Q & A with Francis Howard

Why did you decide to write your book?

As a former accountant I have written several articles for legal and accounting magazines and it was not hard converting to writing fiction. The exotic environments I have experienced first hand, together with the colourful characters I worked with and dealt with have given me plenty of stories and incidents to draw on. West Africa has provided me with many a scenario.

What inspired you to write the book?

Out of my interest in corporate crime. I chose a title and the principal character and developed them on the way. It never fails to amaze me the steps some business people take to steal money from the business and shareholders and how easy it is for them to do so with the lax controls, even today; and they think they can get away with it. The characters I have drawn on did exist but I have embellished them and their activities.

I have always been interested in writing, even as a child when I won five shillings for writing an article in an Arthur Mee competition.

What was the most rewarding part of the writing process?

Seeing the book develop and the character and story come to life. The process is one that expands with the research necessary to check the facts, which in itself is educational and enables me to expand a subject. As with a good and absorbing book I get the same satisfaction in writing, probably more so as it is for me a form of self-imposed escapism.

What are your top tips for writing?

Sit in front of your computer and just write; pull the plug out of the television, get rid of all distractions, and write; every one has something to say or has opinions, write about them, add characters and paint them into a picture. You create an out of body experience where you control the outcome.

What books and authors have inspired me?

Any good story and well written, but John Grisham and Robert Harris draw and transport me. I always read the daily obituaries in the paper and marvel at how much talent some people have and how much they have achieved in their lifetimes.

Why did you decided to self publish?

I didn’t have much luck with the publishers I approached. Being a member of the Australian Society of Authors I saw a course advertised on e-books which I attended, and enjoyed and was inspired by the people who ran the course. I hope that any success I have with this book might generate the interest which I failed to get first time round.

What do you hope your readers will get out your book?

Enjoyment in reading and thirsting for my next ones.

Would you consider writing another book?

Certainly, in fact I have already completed The Tuscany Vase (incorrectly named but there is a reason for this) and a sequel, Parallel Tracks and am considering a third to complete a trilogy. Also partly completed are three others, which given time will be completed. My ambition is get established as a writer of individual novels (not ones that have the same themes, characters and heroes) and do some serious writing.

Do you have any tips for new authors?

As this is my first published book (my four others have yet to be published) I don’t think I am in a position to give tips except to say: read as many books as you can on writing and educate oneself in the art; I believe anyone can write as long as you put in the effort and research; perhaps 10% imagination and 90% perspiration applies.