Welcome! Pull up a seat and enjoy a chat with Today’s Tease… Graham Dixon
Your Name or Pen Name you use: Graham Dixon
Title of the book you are promoting: The Eyes of the Chameleon
Link to purchase your Book: http://www.cassiustoledo.us
Welcome GD…I, LH have some questions for you!
LH: I wanted to be a ballerina, race car driver and a private detective when I was little. What did you want to be when you grew up?
GD: Somewhere lurking at the back of my mind I have always wanted to be a writer. Also an actor, journalist, psychologist and rugby player. Strangely, I have worked in all the occupations other than the last.
LH: I didn’t really have a literary influence, I just decided one day to start writing. Who influenced you in your writing career?
GD: Many influences. One of the first writers to catch my attention was the poet Thom Gunn. As a teenager I read his poems and found his life – poet, biker, professor – irresistible. In my twenties I graded papers for one of his seminars at Berkeley and was struck by the generosity of his spirit and the power of his intellect. He was a charming, modest and yet dazzling man, and lived the life of a writer to the extreme. “On the Move” and “Tamer and Hawk” are among the best poems of the last hundred years.
PG Wodehouse – for his effortless ability to write about the most difficult-to-capture subject – happiness. Jeeves and Wooster are a delight. Pinter, for his pauses and understanding that we reveal so much in silence. Conan Doyle for creating Sherlock Holmes – a man more real than most people I actually know.
Proust – I have read him every ten years since the age of eighteen. I am due to start again in April. His descriptions of the joys and agonies of love are unmatched. Probably unmatchable.
Oscar Wilde – the unflinching honesty of “De Profundis”, the elegant loveliness of his children’s stories, the artful perfection of his plays, the unforgettable anguish of “The Ballad of Reading Gaol”.
Martin Amis – “Time’s Arrow” is one of the greatest books ever written.
Truman Capote’s “In Cold Blood”
Norman Mailer’s “The Executioner’s Song”
Vladamir Nabokov’s “Lolita”
William Golding’s “Free Fall” – one of the best analyses of the terrible choices creativity presents us.
Virginia Woolf – intellect and emotion so ideally matched
And then … Shakespeare … the beacon that has shown how beautiful English can be for four hundred years.
LH: I self published all of my books and was then “discovered” by a publisher. Are you an Indie or published author?
GD: I have been published as an academic writer and work as the Entertainment Critic for the Midland Reporter-Telegram.
My novel is an Indie effort though.
LH: As an Indie Author, I was hesitant about being with a publishing company. If you are an Indie author, would you like to be published by a traditional publisher and if so, why or why not?
GD: A traditional publisher so my work would reach as wide an audience as possible. But there is a frontier excitement to Indie publishing that is hard to resist.
LH: This is easy for me…I’d invite Johnny Depp and I would not discuss movies! Who would you invite to dinner, living or dead, and what one topic would you NOT discuss with them?
GD: Oscar Wilde, and I would not discuss his court cases. I would sit and listen.
LH: I personally think that there is way too much sex and violence everywhere in society these days and it’s everywhere but that Hollywood is one of the biggest contributors. Do you think that society as a whole is subjected to too much sex and violence and are you concerned about it? Ever feel conflicted and if so, why?
GD: The very pairing of “sex and violence” is telling to me. Sex is one of the most wonderful aspects of life and violence is the most negative – yet for some reason they are paired. It says a lot about our culture that such opposites are regarded as synonymous. We are scared of sex, and drawn to violence. The world would be happier if that was reversed.
To be concise – it is impossible to be exposed to too much sex if it is presented in a beautiful and sensitive manner.
Violence? Unfortunately it is part of our nature and the proper study of Man is Man. The tendency for movies to have torture as their main subject is disturbing. It is not gratuitous because – in pictures like the “Saw” franchise – it is the central subject. Individuals – or a society – that are fascinated by torture, or who glorify it, have severe problems.
For a superb examination of both sex and violence read Thom Gunn’s poetry collection “Boss Cupid”. He explores the psyche of Jeffrey Dahmer. In the hands of a great writer no subject is too extreme or degrading.
