Interview with Frankie Kay

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in a small village in Zimbabwe. I was a tomboy, hated spending time indoors. I had a dog, a horse and the great African sky. I often ran off into the bush, lay in the sun and daydreamed. I still love the outdoors; never left the African sky. I still lie in the sun, daydreaming, and now I turn them into stories.
When did you first start writing?
I wrote several short stories ages ago, but didn't publish anything (no Smashwords in those days!) I started again about two years ago...
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I get totally caught up in an imaginary world. No boundaries, no rules. Its very exciting, fulfilling. Also, I have something to do - I can make up imaginary conversations in my head - when I'm waiting in the car, lying in the bath...
What are you working on next?
I have chosen to use two characters from Silk Threads: Eugene and Kim. I'm not finished with Eugene, and Kim developed into such a nice girl. I couldn't abandon her!

Years ago, I met a Polish man. He told me how, as a child, he had been chased from his home, how his family and their servants had been forced to walk all over Eastern Europe, eventually ending up in India, then Capetown and finally Bulawayo. He told me how the horrors of the experience had erased the memory of one of his shipmates. This man, arriving at an orphanage in Bulawayo, struggled in the recesses of his mind to remember who he was. My character, Wolf is based on this story.

Hardly any one knows of this, another horror story to come out of WW II, so I thought since I had sat listening, fascinated, others may be interested too.

Wolf, discovers he can play music and it becomes his solace. Encouraged to write down his recollections, still trying to discover who he is, Wolf keeps his memories in a box under his bed.

Eugene, burgling the house next door to Wolf is drawn to the music, sits outside for an hour listening to Wolf play the violin. He comes back, day after day, eventually drawn inside. He learns to play also uses music to escape. I use Kim as a foil to Eugene. A child brought up with care, with love by a conscientious parent.

Kim begins her story in 2010, at the end of Silk Threads. She sees a photograph of Eugene, is fascinated by him. We learn something of his young life from this fascination and her chance meeting with Wolf. This time, I hope I have succeeded in describing Bulawayo better - I didn't really get a chance in Silk Threads.

If you don't like cats, and are not interested in music, don't read my second book!
Who are your favorite authors?
Too many to answer. My grandmother read Dickens to me before I went to school. I was eight when I fell off a horse, was strapped up in hospital for months and fell in love with Shakespeare. Rather I say who I don't like: Keats. I hate him. I always think his poetry needs an enema. I cant stand Henry James and I don't really like many of the American authors, like Hemingway etc. But I have read most of them. I try to read at least one book per night, but since I have begun writing, I have hardly read any!
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
The early sunshine coming in through the window, the birds outside...and the dog's cold nose pushed under the sheets! No, seriously - I am a very enthusiastic person, nothing much gets me down. So I jump out of bed everyday with enthusiasm excited to be alive.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I help children with Aspergers Syndrome
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Look up the tags, or read books people direct me to.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I was a brat - useless at school, I hated it. I hated sitting still...well I wont continue.

In grade 7 (that is the end of Junior school in Zimbabwe) we had to enter into an Eisteddfod competition. We were given titles and I didn't want to do it. I had no ideas. So, like the brat I am, I did nothing. The teacher reprimanded me, and insisted I write something. I chose the title 'driftwood,' sat down and wrote. When I brought my effort into class the following morning, the teacher was furious. Red faced he told me my effort was a joke and looked like something a grade three would produce. He told me he would send it to the competition as a judgment on me! I would feel a fool, he said. The competition voted my piece with a 'distinction!'

Fresh, and simple. Clear and concise but with complex ideas, said the examiner. Ha, thought I!

I wish I had a copy - it's been lost in the many moves over the years. It probably wasn't my first piece of writing, but certainly the first I remember!
What is your writing process?
All over the place, just like me! I just write....if you were to look at the scene numbers when I wrote Silk Threads - you would notice they are all jumbled up. I don't have a plan, I work entirely from the characters. I get them completely in my mind, and their stories grow from their characters. Strangely, my photographs have no people in them, only scenery and animals. My books hardly have any descriptions, they are made up of the characters.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
The first story I remember was Riki Tiki Tavi and it was read to me by my grandmother. She read The Jungle Book, and poetry from Robert Louis Stevenson, the Ancient Mariner and the story about the goose. She read folk tales, Be'er Rabbit, the Just So stories and stories from Greek mythology.

Us kids would sit together and read different parts from a story, the little ones learning some sections off by heart. So, I'm sorry, I cant remember the first book I read myself, it was always such a communal affair!
How do you approach cover design?
I am absolutely hopeless. I described to my dyslexic son how I saw the characters (since he cant read himself) and he did it. I, of course, think his effort is marvelous!
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Kindle
Describe your desk
I write on my bed. I prop pillows against the headboard to make it comfortable. Or I write in the car with my laptop propped on the steering wheel if I have to sit waiting.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I wanted to write about an Aspie. How hard it is for people with Aspergers Syndrome to live in our modern world, and also how easy it is for a smooth man to seduce a young girl who has no idea how to manage people.

I also wanted to write about Bulawayo, where I live. I didn't achieve that, as well as I would have liked, but having written one book, I decided I would probably write more, so I'll get a chance to describe my hometown better.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Smashwords is so easy, compared with trying to publish in the traditional way. I was utterly daunted by the possibility I would have to pimp my book through a series of rejections.
Published 2013-08-29.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Innocents
Price: Free! Words: 9,260. Language: English. Published: August 25, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » War & military adventure
The Rhodesian civil war was a short-lived one, compared to the War of the Roses! Lives were lost, lines drawn, choices made. It's primarily the choices made that are explored in this short story. Why do we make the choices we do, and why, once made, do we stick with them? Innocents explores the morality of children and the system that judges them.
Reckless Gambol
Price: Free! Words: 23,250. Language: English. Published: January 11, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Adult, Fiction » Romance » Action/adventure
What happened to Dion after Lisa dropped him off at home? What did he think of her? And what was Eugene up to, setting Lisa on Dion? This short vignette answers some of those questions while exploring new themes. Set in Bulawayo, in 1987 when Lisa is still living in her flat in Borrow Street, Reckless Gambol features characters from Silk Threads and introduces several new ones.
Jack and Jill
Price: Free! Words: 6,450. Language: English. Published: December 1, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Adult, Fiction » Romance » Short stories
(4.67 from 3 reviews)
Jack fell down and broke his crown and Jill came tumbling after. Classic story. Boy meets girl, they fall in love. Except this is Rhodesia, 1959 and one of them is non-white...
Silk Threads
Price: Free! Words: 152,430. Language: English (South African dialect). Published: August 27, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Action/adventure, Fiction » Romance » Suspense
(4.60 from 5 reviews)
David is employed to find Lisa, the missing Van der Linde heiress. Twenty years earlier, the shy Lisa met Eugene, a badass from across the tracks. Silk Threads, follows their unusual relationship, intertwined with the search for Lisa, and David’s budding romance with Henrietta twenty years later. Did Eugene kill Lisa and steal her money? Is he lining up to do the same to Henrietta