Please introduce yourself, who are you and what do you do?
Hello, I'm Francis Franklin ('Frank'). Most of my writing explores themes of identity and sexuality, but I'm also a big fan of vampires and high fantasy. My writing can be very cross-genre.
What first inspired you to start writing?
I was going through quite a dark and depressed phase in my life and I was feeling very frustrated with people's attitudes towards the mystical. I'm not a religious person, although I sometimes choose to believe in God; I may be a scientist at heart but that only means I know how much is unknown. Two decades of reading SFF and day dreaming about magic rings and wizards, combined with an interest in Aegean mythology, coalesced into a grand epic fantasy (Kings of Infinite Space) full of gods and vampires and everything.
If you could work with any author, who would it be?
There's a terrifying thought... but I would have to say Kate Elliott. She writes brilliantly, and I adore her fearless approach to writing female characters.
What is your favourite song lyric?
I'm very fond of Katie Melua ('Is it true a politician's heart / Can rust away and fall apart', 'Mary Pickford used to eat roses / Thought that they'd make her beautiful and they did, / One supposes', and many others). I like a lot of Jewel Kilcher's stuff as well.
Where do your best ideas come from?
I do a lot of deep thinking while driving or swimming. Funnily enough, sitting in meetings I often write poetry.
What advice would you give new and aspiring authors?
A. With both my novels I started with a fairly definite midpoint, but the lack of a definite end created problems for the plot. I like the freedom of 'pantsing' when I write, but when it comes to writing a coherent and focused story I have to say the more 'plotting' the better.
B. Always be clear, in your own mind at least, who it is that's narrating, how it is they know what they know, and at what point in time they are narrating from. Keep in mind that the narrator, if a real person, has a past, present and future. Even if you dislike first person present tense (I like it, but it doesn't fit all stories), it's worth re/writing your story that way just to see how it feels and whether it makes sense. Be aware that changes of POV can cause confusion and irritation, and changes are best made at clear section breaks. Experiments with unusual POV are extremely risky.
C. Scared of dialogue? You can't afford to be. (Good dialogue and good narration go hand-in-hand.) Take a key scene from your story and rewrite it as dialogue where one or more characters are describing what happened to another character. Think very carefully about what they saw and how they saw it, think how they choose to describe what happened, think about how they feel about what happened, think how the other character reacts to what is being said. If you dare, get some friends to act out the scene, and be very honest with yourself about how natural or awkward or staged it feels.
How do you prepare yourself for writing?
I work best with music. Kings of Infinite Space was written with Bach, Beethoven and Brahms, mostly. Suzie and the Monsters was written almost entirely to Dire Straits. I need privacy, so either it's late at night when everyone's asleep, or it's by myself in a café or hotel room.
What are you working on at the moment?
Just bits and pieces at the moment, most of which is for my blog. Life has been keeping me very busy lately, and when I do work on something big I get very obsessed with it.
Tell us about your latest work and how we can find out more.
Over the past year I've been writing a story through a series of posts on my blog about my friend Alyth who's a witch and a pararomantic bisexual. Some of it is erotic, some is about witchcraft. I've turned parts of 'the story so far' into a single publication.
Alyth: Witch on Fire
Books by this author: