Blog 83 15/06/2019 A Literary World: An Interview with Author Grahame Peace
A Literary World
An Interview with Author Grahame Peace
Today’s guest on A Literary World is author, Grahame Peace. Grahame and I have only recently got to know one another and it was not only books that brought us together, but our shared love of fashion. But Grahame’s work is not just about fashion as you will soon see, so make yourself comfortable with a glass of champagne – which I am sure will be perfect for his literary fashionistas – and read on.
Welcome to A Literary World, Grahame, tell us about your background? When did you decide to become an author?
My working career was in nursing, I worked for over 36 years in Mental Health Services, so I know a lot about ‘life’ and its many ups and downs. I’d always enjoyed writing, but most of it had been for work reports or academic assignment. I took up writing about six years ago, around the time I retired, and it’s grown from there. I treat it as a full-time job writing for several hours most days.
2. What are your novels about?
The primary genre I would say is humour, but I write what I call ‘fashion fiction’, fashion is a great passion of mine. But the bulk of my books to date are paranormal-historical-fantasies, and mysteries about a time-travelling super ghost called Jasper Claxton, he’s great fun, but fashion has a way of creeping into all my books.
3. Can you tell us about your latest novel?
My latest book is called The Mystery at Winterburn Manor, and it’s the fifth book in my ‘Ghost from the Molly-House’ series. It’s set in the present day and is a haunted house story set at a lovely 17th century Manor in Wiltshire, England. It’s a rather strange love story.
4. What sort of research did the stories require?
I do loads of historical research for my books; it’s often the research which drives the story, I take real history and then mix it with fantasy.
5. Are the characters based on real people?
No, not really, but I guess people get into your head in a subliminal way. I suppose there is a lot of me in them.
6. What is it about art and couture that inspires you? When did you decide you wanted to pursue entertainment and fashion in your writing?
It was the most natural thing for me to do, I’ve always been interested in fashion, I’ve no idea where it comes from, so writing about it seemed a good starting point, I always try to write the sort of books I’d like to read. I wanted to work in fashion design, but young working-class men from the North of England did not do ‘fashion’ in the early-1970s when I was at school, so I drifted into nursing, but fashion is my passion, and I regret that at the time I didn’t push harder to pursue it. I remember the first fashion designers to inspire me back in the 1970s were the British designers Bill Gibb and Zandra Rhodes.
7. Which fashion designers inspire you?
I like style over fashion, so I admire fashion from what I call the golden age of couture probably from the early 1930s through to the early 1960s, that’s not to say I don’t like today’s fashion, but that period of elegance and dressing we had, has now gone forever. Today it’s all about ‘what label are you wearing’ and showing as much flesh as possible, which I hate. I admire many fashion designers, but if I had to pick one it would be the great Spanish designer Balenciaga. He was so talented and innovative, they didn’t call him the couturier’s couturier for nothing. Even Dior called him, ‘the master of us all’ and Chanel admired him because he could actually make all his clothes himself, developing new fabrics sewing, and construction techniques. Among today’s designers, I like Tom Ford, Armani, and Brunello Cucinelli for their menswear, and among lady’s fashion, where to start? There are so many designers, but one of the newer designers I’ve admired is Elie Saab, and I also like the British design duo Ralph and Russo. But you need a LOT of money to buy their clothes.
8. Huddersfield was once an important textile town. Does it still maintain its artistic and industrial past in any way?
I would say no, it’s a University town now, and while the University has a textile and fashion department, Huddersfield textile heritage is now a tiny part of the town, it’s still there, but all the big mills have gone and the wealthy mill owners. Most of their fabulous houses have been turned into apartments or have been demolished.
9. How important do you think historical accuracy is when writing fiction?
I do try my best in my books to make them as historically accurate as I can, but at the end of the day, it’s fiction, so it has to fit with the story, so I always include a disclaimer!
10. Do you think fiction helps us understand the past?
Definitely, but it’s all about getting the balance right, you don’t want your story to become a historical textbook.
11. How do you write? Do you have a special room? How much time do you spend a day on your work?
I have a special chair! I treat my writing like a job and can easily spend six hours a day writing, although some days I only produce a paragraph! Other days it might be six pages.
12. Favourite authors.
I don’t really have one, I try and read as many different authors and genres as I can to learn. But after my job in Mental Health, I don’t like anything too dark, and I don’t like violence, gore, and lots of bad language etc. I want to be entertained.
13. Favourite painter?
The late Swiss artist Paul Klee, not that I could ever afford to buy any of his original work.
14. Favourite piece of music?
That’s a hard one, I like all kinds of music, I listen to it all day long, but if I had to pick just one song, it would be ‘Love Action’ by the British band The Human League, it’s a song which brings back so many great memories from the early 1980s, a great time in the UK for fashion with the New Romantic period.
15. What’s next for you?
Well, I’m about to bring out The Mystery at Winterburn Manor worldwide on Amazon. And I’m starting my new book about a social media and reality TV star called Patrina Fletcher; she made several appearances in my book ‘The Psychic Agency’. She’s great fun and loves designer labels; she’s very 2019! I’m still trying to build up my readership and following, which is very time-consuming, but I’m in this for the long haul, I love writing. I hope people will visit my website and follow me on Amazon and social media.
Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with us, Grahame. I am familiar with Huddersfield’s past as I once designed a couple of oriental carpets for someone who owned a small carpet mill and lived in one of those big houses that have long since gone. A great shame the area lost such skills. I totally agree with you about style over fashion and I love every one of the dresses you shared. I also think you might have coined a new genre – Fashion Fiction!!!! I like it. I wish you every success.
For those who are interested in further reading about Huddersfield’s famous textile past, I found this.