Interview with Nicholas Graham

Describe your desk
My desk consists of the obvious laptop, usually some beer or water, and my record player sitting to my left. I usually don't listen to music while I write, but during breaks I like to put a record on and relax while brainstorming.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I was born in Waterbury, CT but moved to Milford, CT when I was seven years old and spent my formative years there. Milford has supremely influenced my writing, and most of my first novel would not have been written without the inspiration of the suburbs. I think growing up in the suburbs is one of the only tangible rites of passage that we have had in recent history, and the writers of the 20th century really highlighted the details of the experience. I think that suburban life is ideal when growing up, but eventually everyone just realizes how empty everything really is, and want to bow down to your parents for having to live there to give you the freedom that is a huge risk in a big city.
When did you first start writing?
I first started writing in high school, where I made my claim by writing terrible poetry that I thought was amazing. I wanted to write comic books when I was a little kid but sucked at drawing so I got discouraged. Once I started reading fantasy, literature and especially poetry, I knew that I wanted to be apart of it. The process of reading and writing fiction felt like the only time I could relate or even surmise any of the observations I thought were strange for a person to pick up on.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Basically, this first novel follows five characters in the seaside suburb of Greeneville and catalogs a single day in the wake of the school year. One of the characters kind of weaves the stories together, and each person gives a unique perspective on what is essentially the same set of neighborhoods. The novel is tragically comic like most of my postmodern and 20th century idols, but has this sense of romance about how memory can deceive you. Some of the characters are more dissatisfied about Greeneville than the others but I honestly feel like its going to speak to people my age who had to deal with isolation, apathy, and love in an era where technology was seeping into every aspect of existence.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I knew that sending out manuscripts to publishers would take a lot of time, and I am a very motivated and incessant worker. I want creative control, but more importantly, to use smashwords as a platform for publishers to see my work. A good manuscript could sit at the bottom of a pile, and not be green-lighted because of the person's mood or whether they are looking for one specific genre. I just want to be able to showcase my work to anyone who wants it as soon as possible and for a way lower price.
What are you working on next?
I already have a follow up to the novel I'm finishing up now because I feel like I always need to be working. The next piece, I'm thinking, will be a novella and will kind of reflect on life after college in the modern age. Academia has really gone to the wayside, and I think that personal biases have crept their way into the job field and the economy to the point where people go to desperate lengths to stay afloat...and its from personal experience.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
When I'm not writing, I'm usually going out and trying to interact with my friends and other people to stay sane. I read a lot and am chipping away at the list of books I want to read before I die. I love spending time with my family and going to local shows because I have a soft spot for local music from when I used to play in hardcore bands in CT.
What is your writing process?
I usually rely on observations or current events to spark my work, but I have had ideas come to me in dreams and in pretty strange places before. A huge influence on my short stories are my dad's stories of things that happened when he was younger growing up in Waterbury. I am writing poetry right now that includes some pretty powerful experiences happening in the early 80s and late 70s.
What do your fans mean to you?
I think that if anyone enjoys my writing, I am undyingly grateful to you for life. My whole goal as a writer is to try and come up with or share experiences/perspectives that will allow people to either relate or think critically of their environment. I think anyone who appreciates my work enough to buy or read anything I have done is fantastic and I will try my best to reach out and thank them.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Usually a mixture of coffee, nicotine, and deadlines like many, many authors. I just want to be able to put out work that makes people question their comfort. I really want to shake people out of the malaise that they form, and try and rediscover empathy in an era where everything is instantly, personally gratifying.
Published 2014-03-20.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.