Flight of Destiny
Francis H. Powell
Paperback: 360 pages
Publisher: Savant Books & Publications LLC; 1 edition (7 April 2015)
A collection of 22 short stories about misfortune characterized by unexpected twists at the end of each tale.
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.
Hi Francis and welcome to my blog
Firstly can you tell us a little about yourself?
I am from the UK.
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.
What inspired you to start writing novels for your chosen genre?
I really enjoy the format of short stories…I really like writing about dark subjects…
Are there any other genres you’ve written?
I have written a few children’s stories…but they tend to be a bit dark…Spiky Roald Dahl like.
Have you published any other novels, if so can you share the details?
Mostly stuff in magazines…short stories.
What inspires you to write?
When a strong idea gets in my head and I want to develop it. The story then swirls around in my head…I can be anywhere...I really live with my stories for a while…moving them on…working out which direction they are going. Sometimes a whole story can be inspired by the name of a character “Bug-eyes” . The first sentence is crucial to me, for example my story Bugeyes begins with… Bug-eyes was due a life of toil. Seed begins with Captain Spender’s wife was ovulating. Cast from Hell begins with There it was: I was to be banished from hell. It is important I start my stories powerfully, but also end them strongly, they usually have an unexpected twist.
Can you offer any advice to the fledgling authors, just starting out?
Yes stick at…spread yourself far and wide…start a blog…try to get short stories published…Try and keep developing…mastering your craft.
What is your all-time favourite novel?
It is hard to pin point one…
Who is your all-time favourite author?
Hard question…I love the novels of Rupert Thompson, author of “Dreams of Leaving” and other brilliant books…
If you could Time Travel, what year would you visit and why?
Maybe 2030, just to check if the world’s still around…and to see what my son is up to…
Do you have a favourite quote?
My favourite sentence in my book comes from a story called “Opium”. A Gangster, (named Gecko) confronted by a Preacher sent to rid a town of sin, says "Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man,"
How do you come up with the Titles for your novels?
I have to come up with a lot of titles, because I write short stories. “Flight of Destiny” seemed a natural title…my stories are like journeys and often the characters face misfortune and a terrible fate.
When working on your current novel, were there any moments when you thought:- OMG what am I doing?
Yes often it took ages to edit…I live in France, the editors (yes one gave up) live in the USA. I thought this book will NEVER get published. It was a long time consuming journey, with twists along the way. I am happy with the end result.
Do you have a day job, other than writing?
Yes I am teacher, I work in different places…I teach British and American sculpture, Architecture…I have just started teaching a group of French actors…Shakespearian comedies. I have to be versatile.
Are there any tips or tricks you use to get to know your characters?
All I can say is that they fall into different categories…some are weirdos, outsiders, oddballs, outsiders…others are despicable to the highest order…tyrants…vulgar oafs…womanizers…
Do you like to write while listening to music and if so, does your book have particular playlist you’d like to share?
I should be listening to Carmina Burana…at full volume…but no.
If you were stranded on a distant planet:- which of your characters would you like to be marooned with and why?
Maybe Gecko, a charming witty gangster. He might be able to supply me with Opium, to whittle the long hours away…