Last night I trotted down to to my local Kew Library where comedian and author Bob Franklin was doing a talk about his book of short stories released last years under the cover title: Under Stones.
Bob Franklin is a welsh-born comic who has been in Australia since 1989. He frequently appears with Jimeoin. His show An Audience with Robert was nominated for the 2011 Barry Award at this years Melbourne International Comedy Festival. He has also stared in the ABC television drama, The Librarians.
Under Stones is described as tales of disturbing, bleak and black humor. Bob was likened to Roald Dahl and he starts out by saying that we were here because “We are all angry loners and what to leave the house…” hence for us being here. The stories were written by 15 – 20 years starting from the early 1990’s to present.
The first story was published in the Tasmanian Literature Magazine called Island in 1993 which is the first story in the book was the original one published entitled; Ironman. Seven in total where published and the bigger ones where published in The Big Issue. Getting the book published happened when ex-editor from The Big Issue, Martin Hughes contacted him and asked to send him stories, the first story Bob sent was ‘Take A Free Tour’ and Martin replied, “It really disturbed me but send me more.” In total there is 24.
An audience member asked him about where he gets his writing inspiration from, whether it is a simple visual or a happy sentence that he then detaches himself and turns into Dexter. He likened it to comedy when he said, “… comes down to recognize something universal and recognize to everyone and know what to expect in the situation…. you can take a step back and exploit it (comedy) or suspend it (thriller).” He used the analogy of a pillow. On one hand it can be comforting and a safe place; however there is also the basis that a pillow can smother someone to the point of death.
He made the statement that you, “….can’t have suspense when you don’t have empathy for someone.” He also commented on the marketing of the book because “…people are a bit hesitant to read a book of short stories because they end to soon…” and they want the investment that they get out of a novel. He prefers psychological horror as apposed to the murder horror.
When asked about genre writing he says that, “…any genre writing has to say something about the human condition if it is going to resonate with readers…” he also says that he prefers not to move away from the dark side to something lighter because he finds these stories more comical and his brain also logs events for future reference later.
He finished by saying that a “…story may take you further then he originally planned…” and “…if I disturb myself, it’s job done.”