Interview with Graham Wilson

Published 2014-01-14.
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
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Latest books by This Author

Crocodile Child
Price: Free! Words: 147,480. Language: English. Published: December 20, 2020. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Psychological thriller, Fiction » Literary collections » Australian & Oceanian
He sees her. His heart stops. The woman he loved come back to life Who is he? A child who fled abuse, now a man from nowhere. His past a dark place. In the way of crocodiles he learned to kill. Revenge his middle name. Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, life for life. Now he finds love again. It burns ever brighter. It draws him in, like a moth to flame. Will it burn up or can something survive?
Mysteries
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 89,860. Language: English. Published: April 28, 2020. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Historical, Fiction » Literary collections » Australian & Oceanian
An old house with a lost history Glimpsed lives from 200 years past. A mother and child missing for thirty years Now a new mystery - the mothers pendant is found. Buried secrets lie below the floor - if only the stones could talk.
Gilt
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 86,830. Language: English. Published: November 29, 2019. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller
Corporate Crime and its Victims Gilt Investments, a new company, promises a risk free investor bonanza. But what is price. A journalist discovers former workers are sick and dying. Gilt will take the assets leaving an empty shell with nothing for former workers. It's a race against time - once the company floats publicly it will be too late. More dirty secrets are found but can it be stopped?
Whirlwind
Price: Free! Words: 74,020. Language: English. Published: January 24, 2019. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense, Fiction » Romance » Suspense
I lie in hospital encased in white. I have no memory of how I came here or who I am. They say I am a rodeo rider. They say I rode a bull called Whirlwind and killed him. They call me the nobody man from nowhere. In my mind I feel shadows swirl in a vortex. At its center is a predatory being that joys to kill. Is that me or a stranger, perhaps it is an vengeful ancient spirit who owns my soul,
Return of the Breaker
Price: Free! Words: 75,220. Language: English. Published: March 22, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Literary collections » Australian & Oceanian
Breaker is a name some call him. In outback Australia is a rumour 'The Breaker' has returned' 100 years have passed since they executed him in South Africa. But who is this new man? He is fearless and can ride any horse. There is wild, dangerous side, a devil may care way. Some call him Mark B, or Breaker MB. Now he tells his own story - the good and bad. Man or a monster? What made him so?
Child of an Unknown Past
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 128,040. Language: English. Published: February 15, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Historical, Fiction » Literary collections » Australian & Oceanian
Who is Catherine's father? She is desperate and needs to know! Her mother was raped by three men 20 years ago, one is dead, one a murderer, the third insane. Knowing may save her critically ill daughter who needs a bone marrow donor. in the shadows is an unknown child who lived many years ago. She emerges and offers help at critical times of need, first to Lizzie and her daughter Catherine,
Old House in Balmain Series
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 190,830. Language: English. Published: October 25, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Literary collections » Australian & Oceanian, Fiction » Historical » Australia & New Zealand
Story of two courageous Sydney families. Linking them is a small girl Sophie who vanished 100 years ago with her best friend.. It tells of people's ordinary lives, how they are touched and shaped by tragedy and yet rise above adversity. Starting in the beautiful inner city suburb of Balmain and an old house there, parts of the story traverse the remote Australian outback.
Sunlit Shadow Dance
Series: Crocodile Spirit Dreaming - First Edition, Book 5. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 118,030. Language: English. Published: July 14, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Psychological thriller, Fiction » Romance » Paranormal
(4.00 from 1 review)
The girl you love vanishes - you search and search. No trace is found. You see someone who looks so like her - she looks at you but does not know you, no recognition flickers. Is it a mirage, dream or desperate hope? She likes you. You ask and she comes with you. Her mind sees only sunlight. You see dark shadowed edges. Can you remake your life with a person who holds no memory of you?
Lost Girls
Series: Crocodile Spirit Dreaming - First Edition, Book 4. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 101,910. Language: English. Published: April 1, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » General, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Psychological thriller
(5.00 from 2 reviews)
Four passports are found of girls who vanished in Australia. The girl who found them has disappeared too. Who are these girls? Where have they gone? A diary and search in Australia and across the world give tiny glimpses and fragments, but their stories remain elusive. The police search, friends and families search and grieve in alternate measure, but five girls remain gone, their fate unknown.
The Empty Place
Series: Crocodile Spirit Dreaming - First Edition, Book 3. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 77,880. Language: English. Published: May 16, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Psychological thriller, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Police Procedural
(5.00 from 3 reviews)
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
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