Today I'd like to welcome Francis H Powell, author of “Flight of Destiny” to The Thursday Interview. Before we get started, a quick intro!
Born in 1961, in Reading, England Francis H Powell 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, song-writing, 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."
OK - HERE WE GO !!
No.1 Would you break the law to save a loved one? .. why?
I suppose this depends partly on the law. I guess I am generally law abiding. My wife and child are very precious to me and if I felt it necessary, I would surely break the law, if the situation required it. As Marcus Tullius Cicero said “The safety of the people shall be the highest law.” I guess in some situations the human instinct to protect, regardless, kicks in. I imagine people who have children, who they know are on heavy drugs for example, must face real dilemmas. Whatever you child has done/is doing I am sure most parents, think back to child’s birth, happier times, etc. However I know somebody who “shopped” his own son, who was a heavy drug addict, for taking money via his credit card. This led to his son doing a stretch in prison.
No.2 What is the difference between being alive and truly living?
Truly living means making the most of your life. Some people pack a lot into their lives. Jim Morrison lived only 27 years, but in those 27 years he did much more than most people live in say 80 years. Of course we can’t all be Jim Morrisons…To some extent people are programmed to live comfortable but unremarkable existences. Maybe people living on the edge of death are truly living, this is why people do life threatening activities (like climbing death defying mountains).
No.3 What motivates you to write?
I suppose like many , I have a need to express myself, pass on my ideas. Maybe also my stories are somewhat cathartic. To some extent my stories are indirectly autobiographical, my life has not been a smooth journey, 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. Also I love “language” using a rich vocabulary. I love creating characters…some are odious characters…some are freaks and oddballs. I write for the outsiders of this world.
No.4 Why do humans want children?
I became a father at the age of 51. In the back of my mind, I had always wanted to have a child. Humans have a need to nurture. To watch your child develop…to be able to speak more and more…(my son speaks in French and English). There are many rituals which ar e part of bringing up a child…things like reading them a bed time story…this brings great satisfaction. No more children…no more world… However when you watch the news and see some of the horrific things going on in the world…you do think what kind of world am I bringing my child into…Will there be a world by the time they grow up…(humble apologies I am getting morose).
No.5 What was the biggest challenge in creating your book "Flight of Destiny" ?
Many…the editing process…I live in France my publisher is in America…I am British…My stories are very British in character…There was differences as to spelling, but also our visions of the book sometimes differentiated. Sometimes I felt like the original ideas of the stories were being ebbed away and that they were being over-edited. I had to stick at it, there were times when I thought my book would never get published.
No.6 What is the most important thing you have learned in life so far?
Keep going…be yourself…Enjoy what you have got…Maybe as you get older your vision of life changes. There are so many knock backs, hard knocks in life, which most people suffer, but the thing is to learn from these and move forward. I am quite surprised how far I have come and some of the things that have happened me. For a long time I never expected to see a book published, with my name on it. I never expected to be married and I never expected to have a child (I have a two and half year old).
No.7 How did you come up with the title "Flight of Destiny" ?
“Flight of Destiny” seemed to capture the essence of what my short stories are about…the fate that governs people’s lives…Being a short story writer, I am always having to come up with titles for stories. Sometimes the titles for my stories are very important, in governing what the story is about, sometimes the titles are also the names of the key character in the story (for example “Bugeyes”, “Maggot”, “Duke”). I also now realize it is best not to choose a book title that has been used by lots of other authors, the original and unique it is, the better, but at the same time it has to encompass the spirit of the book.
No.8 How do you handle personal criticism?
Not very well…I brood for a while then try to get over it…criticism can move you on to bigger and better things…also I don’t handle praise very well… We all can’t get away from the fact that we have our egos and don’t like any bruising criticism. Writers are aware of the effort they put into writing their books and put their heart and soul into this. I am sure that my book is not to everybody’s taste, due to it’s dark nature and some of the subject matter it deals with. You can’t expect everybody to get into the spirit of the book or follow some of the train of thought.
No.9 Why should people read your book?
If you feel that you are an outsider…If you live in a dingy bedsit…feel isolated…my stories are for you…in the same way the British Band The Smiths, appealed to a certain type of loner…My stories are very unusual, descriptive and visual. I would like to think they are dark, but also have an element of wit…maybe British dark sense of humor. They are often anti-establishment. There are often reversals, characters people might expect to be bad (like the gangster Gecko in Bugeyes) come across as being wise and good and the types people might expect to come across as good (for example there are a few preachers in my stories) come across as the opposite, bad and inhumane. I would like to think I use rich language with sharp powerful sentences. The starts to my stories are also critical, 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. I hope that more stories keep people intrigued right up to the final sentence…There are also some nice illustrations that go with the stories…which I did for the book…
No.10 Why is there something rather than nothing?
Because there still remains this minuscule morsel of hope…
We live in these really difficult times, in a way I think the world is just about holding on to the last threads of hope, before it slips off into the abyss. Just watch the news and you can’t help but feel that we are living in a pivotal moment.
Thank you Francis :)
For taking the time to answer my questions
& the best of luck with your new book!
Check out “Flight of Destiny” on
Flight of destiny 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 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.