This very talented author has unfortunately been taken away from us far too soon. I had the opportunity to interview him not long before his passing.
As a token of my admiration of his talent I would like to present you with our conversation on his books and the life he had.
I’m sure his wife and children miss him every day, and I hope they will take pleasure in this little tribute to a special man who was a friend to a lot of people who loved him for his kind personality and the fun he brought to the table.
I’m sure his widow and children take pride in the fact that their father and husband was held in high esteem for his talent and the wonderful personality he had. Now without further ado, here’s the interview. I do hope that after reading this you will zoom over to Amazon and buy his books, they are more than worth your time and money.
Given the choice would you rather chop down a tree, stoke a fire and make love to a beautiful woman on a rug in front of it, or fight a bare knuckle fight?
This is tough; do any of the choices involve biscuits? Seriously, it has to be the lovely lady every time – I’m a lover not a fighter, and trees are tough!
Have you ever thought of giving up the traveling life and settle in a house, become a … What do you call us? Gordy?
Gorgie! And no, I will never give up travelling altogether, but a Gypsy in a house is still a Gypsy, part of a proud and resilient culture.
How do you feel you differ from us who live in houses all the time? (I don’t think you’re all that different though, house, caravan, it’s a roof and we sleep, eat, live, love, and die.)
As I say in my books ‘people are just people’ customs and culture separate us and to that is where we gain our identity. I think you can never make a Gorgie from a Gypsy, culture is something inside not dependent on where you lay your hat. So a Gypsy in a house is still a Gypsy.
What is your heritage Frankie?
I am half Welsh and Half Anglo-Romany, a foot firmly in both communities; I see neither Gorgie nor Gypsy as being better or worse than each other – just different.
Do you have trouble separating the author from the character?
Undoubtedly yes, when people’s books are entirely fictitious – sci-fi or fantasy – it must be much easier to ‘switch off’ and just get on with the business of trying to write and sell books. My ‘nice’ characters are all based on people I see every day, they have the same mannerisms and some of them even the same names. My villains are built of stereotypes and exaggerated characteristics, their actions – like the stories themselves – are entirely fictitious.
Are there things in the life of Frankie that even he would not divulge?
Aren’t there things like that in everyone’s life?
But now what you’re really here for, what is the title of the book you would like to talk about, and can you give us a small taster of it?
My books are a loose series, though each can be read alone, told in the style of a tall tale around a campfire. They share the main title ‘The Gypsy Way’ which refers to the way the values of loyalty, teamwork and taking care of your own – no matter what – can be relied upon in times of trouble. I write stories set in the 1980s and early 1990s, a time when mobile phones didn’t exist and I have no ‘landline’ so if my characters need to talk they have to do it face to face. I write old fashioned tales of romance, passion and adventure set in the rolling landscapes of rural England. The 1980s was the era of the ‘single industry crime’ novel when writers like Jonathan Gash, the creator of ‘Lovejoy’ the rogue antiques dealer, enjoyed considerable success. Frankie is a Gypsy version of Lovejoy, with poultry instead of period furniture. For the knowledgeable reader there are plenty of allusions to this and tributes to the great fictional characters of the past including Sexton Blake and his sidekick Tinker – I appreciate that I truly am ‘standing on the shoulders of giants’ and that my work would be impossible without the great writers who came before me. I to take the ‘loveable rogue’ idea and see how far it can be pushed; as the stories progress the situations become more dangerous and the character’s actions darker. But, I never, ever, place children in positions of peril, any suggestions of sexual activity take place between consenting adults. And – with a clever twist or two – I like to think the bad guys get what they deserve.
Did you have difficulty coming up with the title?
No, the book’s title themselves very well the first title ‘Running In Corridors’ is an adventure driven by the idea of getting into scrapes and running away from trouble. This comes to a head when all the small scrapes add up to one big problem and I have to fix things ‘The Gypsy Way’ – The title encompasses the ‘flight before fight’ philosophy of the tale, along with a disappointment in the educations systems ability to teach young travelers useful life skills along with my personal dislike of large buildings in general, and corridors in particular. I remember teachers yelling at me ‘don’t run in the corridors’ as if it were the most dangerous activity in the world – it narrowly avoided being called running with scissors! I expose a little of Gypsy life in each story without shoving our culture down the readers throat, my books are stories, crime capers to make you laugh and cry, not text books for dust college libraries.
Is there anything you don’t like about being an author?
I hate the squabbling, backbiting and air of desperation that exists in many corners of the indie community. – the double standards and hypocrisy, the gang building, petty jealousy and cliques. I have many autistic traits that are reflected in my books, and one of them is taking things people say literally and a difficulty in weeding out the schemers, one friend repeatedly told me that my promotion efforts were a waste of time, while doing the same things herself, the result for me was instant confusion. The indie world is like the Wild West, a new frontier and we are all in it together, we should be sticking together and making this journey fun. People seem intent on continually raising the bar and then everyone has to work harder and spend even more time, that they should be using for writing, on endless – and often fruitless – promotions just to maintain their current position. If we all just stopped we would all still be in the same relative position! More mutual action is defiantly required.
What do you do marketing wise and what do you think generates the most attention to your books?
Difficult question! Current media trends seem to be drawing attention to Gypsies and Travelers’ and most of it, while pleasant at face value, isn’t improving the wider population’s perceptions. I hope that by presenting characters that are neither romanticized or criminalized and a main character that flouts the rules of both cultures, people will be able to see that we are all basically the same. In fact all my books contain light-hearted anti-prejudice messages that address issues including, racism, sexism, homophobia and bullying. As for marketing, we just dabble, I aim to really conquer the world when the next two books are launched ‘Don’t Look Down’ and ‘Pray For Me’.
Is there any food or beverage that is a constant factor in either your books or life?
Just one – FOOD! Frankie is a hungry man; his appetites (yes, plural) are the stuff of stories and legends!
What is your favourite dish and can you give me the recipe?
Anything I don’t have to cook!
There is a funny reference to this in my second book ‘Thinking About breathing’ so maybe people would like to search for it there. So ladies, if you are thinking of dining with Frankie, dinner will always be at your place!
Okay, now I’d like for you to shoot your mouth off. Tell me whatever you want the blab about. But please no cats, dogs, or children. Make me laugh, or cry, or even envious. Tell me something none has ever heard before from you. hehehe, love those little dirty secrets, real or make believe. 🙂
I am a countryman at heart, I like being in the great outdoors no matter what the weather. I don’t really live in a caravan the way you might live in a house. I just live in the world and sleep in the caravan to keep my head dry. I have an insatiable appetite for life and I don’t take anything too seriously – I advise that no one takes me too seriously either. If ever you are out in the countryside and see a lone caravan in the corner of a field, a man with collar of his old waxed cotton jacket turned up against the rain, or you have to slow down for a man with a horse in the road. Give a wave and a smile as you pass – it could be me! 🙂
The last conversation I had with Frankie was me giving him an earful for being late with his character interview for our next post in the planned series of interviews. Unfortunately that will not happen, but luckily he has been writing more books that have not been published yet. We can only hope his wife will decide to publish those some day in the future.
For now go and get your copy of