By Jeff Reynolds
It's my honor to interview Adam Graham. He has written several books of different genres, and we'll be giving away a copy of one of his books. Rules are below.
AND WE HAVE A WINNER!!!
CONGRATULATIONS TO JACKIE LAYTON!!!
Valentine's Day blog by asking about who your editor is and how you two got connected.
Adam Graham: My editor is my wife, Andrea. We met over the internet in October 2000 beginning as virtual penpals and working to engaged in ten months and married eleven months later.
JR: I believe two of your most recent works fall into the suspense/mystery category. Could you tell us about An Ounce of Prevention and Slime Incorporated?
AG: Ounce of Prevention is a novelette which combines the detective story with science fiction. Jerry Newton, the owner of Newton Investigations is hired by an elementary school teacher who is receiving death threats. The case escalates when the teacher’s car is bombed. At the same time, Newton begins to fall for a beautiful woman with a secret. And through the process of this case, he’s led to the biggest moral dilemma of his life. Donna Fletcher Crow called it, “Sam Spade meets Dr. Who.” Enough said.
Slime Incorporated which should be out later on in February is a full length detective political thriller. The lead character is Cole Ustick who works for Jerry Newton. A candidate for Governor is accused of sexual assault and hires Newton Investigations to get to the bottom of the allegations and Ustick is assigned to investigate. In the course of the investigation, this becomes a murder case with the candidate for governor charged with murder.
Slime Incorporated really does fit comfortably into both being a political thriller and also the detective novel. The novel was inspired by a national political campaign which was actually brought down by thinly sourced anonymous allegations of sexual misconduct. And I used my knowledge of state and national politics to shape that part of the plot. However, the book is not a political screed. There are no protracted political debates, though I try to be realistic with both sides in terms of their views. Also, it helps that Cole Ustick is a non-voter who just wants to solve the case.
Ustick really is a fun character to write. I intended to be much in the same mold as some of the great eccentric detectives of fiction. He goes a lot on instinct and can be very unpredictable character. He’s part Archie Goodwin, part Jim Rockford, part Philip Marlowe, part Johnny Staccato, with a conflicted conscience, and a very unique sense of style. He really clashes with a few people when he ends up having to work around a gubernatorial campaign.
JR: When you write, do you tend to outline in advance, or are you more of a blank pager?
AG: I don’t outline at all. I’m perhaps not the most disciplined at this but if I write it all down once, why write it down twice? I do have an idea of where I’m going, but have little idea how I’ll get there. That’s the fun part. Along the way, we connect the dots.
JR: You have a non-fiction book that the readers of this blog might be interested in Could you tell us about that and the upcoming sequel?.
AG: All I Needed to Know I Learned from Columbo is a 2011 ebook in which I examined seven great detectives of literature, radio, and television, and looked at life lessons that could be garnered from each of their careers. In that volume, we looked at lessons from Sherlock Holmes, Father Brown, Nero Wolfe, Boston Blackie, Dan Holiday (from Box 13, the radio series), Columbo, and Monk. Examples of the life lessons included what Sherlock Holmes taught us about information management and what Adrian Monk taught us about courage.
The response to the book has been very solid, so I’m writing up the sequel, All I Needed to Know I Learned from Dragnet which will take a look at another group of detectives and police including: Hercule Poirot, Frank Race (radio), Johnny Dollar (radio), Joe Friday, Lt. John Weston (Lock Up), Adam-12, and Frank Cannon.
JR: I've had the honor of reading one of your books, Powerhouse Hard Pressed. I'm still wondering how long the surgery to remove your tongue from your cheek took. Would you introduce us to your Powerhouse series?
AG: It all began with Tales of the Dim Knight which was inspired after I watched the DVD of The Tick v. Season One. I set out to write a Christian novel that would poke fun of every great Superhero cliché and convention. It was published by Splashdown Books in 2010 originally as a one and done novel, but at the very last second, I changed the end to leave the door open to a sequel, though I didn’t have a plan for one.
