Interview with Robert J.R. Graham
Do you ever base characters on real people you have known?
In part, yes. As truth is sometimes stranger than fiction, it would seem almost too easy to extract characters from everyday life and have them interact on paper. However, when writing I am not so literal nor would I want to offend those close to me by misrepresentation. I mainly take the most interesting components from many real or fictional personalities or scenarios and combine them with a slight twist. This usually gives me an interesting starting point for creating rich characters, dialogue and plots.
What was the book that most influenced your life and why?
There are many books in my life which have influenced me deeply, and many that could tie for first place. However the book and author that truly influenced me the most would be “The Way of The Peaceful Warrior” by Dan Millman. Not only did it ring true for me as a story, it helped place a label on the urge I had to better myself.
What book were you forced to read at school that no child should have to study?
“Catcher In The Rye” – a book that left me feeling more depressed than inspired. I don’t think books should do that, but that’s just my experience.
Do you ever write while intoxicated?
Whenever I’m writing, I’m definitely in an elevated state of consciousness, a natural high that comes from being passionate about my task.
Which deceased author would you most like to take out to dinner?
William Shakespeare, for such writings as “This above all: to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.” Statements such as this reveal a deeper understanding about life, and how one should function in the world. Much of his work also reveals his passion for understanding the nature of thoughts and consciousness.
Did you ever read a book and then wish you had all that time back?
I tend to look for the value in whatever it is that I’m reading. There are definitely books that may be considered more fluffy and with less substance, but even that’s telling you something.
Is writing your main profession?
No it’s not. Writing is a passion for sure and continually allows me to challenge myself. However, at this time writing is not my main source of income. I write books, maintain my websites, and train martial arts in my off hours.
What is the greatest challenge you have had to overcome in your writing career?
Being willing to adapt and change constantly. I’ve needed to change and adapt my material, or my perspective several times throughout this process. It keeps me on my toes, but certainly requires effort.
What is the best writing advice you’ve ever been given?
The best writing advice I’ve received applies to writing and all of life – “Never give up.” I don’t know who coined the phrase, but it always comes up and always rings true. Many experiences throughout my life have yielded positive results from relentless persistence, so why stop now?
If you could be any character in fiction, who would you be?
That’s easy. Superman. Not simply because of the incredible abilities, but because he always does the right thing. Tested time and time again, he does the best for all people involved and is truly a hero. So many with such power would be a tyrant, yet he remains a humble servant to humanity with limitless powers.
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