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Author Interview: Joshua Graham & DARKROOM

WINNER OF 2011 INTERNATIONAL BOOK AWARDS, Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble #1 bestselling author Joshua Graham’s novel BEYOND JUSTICE is taking the world by storm, one reader at a time. Many of his readers blame him for sleepless nights, arriving to work late, neglected dishes and family members, and not allowing them to put the book down.

Suspense Magazine listed BEYOND JUSTICE in its BEST OF 2010, alongside titles by Scott Turrow, Ted Dekker, Steven James and Brad Thor.

His short story THE DOOR’S OPEN won the HarperCollins Authonomy Competition (Christmas 2010.)

Publishers Weekly described BEYOND JUSTICE as: “A riveting legal thriller…breaking new ground with a vengeance…demonically entertaining and surprisingly inspiring.”

Joshua Graham grew up in Brooklyn, NY where he lived for the better part of 30 years. He holds a Bachelor and Master’s Degree and went on to earn his doctorate from Johns Hopkins University. During his time in Maryland, he taught as a professor at Shepherd College (WV), Western Maryland College, and Columbia Union College (MD).

Today he lives with his beautiful wife and children in Southern California. Several of Graham’s short fiction works have been published by Pocket Books and Dawn Treader Press.

Writing under the pen name Ian Alexander, Graham debuted with his first Epic Fantasy novel ONCE WE WERE KINGS, an Amazon #1 Bestseller in multiple categories and Award-Winning Finalist in the SciFi/Fantasy category of The USA “Best Books 2011″ Awards, as well as an Award-Winning Finalist in the Young Adult Fiction category of The USA “Best Books 2011″ Awards, and an Award Winner in the 2011 Forward National Literature Awards in the Teen/Young Adult category. ONCE WE WERE KINGS is available in ebook and hardcover editions.

Look for his next Suspense/Thriller DARKROOM (Simon & Schuster/Howard Books) to be released May 1, 2012!

For Film Rights Josh is represented by UNITED TALENT AGENCY.   Please use the CONTACT button on this website for all inquiries.

You can visit his website at www.joshua-graham.com.

Why was writing DARKROOM so important to you?

It was during a time in my life where I had to make some decisions about my future.  For the longest time I wanted to transition from writing part-time, to full-time.  But I couldn’t imagine quitting my day job and losing the security of a steady paycheck, benefits, etc.  But at the same time, full-time work made it challenging to write.  I don’t say impossible, because I had written two novels while I held a day job.  So when my company decided to outsource my entire department, I found myself without a job.  During the time in which I search for a new one, I gave myself to writing full-time.  It was during this time, when I wrote like crazy and took advantage of the situation, that I wrote DARKROOM.  In some ways, it was a test to see if I had what it took to be a long-term professional writer.

You know what they say:  When God closes a door, He opens a window.

What was the experience like writing DARKROOM?  I can’t picture you in a dim lit room typing your little fingers away!

The experience of writing DARKROOM was like no other.  This book unfolded itself and required very little editing in terms of the story.  I had a clear idea of the plot, the characters, and the setting, and the high concept (visions in the darkroom leading to the exposing of a huge conspiracy cover-up.)  At one point, my trusted first reader (my wife) pointed out to me that my protagonist Xandra Carrick’s voice had changed.  I saw what she meant and went back to correct that and make it more consistent.  But for the most part, I was typing to all hours of the night.

How did you come up with the title?

Divine providence (inspiration.)  I can recall sitting in my cubicle at my day job some years ago.  I was finishing up another novel and wondering what my next suspense book would be.  The title DARKROOM came to mind.  I thought, What a cool double-entendre!   This was not something I sat and thought about for hours, it just fell into my mind while I was probably thinking about a hundred other things—as though someone suggested it to me.  In fact, I do believe it was from above.

So I went on to figure out what kind of premise would match a title DARKROOM.  I had some old fashioned photography experience when I was in junior high school, and I remembered how the hairs on my neck and scalp would prickle every time an image would come up under the developing solution in our makeshift darkroom.  At first, it looked like a negative, and the people looked like ghosts.  Eventually, everything cleared up and looked normal.  But I never forgot that eerie sensation.

As I thought about that title, the premise arose.  What if someone could see things clairvoyantly in the images they develop in the darkroom?  Things that the human eye could not see, but revealed things.Terrible things.

Can you tell us about your main character, Xandra Carrick?

Wow, Xandra?  She’s something else, I tell you.  Take an accomplished, driven young woman, with a famous father who for some mysterious reason has distanced himself from her, and caused her to want to prove herself and make him proud, and add a tough veneer that masks a rather vulnerable inside, and you’ve got Xandra Carrick.  If the phrase “better to ask forgiveness than permission” ever fit anyone, it would for Xandra.

