About the Author
Born in 1961, in Reading, England Francis HPowell attended Art Schools, receiving a degree in painting and an MA in printmaking. In 1995, Powell moved to Austria, teaching English as a foreign language while pursuing his varied artistic interests adding music and writing. He currently lives in Paris, songwriting, doing concerts, writing both prose and poetry. Powell has published short stories in the magazine, “Rat Mort” and other works on the internet site "Multi-dimensions."
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. In such an institutions, where I was to rest until my seventeenth year, there was no getting away from the cruel jibes hurled at me from taunting tormentors. My refuge was the arts room, where I started to find some kind of redemption from the stark Dickensian surroundings, whose aim was nurture the army officers, businessmen, and gentry that dominate the class ridden world I was born into. The seeds were sown, I was an outsider, Happier times were to follow, I went to art school, where I attempted to exorcize my time spent at school. At eighteen I turned my back on a parentally enforced weekly visit to church and my head was filled with a range of nonconformist ideas. 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 and despite losing contact with him, I always read his latest published books with not only great expectation and unabashed admiration, but also a fascination for a person I had really looked up to, his sentences always tight, shooting arrows that always hit the mark. My yearning to be creative stayed strong and diversified, from my twenties through to my thirties and forties I made electronic music, doing concerts, in front ecstasy infused crowds, at a point I was making videos and short films. When the age of the internet arrived I was really able translate my creative endeavors into something really tangible. To earn a living I have worked as a teacher. I moved to Austria where upon I thought I would try writing. It is sure that my writing at that time was rough and rugged and without direction. I dived into a story about immortality, the story remains vegetating on some dusty floppy disk. Then tried short stories for children with illustrations to go with them. It wasn’t until I was in my mid-forties that my writing took shape. I was at this point living in Paris, France. I spotted an advert for short stories. The magazine happened to be 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. He had a flat in the Montmartre area of Paris, where he seemed known to all, especially those who frequented his favorite drinking haunts. He offered me many words of encouragement. I was writing stories that were coming into my head at regular intervals, as if a monster had suddenly awakened. I was writing them on scraps of paper, less I would forget them, while I travelled on the Paris metro, going about my teaching work with staid business types. I had found a format for writing that worked, as well as a hunger to write about the demons of my past that still haunted me. Moving closer to present times, the desire to put together an anthology seemed to resonate in my mind. The Flight of Destiny evolved slowly. Many trans-Atlantic exchanges between myself and two editors seemingly far away. This evolution took my writing to a new level and the stories more depth and resonance.
Name Francis H Powell
Where are you from born Reading UK,
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
I come from a family of five. I am the youngest, perhaps the free spirit of the family. I was educated at various schools, before going on to Art Schools, to do a degree in painting and an MA in printmaking. I loved most of my time at Art school, having experienced a painful time at school, where I was an outsider. Moved to Austria in 1995, lived there for two years and began teaching English as a foreign language. Alongside this I have always followed a lot of other creative activities, including music. During the nineties, did many concerts/raves and some short tours, playing electronic music. While in Austria, began to write stories. Moved back to England, where upon pursued teaching career, including teaching English (literature/language) and Art. Decided to move to France at the end of 1999 have lived there ever since and have taught among other things British and American culture and Architecture.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I have just had my first book published by Savant Books and Publications.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I started when I lived in the middle of nowhere near Vienna, Austria. I just dived into writing, and I am sure what I wrote was very raw and unpolished. Then in France I started writing a lot of poetry, which got published on various websites. I wrote lyrics for my own music as well as for other musicians.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I had some stories published in a magazine called “Rat Mort” (dead rat). Having some stories published gave me a sense of purpose and new direction. I began writing short stories in a frenzied fashion. Ideas would pop into my head and stories would develop. At this stage in my life, I had the tools to write and developed a style. I was also very much encouraged by the editor of Rat Mort as well other people who encountered my work.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
As above, it was like I caught this writing virus and felt compelled to write these stories, which were swirling about in my head. Maybe a lot of my deep anxieties came to the fore. I liked the format of a short story and the idea of having stories which are set in different places and different periods of time.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I think my stories are visual and descriptive. I create strange unusual characters. I like my sentences to be sharp and cutting. The first lines of each story is paramount, as is the way they are concluded. I think my stories can be very “British” in character. There are lots of subtle
