My new romantic comedy novel, Game of Scones, has three main characters, one of whom is a half-Dutch, debonair executive Henrik, He was inspired by a very charming flight attendant I met, last year, on the way back from Japan. I’m so glad KLM spotted my comments about Frank on Twitter and offered to track down him down! Here, I ask Frank a few questions about the romance of his jet-setting life. He even gives Pippa, the main character of Game of Scones, a bit of advice!
Hello there, Frank! How does it feel to have inspired a romantic hero? Flattering? Embarrassing? Have your KLM colleagues teased you (or perhaps you haven’t told them)?
I feel flattered to be honest. I thought it was a joke, but after we made contact I realized you were real! But I am really honoured by you, Sam. And I did tell some co-workers and they all responded very nicely. They said you’ve earned it and are such a hard worker and good for the company. So ya, I am still bit shy about it but that’s okay, that’s my nature.
Is flying a glamorous, romantic life – the parties, exotic locations, romantic liaisons with passengers/people in hotels/colleagues…? Or is the reality different?
Flying is only partly a romantic life… of course I really enjoy the Caribbean beaches or a day shopping in New York, but you are always alone and don’t forget, there are 10,000 co-workers at KLM. So you always have to start from the beginning – hi, my name is Frank and I live in The Hague, bla, bla, bla… You never get a really deep conversation. But it’s still gives me lots of energy and the passengers – they are never boring.
Is romance difficult as a flight attendant? Do you get a lot of unwanted attention from passengers?
Hmm, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t sometimes, although I mostly don’t notice because I am so focussed on work. But once, on a flight from Amsterdam to Panama, I was surprised by a guy. During the flight we caught each other’s attention and started talking. He worked as a model in Manila. After landing, he pressed something into my hand. It was a piece of paper and he’d given me his number, with an invitation to lunch in Panama. However, I had a boyfriend in Holland! So, after arriving at the hotel, I flushed it down the toilet. It’s a nice memory and very flattering.
Is it hard to maintain a relationship when you travel all year around?
To have a relationship is sometimes difficult, because I am away when my boyfriend is free and the other way around – he works shifts in a hospital. But we’ve been together for 12.5 years now… And I think it’s healthy to do your own thing. We’ve always got something to talk about when we see each other.
The character you have inspired, Henrik, is a real estate developer from London. Apart from you both being very charming and handsome ( of course!) – how similar are you to him?
Six foot four (193 cm) tall correct
Blonde hair blonde & brown
Grey eyes correct
Ambitious – wish I was a bit more. I’d love to have a different job next to my current one and hope to find it in 2015.
Honest – I try to be. It’s better to speak out than hold things in.
Materialistic – no, money doesn’t mean a lot to me. It’s handy to have, but inner peace is more what I’m looking for.
I have told you a little about the two leading men in Game of Scones, Frank, (removed from this to avoid spoilers!) and wonder who you think is best suited to Pippa – ambitious, hardworking, suave executive Henrik or impulsive, modest family-man, Greek fisherman Niko?
Hmm, that’s difficult, Sam, but if I may advise I would go for living in village life with Greek fisherman Niko. They can explore the mountains, go sailing on the lake, make camp fires, eat home-made bread with fresh cheese… And have an early night with romantic candles!
Hmm, well readers will have to wait until the end of the book to see who she chooses – or if she decides to strike out on her own!
Thanks so much for talking to me Frank – it’s been a great insight into the romantic side of a jet-setting life…