I wonder how many writers like myself spend time browsing in bookshops – sometimes perhaps too much time for my bank account. I always check out first of all the Christian Fiction titles, especially new women’s fiction releases from fellow Australian authors and my husband’s publisher, Even Before Publishing.
A few weeks ago I was intrigued by the cover and title of “Against the Unknown” on a book display. It was not the kind of book I would normally pick up but the back blurb made it sound like a fascinating read. I couldn’t put it down! Besides simply being a page turning story, it is a book that has very thought provoking and challenging concepts about the Christian walk and being reminded that “...our struggle is not against flesh and blood...
I wanted you to know about this writer, Graham Carter who is an Australian author of inspirational fiction. For over a decade his novels have surprised and delighted readers with their stories of ordinary people dealing with extraordinary circumstances.
Graham lives in Brisbane, Australia, with Sue, his wife of 37 years. As well as writing, he enjoys travel, camping, sport, and spending time with his 8 grandchildren. Graham and Sue travel regularly to Uganda where they support a number of aid programs amongst the poor.
His writing journey is very interesting and I wonder how many other writers like myself can identify with some, if not all of it.
I was inspired by the story of how a young Sydney Law Student self-published a novel and trudged around city bookstores with a suitcase full of copies hoping to sell them. Some of you probably know the story of how one of his books was picked off the shelf by an agent for Harper Collins, and the story of Matthew Riley, best-selling author began.
I thought, “If he can do it, so can I.” The next morning, I sat at my old 386 computer and began tapping away with one finger on a keyboard. For years I had been intrigued with the idea of what Heaven might be like, so that became my task. To write a novel about Heaven that was not only true to Biblical references, but that portrayed it as a place that was exciting, fun, adventurous, uplifting, somewhere we couldn’t wait to get to. Not knowing anything about how to write a book, I wrote 13 consecutive chapters about heaven. Then I decided it needed a bit more intrigue, suspense - something we won’t necessarily find in heaven, so I planted my imagination firmly back on the ground and wrote the rest of the story, which takes place on earth, around those 13 chapters.
9 months later the manuscript for ‘No Eye Has Seen’ was complete. I went looking for an Aussie publisher of Christian fiction. I found one had just closed its doors and another that wasn’t accepting manuscripts. “Okay their loss,” I thought. This book was going to be so big, publishers would be falling over one other to sign me up. I began sending submissions to US publishers. Then I sat back, waiting for a phone call from one of them, telling me they had booked me a first class ticket to come over to the States to help promote this wonderful book. I guess I don’t need to tell you what happened.
So I self-published. I found a printer, organised a cover and ordered 500 copies. I sold them in about 6 months through various small Christian bookstores, then printed another 300. Two of our largest distributers, Koorong and Word, had agreed to take them so I concentrated on those outlets.
While all this was going on I got an email from a small publisher in North Carolina who had read the manuscript and wanted to publish. “Woo, hoo, here we go.” They were going to publish next Fall, they said. Fall came and went. ‘We are including it in our Spring releases’, they told me. You guessed it – Spring came and went with no publication. This went on for 2 years with continual excuses and procrastination from the publisher. Eventually I gave up.
I kept writing through this time. I completed the sequel , then a third stand-alone novel, and I even started on a fourth. But still, I didn’t seem to be getting anywhere in the publishing world. Then a break – a new publisher started up in Australia and they were accepting manuscripts. I sent off my submission and the ‘new submissions’ editor loved it. I flew from Queensland to Sydney and met with her over coffee. We discussed editing, publication timetables etc. … then she left the company! But the new editor loved it too and yes, “we are going to publish, just not sure when.”
Hmm – this was beginning to sound familiar.
Around this time (2006) my wife and I moved to Africa to do some work with Wycliffe Bible Translators. We lived in Uganda for a year. I continued to correspond with Ark House Press and after more delays “No Eye Has Seen” finally hit the stores a few years later. There was still much to learn about promotion and unfortunately it didn’t leap off the shelves as rapidly as I had hoped. A couple of years later Ark House agreed to publish another one of my novels, Guardians of Eden, but again without adequate promotion it too came to nothing.
Well, I pretty well gave up. I had written 4 novels, had 2 published, but I was really questioning whether any of it had been worthwhile. And lo and behold I heard about another new publisher that had recently come on the scene. “Right – I’ll give it one last go.”
Anyway, before I completely run out of space here, let me tell you about this current book. ‘Against the Unknown’ is the culmination of several years of writing experience, many months of editing, and a fair bit of research into the American political scene. It’s a story set in the US, but with a strong Australian flavour in the guise of an Aussie surfer searching for the meaning of life. It’s a story that explores the influence of the spiritual world on our own. We get to glimpse the sometimes complex and sometimes insidious ways our lawmakers are influenced, and through it all we see the sovereign grace of God at work in the lives of ordinary people. Most of all we get to see the power of prayer as a spiritual weapon that God has given us to defeat the enemy.
THANK YOU SO MUCH GRAHAM FOR THIS INSIGHT INTO YOUR WRITING JOURNEY
Set on the US east coast, 'Against the Unknown' traces the journeys of four separate characters: a state senator, a runaway teenager, a middle-aged hippie, and an Aussie surfer, all of whom are facing challenges in their lives. It is a story with lots of intrigue, a number of twists and turns and an ending that surprised me. There’s some romance, a dose of adventure, and plenty of action.
Above all the enjoyment of a great storyline, as it has for me I pray it vividly reminds you of the truth of Ephesians 6:12 , and drives you too to more faith, obedience and fervent prayer when we see the efforts of the enemy of our Lord in our world today.
This book is available in print where good Christian books are sold, including Even Before Publishing (a division of Wombat Books) or e-book at Koorong, Word iTUNES and Amazon (CLICK ON THE COLOURED NAMES TO TAKE YOU TO THE WESITES)
More information on Graham's website click HERE
and on his Facebook and Goodreads.
Mary has three more of her Great Southland series scheduled to be released in June and July as e-books by Truly Yours Digital Editions. Watch out for her Hope in the Great Southland, Love in the Great Southland and Great Southland Gold.