Welcome to Introduce Yourself, a new and exciting blog segment of The PBS Blog dedicated to introducing to you new and established authors and their books.
Today I’d like to extend a warm welcome to Frank Parker. Welcome to The PBS Blog! Let’s get started.
What is your name and where are you from?
My name is Frank Parker. I was born and grew up in Herefordshire, a small rural county next to the border between England and Wales. I lived for the first decade of my life in a small stone cottage beside a stream with a couple of waterfalls. We were surrounded by traditional hay meadows and grew all our own vegetables in a medium sized garden. My parents were from London originally. They were married shortly after the commencement of World War II. Dad was an airman. Two years after I was born he was killed in action whilst taking part in a bombing raid over Germany. Having only one parent qualified me to attend a boarding school where, from 1952 to ’58, I was educated in the manner of a traditional English Grammar school.
Did you say Herefordshire?? My maiden last name is Hereford!
Are you married Frank?
In September 1963, I married the love of my life. We had met two years before. I still recall the day. It was August bank holiday 1961, the day of the annual village show. I was supposed to meet up with my then girlfriend, enjoy the many activities on offer then go on to the dance in the village hall afterwards. She arrived in the company of two friends. Try as I might I could not separate them. As a gauche 19-year-old, I didn’t know whether to be flattered being accompanied by three young women or disappointed that I could not be alone with the one I wanted to be with. Later she turned up at the dance in the company of another youth and I danced with one of her friends. That was it. Me and the friend were set on a course that sees us still together all these years later.
Beautiful. What’s your favorite food?
I love cooking and eating dishes in the styles of the Indian sub-continent. My preference when dining out has always been Indian. I recall when I lived in South Africa, in 1974, we would spend Sundays around the pool at a nearby hotel which served excellent curries that we washed down with locally produced ale. In 1990 I discovered the ‘Balti’ style of Indian cuisine whilst working in the English Midlands. More recently I watched Rick Stein’s television series in which he toured India discovering the various regional styles. I have his book of the series and regularly produce dishes from it.
Oh OK. So what you saying is we need to be at yo house then huh Frank? 🙂 In your own words, define racism.
Racism, to me, is the mistaken belief that people from the same ethnic origin as yourself are superior to those from all other ethnicities. It is made worse when that belief leads people to behave disrespectfully towards people who do not share their own ethnicity. Being disrespectful towards others is not acceptable in any circumstance, but when it is justified by reference to a perceived difference based on ethnicity, sexuality or physical or mental deformity it is especially deplorable.
Frank, are you a political man?
I have held a strong interest in politics for as long as I can remember. My response to the previous question should make it clear that I follow the Liberal tradition. In the 1980s I put my political beliefs into practice, becoming a local politician in my then home district in the East of England. I also worked in a voluntary capacity on campaigns for the Party. Aside from Party Political activities, I cannot avoid political comment in my writing, especially my blog. I also believe that it behooves us all to involve ourselves in unpaid activities utilizing one’s time, skills and energy wherever there is a need in the local community.
Summer Day by Frank Parker is AVAILABLE now on Amazon.
What genre do you write in, why?
You might gather from the above that the genre in which I am most comfortable is Historical Fiction, often based on the lives of real people. I am especially interested in ordinary people who find themselves in the midst of significant events, how do they respond to the consequences of war, epidemic or famine? It is easy to investigate the causes of such events or to condemn those whose mistaken beliefs lay behind some evil deed. Among the suffering of ordinary people are to be found tales of great heroism at the personal level. That’s what I hope to bring to the fore.
I’m a fan of Historical Fiction myself. What TV channel exists but really shouldn’t?
I’ll end with a controversial thought about TV channels. I don’t either want to see the demise of any existing channel or the creation of any new channel. What really annoys me is that we have so many channels dedicated specifically to sport and yet sport seems, to me at least, to be taking up an increasing proportion of mainstream television schedules. Let’s leave sport on the sports channels and keep mainstream television free for news, documentaries, drama and the arts.
Who is your favorite writer?
I find it difficult to single out one individual as a favorite writer. There are many authors whose work I have enjoyed in different phases of my life, from Enid Blyton and W.E. Johns in childhood, through Agatha Christie, Robert Heinlein and Ray Bradbury in my youth and early twenties, to great Irish writers like Colm Toibin, Sebastian Barry, John Boyne and Ann Enright today. I like a work of literature to provide a new insight into the human condition, to make me laugh and cry or simply to marvel at the use of language. If only I could manage that in my own work I would be a happy man indeed!
I love literature of the same kind so I definitely feel you. What’s your favorite Historical figure?
I don’t have a favorite historical figure. I find it reprehensible that official histories pay so little attention to the achievements of women, and then only those who exhibit masculine qualities. Warrior women like Boudica or Joan of Ark. Devious, deceitful women like Cleopatra. The truth is that whilst men were attracting fame – or notoriety – by fighting wars or making significant discoveries, it was the women who remained at home and managed the family estate, overseeing everything from planting and harvesting to organizing essential repairs and improvements, thereby ensuring that what the men came back to was frequently in a better condition than when they left. So, my favorite figures from history are those unsung heroines without whom no battle would have been worth winning, no new knowledge worth the knowing.
If you could shadow your favorite artist, who would it be?
When I was in my early teens I came across a book in the school library. It was a big colorful book of the kind that are usually referred to as ‘coffee table books’. It was full of reproductions of famous art works. The particular work that had an enormous impact on me, such that I can still recall it some 60 years later, was titled ‘Burning Giraffe’. It was painted by a Spanish artist named Salvador Dali. In the intervening years, I have seen many documentaries and read many articles about this eccentric gentleman and his fellow surrealists. As someone who has tried, largely unsuccessfully, to paint, I would have loved to have been able to spend a day in the company of Seńor Dali, to discover his techniques, gain insights into the way his mind works and discover how he was able to translate his thoughts into images on canvas, film or sculpture.
Thank you Frank for spending this time with us! We enjoyed you.
At 17, Frank’s plan to become a reporter was scuppered by advisors who insisted he “get a trade”. He became an Engineer. In the 1980s he tried a career change becoming involved in local politics. Articles he wrote at that time appeared in obscure political journals and he contributed business profiles to a regional “Business Link” magazine. These did not pay the bills so he returned to Engineering until retirement in 2006. Since then his short stories and poems have been included in several short print-run anthologies. He has self-published four novels, and two collections of poems and short stories. He is presently researching, and writing about, the famine that afflicted Ireland between 1845- 52.
He lives in the Irish Midlands with the woman he married in 1963.
Be Sure to Follow Frank Online!