I am so pleased to today have author Frank Lankaster on the blog, sharing some fun facts about himself and his new novel, Tim Connor Hits Trouble.
It’s all part of Clink Street’s Blogival, which runs from 1- 30 June; find out more here.
10 Things author Frank Lankaster wants you to know about him
As a young boy I was a bit of a ‘goodie goodie’ – I soon lost that!
At eleven years old I was sent off to a seminary – a Catholic boarding school aimed at training priests. It wasn’t much fun and I got out quickly and in time worked out my own way of life.
The best year in my life was in Vermont, USA.
I went there on a work exchange for a year in the mid-nineteen eighties. Vermont is so beautiful and the people so friendly and open, I had the time of my life. The only bad moment was when I crashed when ice-skating on Vermont’s biggest lake, Champlain, and nearly decapitated myself. I’ve never been skating again!
The toughest year of my life was starting out teaching in East London.
Full of youthful idealism I set out to educate the East End! I lasted a year but did go back for a while later.
I’ve written about what I know.
They say write about what you know and as I’ve spent most of my working life to date in higher education it’s not surprising that I’ve written a ‘campus novel’. It’s not an ‘ivory tower’ novel but written for our times when going to university is less a privilege and more of a routine, ordinary experience for many young people and even hard-worked academics.
I love travelling.
My last big trip was to Cuba – it was called ‘The Revolutionary Trail’. The group followed the march to power of the legendary Che Guevara but on our way it was all music, good food and rugged, varied terrain. I’m so glad that Presidents Obama and Castro are bringing the two countries closer together. My next place to visit will probably be along the North African coast or maybe Croatia.
If I can only play one game in my afterlife it will be tennis.
This is surprising as my dad and his brother were professional footballers and I might have been one myself. But I like the individualism of tennis whether it goes well or badly, it’s down to you.
Light on a dark horse.
I’ve often been considered ‘a bit of a dark horse’ and to be honest ‘Frank Lankaster’ is a writing name to give me a ‘clean slate’ and a bit of anonymity. I’ve always secretly wanted to write fiction. A novel may be less factual than academic work but it can get closer to personal truth. It can also be funnier and Tim Connor Hits Trouble is certainly full of humour.
I believe the ‘rise and rise’ of women will continue.
Maybe creating an age of women in which personal values, including caring about and for others, as well as career satisfaction will matter more than status and earning more and more money. Women are probably the best hope for humanising a still tough and brutal world.
To me younger people from the ‘noughties’ onwards seem more relaxed about what previous post-war younger generations had to battle for.
It’s good to see many young people tolerant and at ease with cultural and sexual diversity despite financial and career access issues. Some of the strongest and most interesting characters in Tim Connor Hits Trouble are women, especially Erica, his bi-sexual and sexually imaginative partner. The novel as a whole is quite physical and that’s certainly true of Tim and Erica.
I’m funny but serious.
But then life is like that. So is my novel – ‘laugh out loud’ but find some serious drama and themes about higher education and personal relationships as well.