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May CSR Discussion Day: Torn in Two by Graeme



Well how did this month treat you? I cannot believe it's already finished, but I am so glad it's done! Here comes June, Pride month! Who has something planned? I know it's a time for many to reflect on our community, coming out, and so much more. I think Graeme's story reflected that quite well, but what do you think? Share in the comments below, but first my interview with him!


What’s one location you’d love to go to research for a story?

I have an idea for a story set in the pacific during World War II. I would love to visit one of the islands used by the allies to watch for axis attacks during that period.

What's your favorite room in your house? Do you plot or write there?

My favourite room is the lounge room because it’s spacious with wonderfully comfortable couches. However, I do my writing in my office because that’s where my computer is located. Most of my plotting is done mentally and that can be done anywhere as long as I don’t have to concentrate on what I’m doing.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

I like to include a degree of accuracy in my stories. Sometimes that means a lot of online research into whatever it is I need to check. That can be challenging at time when I don’t always know the right wording to use for my searches.

What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?

The toughest criticism has been when I had my heart set on doing something in a story but one of my early readers tells me that it just doesn’t work. As with any parent, I don’t like being told that my ‘baby’ isn’t quite right…

As for the best compliment, it’s when I’ve been told that my story has made a difference to someone. That always gives me a warm buzz.

What do you think makes up a good story?

A good story has to engage with the reader. That’s tough because readers don’t all expect the same things. In addition, not only does the reader need to become engaged, but the writing has to be such that it carries the reader along with them with a minimal (hopefully no) hurdles.

That’s not saying that the story can’t have hurdles. It’s the immersion that needs to be without hurdles. A good story will keep the reader immersed in what’s going on without anything that jars the reader out of the suspension of disbelief required.

Young love, looking to make its mark on the world… what draws you to this trope?

I’m a romantic at heart. My youth was fairly barren in that respect – I was a loner with not much social interaction with others. In many ways, my stories are me living a life that I didn’t have when I was younger as I explore what could’ve been.

Would you identify more with Rory or Scott’s feelings about the proposal?

Definitely Scott. Even today, I have to balance my responsibilities with my desires. Life isn’t black-and-white, it’s full of shades between those two extremes. Rory’s life is simpler than Scott’s. Apart from the question of Scott himself, Rory can start a new life. Scott has more challenges at the moment than Rory, and I identify with that.

“Sometimes there’s just no right answer” is a concept that isn’t shared often in fiction. Is it hard to write that reality when readers are looking for happily ever afters?

It can be challenging, and as a romantic I try my best to find a solution for the protagonists, but if I want to reflect reality, sometimes that doesn’t happen. Tragedies exist, and sometimes they’re powerful, even if I would prefer it if everything has a happy ending.

Torn in Two combines themes of small town life, romance, homophobia, generational influences… did you plan out each element or did they flow together as you wrote the story?

I didn’t plan out each element, per se, but it’s more I created an environment in which the story could evolve. I wanted to combine a number of factors, including the experiences of a World War II veteran, and this is the story that came out of those things.

Can you share anything about your current or upcoming work with readers?

Sadly, I’m on a hiatus at the moment. I don’t want to be, but I’m struggling to find motivation to write. I’ve gone through this once before so I’m confident I’ll get past it, but I don’t know when. I will re-iterate, though, that I definitely want to finish Leopard Hunt. Once I’ve done that, maybe one or more of the story ideas I have in my mind will take fruition and I’ll start writing in earnest again.

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  • Site Administrator

What a great story. I did get a chance to reflect on what you said in this great interview with what you wrote in the story. I think that is what makes you one of my all time favourite authors at the site. 

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