Wednesday, May 31, 2023

#GIVEAWAY Review: The Fish King and the Two Wise Ghosts Written and Illustrated by Francis H Powell + Exclusive Author Interview

Today it's my immense pleasure to share with you this fantastic feature of The Fish King and the Two Wise Ghosts, including my review and an exclusive author interview. Plus Francis H Powell has a fabulous #Giveaway for those who read and comment on the post. Details below.

#Giveaway is for a postcard created 
by the author/artist for up to 10 commenters
Please use Rafflecopter form to enter
Good Luck!

ISBN-13: 978-1739295561
Publisher: Blossom Spring Publishing
Release Date: 04-12-2023
Length: 59pp
Source: Author for review
Buy It: AmazonB&N / IndieBound

Two fish tales in one!

The Fish King is lonely and wishes he has a wife to keep him company. So when his chance of happiness is dashed by Princess Chipolata, after she is caught by the two wise ghosts stealing the crown jewels and is sent to prison, the king is still left feeling miserable. The Fish King has many suiters but it is Princess Alice’s sister, Lilly, who finally wins his heart!

However, there’s only one problem...he must introduce her to the two ghosts that reside in his palace and who like to play jokes on people!

A grand wedding takes place at the palace and soon after the king and queen produce a royal heir – Prince Erik. The young prince grows to love the two wise ghosts as much as his father does and, as soon as he is old enough, he leaves the palace to embark on a magical adventure with his ghost friends; until at last it is time to go home and share his many stories with his parents and Aunt Alice.

My Interview with Francis:

Francis thanks for sharing your children’s book with me, I loved it and know it will thrill any young child who either reads it or has it read to them.


You dedicated the book to your son who you said drew the first illustration of the Fish King and his two ghostly compatriots.

What made him draw the picture in the first place and how did it get from that into a children’s book?

Both myself and my wife went to art school. He must have seen us doing drawings and children tend to copy their parents. During the pandemic and the confinement our family had a sudden urge to draw. There were times when all three of us were working on different drawings. Some of these drawings ended up in a book I put together called “Together Behind Four Walls” a book of poetry, short stories and illustrations inspired by what was happening at that time. My son watches a lot of cartoons on television, at the time he was going through a “ninja” phase. My interpretation of his drawings might be totally different to his original ideas. The drawing he did that inspired me, was very rough looking, it was in felt pens. The main character had sharp looking teeth.

For me I saw a king holding the hands of two ghosts. The king seemed to have a body like a fish, which gave me a title “The Fish King”. At first I wrote a very long poem, then decided to transform it into prose. However I kept a lot of the poetry. I used his design, but modified what the king and the two ghosts looked like, keeping some elements, like the way he drew the king's legs and feet. His drawing was the springboard for my book.


Your book is full of wonderful illustrations by you

What came first the illustrator or the writer?

As I said I went to Art School. I wouldn't describe myself as an illustrator, more of a fine artist. I have had work in shows and even one man shows in Paris. I have always done all manner different creative things, including music and video. I love writing because it is calming, when I am painting it can be a bit manic. With illustrations I start with a rough drawing. When I am happy with my drawing, I scan it and then work on it further with my computer. I also mix things together, like if I have taken an incredible sunset, I will add it to my drawing. I have been using Photoshop for quite a long time.


Did you always want to be a writer or was it all a fortunate accident?

I tried a while back to write a book, I am sure it was a disastrous effort. When I was living in Paris, I saw an advert looking for short stories. Consequently I wrote a short story, but heard no reply, for a long time. Then an English man called Alan Clark, got back to me, saying he loved my short story. Because of this I was encouraged to write further short stories. In a way it was a fortunate accident. 


Why do you think visual art is important in children’s literature?

Maybe some children can express themselves better through creating images and relate strongly to images. I have to admit my son would sooner read a manga book, than a novel. This is a bit of a contemptuous point for my wife and me. I suppose there has to be balance, if you take away the Quentin Blake illustrations from Roald Dahl, they would still be great stories, but the image of the BFG sticks in their minds. Illustrations should fire a child's imagination.  


Take us through a normal day in the life of Francis H Powell

I tend to wake up early. If it's a school day, the first thing is to get my son up, go with him to school.

Return home. Have breakfast. I live in France, but I like to read English newspapers. It is also good to look at things I have written the day before, with a fresh mind, see if I can't improve the way I have written something. Sometimes just after waking up, I have new ideas about how a story might evolve. 

If I am writing, my dog Bertie, a rescue dog with a strong character, has other ideas, he makes it clear, that he should be taken for a walk. With his intervention, I am usually forced to stop what I am doing. We go for a walk together by the river Loing, which the impressionist painter Alfred Sisley used to paint. If we happen to meet another dog, Bertie will go crazy, pulling at his lead. This is a daily ritual. At the moment I spend a bit of time blasting away with my saxophone.

Lunch times arrives quickly. Then a few hours of writing or doing other things. Collect my son. Sometimes he does basketball or judo  in the evenings. More dog walking duty. Rarely have dinner.

Watch a bit of English television. Weekends can involve different things, jogging, going for long walks, around the rocks or in the forest, seeing friends, barbecues, putting promotion stuff on the social media, going to Paris for the day.


This is your first children’s book.

Do you think you will write more?

I have other books in the pipeline. There is one I need to do the illustrations for, it's about a dragon trainer called Boris.


Francis thank you for answering my questions.

Where can my readers get a copy of The Fish King and the Two Wise Ghosts or any of your other works?

Amazon UK USA  etc.

The Fish King and the Two Wise Ghosts – Blossom Spring Publishing Francis H Powell: Books, Biography, Blogs, Audiobooks, Kindle

The Fish King and the Two Wise Ghosts by Francis H Powell, Paperback | Barnes & Noble® (

Book Trailer 

 My Review:

The Fish King and the Two Wise Ghosts
Francis H Powell author and Artist


Francis Powell’s children’s book The Fish King and the Two Wise Ghosts is a whimsical tale of a Fish King in need of direction and the two Ghosts who happily give it to him whether he wants it or not. And an extra story about the adventure of the Fish King’s son Prince Eric.
The stories are full of offbeat places and outlandish characters who get up to all kinds of antics plus some really imaginative illustrations also drawn by the author. The book is a joy for any parent or child who love a really good story and was inspired by the author’s son who drew the first illustration of the Fish King and his two friendly ghosts.

An old Fish King who lives in a crumbling castle takes advice from a pair of wise ghosts and soon he’s not only wearing fine clothes and living in a castle that’s been made over but he’s also wised up got married and started a family all thanks to a pair of ghosts who only scare people who aren’t nice.

About the Author:
Born in 1961, in Reading, England Francis Powell attended Art Schools. In 1995, Powell moved to Austria, teaching English while pursuing his varied artistic interests adding music and writing. He currently lives in Paris, writing both prose and poetry.

a Rafflecopter giveaway