Xandra is a New York Times photojournalist who has won respect and accolades for her on the spot work in Iraq, covering the issue of female suicide bombers, so she’s seen her share of life and death.  But nothing could prepare her for the odyssey upon which she’s about to embark in DARKROOM.

What are her strengths and what are her weaknesses?

Xandra’s strengths:  She’s stubborn and persistent.

Xandra’s weaknesses:  She’s stubborn and persistent.

These qualities are strengths when used productively, but when they lead to bad choices they become weaknesses.  There’s a lot more to Xandra though.  She’s got an eye for beauty and a profound sense of her world and the people in it.  She’s got a curiosity that refuses her to just let things go, unexamined.  She’s got a strong sense of right and wrong, which can lead to a hot temper that gets her in hot water.  But deep down, she’s searching for the truth.  The truth about who she is, from where she came, and why she exists.

Are there any supporting characters we need to know about?

If you are interested in the romantic plot thread in DARKROOM, you’ll want to know about Special Agent Kyle Matthews.  He’s got a stake in the investigation that brings him head to head with Xandra.  Lots of push and pull in their relationship, and you wonder, what’s going to happen with these two?  At times they’re like oil and water.

If you’re interested in the family saga aspect and some mystery, you’ll want to know about Peter Carrick, Xandra’s father.  What demons does he fight in his private life?  What has caused him to withdraw from the family that he loves?  And what danger lies in wait for anyone foolish enough to delve into things that might be best left to rest?

Can you open to page 25 and tell us what’s happening?

We’re looking into the journal of Grace Th’am Ai Le, Xandra’s mother.  She’s just met Peter Carrick under perilous circumstances.  Little do they know, they’re fates have been sealed at this moment.

What about page 65?

Xandra is freaking out!  She’s just discovered something and the police are on the scene to look into it.  Most people would walk away and not look back.  Not Xandra.  She’s got to find out for herself what actually happened and unbeknownst to her,she’s about to open Pandora’s box.

Now that DARKROOM has been published, what’s your next project?

You mean PROJECTS, don’t you?  I’m working on a Paranormal Suspense called TERMINUS, as well as the sequels to ONCE WE WERE KINGS, and DARKROOM.  It’s going to be a very busy year, but I hope it will yield some great books.

Thanks, Joshua, for this wonderful interview. Do you have anything you’d like to tell our readers that hasn’t been discussed?


Do you remember when you were a child, and you believed you could fly if you just ran hard enough and leapt?  I’m not proposing you do anything like that might possibly  cause bodily harm, but I am asking you to consider what it was that allowed you to take that flying leap off that porch, or deck?  Was it ignorance?  Maybe just a little.  Was it foolishness?  Again, maybe a bit.  But I submit to you that it was something else.  Something that as you watched reality, grownups and negative people snuff out your dreams (some rightfully so), died within you.  Something that seemed a lot more fun than the harsh “reality” of life.

I’m talking about faith.

A wise person once said, “Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”  Of course, those are the words of Jesus Christ, and He knew what He was talking about.  Children have a way of believing that is so pure, and unfortunately taken advantage of.  As a result the harsh “realities” of life can strip that childlike faith and take with it so many of our God-given dreams.  Dreams embedded into our DNA, to carry out that for which we were made.

Why is it that so many people with “successful” careers find themselves bored, discontent, and depressed even after they’ve climbed the ladder, after they’ve earned their millions?  Are they spoiled?  Maybe.  But some of these people are not, and they’re really good people deep down who have worked hard to earn their success.  Might it not be that they are not doing what they were created to do?

It is written, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” (Ephesians 2:10 NLT)

Happy is the one who understands what he or she has been designed to be and do, and walks in that purpose.

Haven’t you ever asked yourself, “Is there more to life than just making money and getting stuff?”  I know it’s difficult to ask this when you’re going through tough financial times, trust me.  But I also know that the question is valid whether you’re in need or in plenty.

I’d like you to ask yourself:  “What was I created to do and be?  Am I living that way?”

It may seem like a dream to you (dream career, dream life, etc.) but perhaps that’s only because it’s been so long since you imagined it.  May I humbly suggest that you study the blueprints of your life with the Master Designer who created them?

That’s what I’ve been doing ever since 2008, and my life has never been the same.  For the first time in my life, as a published writer, I can say I’m walking in my calling, my design, my destiny.

Do you have dreams that you’ve long given up on?  Dreams that you don’t dare revisit because of past disappointments and pain?  Bring them back to the Master Designer (God) and ask Him about it.  I truly believe that those who seek sincerely will find because “He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

As always, I welcome your feedback and questions.



For some inspiration, check this out:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OBQSQg_dOQg

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