Author Interview with Frances Kay

Hi Frances, and Welcome.
fb puppet fan author crop

What are your books about and what inspired you to write it/them?
Dollywagglers was written as a stand-alone picture of a society in meltdown. It’s as real as I can make it, so although it is a fictional dystopia, I hope the themes will resonate with readers, especially those who are familiar with England, where the story takes place. I’m working on a sequel, because I realised that there was still so much story to tell. My earlier book, Micka was published in 2010 and is a realistic, hard-hitting story about life seen through the eyes of two unhappy ten year old boys.

How long did the first book take to write and how many times did you go through it before it was finally done?
It took more than ten years. I revised it during that time, maybe six or seven times. The sequel took eight months!

Where do your settings come from? Are they taken from real places, made up entirely, or a conglomerate of the two?
Oh, real! :London and East Anglia are locations I’ve lived in. I was born in London. The Suffolk settings are based on my experience of living there for thirteen years. Micka was based on my experiences working with the poorest families and children in Newcastle-on-Tyne.

Who is your favorite character and why?
This is the hardest question I’ve ever been asked! As a playwright, I create characters who each have their own motivations and personalities, but the task is always to empathise with each one, to present their viewpoint to the audience as persuasively as possible, no matter how villainous or dishonest. I’m quite proud of my evil, depraved villain in Dollywagglers, as he is at the other extreme of behaviour from me. I had to get inside his horrible head, and not be afraid of what I saw there. For potential readers, this monster is called Rodney. In Micka, I chose to write in the voices of two ten year old boys, again, these are totally different voices from mine. The challenge was to tell the story only through the two of them, in such a way that adults would be gripped.

Did you change direction at any point or was it all plain sailing?
With Dollywagglers, I always knew I wanted to write a swingeing critique of our society. Dystopias are a splendid way of using metaphor. I did not realise quite how much my main character, Billie, needed to change before the end of the book. For Micka, it was about giving a voice to children that society never acknowledges. Their voices are never heard. When they speak, you may not like what they are saying.

Are you an outliner or a pantzer when it comes to start a book? If the latter, do the ideas come to you in one big lump, or are they piecemeal?
I wrote these books as I write all my novels – I write the scenes, the moments, that I feel most passionate about, and when I have enough of the patchwork I stitch it all together until you can’t see the joins. I do this because it’s more fun – my approach to playwriting is disciplined and way more structured. I guess I know the rules of drama. I make sure I have plenty of realistic drama in my fiction too. I never worry about the opening of the novel until it comes, usually by itself.

Finally, where can the book be purchased and what are your plans for the next ones?
You can order it from your local bookshop! That would be my preference. Or ask your library to get a copy. I buy lots of books on Amazon and you can find mine on the UK and US sites, along with a short story published as an ebook this year, which is called Strange Creation.

The link for Dollywagglers at all local Amazons.

Here are the blurs for Fan’s books.
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 . . .

DOLLYWAGGLERS [pub 2014]dollywagglers cover

After the plague, most of us are dead, and some of the survivors aren’t behaving very well. But we can still have a laugh, can’t we? Letting go is for softies. I’m alone – delightfully and comfortably alone. I don’t do crying…
That’s the wonky philosophy of Billie, a dollywaggler on a far from sentimental journey. The Eppie – a worldwide flu pandemic – has left London with nothing but a few beastly survivors with appallingly unwholesome habits. Watch out for Rodney; he is particularly nasty. Oh, and don’t try to escape the madness by fleeing to the country – things may be even worse out there. Besides, a greater intelligence is planning to identify and control the living remnants nationwide, as order begins to be restored. It’s time to find out who the real dollywagglers are.

MICKA [pub 2011]mickab+flaps-1
Micka loves drawing and wants a pup, but with older brothers into violence and petty crime, and a mother who can’t read the notes his teacher sends home from school, neither he nor the pup stand much of a chance.
Then a new boy, Laurie, starts at Micka’s school. The two boys both have vivid imaginations, but Laurie’s fantasies are of magic and revenge, and he soon pulls Micka into a dangerous game where the line between make-believe and real life — and, ultimately, death — is increasingly blurred.
Written in direct, uncompromising yet compassionate prose, and with a breathtaking clarity of insight, Micka is an astonishingly assured debut — and an unforgettable story.

My five star review of Dollywagglers on the Amazons.
This is a thrilling dystopean story with a twist. Billy, the main character, is large and shambling, a disguise to hide her sex, a necessity to avoid attack. There is no longer any protection of law for anyone and so she does the best she can with the chaos that is now her life.

All is not dark as there are flashes of brilliant wit throughout this. Billy tries to live her life according to her own standards of behavior, irrespective of the choices others have made. She works towards a goal, despite setbacks. This is a deep look at what happens when society fails through misfortune and how it affects people. Billy, despite her outward appearance, is a character one can cheer on in the course of the story. Loved this. Wonderful read.

The link for Dollywagglers at all local Amazons.

1 thought on “Author Interview with Frances Kay

  1. Pingback: Author Interview with Frances Kay | cnlesley

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