A Chicken in the Wind and How He Grew was the winner in the Psychology/Mental Health category of the 2018 IndieReader Discovery Awards, where undiscovered talent meets people with the power to make a difference.
Following find an interview with author Frank South.
What is the name of the book and when was it published?
A Chicken in the Wind and How He Grew – Stories from an ADHD Dad, was published in January, 2018.
What’s the book’s first line?
“Somewhere in the last third of the eighteen years I worked in television, I was between jobs, but this time without any prospects.”
What’s the book about?
These interlocking stories are based on pieces written and published in ADDitude Magazine during eight pivotal and sometimes terrifying years in my family’s life. I wrote them to try to understand what was happening, and began to realize that I’d better learn how fly through my mental tornado or I wouldn’t be of any use to my wife, my two ADHD kids or anyone I loved – and that if I didn’t, everything I cared about could be blown away. But that meant getting out of my own head long enough to care about others and learn what they needed and how to help. For an ADHD, hypomanic, alcoholic, overthinking SOB like me – that’s a challenge.
Think about it. If every day of your life you wake up already engulfed in a roaring flood of urgent but completely confused and unrelated information hitting you non-stop, all at once, all the time, then the crushing cascade of conflicts and needs of career, creativity, parenting, loss and grief in a family crisis or any other calamity shouldn’t be overwhelming, it should feel like old home week. If only.
What inspired you to write this book?
I was inspired to write these stories originally by my wife, Margaret, who told me to. She wanted me to write honestly from the perspective of being in my crazy head how I saw and felt about the sometimes absurdly stressful and still joyfull life we were hacking our way through together. ADDitude magazine kept publishing the stories, and some readers wrote in who got something out of them, so I kept on writing through some pretty crazy times. Then I was inspired to combine, rewrite and shape years of stories into a book when Margaret insisted it was worth it. They belonged bound together between the covers, she said, like the two of us. And I think she’s right.
What’s the most distinctive thing about the main character?
This book being a memoir, I suppose there’s no getting around the main character being me. And since the title suggests growth on my part, I hope readers see that or at least get something from my attempts at growth. But what’s distinctive about me isn’t me at all. In story after story, banging and rattling through ridiculously challenging years, it is the family, friends, doctors who were with me on this journey that have the distinction of being patient teachers, listeners, and hand in hand guides as we found our way home.
What’s the main reason someone should really this book?
Anyone interested an entertaining, outlandish read about personal struggle and redemption told from inside the cockpit of crazy would enjoy this book. This is an honest, sometimes frightening and often funny book about the struggle to gain control of your inner demons so that you can throw some of them in the dungeon, and find ways to harness others to your imagination. The hope is, at that point you can break out of your thick sick head and become the open, creative, aware and useful person you long to be for the people you love. It’s worth a try, anyway.
If they made a movie out of this book, who should play the main character?
Jerry Lewis, but he’s dead. Jim Carey, but he just does political paintings now. I can’t think of anyone else.
When did you first decide to become an author?
I started writing stories in Junior High. My first plan was to become an actor to support my writing career. When that looked unlikely, I worked primarily in restaurants as a cook or a waiter until in my thirties I began to support myself as a writer.
Is this the first you’ve written?
No, I was an Off-Broadway playwright and then a longtime TV writer. I wrote the stories that are the basis of this book over the last eight years for ADDitude magazine. This is the second book I’ve written and self-published – the first, Aloha Island, The Story of the Stones is a adventure/fantasy for young readers, especially those with learning disabilities.
Which writer do you most admire?
There’s quite a few tied for “most admire” and the list keeps growing. Here’s my current top ten:
Joan Didion, David Sedaris, Augusten Burroughs, Ann Patchett, James Lee Burke, Ken Bruen, Michael Gruber, Tana French, Douglas Lindsay, Flannery O’Connor.