Author Interview with Frank Kusy
Frank Kusy Author Page
I’m a huge fan of Frank Kusy’s hilariously entertaining and interesting travel memoirs and I’m really pleased to welcome him on my blog today
Could you tell us a little bit about your background and the books you’ve written.
Hmm…well, I’m a bit of a mongrel, part Polish (my dad), part Hungarian (my mum), and part streets of London, since I grew up there. A much later part was India, where I first travelled when I was thirty…and where I first felt inspired to write a book. This was Kevin and I in India the account of two oddball Brits skidding around India on a shoestring. To my great surprise, this was picked up by a mainstream publisher and ran three editions from 1986 to 1995. On that back of that, I was contracted by a different publisher to write travel guides to not just India, but Thailand and Burma too. It was only in 2008, however, after breaking my leg, that I made writing my (more or less) full time profession. There followed Rupee Millionaires (a true story of rags to riches), Off The Beaten Track: My Crazy Year In Asia (and what a crazy year it was) and most recently Too Young To Be Old: From Clapham to Kathmandu (an account of how working with old people reignited a young dream to travel and to write about it). There’s been two cat books as well: Ginger The Gangster Cat and Ginger The Buddha Cat– both of them inspired by losing my sweet little cat Sparky and imagining him being catnapped by a very fat and very greedy Fagin cat called Ginger.
Have you always enjoyed writing?
Yes, I’ve always wanted to be a writer. My first book, aged 8, was called ‘Jessie the Cat’ and even my mother liked it. My second attempt, written at the age of 11 on bus trips to school, was ‘Toad’s Dilemma’. It was a sequel to ‘The Wind in the Willows’, my all-time children’s book.
Do you have a specific place or room to write in at your home?
Yes, I write in the upstairs largest room in the house, looking out onto the railway tracks. Though I do get out of bed downstairs a lot when I’m working on a new book and jot down ideas on just about anything in a half sleep. I once ruined one of my wife’s expensive art books this way.
Oh Frank! I bet she wasn’t very happy! 😀
What sort of books do you like reading?
I wish you wouldn’t have asked me that! I have a strange thing going on, where I don’t read at all – apart from the occasional memoir– while I am writing. I tried it once, when working on my Gangster Cat book, and the Stephen King horror novel I was reading at the same time impinged on my style. All of a sudden, my light and cheeky kids’ book turned very dark!
Same thing with music. I never play music whilst writing. And since I have been writing pretty much non-stop these last 7 years, I’ve completely cut myself off from my music collection. Pity. I used to be such a convincing punk.
Oh nooooo…another difficult question. I’d like to say I eat healthily, but I don’t. I have a horrible predilection for kebabs and Southern fried chicken. And don’t start me on sausages!
The most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to you?
I really can’t answer that. It’s unprintable. But the second most embarrassing thing was posing as a pretty-in-pink pussycat called WussyGirl on a online writers’ site (to avoid a thug called Spud who wanted to kill me) and then having to fess up to all the guys on that site who’d been flirting with me and sending me kisses.
Tell us about your cats
I only have one cat – Sparky. He’s the cutest cat in the universe and I feel blessed to have him. In my mind, I also have the second cat Ginger, who is a composite of all the stray cats I’ve had in the past– absolute terrors, all of them!
What are you writing at the moment?
I’m presently writing another travel book – a diary of my first tour of India as a travel writer in the 80s. I’m thinking of calling it ‘Dial and Talk Foreign at Once’ and the elevator pitch will be: ‘Ever wanted to be a travel writer? Think again!
If you could choose just one place to go in the world purely for relaxation, reading and writing where would that be?
Good question, Caryl, and probably the mo difficult one to answer. I am TERRIBLE at relaxation, could never get my head around it (despite being a Buddhist for 30 years). I am rubbish at meditation, smoke and drink too much, and find ‘holidays’ very intimidating. That said, India is my second home, the place I return to again and again, so I guess that’s my choice.
Thank you Frank for your very interesting replies
Thank you, Caryl. Really enjoyed chatting with you.
Frank Kusy has a new book out soon that his fans (myself included) are really looking forward to.