Author Interview: Clayton Graham

Are there any books or authors that inspired you to become a writer?

As a youngster growing up in the cobbled streets of Stockport, UK, I read a lot of science fiction, and loved the ‘old-school’ masters such as HG Wells, Jules Verne, Isaac Asimov and John Wyndham. That hasn’t changed much, but I do enjoy a Dean Koontz story.

I also enjoyed Agatha Christie novels, which are a great insight into the human character.

Anything with a bit of universal mystery appeals and can offer inspiration.

How do you develop your plot and characters?
Plots and characters are derived from the world we inhabit and the people and events that are part of it. Transitioning to interstellar space and coming across other lifeforms is just another mode of creative exploration that can produce a wonderful backdrop to any story.

Imaginative world-building is always a part of it all.    

The presence of aliens is a distinct possibility, whether interplanetary or inter-dimensional. That in itself is a source of endless plots.

There is also the distinct possibility of other dimensions. From the Milijun Series there is a Terran translation of an Rbuzen saying, before the aliens’ discovery of extra-dimensional space: ‘Like the worm in the soil, or the spider in the web, we know nothing of creation, save that of our immediate surrounds, for that is all we need to know in order to survive.’  

How do you use social media as an author?
I do, but maybe not very efficiently. I have an author Facebook Page, a Twitter Page, an Instagram account. My  Author Website Clayton Graham – Author of Milijun | Clayton Graham showcases my books and also carries a monthly blog on matters mysterious in our wonderful universe.

I love the intrigue and mystery around UFOs and UAPs and there are countless media sites that provide information, [bonafide or otherwise].

How important was professional editing to your book’s development?

Editing is critically important for all authors, even those who may earn a living from editing other authors’ books. You can read through a manuscript three times and still miss a few typographical and grammatical errors [think commas or no commas, full stops, colons, semi-colons, even question-marks and inverted commas] that need correcting. A good editor will also make word flow suggestions, or restructure the odd sentence another way. They will also fill you full of confidence. No matter how good your novel, a good editor will make it better.    

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

In total to date, I have published six books. Three of them form the Milijun Trilogy, another is the Space Opera saga Saving Paludis, and there are two collections of short stories, Silently in the Night and Looking for Life. There is no favourite among them, they’re all quite different in their scope and illustrate that Speculative and Science Fiction can cast its tentacles extremely wide.

If you could be mentored by a famous author, who would it be?

I think I would choose a hybrid of  HG Wells and Stephen King.

Wells for his wonderful imagination and uncanny view of future science. He was a genius of his age. It would be fun to compare today’s technology with his writings.

King for the rather majestic way he can weave simple words together to create a larger whole.    

If you were to write a spin-off about a side character, which would you pick?

This is a great and topical question because it is what I am considering now. Rather than write a fourth book in the Milijun Series, I am looking to compile a collection of short stories involving the future worlds of some of the Milijun Series characters. Whether side characters or principal characters remains to be seen! It’s a challenge, but I am looking forward to it immensely.

What comes first for you — the plot or the characters — and why?

The overall plot comes first – something that can be described in a few sentences [and maybe questions]. From then on, it is the characters that create their own sub-plots. What they think, how they react with other people and their surroundings, how they overcome adversity, how they develop, how the succeed or fail. How their past effects their future.

I think the plot is the foundation of the book; the characters are the stuff its made from.

What part of the book did you have the hardest time writing?
I really enjoy scripting the Prologue in Series sequels. It is also the hardest thing to get right!

It serves to link the previous novels in the series, and also hints at what is to come, thereby hopefully priming the reader’s interest and imagination.

What’s your favorite and least favorite part of publishing?

Marketing and marketing. I quite enjoy designing graphics for ads. I loathe the time spent in putting ads together and deciding where to advertise and where to avoid like the plague. To make things even more difficult, things are always changing. Nobody can sit still these days!! Proper little fidgets they are.

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