Interview with Roger Bray

Could you tell us about yourself?
I am married with adult children. Originally from Blackburn, Lancashire I served in the Royal Navy for ten years including in the Falklands’ War before coming to Australia. I was a police officer for many years before being medically retired after being seriously injured in an assault. My books are about normal people trying to live their lives but who find themselves in extraordinary circumstances and feel the sense of helplessness as they are driven by events. I have a great sense of justice and fairness and that tends to drive my storylines.
Describe your desk
I do all my work on a computer. I have embraced technology since I first bought a ZX81, I had to type a lot as a police officer and find the machines hate me. I have dual screens so I have my manuscript on the left and research / notes / maps on the right. When my wife’s cat isn’t trying to sit on the keyboard I find I can power along quite nicely like that.
My desk is a 120 year old ex-Queensland Government teachers' desk made of Silky Oak. It used to have a leather inlay but as it needed replacing anyway I did so with solid timber as being more practical. My desk is usual fairly messy with leads, headphones and empty cups and, cat hair everywhere.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
In my second or third year of senior school we had to write a short story in classical studies. The topic I chose was about Minoan Bull leapers. The leapers, boys and girls, were given to the Minoans as a tribute each year and they trained on a brass bull with sharp horns. To succeed in bull leaping brought great pride to their home states. My story concentrated on the training and, often fatal, mistakes. The best short story was to be included in the school magazine, and I won. I was very excited to be getting my short story printed, until I was told that it was too bloodthirsty for my age group and got pulled. I still remember the bitter disappointment of that incident.
Did you always want to become an author?
I always aspired to write but I cannot say that I always wanted to become an author. I had many ideas which seem to run out of steam during the initial conceptual process. Maybe I was being too critical but I often felt that there were major plot holes which I couldn’t resolve in a satisfactory way. Age I think has mellowed me and given me the experience to understand the realities of plots and definitely the fact that sometimes things I had considered to be ‘far-fetched’ were actually perfectly plausible. Possibly cynicism in an imperfect world has taught me that most things are possible. Except possibly Blackburn Rovers winning the FA cup again in my lifetime.
When did you first start writing?
At school. I started with short stories and my essays always contained fictional events if they allowed. As is often the case life got in the way and I stopped for many years before going back to short stories and occasional magazine articles.
What's the story behind your latest book?
The Picture is the story of Ben Davis a retired Portland Or. Police officer who has spent a lifetime serving his community and now, retired, cannot stop helping and volunteers to assist in disaster situations. This sends him to Japan in the aftermath of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. While there he helps a young Japanese woman and her baby daughter in a refuge shelter. A picture is taken which becomes synonymous with the relief effort and the loss suffered by the survivors. Neither Ben nor the girl can be identified and that is how Ben wants it. He doesn’t seek any celebrity from the event.

Others realize the money making potential of being associated with the now famous photograph and use it to their own ends, conning people and making a lot of money from it. There are few twists along the way but eventually the conman and his partner decide if Ben were to die, the truth of the picture would die with him and they can use it with less fear of being found out.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I enjoy building up a story line and taking it in any direction that I want it to go. I am only limited by my imagination and by the boundaries of the story as I envisage it. I have had some excellent reviews for my books, and I am thrilled that my writing can bring enjoyment to people. They are not perfect or literature but if my readers enjoy then I have achieved a goal. I believe if you can bring some happiness into people's lives then you are doing OK.
What are you working on next?
I am currently working on a novel, also based in Oregon about a young woman who has fought against her institutionalized upbringing to make something of herself. She finds that there are people along the way who will help her and some who won’t. Past events to which she is unknowingly connected are catching up with her and she has to find the truth of them before it too late.
Who are your favorite authors?
Leon Uris
Sebastian Faulks
Louis de Bernières
Tom Sharpe
Robert Harris
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I love spending time with my wife, her overly cute cat, our three grown children and one granddaughter. I also enjoy riding my Triumph Thunderbird around the back roads of South East Queensland.
How do you approach cover design?
I have a basic idea of what I want based on the plot which I discuss with my marketing team (my wife and her cat) I then send the synopsis and basic outline to a designer and see what they come back with. A good designer will allow discussion around the proposed design and mine is, so there is an amount of too and fro until everyone is happy.
Published 2018-03-26.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Blood Ribbon
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 90,010. Language: English. Published: August 10, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Psychological thriller
When a psychology student survives a brutal encounter, a series of unsolved murders may be her only clue to stop the next attack… If you like dark mysteries, chilling suspense, and survivors battling incredible odds, then you'll love this gripping page-turner.
The Picture
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 112,980. Language: English. Published: April 22, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller, Fiction » Literature » Literary
A picture taken during the relief work following the 2011 Japanese Tsunami becomes famous for showing a US relief worker comforting a young Japanese mother. It becomes a symbol of hope and of help freely given. Neither of the subjects can be identified preferring to be anonymous. Other people see the financial potential of the picture and will stop at nothing to use it to seek celebrity fame.
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 115,130. Language: English. Published: March 6, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » General, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller
A mystery thriller set in Eugene, Oregon. Alice Reed is desperate to find the evidence to clear her brother Alex of his wife's murder but she had given up until a chance encounter gives new life to not only her investigation but also the shocking truth of what happened to the missing woman.