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Memories Of Africa Marry With War Experiences For Ten Works Of Fiction By Napanee Author
Posted By Aimee Pianosi
Though he has been gone from there for 32 years, Frank Streek still sets his novels - and there are 10 of them - in Africa, mostly southern Africa .
Streek may be better known to people in Napanee as a financial whiz, as he retired from owning Money Concepts just a few years, however, he's worked with words just as much as figures throughout his career in newspaper management, and about six years ago, started writing fiction.
He had retired at age 55 in South Africa , spent two years in France, and then he and his wife Deena decided to leave South Africa for good. They ended up moving to Napanee, where Frank went to work for his brother-in-law Carl Clayton, who owned a large hog operation on Hay Bay . One thing led to another, and he eventually owned his own business, but before he even retired, he was writing down his ideas, and gathering them into novels.
Frank's books are all fiction based on real locations and real events, and therefore are not necessarily warm and fuzzy. For instance, the lead character in Untainted by Conflict is a German U-boat captain who becomes an arms dealer in Africa after hiding out for 10 years after the Second World War.
A lead character can be a rascal. You can write about Hitler or Machiavelli and make them a character, he said.
Frank, who is 87, served as a soldier in army of South Africa . He fought in eastern and northern Africa in the infantry for four years and in the air force for two years. Locates include Kenya , Somaliland, Ethopia (then Abyssinia), Eritrea , and in the western desert against Rommel, and his plot lines are often based on military themes or have soldiers as characters.
His first book, Death of a Journalist dealt with the war in Malaysia . The hero of the second book, Sea Harvest, was a character in the first. Other books include Tainted by Conflict, about an arms dealer who encounters an adventure in the diamond trade in South Africa , Revenge is Sweet, and Return to Sender. These five books are linked by characters.
The next five books are The Arctic Connection, El Orgullo del Cervantes, My Native Land, about a Mohawk who serves in the Canadian army in the First World War, The Curled Finger and 5-3-1. This last title refers to the practice in South Africa of paying white veterans five times that of Africans, and three times that of coloured and Asian veterans. The first two books in this series are linked as well.
Frank says that as he writes, he thinks about what he can pull from each book to serve as the basis for the next.
He said characters are not based on anyone specific, they are completely invented, but are based on his experiences.
A certain amount of war experience is attached to it, and a lot of South African experience as well, he said.
Frank said he chose fiction because of a lack of access to historical research, though he has done research in South Africa , where he has continued to spend time since immigrating.
I had to dig for information on the war in Malaysia . It was quite a campaign there. I'm a bit of a history buff, he added.
He said the main audience for his books, which are published by Just Done Publication of , is in South Africa , as the politics and nuances are more easily understood there, although they are available here as well.
When I first wrote, I didn't write for an audience, which you should do, I suppose, he said, but notes the books would be most appreciated by his generation of readers.
Frank said he used to be a very good storyteller to his children, and he was encouraged by that to start putting his ideas down on paper. I need the activity to keep my brain active in these years of senility, he added.
His late son, Barry, was also a writer, and all the proceeds from his book sales will be donated to a scholarship fund for a journalism student, organized by the Cape Town Press Club, in which Barry was active.
As for feedback, Frank says people have told him his writing is somewhat staccato, and not fluid enough, but reviews don't seem to concern him. He writes for himself.
Outside of writing, Frank has also been very involved with Napanee Group 150 of Amnesty International, Napanee Legion, and Family and Children's Services.
Article ID# 1117283