Author Interview: Robert Franks

I don’t know about you, but after meeting author Robert Franks the other day, I was left with a few unanswered questions. I mean, who wouldn’t have questions for a guy who was raised on a farm and writes about fairies, right? Since all you wonderful blog readers can’t just up and ask him questions yourself, I decided to do it for you, so let’s just see what this farm-raised, free-run fellow has to say for himself, shall we?


  • Your bio states that you grew up on a dairy farm. Did you ever milk the cows? It was my first job. At age 14, I was getting up at 5am on a weekend to milk the creatures. Not thecow2 typical activity of a teenager. Most teenage lads go into hibernation between 14 & 21! They devolve into monosyllabic neanderthals. I know. I have two teenage nephews.

  • How many cows have you milked? Too many!

  • What is your funniest/weirdest/most disturbing milking story? Not so much a milking story, but still farm related … in the 70’s, my cousin did a summer of work on our farm. He was one day driving the muckspreader, spraying the fields. And the muckspreader got blocked. Being an inventive soul, he got a long stick and proceeded to poke at the blockage, trying to free it. He never thought to turn the engine off. He succeeded. And as a result, had to be hosed down in the farmyard!

  • You also mention growing up with a plethora of other animals, including dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, and an assortment of fowl. Did you ever milk any of them? That’d be a no ….

  • Your YA series, The Glass Apple, features fairies. Have you ever seen a live fairy? If so, how much alcohol had you consumed when you did? Did you get photographs of either the fairies or the alcohol?O yes. How do you think I pay my bills? It was the Cottingley fairies. Took me back in time with them, met Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Now that man can storytell! Especially after that Absinthe incident. Discovered he knew quite a few questionable limericks. Quite the eye opener!

  • You live in England. Have you ever met the Queen? Has she read your books? I can happily tell you the Queen is a huge fan (Though I’ve been told I’m not always honest. But I may be lying about that)

  • In England, cricket is a sport. In North America, it is a bug that sings with its legs. Yeah, words have so many meanings. Bugs me, really bugs me!

    Keep Calm and Read Bob's Books!
    Keep Calm and Read Bob’s Books!


  • Couldn’t you people have come up with a different name for your sport? Wackaball was already taken.

  • And what’s the appeal of a game that can go on for days, anyway? Dunno – I’ve never played World of Warcraft.

  • If you could take credit for writing any three books, which ones would they be and why? (Ok serious reply here …) The Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin, for the believable characterisations, Lord of the Rings, for the sheer scope, and Faerie Tale by Raymond E Feist for the research that went into it.

  • Which author would you hire as a lawyer (or perhaps a barrister, since you’re English) when you get sued for taking credit for those three books? George R R Martin. No-one survives. Just … no-one.

  • One of your characters has a very unusual name–Ethelbert Gobswistle. What was his paternal grandmother’s maiden name? Really? The dude’s 7000 years old! He doesn’t even remember what he had for dinner – the chances of knowing his parental lineage are nigh on impossible!

  • If you could change one thing about any of your books, what would it be? I’d have my covers redesigned by either Michael Whelan, Brian Froud or Boris Vallejo

  • Both my father-in-law and my mother were born in England. Do you know either of them? Are they the ones that Sing “Mustang Sally” at the local karaoke?

  • Here’s the open-ended question to finish things off. What do you want your readers and potential readers to know about you and your books?
    About myself? A middle-aged geek with a love of all things scifi and fantasy. I grieved, grieved I tell you, when Fringe finished. I’m a trekwhovianistic Potterhead with undertones of Hobbitism and a growing loathing of glittering vampires and overly cute werewolves. 

Image.ashxAbout my books? Working under the collective title of The Glass Apple, they follow the adventures of Ethelbert Gobswistle and his three grandchildren; Jason, Kylie and Anna Crowanhawk. The children come to live with their grandfather after their father, Chogan (Gobswistle’s son) runs off with another woman, and their mother dies in a car accident. Jason is injured in this same accident, and has only just recovered from his injuries when their adventures begin.

Ethelbert Gobswistle is 7000 years old. In current times, he is scatterbrained and forgetful. He knows that, in the past, he used to be Merlin, but has no real memories of this. His best friend, Etain, is a small black plastic Christmas fairy, much to her chagrin. She wasn’t always this diminutive. She used to be a Black Celt warrior, defending Scotland and Ireland from the invading forces of the Romans. She ended up being transformed into a doll in order to protect a green glass apple, carved into the shape of a small bowl. This is the Anguinum – the focus, but not the source, of Gobswistle’s magical abilities.

Pursuing the small family is the Medb (pronounced Mave – Olde Englishe!!), an ancient and malevolent witch who covets the Anguinum, though as she cannot use it herself, why she wants it is currently a mystery.

There are 8 books planned, with each two books telling a complete  story arc. The first two books, The Glass Apple and Spider’s Web, tell the storyRobert Franks, Spider's Web of how the family is cast back in time, to ancient Scotland at the time of the Viking invasions. Here they meet Cinaed Mc Alpine, king of Argyllshire, desperately trying to defend his borders. And they meet Myrrdin, a young druid who is Cinaed’s advisor.

  Myrrdin is an early form of Merlin. And is the younger version of Gobswistle….


Thanks to Bob for taking the time to play and just a reminder to all you other writers out there: if you’d like to guest on my blog, just drop me a line to and we’ll figure something else. Just be prepared to answer questions about your milking experiences!


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