with people’s typical preconceptions. For example in my story “Opium” I have gangster called Gecko, who is wise and witty and humane…who comes up against a preacher, called Preacher Moon, who by contrast, is pious but inhumane and lacking Gecko’s qualities.
7.What do you think is the future of reading/writing?
Hopefully it will remain an integral part of people’s lives. Reading with electronic devices is a new development and maybe there will other developments.  
 8.What do you like to read in your free time?
I love the work of Rupert Thomson, who wrote “Dreams of leaving” as well as other books. I met him when I was a new student at Art College and he and his writing has made a long lasting impression on me.
 9. What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors?
Keep at it, don’t fall by the wayside. Keep developing your craft. Start a blog.
10. Are you a plotter or a pantster?
I would say a mixture of both…
 Keep in contact with Francis Powell! 

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