So in 2012, I began a series of sequels exploring the further adventures of Powerhouse after he regained his powers. And so far, I’ve had a blast with so many things I’ve been able to play with. The Robolawyers in Fly Another Day and my favorites from Powerhouse: Hard Pressed, I’m the only person to reimagine Atlantis as having a giant statue of Barney Fife and Andy Taylor on the outskirts of the city and then we have everyone’s favorite super-powered mad etiquette blogger, Mister Manners.
I’m towards the end of finishing the first draft of Ultimate Midlife Crisis, the third sequel, and it may be the most serious and the most silly book. Among the highlights, I’ve got a single chapter which parodies the classic comic storylines “Superman v. Shazam,” “Green Arrow and Green Lantern,” Marvel’s “Civil War,” and “The Dark Knight Returns,” along with the Ultimate Spider-man cartoon, and comic book reboots.
At the same time, I deal with some serious stuff in terms of anger, raising kids, finding our caller, and growing to a middle age. There’s such a mix.
JR: One thing you did that I've thought about doing was running for office. How has that prepared you for writing? Have those experiences popped up in any of your books? Or is that for a future story? Now that I think of it, I could connect politicians with Slime Incorporated.
AG: Obviously, it gave me some insights on Slime Incorporated. Though at the level, Ustick’s operating the time I’ve spent around candidate and political people has been more useful. I was out campaigning once and was asked if I was a Jehovah’s Witness and that actually appears in Slime Incorporated when Cole Ustick is visiting a witness’s house.
JR: Readers of the blog know my favorite author is Randy Singer. I notice his books get one or two one-star or two-star reviews, and in every case it's because of the Christian element in his story. I know you've had a similar experience. Why do you think people are so antagonistic to Christians not hiding their light under a bushel?
AG: I think it shows a growing amount of intolerance of Christian thought by anti-Christian reviewers and it really does contrast with most Christians, particularly if you look at Christian geeks. There are so many Christian fans of the revived Dr. Who series and all seven series have been under the helm of Atheists Russell Davies and Stephen Moffat. There are Christians who adore Star Trek, created by Gene Roddenberry, who was very anti-Christian. They enjoy the best part of these movies for what they are.
I can pick up a copy of the Marvel 1602 comic note that it’s anti-Christian, but give it a 4-star review for the quality of the storytelling brought to it and how Neil Gaiman managed to re-imagine a 17th Century Marvel comic universe.
In contrast, I think you find a general intolerance and closed mind to anything with Christian content despite whatever merit the book might have artistically. I’ve asked before (and never gotten a satisfactory answer) as whatever irreligious books can shout their messages but Christian writers have to whisper. I reject that. Not every story I write has the same amount of religious content. Slime Incorporated is much more a mainstream book, but faith is still there and will always be there.
JR: What's next on your agenda? Maybe a historical romance?
AG: Historical romance? No. Contemporary or a parody of contemporary romance? Maybe.
Right now, I have two more Powerhouse books that I haven’t started. I also have a dystopian bioethics novels that’s about done that I’d like to see come out sometime in 2015. We’ll watch reader reaction to the Cole Ustick novels and who knows I may write a few more of them. I also have a few more ideas under my belt. And I may take Neil Worthington from the Powerhouse Universe and give him his own series of short stories which parody various classic detective stories but set them all in Oregon. My initial ideas include having Worthington hiring an amnesiac woman as his assistant and asking her to take the name Archwena Watson and fighting his enemy over Klamath Falls.
JR: Thanks for your time, Adam. Let us know how we can learn more about you and your writing.
AG: I have two blogs. For my detective reviews and writing, as well as my popular old time radio detectives podcast, check out the Great Detectives of Old Time Radio (http://www.greatdetectives.net.) For my superhero writing and plenty of comic book hero reviews, check out Christians and Superheroes (http://christiansuperheroes.com)
Jeff Reynolds to readers: Time to give away a copy of the winner's choice between Slime Incorporated and Powerhouse Hard Pressed. In case you don't know the rules, here they are:
- Leave a comment.
- Share your e-mail – you can make it AuntDotKahm(at)Ant(dot)com
- Would you rather be a detective or a superhero, and which one would be your inspiration?