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I tried to think about a title that would work with all my stories. They are often about a character’s destiny and the misfortune they meet along the way.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I would like readers to perceive things in a different way. I would like them to see the world through the eyes of the underdog or outsider. I would like to think about how cruel people can be to one another. In my stories the oppressed often rise up in the end and enact some kind of revenge. There are many messages woven into my stories. They often attack the establishment.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
Even though the stories are surreal and dreamlike, I am still conscious that they have to be plausible and realistic. Sometimes however they move well out of the bounds of reality.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
As I said before maybe some of my stories are my vast accumulation of angst over the years. Sometimes a newspaper article might stick in my mind and inspire me to write a story. I like reading for example about people who turn up in the middle of nowhere, not knowing who they are, with the authorities unable to place them. Unlikely stories in newspapers fascinate me.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
When I was a student at my first Art College, through a friend I met a writer who at the time was working on his first book, called “ Dreams of leaving”. His name was Rupert Thomson and I thought his style and stories were incredible. There is depth and detail in his work. I lost contact with him, because he has lived in different countries and I have also moved about. I have made a tenuous contact recently, but the power of his books has always remained with me. I can read all different kinds of books fiction or non-fiction. As for mentor as previously mentioned the published of Rat Mort, Alan Clark was a kind of great influence. I also was lucky enough to enter the strange world of a Serbian poet and writer Zivancevic.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
A frenzied promotion of my book.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
An American friend, who lived for a while in Paris, now back in the US…seemed to latch onto what I am about.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Ideally yes, but I enjoy many different creative activities, as well as teaching.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
As stated before an encounter with an up and coming writer.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
The task of placing a name, can be niggling, but what if this task becomes an obsession and the person behind the name a dark specter ?
“Mr. Weisler is coming! Mr. Weisler is coming! Mr. Weisler is
coming!” The words swirled around in his head like a rampant tornado,
scooping up all his thoughts, amplifying them until the mixture
seemed ready to devour him. Yet, what was vexing him was that he
could neither connect to nor put a face to the name.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
To keep each sentence sharp and poignant.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I am not sure about “favorite” but I like short stories by Roald Dahl. His stories always end with an unexpected twist.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Not at present
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I did as well as all the illustrations.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Making sure that continuity runs though it
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned a lot from the editors, who worked alongside me on it.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Stick at it.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Don’t be beaten by your masters. Fight back…
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Sadly not. That’s going back a long way.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
I don’t often cry, being a heart of stone British person, but man’s cruelty to man and in particular to women and children is sickening. What makes me laugh…my two year old son can be very funny.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
I would really like to meet Leonardo De Vinci, it is hard to compare him to anybody else throughout history, he was so before his time, with his inventions. If he is unavailable, Salvador Dali, would be entertaining but a risky encounter.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
I would prefer to be cremated…so the world will be spared my head stone …however I really like the lyrics, of “Bittersweet Symphony” by the Verve…so something similar…, because of their frankness and honesty and sentiment.
‘Cause it’s a bittersweet symphony, this life
Try to make ends meet
You’re a slave to money then you die
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
I paint/make sculpture, make videos, write music. I have a two year old son to keep me occupied, as well.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I really enjoyed the “Madmen” series. I love lots of favorite films, one of my favorites is “One flew over the cuckoo’s nest”
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Vegetarian/Thai/Indian/ blue/ music diverse anything from Phillip Glass to Kraftwerk
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I teach architects and I think this is a great occupation
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?