Today I’d like to welcome author Graham Downs to the blog. Graham has written 5 books in a range of genres including mystery and paranormal flash fiction. Thank you Graham for taking part, lets begin:
1. What was the first piece of fiction you wrote and what was it about?
When I was still at school, I “read” (played) a lot of Gamebooks. My favourite by far was the Lone Wolf series by Joe Dever.
At the age of about eleven or twelve, I wrote one of my own, on my father’s computer, in an old version of WordPerfect. This would’ve been around 1991 or 1992.
I can’t remember very much about it, and it’s unfortunately been lost now – no Dropbox back then. What I do know is that you, as the protagonist, played the role of a contemporary secret agent. I distinctly remember one scene where you had to follow a trail of “stompies” (cigarette butts in South African slang) to track someone down.
I’m sure it was very bad, and it’s therefore probably a good thing that it’s been lost to the sands of time!
2. You say in your blog that you published your first book, Petition to Magic, at the age of 32. What led you to write and publish it at that stage of your life?
I’ve always been interested in storytelling, from those humble beginnings in Primary School, right through High School and beyond. After Gamebooks, I graduated to tabletop roleplaying. My first foray was a game called AmeriCHAOS 1994, and later I discovered Dungeons & Dragons and eventually GURPS. I’ve experimented with many other systems since then as well – far too many to count.
I used to lament the fact that I always ended up being the Game Master in our sessions, but in truth I wouldn’t have had it any other way because it gave me the chance to do what I loved best, which was to tell my stories.
Despite all this, I never ever considered actually pitching a story to an agent and trying to get it published. It just seemed like far too much effort, for very little gain.
In 2012, I happened to meet a man on Twitter, by the name of Ryan Peter. He was (and is still) a Christian, like me, and we hit it off. I discovered that he was in the process of self-publishing his book, When Twins War. Once he was finished, I went out and bought an e-book copy, and really enjoyed it.
The rest, as they say, is history. I mean, what a pleasure! Here was this technology that allowed anyone to tell any story they liked, put it out into the world in a matter of hours, and get instant feedback. No hoops to jump through, and no-one to tell you whether your story is or isn’t good enough to reach readers.
As an added bonus, I realised that the process was a little bit technical (he self-published first on Smashwords, which admittedly isn’t the simplest platform to use). Me being a computer programmer by trade, it seemed the perfect combination of my two great loves.
I was hooked, and I don’t intend to stop anytime soon.