Featured Interview With Francis H Powell
Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?
Born in 1961, in Reading, England I attended Art Schools, receiving a degree in painting and an MA in printmaking. In 1995, I moved to Austria, teaching English as a foreign language while pursuing his varied artistic interests adding music and writing. I am currently living in Paris, songwriting, doing concerts, writing both prose and poetry. I have no pets, just a little son of two years old. 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
At what age did you realize your fascination with books? When did you start 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. 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.
Who are your favorite authors to read? What is your favorite genre to read. Who Inspires you in your writings?
Roald Dahl, for his short stories. Rupert Thomson for his great style of writing.
I like to read obscure newspaper articles, strange unusual stories. I like to write stories that have a twist at the end. I like to write about the “underdogs” of this world, the oppressed, the downtrodden. 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.
Tell us a little about your latest book?
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.
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