At the age of 12, author Graham Sharpe regularly danced around the lounge to Kate Bush's “Wuthering Heights.” Today, he still hasn't decided what he'll do when he grows up. So far, the East Sussex, England-based writer has worked in an ice cream shop, trained as a hairdresser, studied sociology and psychology, written for and performed with a touring theatre company, and backpacked across far-flung countries with loose change in his pocket. Graham now combines travelling with writing and he completed his first novel, Purple, during the sleepless, jet-lagged hours spent in hotel rooms around the world.
It is truly all of my life experiences combined that inspired me to write Purple. When I was 13 my best friend’s dad died in a car accident, and the realization that life doesn’t last forever is a major theme in Purple. Something else that really inspired me is the fact that I was bullied in high school for being gay. Also, when I’m not writing, I work as a flight attendant and I find a lot of inspiration while traveling.
Purple incorporates so many themes that young people can relate to. For example, bullying and tolerance are touched on in Purple. Bullying is an especially important topic that I cover in the book. Whether it’s physical, verbal or mental, it’s impact can be extremely damaging and long-lasting. I hope the story and characters will inspire readers to be more accepting of others. I also wanted to convey the idea of following your dreams, especially for those who are creative.
3. Did traveling as much as you have inspire your novel in any specific ways?
Traveling has definitely inspired Purple. When I began working with the airline those long, sleepless jetlagged hours in hotel rooms gave me the opportunity to truly focus on my writing. After meeting people from all over the world, I’ve discovered that, despite our differences in language and colour, we’re all the same. We all respond to a smile or a kind gesture. That, to me, is really inspiring, and I think readers will pick up on that when they read Purple.
4. Will there be a sequel to Purple?
I am definitely going to work on a sequel to Purple. I really want to do it for the fans that are invested in these characters. From the beginning, I wanted the characters to be real, down to earth and accessible. I also want to elaborate on the themes that have made Purple so relevant while simultaneously exploring new ones.
5.Did you have any difficulties coming up with a character?
When I began writing Purple, I wanted to write a story that reflected my life in some way. I think there’s a bit of myself in every character and that made it easier to develop each of them. For example, one of the characters is bullied in Purple because he’s black and has an American accent. I really used a lot of my own life experiences when incorporating those elements.
RANDOM TIME!6. 3 favorite books from your childhood?
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl – I still imagine finding a golden ticket in my chocolate bar wrapper.
Watership Down by Richard Adams
The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins – This was one of the books I had to read in high school and it’s considered to be an early example of detective fiction. It was written in 1859. Luckily I had a great English teacher and she made it fascinating and accessible.
7. Do you have a favorite animal?
I think the giraffe is the most amazing animal I’ve ever seen. And they can run really fast.
8. Pick 3 songs off of your playlist that EVERYONE should listen to (in your opinion).
Go by Moby
Uprising by Muse
Someone Like You by Adele
9. Favorite drink from a coffee shop?
Flat White (apparently in originated in New Zealand but I first drank one in Australia) it’s a variation on a latte, but I don’t think it’s as milky.
10. If you could travel to ANY place, real or make believe, where would you go?
What a great question! Because I travel so much with my job I don’t want to get on a plane. Can I please travel forward in time to London’s Piccadilly Circus 500 years from now?
Purple is a fantasy adventure set in modern-day London. After a purple storm sweeps around planet Earth, stealing millions of people, four teenagers struggle to make it alone. Drawn together by a series of bizarre coincidences they soon find themselves entangled with a bunch of interfering pensioners. Among the cast of players are flamboyant hairdresser Mr. Rupert, Pearl the loud-mouthed tea lady, and June, a psychic, who travels the world on her motorbike.
Thank you so much for stopping by my blog, Graham!
Have a great day everyone!