This is the eleventh outing of a new blog series, as I dabble my toes into the mysterious waters of author interviews!
Having watched so many fantastic interviewers (Tricia Drammeh and her Authors to Watch, AFE Smith (see below), Katrina Jack and her New Authors section and Susan Finlay’s Meet the Author to name a few of the best – please check out their wonderful blogs), I’ve always been a little reluctant to throw my hat into the ring…but here goes!
One of my all-time favourite worldbuilding PC games, is Sid Meier’s ‘Alpha Centauri’. So, in homage to that (and a shameless rip off of BBC Radio 4’s ‘Desert Island Discs’ and AFE Smith’s brilliant blog series Barren Island Books), here is my own author interview series – Distant Worlds.
To kick off the Distant Worlds strand, over the last few weeks I’ve been focusing on fellow fantasy and sci-fi authors from ultra-cool UK publishing house, Grimbold Books and their imprints, Kristell Ink and Tenebris Books – a bunch of uber-talented and whacky characters who I am also proud to call friends.
Grimbold Books were also doing a fabulous ‘Summer Promotion’ from 31st July – 4th August, where ALL of its wonderful titles were priced at only 99p/99c across Amazon platforms. Now, although summer is over, there are still great promos and bargains to be had running throughout Autumn, so grab yourself something special before the prices go back to normal! Awesome fiction at awesome prices!!!! hyperurl.co/GrimboldBooks
Right, now to our eleventh author interview and a talented lady with a penchant for dark dangerous fiction, the mysterious…
Frances, YOU find yourself cast adrift in deep space, your colony pod’s life support is failing, your only chance of survival is a distant habitable world…
What 5 essentials would you choose to help you survive?
Savagely sharp knife/pruning saw; enough rope to hang myself or tie up attackers; endless supply of matches [assuming there will be an atmosphere up there]; tarpaulin; enormous fluffy blanket.
What 5 personal items would you salvage from your crashed ship before it explodes?
Photo of SEVEN of the dearest people in my life; Yardleys Lavender soap; Earl Grey teabags; my cat, Jasper; sherbet lemons.
Would you seek life-forms for help or go it alone?
Seek! I need significant others wherever I am.
What 5 fantasy/sci-fi books would you have to keep with you and why?
WE by Yevgeny Zamyatin [he created dystopia before Orwell]; John Wyndham, THE CHRYSALIDS [helped me feel less like a left-handed freak]; 1984 by George Orwell [the daddy of dystopia]; Oh, and I haven’t yet read WHITE MOUNTAIN by Sophie E. Tallis, this would be an ideal opportunity to enjoy it undisturbed, except by aliens.
What 5 songs or albums could you not live without?
I like silence. Occasional Bach would be okay. But mostly, silence.
You are all alone on a distant world with little chance of being rescued…do you choose water, vodka or coca-cola to drown your sorrows?
Champagne every time.
Random comet question: Marmite – love it or loathe it?
Mmm…not sure really.
You have 30 seconds (max 100 words) to tell the alien approaching you about your latest book. Remember this is more pressurised than an elevator pitch – screw up and he’ll eat your brains! Go!
God, you’re gorgeous! I love the scales – grey green is my favourite colour. What do you do on your day off? Like to join me for coffee, you’ve got several adorable mouths there to drink it with… I could read to you as you swing by your – whatever you call that thing, from a branch, if you have trees? I have a book about the end of the world right here. It’s tragic and funny. There’s a bit of sex in it, you might be interested to see how earthlings do it, you can skip the nasty ones, we wouldn’t want to be like them, would we? Your eyes seem to be filling with tears… have I moved you? No – wait – you’re shaking, you’re opening your mouths and. Oh. I get it. You are laughing. Laughing because I have not ‘sold’ my book to you. You’d better learn something before you eat me. Not all writers can sell. I admit I’m really bad at it. It sounds too un-English, too pushy, too big-headed. So eat me.
How would you choose to spend your time on this distant world?
It would mostly be a desperate day to day struggle for survival, but when I take time off I would swim, laze about, and lie in the sun wishing I had brought paper and pens with me from the ship, instead of stupid sherbet lemons
What 5 things would you miss most about Earth?
Family – I have hundreds. Discovery apples. Jamon de Bellota – pure heaven – and other food and drink. Familiar places I love which are signposts to my past. Libraries. BBC Radio 4.
What 5 things would you NOT miss about Earth?
Money and the world’s obsession with it; people in power; children leading unhappy lives; wars; diseases.
Time-traveller questions (for Dr. Who fans): What is the one thing you wish you could turn back time and change?
I would like to expunge from history Hitler and Nazi ideology. I wonder how different the world would be without that stain on our human conscience .
If you had the chance again to go on this deep space adventure, would you take it?
God no! I didn’t even want to come on this one! I told you I wasn’t a scientist! I loved the view from the portholes on Day 1, but, as I would say on TripAdvisor if I ever get to a computer again, the whole experience has been greatly overrated.
What 5 indie authors and books you would recommend to any carbon based lifeform – and why?
This is too hard! Books are such a matter of personal taste.
What advice can you give to fellow space travellers (writers and readers) out there?
Go with the ‘what if…’ in life as in art.
Before we leave you and blast into another parallel universe, please tell us about yourself, your inspirations and your publishers!
I am VERY old so my CV would take pages. I am inspired by Life, mine and others; by children [I write plays for them]; by love and loss and death, and by natural curiosity. I bring my shadow side to my fiction, which means in my real life I can be kind, caring and gentle.
I’ve been published by Picador [MICKA] and Tenebris [DOLLYWAGGLERS and STRANGE CREATION].
Dr Dorothy Broadhurst, a biologist, is living in 1950s Central Africa to study the local ape population. When civil war erupts and the rest of her team flees, she’s left alone in the jungle. Dorothy may think she understands the apes she has studied for so long, but she could never have predicted what they do next . . .
Other great books by Frances Kay which are available to buy from Waterstones, Amazon and all good bookshops!
Thank you, Frances. Congratulations, you are survivor! A passing space cruiser has honed in on your distress beacon, you’re going home!!!
Wow, thank goodness. That ship looks hugely impressive… can’t quite read the name on the prow… looks like ‘Totemic’…. A lucky omen?
Happy Horizons! 😀 xx