- What is your name, where were you born and where do you live now? Stephen Graff. I live with my wife and daughter in Woodbury, NJ.
- Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be? Since I can remember, I wanted to be a writer.
- When did you first consider yourself as a "writer"? When I was a kid, I would create comic books by cutting up brown paper bags. My mother read a few of them and thought something was wrong with me. That's when I first considered myself a writer.
- Did it take a long time to get your first book published? It took me over a year from first starting the novel to its final publication. Probably closer to 2 years.
- Do you work another job as well as your writing work? I'm a full time public school elementary teacher.
- What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarise it in less than 20 words what would you say? The name of the book is RIVER DAWN. A teenage girl takes a harrowing journey down a flooded river with her family after an environmental deluge.
- Who is your publisher? or do you self publish? I self-published the novel.
- What can we expect from you in the future? ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre? I'm thinking of writing a sequel to RIVER DAWN. But I'm also thinking through a story about a family of crows and their relationship to a troubled boy and his abusive father. The working title is THE FLOCK.
- What genre would you place your books into? I like dystopian fiction, but I'm interested in pre-dystopian fiction: looking at how characters become despots and how societies fall. That's the type of setting described in RIVER DAWN. Ruthless egomaniacs are creating their own enclaves along the shores of a once great river. Fifteen year old Alice is moving through this world and she's more aware of what's going on than her scientist father.
- Do you have a favourite character from your books? and why are they your favourite? I try to find something positive or at least interesting about each character. Even a villain has to have layers that make him or her more complicated than just simple black and white.
- Do you have anybody read your books and give you reviews before you officially release them? Yes. I have a number of people, including a good friend who is a long-time playwright, to give me feedback on my work.
- How do you come up with the Title and Cover Designs for your book/books?Who designed the Cover of your books? I designed the cover for RIVER DAWN. I wanted to convey the idea of a young girl remaining positive despite the growing darkness that surrounds her.
- How do you market/promote your books? I've used facebook and google ads, but I'm trying a more laid back approach by joining social sites and getting involved in conversations with writers and readers. Also: requesting reviews.
- What do you do to unwind and relax? I play guitar and do some songwriting. I spend time with my family. And I started bee-keeping this past year.
- Are there any hidden messages or morals contained in your books? (Morals as in like Aesops Fables type of "The moral of this story is..") I'm a Christian. Though I'm interested in writing stories that present characters of all types as honestly as possible--and I don't shy away from having characters behave badly if that is what they would do--there are always moral/ethical underpinnings to my writing.
- Is there a certain Author that influenced you in writing? The writer I admire the most is Flannery O'Connor.
- What is your favourite book and Why? Have you read it more than once? My favorite all time novel is The Brothers Karamazov because it is so many things that a great novel should be: a great story, a powerful allegory about family and society, a satire, a comedy, and a tragedy.
- Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is you favourite/worst book to movie transfer? Most books don't transfer to movies very well at all. I think the older British classics fair the best in the transfer. But I've never read a truly great book that was better as a movie. I'm a bigger fan of original screenplays--like CHINATOWN and CITIZEN KANE--that read like good books. The great screenwriters are not married to a novel with trimming being the only option. They can conceive a story that takes 118 pages to tell, and they don't have to excise the good parts.
- What are you currently reading? Are you enjoying it? What format is it?(ebook, hardback or paperback) I'm reading two books. One is THE HIVE by Bee Wilson. No joke: that's her name, and it's purely coincidental that her first name is Bee and she wrote a book about honeybees. The other book is a young adult classic: THE GIVER. I've always loved good young adult fiction.
- Do you think ebooks will ever totally replace printed books? No. And thank goodness that they won't. We need to hold onto past traditions like printed books. Giving them up is like giving up photographs, movies, and oil painting.
- Do you think children at schools these days are encouraged enough to read? and/or do Imaginative writing? Yes. But they're discouraged by the cookie cutter approach that is the obvious but unfortunate translation of the American education agenda. I think the rest of the Western world has its priorities in much better shape. No matter what, though, children still read and still utilize their imagination. In fact, they're born with the innate quality of using their imagination.
- Is there a book you know you will never read? Or one you tried to read but just couldn't finish? I'll never read a book written by a despot like Hitler or Mao. I know I probably should because such reading fosters better understanding of the minds of these men.
- What piece of advice would you give to a new writer? To find as many avenues as possible for your writing so that if one avenue doesn't allow you a sense of accomplishment, you're hopefully finding that another avenue is more fulfilling.
- Do you or would you ever use a pen name? I don't have a pen time at the present time, but there's always a possibility of having one in the future, although I never understood why writers needed used pen names.
Your blog details? google+: https://plus.google.com/102979851392584471030/posts
Your facebook page? http://www.facebook.com/pages/River-Dawn-A-Novel/189519061111772
Your Goodreads author page? http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5140128.Stephen_Graff
Your Twitter details?And any other information you wish to supply? amazon site: http://www.amazon.co.uk/River-Dawn-ebook/dp/B005DHYS80
Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to take part in this interview, I am looking forward to reading your book!