Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Author interview #3 - Francis Franklin

 1. Why do you write?
 I have so many ideas bouncing around inside my head - obscure passions, spiritual philosophies, erotic fantasies - but it's so difficult to talk to people face-to-face about stuff like this. Mostly they find it boring and weird. But take it all and craft it carefully into a story... well, they're much more likely to read it. I love writing. It lets me express parts of myself that otherwise would stay locked inside me. On my blog I have a strange blend of vampire fiction and erotic poetry, the unifying theme being a love of women.
2. What inspired you?
 I fell in love with a girl at school. It was unrequited. My life revolved around her. I wrote poetry. Simple, daft, romantic. After that, there were bits and pieces, and one day... it turned serious. I have always been a huge fan of science fiction and fantasy, and vampires too. In 1998 I was researching another of my great passions: Iphigenia, daughter of Agamemnon, who was sacrificed to Artemis so that the Greeks could sail to Troy. I had this desire to write her story - and maybe one day I will. Somehow Greek mythology fused with my love of fantasy to create my epic fantasy novel Kings of Infinite Space. It took me three years to write, and when I finished, in 2000, everyone was reading Harry Potter and talking about Lord of the Rings, and I didn't know how to go about publishing it. I dare say I gave up too easily. It sat on the shelf for ten years, and then I self-published it through KDP. 3. Your favourite thing you have written - book/scene/blog post? Last year I wrote Suzie and the Monsters. I set out to write a vampire novel that was as believable as possible. Suzie has lived as a twentyish-year-old girl for nearly five hundred years, and it hasn't been an easy existence. She is both cruel and compassionate, both abuser and victim, both monstrous and heroic. She loves dancing, music, books and sex. A huge amount of research went into writing the novel. It may be an erotic vampire novel, but at its heart is a feminist rage. 
4. A bit about yourself
 I love reading (mostly SFF), I love music (mostly classical), I love films, I do most of my plotting in my head while swimming or driving, I studied mathematical physics at university and now teach mechanical engineering, I love computer programming, I love chocolate, I love coffee,...
Francis Franklin lives in Newcastle upon Tyne with his beautiful wife and daughter. He loves reading, many genres but mostly sci-fi and fantasy, and is occasionally compelled to write. He is interested in unusual human nature, such as non-binary gender and sexuality, or the interplay of dark and light in the transformation of human to vampire. 
Blog, websites, social media, etc. 
 Suzie, our narrator, is sitting in a wine bar with her new girlfriend. Cleo, who has just learned that Suzie's a vampire, demands, 'Tell me what happened to your husband.' 'It was 1575, the same year that Anna Bijns died. I would have liked to meet her. She wrote a remarkable poem that I didn't read until many years later. "Unyoked is best! Happy the woman without a man." For Anna, chastity and childlessness were sacrifices worth making to be free of a man's rule. Her words are full of the same rage that I felt in those days, that I still feel.' Abruptly my rage is transformed into grief for all the suffering of women down the ages, not just the cruelty that I myself have witnessed, and I hold my face in my hands for a few minutes until the knots in my chest unravel and the tears stop flowing. Cleo is looking at me anxiously, and I give her an apologetic smile. 'You know the story of Sweeney Todd?' I say when I can trust myself to speak. 'Sure. Was he real?' 'Not as far as I know. But the idea of cutting people up for meat is an old one. In Venice even today there is a vaporetto stop called Riva di Biasio, named for Biagio Cargnio. In his restaurant he sold a special meat stew, and one day, in 1520, a customer discovered a child's finger bone. Supposedly he'd been catching and killing children for twenty years. Sentenced to death, he was tortured, beheaded publicly, and his body cut into four parts. They were still talking about it fifty years later. This, I thought, would be a suitable end for my beloved.'

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