Joshua Graham holds a Bachelor and Master’s Degree and went on to earn his doctorate from Johns Hopkins University. He is the author of the award-winning novel, Darkroom. Under the pen name, Ian Alexander, the author released, Once We Were Kings, an Amazon #1 bestseller in multiple categories, an 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.
Thanks for this interview, Joshua. Can you tell us a little about your new paranormal suspense, Terminus?
I think the back cover copy sums it up best:
HOW FAR MUST AN ANGEL FALL TO FIND HIS DESTINY?
Having witnessed one too many senseless deaths, Nikolai, a disillusioned Reaper 3rd Class, resigns his commission with the Angel Forces after a tedious century of gathering souls.
Immediately, another division recruits him with the promise of a more rewarding career, and issues his initial assignments: To bring down a few very dangerous threats to the human race. In the process, Nikolai falls in love with one of his targets Hope Matheson, a woman who will lead thousands astray.
Caught between conflicting agendas, Nikolai chooses to fall from his celestial state and become mortal in order to circumvent angel law and be with her. But for angels and humans alike, things are not always as they appear. Still a target, the threat against Hope s life intensifies.
Now, in order to save her, Nikolai must rally the last remnants of his failing supernatural abilities to prevent her assassination, as well as the destruction of an entire city by a nuclear terrorist strike.
But his time and power are running out…
Terminus is a perspective-altering saga that delves into ageless themes of redemption, destiny, and the eternal power of love.
What inspired you to write it?
This idea actually came to me in 2009 during a professional writer’s masterclass in which we had to come up with about 3-4 book proposals per day. The creative juices were flowing and I really loved the concept for Terminus. It took a few years to complete, while getting other books published along the way, but I’m glad it finally came together. Many of the themes arose from my pondering on the ideas of mortality, eternity, spiritual warfare, and the like. I had read a book called Fearless by Max Lucado, and a particular chapter about facing death and beyond unafraid touched me particularly. I believe this was the final push that took Terminus from a proposal to a finished book.
What’s one thing you learned while writing Terminus?
I learned that we all need to find an ultimate source of hope. Without it, we fall victim to our circumstances, our emotions, and even wrong thinking. With that ultimate source of hope, we find security and the courage to stand strong against circumstances, negative emotions, and destructive thinking.
Can you give us one fun fact about Terminus that others might not know?
In Terminus, Nikolai, an angel speculates that there is a race of superbeings called Nephilim, a hybrid of angel and human, and that they might have possessed uncanny physical, mental, and charismatic power. He doesn’t believe they exist, but rumor has it that some of the world’s most evil dictators might have actually been Nephilim.
What’s the key ingredient writers need to have when writing paranormal suspense novels?
I believe in order to make the reader of paranormal suspense willing to suspend disbelief, you must ground enough of the story in reality and incorporate your world-building smoothly. A writer must also make the supernatural “rules” of that realm consistent and logical within the framework of the “known” natural realm. Finally, as in all genres, you must have engaging characters that you care about — whether they are the protagonist or antagonist, you want your readers to identify with them (comfortably or not.)
What’s one thing you learned about yourself as a writer after Terminus was released?
I’ve learned that at the heart of it all, I’m a thriller writer. No matter the sub-genre (legal thriller, political thriller, paranormal thriller), I love a story that keeps moving without sacrificing prose, snappy dialogue, and setting. To that end, I started writing Terminus with a very different authorial voice. I suppose this was an experimental phase in which I became a bit more wordy and literary. My wonderful editor helped me realize at my core, I am writing a thriller. So I was delighted to trim the fat, so to speak, and tighten the pace of this book. Interestingly, with the cuts, the manuscript lost nothing in the way of prose, setting, and dialogue. It had been improved by taking out anything not absolutely necessary to move the story forward. You see, I already knew this, but my short foray into a different style of writing helped me realize what my true writing style is. I credit my editor for knowing me well enough to bring me back to my core values.
This is not uncommon at all. If you look at all the cut scenes in a director’s cut DVD, you’ll see what I’m talking about. Most of those scenes make you nod in agreement for their being cut from the movie.
What’s next for you, Joshua? More paranormal suspense novels?
It’s hard to say exactly. I will probably write some legal thrillers, political thrillers, and more paranormal thrillers in the coming year or so.
How can readers keep up/get in touch/learn more about you?
I encourage everyone to sign up for my rare-to-occasional newsletter here. I’ll be giving heads up on new releases, exclusive content, giveaways and contests, and other cool ideas. I don’t do too many newsletters because I’m way too busy writing books, but I will try to make it fun and engaging.