My guest today is Francis H. Powell. Hello! Welcome to Writing in the Modern Age!
It’s such a pleasure to have you here. Can you tell us a little bit about your latest book? When did it come out? Where can
we get it?
Flight of Destiny is a
book of 22 short stories, which has an illustration to go with each story. It
came out in early May of this year, in paperback.It is available on Amazon. The stories are
dark and surreal and have been compared to Ray Bradburyand Stephen King.They usually have an unexpected twist at the
end. For me if the reader is enthralled enough to want to get to the end of the
story and is entertained by the story, then the story has worked.I see my readers as being the types who are stuck
away in dingy bedsits, who never go out, not even open the curtains in the
morning. I write about outsiders, freaks, odd balls, people rejected by
society.I am championing the hard
pressed. I don’t consider myself to be a horror writer. It is true some of my
stories are very dark, but I like to think they also contain elements of wit and
Maybe there are a few readers that fit this
Is there anything that
prompted your book? Something that inspired you?
I think I
got hooked on writing short stories.There are many themes that run through my short stories. Maybe things
that I have had in my mind over many years, that have finally surfaced, through
When did you know you wanted to write? Or has it always been a pastime of yours?
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 did 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…I guess if I
compare these stories to earlier efforts at writing…there has been a huge
development…I am sure my early attempts were imaginative but raw.I have also made quite a lot of videos. They
are featured on the Flight of Destiny YouTube channel, as well as other authors
talking about their work and works by other musicans who have written music
based on my short stories. I have always
been a bit of a “Jack of all trades”.
That's great! I love to hear a good author origin story!
So, do you have any favorite authors?
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 have made a long lasting impression on me. I also read a book by Roald
Dahl, many years ago called Kiss Kiss and I think this book has stayed long
in my mind, and had a direct influence on Flight of Destiny, in terms of the
fact that I always aim to put a twist at the end of each story, in the same way
Roald Dahl does, with his short stories.
Do you write in a specific place? Time of day?
principal place is in my living room. Sometimes I might scribble ideas in my
“black book” if an idea pops into my head, in an unlikely setting. I grab it any time I have to write.
Are there any words you'd like to impart to fellow writers? Any advice?
it; don’t fall by the wayside. Spread your work as far and wide as you can.
Start a blog, submit short stories. Keep
trying to improve upon and better your writing.
That's great advice, Francis!
you so much for stopping by to visit us today here at Writing in the
Modern Age. It was such a pleasure having you! :)
Readers, here is the blurb for Flight of Destiny.
A collection of 22 short stories about misfortune characterized by
unexpected twists at the end of each tale.
Here is an excerpt.
of placing a name, can be niggling, but what if this task becomes an obsession and
the person behind the name a dark specter?
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.
Surely a parent's worst
nightmare is when their child goes missing, when it is the fault of the father,
it can never be forgiven, but does the blame really lie with him?
Renton Graverson arrived home
with a pram which should have had a baby in it. Instead it contained a gaping
void, which he should have noticed long before his hysterical wife pointed it
out. "Where’s baby?" Nancy, his wife, shrieked. Renton couldn't
answer her. He hadn't the faintest idea. He had presumed the baby was in the
pram, fast asleep, though upon further inspection, it clearly wasn't. He raced
out the house and retraced his steps, repeating in his head the same words over
and over like a dark mantra: Baby's been snatched. Baby's been snatched. Baby's been
We live in a world of body
image stereo types, are perpetuated by the media. Those unfortunate beings,
born with abnormalities, could face a lifetime of cruel jokes, and in this
story's case rejection.
Bug-eyes was destined to a
life of toil. As his mother, Lady Harriet Lombard, remarked gruffly when
holding her swaddled first born, "He has disproportionate eyes,"
adding tersely, "the child's abnormal." As she handed the squalling reject
back to the doctor, she decreed, "Drop it down the well for all I
An academic study from
Liverpool John Moores University in the UK has come up with an eye opening
discovery which is that 1 in 25 fathers are unknowingly raising another man's
child. The research headed by an eminent professor, looked at data from the UK,
the USA and other countries across the globe. In the U.S., the number of
paternity tests have increased from 142,000 in 1991 to 310,490 in 2001. In the
U.K. the estimated number of paternity tests are between 8,900 and 20,000 tests
per year. Imagine what a barracks full of young soldiers is like, the temptations
and the suspicions flying about, it could be enough to drive any father to the
point of insanity, not knowing if he is the real father...
Captain Spender's wife was
ovulating, and her husband was, as always, off somewhere on another "top
secret military mission," to which, as ever, she was neither privy to his
location or the mission's significance. In eight years of marriage, her husband
had failed to impregnate her and procure an heir, and Amelia was getting
“If you want to feel rich,
just count the things you have that money can't buy.” Not all follow this
proverb. A rich person thinks that his money will buy the beauty of a young
girl, while her father thinks her sale will solve his money problems. Both are
in for a surprise; even the most beautiful of apples can go bad.
Maggot was enraged and banged
his fist on the table! Knives, forks, spoons and plates flew into the air,
tossing food everywhere. Up to this point, the banquet had been cordial, even
good-humored. Necessary pleasantries and toasts had been exchanged. But as soon
as serious negotiations had begun, as soon as money was brought into the
equation, everything quickly went wrong.
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 amagazine calledRat Mort (dead rat), and 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 traveling. 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 in April 2015, by Savant