Interview with Frank Parker

How long have you been writing?
For as long as I can remember! But I only found the time to really get to grips with the craft when I retired from a long career as an Engineer.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
My mother was a London born war widow who moved to a remote country area shortly before my birth. So I grew up in the shadow of the Black Mountain range that marks the border between England and Wales. My mother's life has certainly played an important part in enabling me to create interesting female characters. My second Smashwords novel "Summer Day" is set in the place I grew up and draws heavily on my own childhood experiences.
"Honest Hearts" deals with the lives of people who migrated from Ireland to North America at the end of the nineteenth century. What gave you the idea?
I discovered a small book in my local library written by someone whose ancestor had left Ireland in 1895. It outlined how he had worked as a train driver in Brooklyn and as a mariner on boats plying between New York and the Caribean. Then he travelled overland to Dawson City where he became a gold miner and later operated a boat transporting goods down the Yukon River. Eventually he moved to a small mining community in Alaska. Along the way he lost as much money as he made.
I couldn't help thinking that this story - and there are many like it - would make the basis for an exciting novel. My first problem was imagining a reason for him to leave Brooklyn. That's when the entirley imaginary character Maeve came into my head and provided both a love interest and an element of mystery.
To what extent does "Honest Hearts" draw on real historical events and how did you find out about them?
I do a lot of research to find out what life was like at the time and in the places inhabited by my characters. The Brooklyn scenes, events and personalities in Dawson City and Chicago all reflect what was happening in those places at the relevant times, as recorded in the histories of those places. For example the climax of the story is played out against the background of the "Red Riots" in 1919 Chicago.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I know how difficult it is to find a conventional publisher and how long the process takes if you are lucky enough to find one. Having turned seventy about the time my first book was completed I didn't feel I had time for all that. Smashwords offered the solution I needed to get my book in front of the public whilst I am still young enough to see reviews like the one that compared me to Wendell Berry!
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Seeing characters come alive on the page and deal with the situations I place them in
Who are your favorite authors?
There are so many! Since I moved to Ireland I have been discovering Irish authors like Joseph O'Connor and John MacGahern. I also like Ian McEwan. I think what all my favourite writers have in common is an ability to discover and celebrate the extraordinary in what might appear on the surface to be ordinary lives.
What do your fans mean to you?
Everything! These are the people who help me sell my books by telling their friends how much they enjoy my writing. I thank each and every one of them from the bottom of my heart.
Tell me abut your latest book.
As more and more was revealed about the behaviour of certain DJs and childrens' entertainers during the 1970s and '80s I began to wonder to what extent the explosive changes in attitudes to sex and sexuality that took place in the 1970s influenced the way people reacted to such activities at the time. Transgression grew out of that thought process.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
The landscape around my home in the Irish Midlands, my garden and the knowlege that I am about to discover something new about one or more of my characters.
Published 2015-12-10.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Prompt Responses
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 28,520. Language: English. Published: December 14, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - single author
A collection of short stories and other fragments from the Author of Strongbow's Wife and Transgression
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 71,570. Language: English. Published: December 10, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary, Fiction » Women's fiction » General
A soap star, a member of the British Parliament and a forty year old secret feature in this contemporary novel exploring changes in attitudes to sex and sexuality since WWII.
Strongbow's Wife
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 64,040. Language: English. Published: June 1, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Historical » Medieval, Fiction » Historical » United Kingdom
She was 14 when her father gave her in marriage to a foreign warrior in return for the restoration of his kingdom. Her daughter would marry a man who served three English kings and ended his life as Regent. What was it like to be Strongbow's wife and, later, his widow? Could she forgive her father or his arch-enemy O'Rourke? What became of her after Strongbow's death?
A Way With Words
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 18,960. Language: English. Published: November 27, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Anthologies » General, Fiction » Literary collections » European / English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh
A collection of short stories and poems, some funny some tragic; some topical some nostalgic; all exploring aspects of the human condition.