Interview with Graham Wilson

What is your e-reading device of choice?
A Sony E Reader, now 3 years old. I like the idea of publishing to devices using the epub platform. It works really well.

However as my son has just got a Kindle which I also like I may buy one of these shortly as I like the night reading feature.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
As yet my marketing has been extremely limited, as I have put most of my attention into polishing and revising my work to get it to as high a standard as possible.

The people who have bought my books to date have fallen into two groups.
1. Australians who know some of the people and places I know and share my love for these places and their stories
2. People from the other side of the world - US, Canada, England and even continental Europe. I have no idea what draws these people to read my novels set in Australia, but it is extremely gratifying when these unknown people from other cultures read what I have written and I hope they gain enjoyment from doing so.

I am now looking at targeted marketing in two areas - in the inner west Sydney area around Balmain as this forms a setting of my Old Balmain House novel series and secondly in the towms and communtiies of the remote outback of Australia, places like Broome, Darwin, Kakadu, Borooloola, and Alice Srongs as these are the places of which I write and hope these people will enjoy the stories - people such as those who work in mining towns, cattle stations and aboriginal communities.

As to how to market effectively to the rest of the world I really don't have a clue, but I hope their are people out there who keep discovering and reading what I have written.
Describe your desk
I have three different desks or really writing locations.

The first is an office where I do business work (what pays the bills). When I am in the flow of writing I often go to work and hour or two early or leave similarly late to fit in some writing time.

The second is a beautiful mahogany writing bureau, an antique piece my wife and I bought in a second hand furniture auction. It sits in a reading room, which we call the Cedar Room in our 1840s house. The room has extensive red cedar panelling and I love reading and writing in here as the rich timber and soft tones are both restful and stimulate my imagination.

The third place is my laptop, wherever I am. It goes with me to many places, to restaurants, park benches, in the car while I am waiting for my daughter to finish horseriding each week. I get great satisfaction if I can write a couple paragraphs in these places. These are often the times when I make progress with bits I am stuck on. I put it down to the stimulation of a fresh environment.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
As I tell in my memoir Children of Arnhems Kaliedoscope I grew up in an aboriginal community in remote Arnhem Land in Australia's Northern Territory. It is near Kakadu National Park. My earliest memories are of the people and colours of this beautiful landscape and this inspired my love for the NT and other parts of Outback Australia, and drew my back here to work as an adult. The virbrancy of these places and their stories has resonated with me down through my life and is my biggest motivator to tell the stories of the land and its people.

The second key influence was my English Teacher in Sydney in first year high school. In our first class he asked us all to write a one page creative story. The teacher loved my story. I loved the writing experience and gaining the reward of his praise. In that moment my love of writing stories, rather than just imagining stories, was born.
When did you first start writing?
My first serious attempt at writing was just after my mother died in a car accident about a decade ago, as told in my memoir. With her loss I had a very powerful sense of the need to tell her story, that of a missionary woman who came to remotest Arnhem Land, when almost no one beyond the local aborigines lived there. At first I proscratinated but then after telling my wife of my intention to write this for the tenth time she told me to stop talking about it and do it. So I started staying back at work for a couple hours one night each week and gradually wrote the first fifty pages.

Then when my father died about five years later I knew I had to finish this story, both for my sake and their sakes. It still took another couple years to get a reasonable first draft. I finally published it just over a year ago, and before this had written and published my first novel. I can still see where I can make more improvements to this book to this day. In a way it feels like a living story which will keep evolving for some time yet. But I also knew I needed to finish it to a level where I could publish it, both for family and friends to read and also to allow me to move on. I love the ability on Smashwords to make easy revisions to my work as I gradually improve it.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Lizzie's Tale, my latest novel, was motivated by NaNoWriMo. I had considered doing another book in the series about the Old Balmain House and had a half formed idea about a working class girl who lived her in the 1950s and 60s. I thought about using NaNoWriMo as a motivator to get on with it, though my plans for the book were only half formed until the second week in November. Then, with less than twenty days to go I decided to go for it.

The story had started to take a clear shape in my mind, the story of a working class teenage girl who became pregnant, largely due to her naivety with boys, who abused her trust and raped her. Then of her determination to keep her child and not surrender it for adoption which was what happened to almost all teenage unmarried mothers in that era. Her desperation and courage were key features of her character I wanted to bring out.

Once the story had caught fire in my imagination I used every spare minute I could find over two weeks to write - before work, after work, at weekends, late at night. Within a fortnight I had completed my 50,000 word task. Now that the story and the character was alive in my mind I pushed on to complete it as a 60,000 word novel. I then revised it in the next two weeks until I considered it was good enough to publish.

I have been extremely gratified in the response in the first month including more than 500 downloads, positive comments from those I know who have read it and two positve reviews from strangers on Smashwords.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
With my memoir I explored commercial publishing opprtunites through an agent or publishing company. Their interest was limited.

Then I met Joanna Penn from "The Creative Pen" at a Publishing Workshop at the Sydney Writers Festival. She told me about her own struggle to get published and how she had ended up going down the electronic self publishing route. She had produced a whole website to help other indie authors and even produced a step by step how to guide, available for a minimal cost from her website. So I downloaded her guide and read and followed in in the publication of my first novel. This introduced me to Smashwords, and it has become my main publication platform. I have been surprised at how easy it has been.

