Dracula drama: Family authors move from horror to happiness

    Bram Stoker’s great grandson Frank Salmon with his Old English Sheepdog Seve called after golfer Seve Ballesteros

    By Jimmy Rhatigan

    TODAY The Reporter reveals the super story of how a world famous ink slinger and a first time author, both members of the same family, took similar write turns in different eras.

    Dracula author Bram Stoker

    Abraham ‘Bram’ Stoker was an Irish author, best known for his 1897 Gothic novel Dracula, also known as The Prince of Darkness.

    Frank Salmon, a noted musician and popular St Kieran’s Street music shop owner is a son of Kilkenny City who has just written his first of a planned series of children’s books.

    Both are members of the same family tree, different branches perhaps but related nevertheless, kindred spirits in the art of writing.

    The late Bram Stoker was great grandfather of our Frank who proudly christened one of his sons Sion Stoker Salmon in memory of his famous relation and as a tribute to a hugely talented man who was so highly thought of in his time.

    The relationship is through Frank’s late mother Mary Stoker Dixon who was born and lived in Dublin for some time, wed another Dub George Salmon and came to live here where George was a highly respected member of the staff of Mount Juliet Estate, Thomastown.

    First to get an air mail copy of Frank’s Chronicles of Hamalot was his beloved five year old grandson Sindri Salmon who lives in Poland.

    No doubt the boy was thrilled to get granddad’s handiwork that introduced the young Salmon to King Porker and Queen Rasher among others.

    Frank who has been running Essaness Music for some 30 years with his wife Fionnuala lives in the village of Stoneyford.

    He is proud to be a descendant of Bram Stoker whose book Dracula is considered a masterpiece of the Gothic horror genre and has been immortalized in films and stage productions.

    Salmon leap into writing is child’s play

    In contrast our hugely enthusiastic Salmon is taking his first leap into writing and prefers to concentrate on child’s play and more precisely on pigs following a dream.

    His first children’s book is aimed at younger readers aged between 3 and 8 years.

    Frank’s pigs’ dream of becoming Knights in the Kingdom of Hamalot is all in rhyming verse in a beautifully presented and spectacularly colourful book printed locally through Perfecto Print, Dublin Road.

    Sound as a trout: The Salmon family
    Movie star Christopher Lee as Dracula

    A devoted family man, Frank turned the clock back to his happy early years of fatherhood with his sons and daughters to build the foundations for his book.

    He first put pen to paper in June 2017 when he was recuperating following a hip replacement. He recalled that his children Glen, Leigh, Sion and Poppy enjoyed the rhyme This little piggy went to market.

    “Memories came flooding back and the piggy idea appealed to me. I spoke with very talented illustrator Bill Doran of Newpark Close and my book was on the way to somewhere,” Frank told The Reporter.

    Frank has mighty plans for book signings and the date on the official launch at MacDonagh Junction, courtesy of Marion Acreman will be published in The Reporter shortly.

    The latter promises to be a great occasion for young and young at heart who will enjoy lots of cake and lemonade and perhaps a few nostalgic verses of This little piggy.

    There will be an open invitation to children and their parents, grandparents too, to attend.

    New book wings its way around the world

    The great news is that the piggy that went to market, or at least his first cousin from Nore Valley Park, will be there for the big event.

    The book is on sale at the Kilkenny Bookshop, Khans Books, Porters, Kilkenny Design Books, Pure Kids Shop, St Kieran’s Street, Butterslip Bargain Books and Newsplus at Loughboy Shopping Centre.

    For people who can’t get to Kilkenny to buy the book, there is a website www.thechroniclesof hamalot.com where the book is on sale at €10 and will be posted anywhere in the world for an extra €2.50 so that Chronicles will be in family homes well in time for Christmas.

    Schools or kindergartens that would like a reading or drawing session and get signed copies of the book are welcome to call to Essaness Music, work through the website or make contact at shop@essaness.com.

    The Kilkenny Reporter is proud to be associated with Frank whose Dogs’ Life Cartoons feature every week in our newspaper and are proving very popular.

    We would dearly love to see and firmly believe that his book will hit the spot with young people. He is a great bloke, a kind person with a warm heart.

    • INSIDE the front and back covers of the book is an opportunity to colour in the King and Queen and email it to King Porter at shop@essaness.com for a chance to be a colouring champion.
    • The winning entry will get a special prize from the author of the book.