Kay versus Zador - The Final Interview

That battle-scarred veteran of the debut novel, FRANCES KAY, once more girds up her loins to pose a few hard-hitting questions to her glittering and complacent alter ego PAN ZADOR. At Pan’s request, this interview is taking place in her virtual penthouse e-apartment, which is sickly with the scent of orchids and yellow roses.

PZ: Champagne, dear heart?

FK: What, at seven thirty in the morning? Have you finally lost your marbles?

PZ: It’s only virtual, alas. It’s e-champagne from an ethical supplier.

FK: Let’s begin the interview. I’m a busy woman.

PZ: Busy? Mmm, housework can become a career in itself, if you let it. Fire away.

FK: I understand you think you are publishing a new novel on July 1st.

PZ: That is indeed the case. Hence, this upgrade to my e-lifestyle. It is, of course, a collaboration.

FK: Some might say you are merely piggybacking on the hard-won success of one of England’s most famous nineteenth century novelists –

PZ: - whose illustrious name, along with mine, appears on the cover. I owe an enormous amount to Thomas Hardy, whose work I greatly admire.

FK: Your name appears first as co-author, I note. And glancing through the pages, it would appear to contain the whole of the original novel, some one hundred and thirty thousand words, with the addition of nineteen thousand of your own.

PZ: How quaint! You have being doing your little sums. Let us be serious for a moment. ‘Far From The Madding Crowd’ was the first novel of Hardy’s to achieve literary and commercial success. It appeared as a serial in a newspaper, and as we are talking about the era of Victorian morality at its most stifling, the eighteen seventies, Hardy was subject to the prudish whims of his editor, who refused to allow him to write in any detail about sex. A great pity, since it is sex which lies at the throbbing heart of this story. The seduction of poor Fanny Robin, the solitary frustrations of Gabriel Oak and Farmer Boldwood, the lusty harvest rompings of a whole cast of rural characters, and, above all, the irresistible immorality of the Sergeant of Hussars, Francis Troy, who is libido personified – all these were merely to be hinted at. I think Hardy would approve my additions to his narrative.

FK: So, in your literary opinion, this version is an improvement on Hardy’s original?

PZ: I make no such claim; history will be my judge. All I can tell your readers is that the new material has been inserted so skilfully that you will scarcely be able to tell who wrote what. I studied Hardy’s style, followed the character arcs of his creations and was utterly true to the pace and shape of his narrative.

FK: If we may broaden the scope of this interview for one moment, do you in principle think there is nothing wrong with taking famous classics of literature and ‘spicing them up’ with additional scenes of an explicitly sexual nature? 

PZ: Oh, my goodness, you make it sound so grubby. You writers with a conscience never let an opportunity for moralising go past, do you? No, I do not think there is anything wrong with this; indeed, it may attract readers to other works of the same authors, thus increasing the readership of the originals. Can that be in any way a bad thing? There is a discreet yet eager appetite for erotica. Let us take pleasure in creating erotic writing of the highest quality. I do not write for commercial success, I write for the pure joy of having a book published each year. My debut novel, ‘Act of Love’, has just come out in paperback, by the way.

FK: Congratulations.

PZ: Have you anything to report on the publishing front yourself?

FK: I have recently finished another novel.

PZ: Oh, well done! Perhaps you may at last be able to remove that ‘debut novelist’ albatross hanging so obstinately around your neck since, let me see – 2010? When is the new work to be published?

FK: It is called ‘Dollywagglers’ and is a darkly comic dystopian story, set in England after a flu pandemic.

PZ: And it is being published? This year? Next year?

FK: Unlike you, I do not write to please others, I write because it is as necessary as breathing to me. Work like mine does not so readily find a market, but when it does, I -

PZ: In other words, it’s another of your unpublished litfic novels.

FK: I’ve also been working on a play.

PZ: A play? But why didn’t you say so before? Theatre is my passion, as you know. I could have given you a few tips. There is nothing I do not know about drama.

FK: It will be performed in the Dublin Theatre Festival this September.

PZ: Oh! It has actually been commissioned? How utterly marvellous. And it will appear under …your name?

FK: I am a playwright, and have been for years, long before you arrived on the scene. This play was commissioned by Theatre Lovett, it is called ‘A Feast Of Bones’ and it is on the official programme of the Festival.

PZ: Congratulations, my dear. It sounds exactly like the sort of grim little piece you excel in.

FK: In the hands of that superb actor, Louis Lovett, and with live music composed by musical genius, Nico Brown, the play, which has both light and dark elements, will be a memorable theatrical experience for children.

PZ: Perhaps we could now return to the real subject of this interview, my book?

FK: What else do you need to say?

PZ: It is published under the ‘Wild and Wanton’ imprint of Crimson Romance and while it will appear first as an e-book, I am confident that the paperback edition will follow in six months or so.

FK: I think I might have a glass of that e-champagne now.

PZ: Cheers! To success!

FK: To writing of quality, which is surely more important than the tawdry tinsel of success?


Pan Zador’s collaboration with Thomas Hardy, FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD, the Wild and Wanton edition, is published on July 1st by Crimson Romance.

Frances Kay’s play for Theatre Lovett, A FEAST OF BONES, can be seen at The Ark Children’s Cultural Centre, Dublin, from September 28th to 13th October. 

Boxing gloves: Flickr: KW Designs

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Extremely entertaining interview. Dollywagglers sounds amazing. But of course nothing compares to a steamy Hardy novel.