Welcome! Please tell us your name and a little bit about yourself.
Hello. Thanks for the invitation. My name is Graham Clayton but I write under the pen name of Clayton Graham. I was born at Stockport in the UK and settled in Victoria, Australia in 1982. A retired aerospace engineer, I am married with two daughters and five grandsons.
MILIJUN is my debut novel.
What motivates you to write?
I guess I’m from what used to be called a ‘working class’ family in the UK, growing up immediately after World War 2. Reading the Science Fiction of H G Wells and Jules Verne was no doubt an escape into different worlds, somewhere to forget the poverty and hardship left by war – at least for a while.
My childhood was spent among cobbled streets, rations books, two rooms up, two rooms down terraced houses, milkman’s horses, coal dumped in the cellar, fish and chips [on good days], bread and dripping [on bad days], and low-paid footballers. We survived on the basics.
In a nutshell, my early environment encouraged reading, and from that sprung the urge to write. I don’t think it’s anything more than that, other than perhaps having an innate creative urge.
What is the title of your most recent book? Give us a brief overview on what the book is about.
The title of the book is ‘MILIJUN’, which is a Science Fiction story with a hint of the paranormal. The action takes place primarily in the Australian outback in the year 2179.
The heroine, Laura Sinclair and teenage son, Jason, witness aliens descend to Earth. They are the primary characters in the novel, and everything revolves around them.
The extra-terrestrials are trying to form a symbiotic relationship with humankind, the critical part of which is a spiritual connection. So the adventure begins.
The novel explores the deep relationship between a mother and son. How far can it be stretched before the links break? How far would a mother go to save her son? Would she be prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice, or undertake actions she would never have deemed possible prior to the alien incursion?
Laura finds herself surrounded by a relentless web of frightening new technologies, human weaponry and alien mystery, but forged by the undying love of her son, she gains a strength of character she never thought possible. She and Jason become different people. They have to, really, or they would not survive.
What makes it unique from the other books out there?
I would say the spirituality of the aliens. They possess advanced technology, but it is tempered by a mysterious sanctity. That being said, they can make mistakes, too.
Also the difference in Laura and Jason’s personalities – the interaction between them, which is a catalyst spurring many events in the novel.
What is the title of your current work-in-progress or the most recent manuscript you’ve completed apart from your most recent book? Would you mind sharing what it is about?
I am working on ‘SAVING PALUDIS’ at the moment, which is set in the year 3898 AD, some one hundred and forty light years from Earth. It explores the conflict and the links between an alien culture and mankind, interplanetary economics, military force and ultimate power. It also asks the question: what happens when a culture concentrates on a single purpose-driven technology over a period of hundreds of years?
There are several subplots, but as a swift share − when the bottom drops out of the Paludis economy, desperation is seeded as the planet begins to suffer. However, the discovery of a new technology that can dramatically change the way humans explore the universe looks like it will save the day. The mother planet, however, does not see it that way, especially when several savage attacks on Earth appear to emanate from Paludis.
Inevitable conflict results, and it is only the combined efforts of a group of renegade humans and their alien allies which can ensure the survival of Paludis. But can they overcome the military might of the mother planet?
Are your characters pure fiction, or did you draw from people you know?
My characters are definitely pure fiction. I do know people [male and female] who would behave like Laura does when she first comes across the aliens, but I cannot guarantee that those people would react to later events like she does.
The same goes for Jason. My grandsons are not teenagers yet, so there are no clues there. My own teenage years were a mix of study and play, and I certainly did not come across anything unusual in the form of extraterrestrial events.
When all is said and done, Laura and Jason behave like many people would do when faced with the unknown. Run away or walk forward – take your pick.
Having said that I do have two daughters who have five sons between them, so maybe something rubbed off there.
Who should buy this book?
I believe MILIJUN would appeal to readers who enjoy alien-based action set primarily on Earth, or any other planet for that matter; people who don’t necessarily want space wars or battling stellar craft with super weapons in a Sci-Fi Novel, but are interested in technology and where it can take us, for better or worse.
It would also greatly appeal to mystery, thriller and paranormal genre readers, and people who enjoyed the movies Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Contact, and going back a bit, 2001: A Space Odyssey.
