DG: I was an English major in college, and I had a handful of ideas for some novels I wanted to write. I knew that it was very hard to break into the publishing industry, but I still wanted to give it a shot, if for no other reason than to prove something to myself. It wasn't until I went off into the real world that I chose to pursue writing in my spare time. The best case scenario would be that I could establish a sustainable career out of it. The worst case scenario would be that it became a passionate hobby of mine. Either way I would feel fulfilled. Eventually I would go the route of the independent author.
DG: My first novel, Preemptive, is dual storytelling that deals with fictitious events that led up to and followed the September 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. Part of the novel takes place in Afghanistan in the 1980s when the Reagan administration was offering covert military aid to the Mujaheddin resistance movement at the height of the cold war. The focus of this story is the relationship between a Mujaheddin soldier and his CIA handler, and how that relationship changes over time. The other part of the novel takes place in New York City in the months that immediately follow 9/11, and the focus of the story is an emotionally troubled young man who has lost his older sister in the attacks, and the way in which his life is spiraling out of control. The two stories do eventually come together in what I attempted to craft in an unforeseeable way.
My second novel, Imaginary Lines, takes place in southern California and Mexico just before the great recession of 2008, and deals with the turbulent relationship between an Irish-American family and a Latino one. The story deals with socio-economic differences that create strife between the two families and eventually lead to an unpleasant confrontation. The focus of the novel is the illegal immigration issue and the way in which it can sometimes skew the definition of the American dream.
DG: I consider myself an author of historical fiction, although the history I borrow from is from the very recent past.
It was never my intention for my novels to deal primarily with social issues that interest me; that just happens to be the way it turned out. My stories don't attempt to take the long view, but rather deal with everyday people who have to deal with the large scale social concerns--usually created by big time policy makers and key political figures--that affect everyone. The social issues I address in my novels serve as a backdrop for the human interaction born out of the conflicts created by these same issues.
BBB: Do you ever get writer's block?
DG: This usually happens when I feel that I haven't done my homework sufficiently. I strive to do extensive research on the topics I explore in my novels, and sometimes I feel that I don't have enough information to go on in order to move forward. That's typically when I'll put the manuscript aside and open up a few non-fiction books, or try to get some experts on my subject matter to meet me for coffee. This is only a minor setback, and it usually leaves me with a sense of satisfaction that I've at the very least tried to create a fictional world realistic enough to mirror our own.
DG: My next book will tackle the controversy surrounding the gun control issue in America, and how the issue has currently come to a boil. I'm striving to make this novel more ambitious than Preemptive or Imaginary Lines by creating a wider cast of characters than I've ever attempted to before. Although I will endeavor to remain objective in my storytelling, my own personal feelings on this domestic problem will most likely leak into the manuscript through the thoughts and actions of the characters I create.
It is my hope that readers will be able to see all sides of the issue and come away with a better understanding of why it's become such a national dilemma.
DG: The best way to become more familiar with my work would be through my website, douglasgrantbooks.com, or on my Amazon author page. I'm very active online, and I regularly engage readers and converse with them on both my blog and my Twitter page, https://twitter.com/dgrant202. I love being in touch with my readers, and I encourage anyone to contact me to discuss reading, writing, and any other topics of interest. These types of interactions are the most enriching for me, as they help me to become a better writer, and hopefully a better person.