Saturday, April 25, 2015

AMONG THE STACKS: Francis Yamoah


The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Hi, Francis.  Welcome to The Gal.  Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Francis Yamoah:
My name is Francis Yamoah.  I'm a writer of crime fiction and mystery novels and I live in London, UK.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What are five things most people don't know about you?

Francis Yamoah:
The main things most people don't know about me will be the fact that I'm addicted to coffee and I love really cheesy romantic movies.  I can't think if five things I'm afraid.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What is the first book you remember reading?

Francis Yamoah:
The very first book I remember reading is Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What are you reading now?

Francis Yamoah:
I'm currently reading DeNiro's Game by Rawi Hage and I'm also re-reading Stieg Larsson's Millennium trilogy for the first time since I read them a couple of years ago.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What made you decide you want to write?  When did you begin writing?

Francis Yamoah:
I began writing when I was about 16/17 years old, right after secondary school when I started harboring aspirations of becoming a film director.  I just wrote short scripts then, some of which were really bad but I loved writing, I loved starting and finishing a story.  So I kept doing it and it naturally evolved into prose.  I've read and loved crime fiction all my life so that's just what I wrote when I started writing prose without consciously deciding.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you have a special place you like to write?

Francis Yamoah:
I tend to do a lot of writing in my bedroom so I guess that's my special writing place.  I'm very easily distracted and I can't write in any kin dog public place even a library.  I need to be alone with next to no distractions around, and in my house the bedroom is currently the only place that fulfills those specifications.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you have any quirks or processes that you go through when you write?

Francis Yamoah:
If I dedicate the whole day to writing, I wake up, go downstairs for breakfast, leave my mobile phone downstairs and then I return to my desk in my bedroom to write.  I usually write for about three to four hours from the morning, and then I stop and go for about an hour's walk, return and write for about two more hours before stopping for the day.  And that's my usual writing process.  As for writing quirks, aside from talking to myself a lot when writing, there's none that I've recognized.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Where do the ideas for your books come from?

Francis Yamoah:
Ideas for my books come about in different ways.  My latest novel, Let It Bleed, for example came about when I read an article somewhere online about an American college student who went around shooting and killing a bunch of girls just because he felt girls have ignored him all his life and wouldn't go out with him or something along those lines.  What most shocked me about the article was the fact that in the comments section for the article a few people agreed with what he'd done.  I became curious as to how someone would come to have such an extreme view and the plot for the novel came out of my research into that.  Whereas the first story in the Lucy Collins series, A Good Day, the main character and consequently the story came about when my mother fell ill and my sister went above and beyond to ensure her wellbeing.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What books have most inspired you?

Francis Yamoah:
I think one way or the other every book that I've read and enjoyed have inspired me but the ones that most stand out to me are the books by Elmore Leonard that I've read, Stieg Larsson's Millennium series, Jo Nesbo's the Snowman and Lee Child's Echo Burning just to name a few.


The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What inspires you most?

Francis Yamoah:
Everyday life inspires me the most.  Even the seemingly mundane everyday life experiences can be very interesting when you pay close attention and add a little bit of imagination.  Also things that I don't have an immediate understanding of tend to inspire me.  I seek to try and understand and make sense of them and sometimes that process involves writing.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?

Francis Yamoah:
The length of time it takes to complete a writing project is usually what I find most challenging.  I have a habit of losing focus and getting impatient but the more I write, the more I'm learning to be patient with the writing process.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What do you think makes a good story?

Francis Yamoah:
Well-drawn, vivid, three-dimensional characters are consistent aspects of all the great stories that I've read with love, so I believe that's what makes a good story.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Tell us a little bit about your books, your target audience, and what you would like readers to take away from your stories.

Francis Yamoah:
Anyone that enjoys crime fiction, mystery novels and thrillers are my target audience and they would enjoy reading any of my books.  Aside from the mandatory entertaining factor, every individual book will have a different objective in terms of what I want readers to take away from it because of the different themes that would be explored in each book but in the case of Let It Bleed, the main theme of violence against women is an important one and I hope at the end of the book I'm able to create in the reader's mind some form of heightened awareness on violence against women and some of the potential consequences and cycle of violence it can possibly generate.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Which, of all your characters, do you think is the most like you?

Francis Yamoah:
This is a tough question.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Why did you pick your particular genre?

Francis Yamaoh:
I think I write crime fiction simply because it is the genre I like to read.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What have you learned creating this book?

Francis Yamoah:
I was honestly very much oblivious to the high level of violence against women across the world before I started doing research for the book so that is the main thing that I've learned.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What makes your books different from others out there in this genre?

Francis Yamaoh:
I like reality and strive to write stories that could happen in the real world with believable characters. Consequently my books always explore relevant contemporary themes, ones most readers may have heard about maybe in the news or may have experienced personally, making it easier for them to relate and engage in the stories and heightening their reading experiences.  I think that's what makes my books different from most others in the genre.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What can we expect from you in the future?

Francis Yamoah:
More installments for the Lucy Collins series are guaranteed in the future but I'm currently working on a new series starring Detective Chief Inspector Harry Bell who features in Let It Bleed and the first of that will be my next novel to be published.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Thanks for stopping by, Francis.  It was great having you.  Before you go, can you tell us where we can find you?

Francis Yamoah:
I can be found on Twitter, on Facebook, on Goodreads, on Google+, and on my website.

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