In addition, it would most certainly captivate people who cherish their mother and son relationship. Laura and Jason, I feel, have the connection which most mothers and sons would want – full of love, strong and unbreakable. It would be wonderful if all relationships were like that!
If you had to choose, what would you say are the most important ideas you’re sharing in your book that is really going to add value to the reader’s life?
The idea that, like humans, intelligent alien life will more than likely have a spiritual side. Humans have developed their spirituality through thousands of years. We are growing closer to understanding it, and where our place is in the universe. An advanced alien society will have progressed much further – for example, maybe they will have proven the existence of the afterlife, or maybe they will have entered other dimensions. Anything is possible – we should not deride anything even if it’s outside our comfort zone.
I wanted Milijun to explore how humanity would react when faced with an intelligence it cannot comprehend. It’s a good question, for it may happen someday. We are not currently prepared, of course, we are light years away from understanding how we should behave in such a circumstance.
Basically, Milijun challenges the reader’s mindsets through the eyes of a mother and son, and as such is perhaps more powerful and meaningful than if that challenge was through the eyes of the United Nations or the President of the United States.
How often do you write?
Whenever spare time and the urge to create combine. Sometimes it’s frequently; on other occasions there may be powerful conflicting forces – like holidays or grandchildren.
What famous author would you compare your own writing style with?
Probably Dean Koontz, who just happens to be my favorite scribe. I enjoy short chapters and I employ them a lot. Koontz is a master of the paranormal, making it almost seem like an everyday occurrence.
Who are five of your favorite authors?
Five is not a lot, but I enjoy:
Three of the old masters – H G Wells, Isaac Asimov and John Wyndham
Also Kate Atkinson [for the grittiness] and Agatha Christie [for the flow of the mystery]
What are you currently reading?
Rainbow Mars by Larry Niven. A revisit, and how Mars should be, or perhaps was!!
Time for some quick questions:
One I used towards the end of Milijun – The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep. And miles to go before I sleep. And miles to go before I sleep. [Robert Lee Frost, (American Poet), 1874 – 1963]
Midnight by Dean Koontz
Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz
Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Definitely Tea, usually green
- If you could have one superpower what would it be?
Time Travel, which may eventually become a non-super power.
If you could be one character from your own writing, who would it be and why?
Jason Sinclair in Milijun. For one thing he is a teenager! He also possesses an insatiable thirst for the unknown and is seldom phased by anything. He doesn’t mind challenging what he sees as nonsense, and voicing his opinion accordingly. Perhaps like most teenagers?
Finally, what advice would you give to other writers?
We can start with the obvious one – read your genre. Don’t start to write before reading, that’s like running before you can walk. If you have done your reading, and you have the urge to write, just write and see what comes out. Never throw anything away – a lot easier now with the advent of computers.
Also keep a pencil and pad on your bedside table. Quite often you will wake up with an idea, a thought, maybe just a sentence or phrase, or even a piece of dialogue. Scribble it down, file it somewhere safe.
Also don’t release your book too soon. Check out marketing options and get some reviews.
Clayton Graham was born and raised in the cobbled streets of Stockport, near Manchester UK. He graduated with a degree in Aerospace Engineering from Salford University in 1966 having attained a Student Apprenticeship with English Electric Aviation.
He settled in Victoria, Australia in 1982. He is a retired aerospace engineer who enjoyed working in the field of efficient lightweight structures and watching them fly around the world. He has always had an interest in Science Fiction and where it places humankind within the universe we know and love. He loves the ‘old school’ science fiction written by authors such as HG Wells, Jules Verne and John Wyndham. Also the works of Isaac Asimov.
Milijun is his debut novel, but there are further adventures to come.
Clayton loves animals, including well behaved pets, and all the natural world, and is a member of Australian Geographic.
When he is not writing, walking, travelling, or gardening, Clayton enjoys fine food with family, friends and five energetic grandchildren.
Web Site: http://claytongraham.com.au/
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/claytongrahamauthor/
Authors Show Radio Interview: http://claytongraham.com.au/authors-show-interview/