LH: I’m a huge softy and by no means a beauty queen… lol but, I truly would want world peace in the blink of an eye if I could make it happen…If you could change one thing in the world, in the blink of an eye, what would it be?
GD: Our tendency to enjoy the suffering of others.
LH: With the traditional bookstore becoming obsolete and everyone turning to buying books online, I don’t buy the hype that “the cover is everything”. How important do you think book covers are now that almost all shopping is done online?
GD: The cover may catch the interest, but a few words from the actual book will capture the mind and imagination.
LH: I can remember wanting to write as a kid. I got a really late start! Have you always wanted to write and when did you start?
GD: I wrote my first “book” at the age of eight. It was called “The Tree” – very derivative from some of John Wyndham’s science-fiction.
LH: I love to see if I can see myself in a character. What interests you most about a story?
GD: What happens next … the glorious complexity and unpredictability of human behavior.
LH: For me, I just get hit with this whole movie in my head and start writing. How do you come up with your stories?
GD: They settle on me like the memory of an apparently random detail from a dream. Then they slowly grow.
LH: I can’t tell you or I’d have to…lol Are you working on anything now?
GD: The second book in my Cassius Toledo series.
LH: I’m working on #6…3 are published and the other 3 are due out this year… How many books have you written? How many have been published?
GD: First novel.
LH: I write for fun I don’t even dream of riches…Do you write for fun or money?
GD: Fun is the substance, money would be the icing.
LH: Some of my family members had a bit of a problem with me writing my first book “A Beautiful Liar” because the character Maggie West is basically me…to a point 😉 They had a problem with the genre and me “putting it all out there” so to speak so I took a pen name. They eventually came around as I have never cared who knows who I am what I’ve done or what they think of me. I’ve never wanted to be famous, just infamous! What has been your biggest problem when it comes to family or friends when writing?
GD: If I reveal something about family or friends that they wanted to remain hidden. I am not talking about Big Secrets – but rather a little detail, nuance or foible that the person recognizes as their own.
I also work as a psychotherapist so I am doubly damned – people think I am analyzing them and also gathering raw material for writing.
LH: I have never experienced writers block…I have experienced writers “don’t want to”… Have you ever experienced writers block and if so, how did you overcome it?
GD: Yes. When a particular narrative twist has yet to fully develop. Books – like babies – come when they are ready.
LH: I get asked all the time “Do you have any advice for new writers?”… Do you?
GD: Write. Write. Write. And then – write again.
LH: I would not change one thing in my life as I would not be me if I did… If you could go back in time and change one thing in your life, what would it be?
GD: I am blind in one eye. The accident that caused it.
LH: If I could go back in time and tell someone something, I’d go back and tell the founding fathers they were doing a few things wrong…If you could go back in time and tell someone something, who would you tell and what would you tell them?
GD: Mozart. Write down every composition you have stored in your mind. Don’t wait.
LH: I would freak out if someone contacted me and said they wanted to make one of my books or my series of book into a movie as I am really very shy in person and I’d probably go into hiding. I don’t think I could handle it. How would you handle it? Who would be the first person you told?
GD: My wife. My sons. My parents. My sister.
Thank you for that fun and informative interview GD….Now, for the fun stuff!
Favorite Beverage? Cold milk.
Exercise or Bubble Bath? Bubble Bath
Favorite Color? ?
Take out or Dine in? Dine in
Camping or Hotel? Hotel
Sports or Chocolate? Chocolate
Dogs or Cats? Dogs
Favorite Food? Sushi
Favorite Song? Tupelo Honey
Favorite Movie? The Graduate
Favorite Car? Jaguar XJS from the 1980s.
Sex or Chocolate? (The answer “Both” is totally acceptable 😉 Both
LH: If you could go anywhere for a week, with anyone you wanted and no one would ever find out about it…where would you go, what would you do and who would you take?
GD: That would be telling…
But I would arrive back with slightly swollen lips, a moderate tan and an odd mixture of the Mona Lisa and Cheshire Cat smiles.
Thank you for spending this time with us. Make sure to pick up your copy of Graham Dixon’s
The Eyes of the Chameleon