I get an incredible buzz each time someone downloads one of my books or even part of one. Even more exciting is when someone pays money to do so. While I have no serious expectation of supporting myself through writing and will not give up my regualr job anytime soon my writing has now become one of the great pleasures in my life. When I am in the flow of a novel it is like I am tranported to another place and time where the characters become the most real people and I live within the space of their stories.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Along with Joanna Penn as per the previous question, Smahword has been the key. The ability to publish with minimal delay and minimal technical skils, the ability to upload new versions as I make improvements to my works and their distribution channel network are all of gret importance. As well, as time goes by, both their site and their level of suppot just keep getting better.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The ability to bring imaginary worlds, people and places to light, within my mind, which is limited only by my imagination.
The creative process of bringing a new story alive from nothing and then sharing it with others who also enjoy it.
What do your fans mean to you?
I love tyhe fact that what I write is important or interesting enough for others to take the time to read. As my writing journey is early and my marketing has been very limited my fan base is only small as of yet.However I value each and every person who takes the time to download something I have written, whether a free book, sample of full paid book. Thank you all for your support and I hope it is as rewarding for you as it is for me.
What are you working on next?
My wife is Irish. The stories which resonate most strongly for me as told by her many family and friends back in Ireland are those of the whole generations who left for America or Australia a century or two ago. Now it is much easier with planes to come and go but a hundred plus years ago very few who left ever returned, even once. So they came to new lands with almost their only companion from their homes being their memories.

I am in the early stages of planning a series of stories based on real people who left. I plan to call it "Memories Only Remain". It will tell of the leaving, the left behind, and how the memories became foundations for a new life.

I am also about half way through writing the sequel novel to Just Visiting which follows the consequences of the actions of an English backpacker who comes to a remote NT river full of crocodiles.
Who are your favorite authors?
I love the great novelists of history, Tolkien, Tolstoy, and too many others who created visionary works when the writing of novels was much newer. But I am a reading junkie who will read almost anything in any genre, but particularly fiction which fires my imagination.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
I love my ordinary work (I am a vet who works on nature conservation)
I love my writing which allows me to create new worlds in my mind and share them with others
I love being with my family, my friends and my dogs
I love sitting at a bar, over a cup of tea or around a campfire sharing stories
I love the extraordinary beauty of nature and the natural world, particularly the NT outback
Published 2014-01-14.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Devil's Choice
Series: Old Balmain House. Price: Free! Words: 59,030. Language: English. Published: December 27, 2014. Category: Fiction » Inspirational
A parents worst nightmare. A small child with an incurable disease and a father who served in Vietnam and blames himself for what is happening. The family is torn apart. Finally only one choice remains to save the daughter's life, a Devil's Choice.
Lost Girls
Series: Crocodile Spirit Dreaming, Book 4. Pre-release—available April 1, 2015. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 73,190. Language: English. Category: Fiction » Mystery & detective » General
There were four lost girls, now there are five. Who are they are where have they gone. It is a search in Australia and across the world. But while tiny glimpses and fragments emerge, all else remains elusive. The police search. Their friends and families search and grieve in alternate measure. But five girls remain gone.
The Empty Place
Series: Crocodile Spirit Dreaming, Book 3. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 73,220. Language: English. Published: May 16, 2014. Category: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Psychological thriller
An English backpacker is on trial for murder in Australia . The tabloids say she killed her lover and fed his body to crocodiles.She refuses to say what happened. She is trapped inside her mind in a place of horror and emptiness. Only one person knows and can help her. But he and his helicopter have vanished in the place that the locals call The Empty Place. Her only escape is to end her life
The Diary
Series: Crocodile Spirit Dreaming, Book 2. Price: Free! Words: 79,710. Language: English. Published: March 2, 2014. Category: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Police Procedural
A fisherman finds a unidentified head in a waterhole in Northern Australia. What first appeared to be a crocodile attack turns into murder. Who is this man who no one seems to know. Susan returns to England, pregnant.after her escape, now engaged to another man . Her past returns to haunt memories and dreams. She must read the diary of her former lover, she must decide the child's fate.
Just Visiting
Series: Crocodile Spirit Dreaming, Book 1. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 82,420. Language: English. Published: January 5, 2014. Category: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Psychological thriller
Her hands and feet are tied and her mouth is gagged.She is a captive. She is being taken to a river full of crocodiles and she is terrified. How could it have come to this. Susan goes on an idyllic holiday in Australia, The Barrier Reef is beautiful, Sydney and Melbourne wonderful. She wants to see the Outback. An Australian man offers to take her. She likes him and goes with him.
Lizzie's Tale
Series: Old Balmain House, Book 2. Price: Free! Words: 62,140. Language: English. Published: November 27, 2013. Category: Fiction » Women's fiction » General
In 1963 Lizzie is raped by three men in Sydney when fifteen. She becomes pregnant but is determined not to surrender her child for adoption. This is a novel about a girl from inner Sydney. Her family is poor, her father dies when she is nine and life is hard. It is story of her struggle to survive and make a life of her own, first as a prostitute, then with her child in a remote outback town.
Children of Arnhem's Kaleidoscope
Price: Free! Words: 141,680. Language: English. Published: October 13, 2012. Category: Nonfiction » Biography » Autobiographies & Memoirs
It was hot. There was sudden stillness in the late afternoon air and the surface of the small waterhole shone with unnatural smoothness. Fresh pig tracks at water's edge suggested pigs just gone. Two bubbles popped to the surface near the edge of the pool; just decaying vegetation, said my mind. I should have smelt crocodile! A story of a missionary family in remote aboriginal Australia.
The Old Balmain House
Series: Old Balmain House, Book 1. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 59,040. Language: English. Published: October 5, 2011. Category: Fiction » Historical » Australia & New Zealand
Sophie vanished - where did she go? For 100 years nobody knows. A photo of 8 year old Sophie and an antique perfume bottle are found in the fireplace of an old house. The story of a Balmain family over 170 years. Finally they uncover what happened. Set around beautiful Sydney Harbour this is a story of this place and its people, an imagined history from early Australia to the present day