Today I have a lovely interview with Roger Bray to share with you as part of his blog tour for The Picture 🙂
Welcome to Chat About Books, Roger and many thanks to Rachel, at Rachel’s Random Resources, for arranging the following interview.
For those who don’t know already, could you tell us about yourself and your book(s) please?
I am married with adult children. Originally from Blackburn, Lancashire I served in the Royal Navy for ten years including in the Falklands’ War before coming to Australia. I was a police officer for many years before being medically retired after being seriously injured in an assault. My books are about normal people trying to live their lives but who find themselves in extraordinary circumstances and feel the sense of helplessness as they are driven by events. I have a great sense of justice and fairness and that tends to drive my storylines.
Where did/do you get your ideas from?
I have a vivid imagination and an eye for detail. Many ideas come from thinking about something and twisting it around. Most fall away but some stay with me. For The Picture I had half an idea of writing a book about celebrity without ability, something of which there are many examples in modern media. I then had a moment of seeing a sunbeam breaking though some clouds and thought how that could be use as a plot device. The two things were separate and independent but came together to form the basis of the book.
Are any of your characters based (however loosely) on anyone you know?
I suppose traits from people I know do sneak into my characters but I could not say that any particular character is based on a real person. I have used real people as an aid, imagining how they might look or talk, but that is as an overview rather than specifics which allows me to change the character as the story develops. My doppelgänger for Ben Davis in The Picture was Russell Crowe
How do you pick your characters names?
It is not really conscious but I do pick names based on characters traits. Down to earth people get that type of name. Ben Davis in The Picture I choose because it is a normal name for a normal man. Some names I choose at random trying to avoid names of people I know or well known names to avoid inadvertent comparisons. In The Picture I did research and choose a couple of Japanese names because of what they meant, and which fitted into the storyline.
Can you share your writing process with us, in a nutshell?
Sit down, start writing. I like to set aside a few days to write in blocks rather than try to catch an hour here or there. I find that I can immerse myself in the story if I do that. I write until I run out of ideas; have a break, go back, re-read and continue. I am linear, I start at page one and go from there.
Who are your top 5 favourite authors?
Louis de Bernières
If you could meet any author, who would it be and what would you ask them?
Living or dead? Stig Larsson. Can I read the manuscript for the fourth novel because I am sure what was published was nowhere close to what you envisaged?
Were you a big reader as a child?
I was. Enid Blyton’s Famous Five and Secret Seven, Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys form as early as I can remember. I progressed to Gerald Durrell, Sven Hassel and Tolkein through my teens to Stephen King and Le Carré.
When did you start to write?
At school. I started with short stories and my essays always contained fictional events if they allowed. As is often the case life got in the way and I stopped for many years before going back to short stories and occasional magazine articles.
If you could re-write the ending to any book what would it be and what would you change?
John Grisham’s The Street Lawyer. An excellent book, as usual with Grisham, but the ending, to me, fell flat or was at least abrupt. If not a sequel then I would flesh out the ending. That is not a criticism, but it was such a good story I wanted to know more when it ended.
Is there a book you wish you had written?
1984. Not so much written but re-written to bring it up to date. Orwell wrote the book as a warning not an instruction manual but that is where we will be in ten or fifteen years it we keep allowing the removal of rights; which are accelerating every day.
If you wrote an autobiography, what would your title be?
I’m Not Repeating my Mistakes, I’m making Completely New ones.
If you could invite any fictional character for coffee who would it be and where would you take them?
George Smiley. I would take him to a little coffee shop I like in the Shamble in York but my preference would be a beer at The Maltings, also in York.
What are you working on right now?
I am working on my third novel, also set in Oregon, about a young woman, who had been in care, tries to make something of future only for her life to be put into danger by past history in which she is involved but knows nothing about.
Do you have a new release due?
I am aiming for mid this year, but time will tell.
What do you generally do to celebrate on publication day?
Relief, and fingers crossed that readers will enjoy the work. Maybe a bourbon and cigar.
How can readers keep in touch with you?
I have a website at https://rogerbraybooks.com/ through which readers can send me an e-mail.
Is there anything else you would like us to know?
I would like to thank you Kerry for having me on you blog and for the opportunity to answer your interesting questions.
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, Roger 🙂
A warehouse in Japan used as an emergency shelter in the aftermath of the 2011 Tsunami. A distraught, young Japanese woman in dishevelled clothes sits on a box, holding her infant daughter. Ben, a US rescue volunteer, kneels in front of her offering comfort. They hug, the baby between them. The moment turns into an hour as the woman sobs into his shoulder; mourning the loss of her husband, her home, the life she knew. A picture is taken, capturing the moment. It becomes a symbol; of help freely given and of the hope of the survivors. The faces in the picture cannot be recognised, and that is how Ben likes it. No celebrity, thanks not required.
But others believe that being identified as the person in the picture is their path to fame and fortune. Ben stands, unknowingly, in their way, but nothing a contract killing cannot fix.
Roger Bray on Amazon –
Author Bio –
I have always loved writing; putting words onto a page and bringing characters to life. I can almost feel myself becoming immersed into their lives, living with their fears and triumphs. Thus, my writing process becomes an endless series of questions. What would she or he do, how would they react, is this in keeping with their character? Strange as it sounds, I don’t like leaving characters in cliffhanging situations without giving them an ending, whichever way it develops. My life to date is what compels me to seek a just outcome, the good will overcome and the bad will be punished. More though, I tend to see my characters as everyday people in extraordinary circumstances, but in which we may all find our selves if the planets align wrongly or for whatever reason you might consider. Of course, most novels are autobiographical in some way. You must draw on your own experiences of life and from events you have experienced to get the inspiration. My life has been an endless adventure. Serving in the Navy, fighting in wars, serving as a Police officer and the experiences each one of those have brought have all drawn me to this point, but it was a downside to my police service that was the catalyst for my writing. Medically retired after being seriously injured while protecting a woman in a domestic violence situation I then experienced the other side of life. Depression and rejection. Giving truth to the oft said saying that when one door closes another opens I pulled myself up and enrolled in college gaining bachelor and master degrees, for my own development rather than any professional need. The process of learning, of getting words down onto the page again relit my passion for writing in a way that I hadn’t felt since high school. So here we are, two books published and another on track. Where it will take me I have no idea but I am going to enjoy getting there and if my writing can bring some small pleasure into people’s lives along the way, then I consider that I will have succeeded in life.
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Check out the rest of the blog tour for reviews, and more, with these awesome book bloggers…..