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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

SILKS – DICK FRANCIS BACK IN THE SADDLE AGAIN!

SILKS – DICK FRANCIS BACK IN THE SADDLE AGAIN!

To this day Dick Francis remains my all time sentimental favorite author. I still remember, when I was starting out to write novels, taking apart a paperback copy of Francis’ novel For Kicks, spreading the pages out on the floor on my office in an effort to glean his secrets of pacing and plotting.

The result of this effort was my novel Chapel Of The Ravens. And it would be very hard for you to imagine my shock when I received a letter from Francis, whom I did not know at the time, from the Bahamas where he had read and enjoyed Chapel Of The Ravens while he was on vacation. I would later learn correspondence like this from Francis was fairy rare, so the letter remains a personally valuable part of my literary collection.

Over the years, I’ve met and enjoyed Francis’s company on several occasions. Both he and his late wife Mary were always gracious. The silly controversy over whether Franicis himself or Mary wrote the books was just that – silly. They wrote the books together and never made out as if the process was any different.

Now, at 87 and a few years removed from Mary’s death, Dick is back writing again – this time with his son Felix. And, I for one am very grateful to have a new yearly Francis novel.

I thought the first official collaboration, Dead Heat, between Francis and Felix made for an excellent return, and I have even higher hope for Silks – which has just been published.

Thanks to The Rap Sheet, I was able to catch up with this recent article from The LondonTimes, in which Francis and Felix talk about their writing collaboration.

A tiny old man in a large Oxfordshire kitchen is neatly writing postcards to America despite the fingers misshaped into question marks. There are five others in the room – his son Felix, Felix’s girlfriend, Felix’s girlfriend’s daughter, a carer and a photographer – but Dick Francis, the octogenarian royal jockey turned novelist, never stops writing; nor does he look up to inspect another arrival until he’s completed the address, right down to the zip code.

I begin to understand the methodical drive that takes a man from winning post to top of the bestseller list, time after time. Every year, after he finishes a novel, he begins his Christmas cards, sent in aid of the Injured Jockeys Fund, and fires off letters in between. His light frame is now frail. Last year he had a triple heart bypass and a foot amputated, yet he’s still the most commanding person in the room. He signs his postcards “Legless Dick”.


TO READ THE COMPLETE ARTICLE CLICK HERE

A tip of the fedora to THE RAP SHEET

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