Today I have the pleasure of welcoming Roger Bray who is the author of The Picture and, more recently, Dreams Of A Broken Man.
For those who don’t know already, could you tell us about yourself and your book(s) please?
I come originally from Blackburn, Lancashire but am now living in Brisbane, Australia with my wife
and her overly cute cat. I have spent most of my adult life in service to the community in one way
or another, in the Royal Navy and as a police officer in Australia. Policing came to an end when I
was badly injured at work and I took the opportunity to go to University and gained a couple of
degrees. University research and writing rekindled the love of writing that I had at school. My
book, ‘Dreams of a Broken Man’, encompasses two things that I dislike, violence towards women
and injustice. I also try to show the strength in normal people to fight back from adversity.
Where did/do you get your ideas from?
The catalyst for ‘Dreams of a Broken Man’ came from two news stories, one about plea bargaining
in the USA, which has had the result of railroading people into guilty pleas when they were not,
and the consequences which follow on from those decisions. The second report was of the
abduction of a number of girls in the USA. Nothing of the original stories actually made it into the
book, but they were enough to start me thinking “what if?”
Are any of your characters based (however loosely) on anyone you know?
As complete characters, no, but as traits or characteristics most certainly. Even from myself, my
wife often sees me in some of the things characters may say or do, and she has sometimes picked
the person from whom a particular trait comes from. There is an element of mix and match from
different people as far as characters go.
How do you pick your characters names?
That is sometimes harder than it seems but is part of the character development although not one
I tend to spend much time on. Some names come easily and ‘go’ with the character while some
others don’t work as the story develops and get changed along the way.
Can you share your writing process with us, in a nutshell?
Initially I spend quite a while mentally developing plot ideas and scenarios. When I start writing I
have a fair idea of where I am going with the story but that can and often does change along the
way. I am a linear writer, for want of a better term. I start writing in a session from where I left off
previously and keep going until I run out of ideas. I then have a break and come back. Re-read
what I have written, edit as required and then continue. A session can last anything from one to
six hours depending on the idea flow or the attention sought by my wife’s overly cute cat.
Who are your top 5 favourite authors?
Leon Uris, Tom Sharpe, Tolkien, Louis de Bernières, Sebastian Faulks.
If you could meet any author, who would it be and what would you ask them?
Tom Sharpe – I would ask him how he keeps the momentum and tempo going in his story lines.
His stories seem to lurch along, but there is real art in what he achieved.
Were you a big reader as a child?
I was. The Famous Five and Secret Seven were mainstays of my pre-teen reading followed by such
authors as Gerald Durrell. Even most of the books I had to read at school I enjoyed, like The
Odyssey or Time and the Conways by J. B. Priestly, even Shakespeare and Chaucer. The first book I
actually remember buying was The Hobbit, the second was Carrie by Stephen King.
When did you start to write?
I wasn’t a great scholar but when given the chance to write fiction I loved it. I won a couple of
small awards at school and was encouraged to write more, but circumstances and life got in the
way until I could take it up again.
If you could re-write the ending to any book what would it be and what would you change?
That is a very subjective. There are many books that people complain about as having bad
endings, but I wouldn’t suggest that. They end when and how they end, it is the reader’s
perception that decides if that is good, bad or in need of a rewrite So, change, probably not,
extend yes, like Grisham’s The Street Lawyer I felt ended a little too soon. Maybe a sequel!
Having said all of that I must admit I am not a great fan of deus ex machina style endings
Is there a book you wish you had written?
1984. Orwell was so forward thinking for his time as evidenced by a lot of the concepts he
explored now actually coming true. His writing was quite simple and yet complex in its subject. I
don’t think I could do better but would love to have tried.
If you wrote an autobiography, what would your title be?
Someone forgot the Instruction Book!
If you could invite any fictional character for coffee who would it be and where would you take them?
Mikael Blomkvist, as played by Michael Nyqvist. I would take him to a little coffee shop that I have
been to just down from York Minster. One of my favourite characters and favourite places.
What are you working on right now?
My third novel about a young woman who is attacked, but survives, then discovers her attacker is
probably a serial killer.
Do you have a new release due?
As above. When it’s finished, but I am close, maybe 2 months.
What do you generally do to celebrate on publication day?
Let it go and hope that people get some enjoyment from reading my work.
How can readers keep in touch with you?
Is there anything else you would like us to know?
Not really Kerry, except to say thank you for this opportunity and if anyone does wants to get in
touch, please do. I am always happy to discuss most things
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, Roger 🙂