I’m so excited to share a Q & A with Brad Graber today! He’s a local author and I was so pleased to be put in touch with him as I haven’t had the chance to support any local authors yet. His debut novel, The Intersect is available now. I’ll be reviewing the book soon and I’m so interested in reading something based in my home state of Arizona as that doesn’t happen too often. Read on for more information on the book as well as an interview with Brad.
About the Book:
THE INTERSECT by Brad Graber
Brad Graber was thrilled to move to Phoenix in 2009, a friendly city with a diverse community. But the state of Arizona had its struggles, especially regarding immigration. The rich culture of Phoenix, set against the political and social issues of Arizona in 2010, is the backdrop to Graber’s charismatic debut The Intersect.
In THE INTERSECT, Graber uses his personal history, professional health care background, and the social issues of today, to paint a moving portrait of lives that connect in a deep and meaningful way. The novel weaves together the stories of disparate characters who are striving to survive in a world where the most lasting connection is made among strangers. Graber takes a close look at what it’s like to be an older woman struggling to navigate the health care system while being swindled by her family; a gay man in a long term relationship thrown off-balance by early retirement; an illegal immigrant who considers himself to be an American, in a country that tells him otherwise; and a gay teen who has come out of the closet to a rejecting family.
THE INTERSECT opens with Daisy, a spry 75-year-old woman living on her own. When Daisy gets into a car accident and is whisked away for hip surgery, her stay in rehab threatens to transition to long-term care. Her nephew Jack and his second wife Enid nefariously garner power of attorney and, without Daisy’s knowledge, sell her Biltmore home. Months later, Daisy returns to discover that a gay couple in their 50s, Dave and Charlie, have purchased the property. Charlie welcomes Daisy into the couple’s guestroom, believing she’s Dave’s distant aunt from NYC, before discovering her circumstance. The men bond with Daisy, even as Dave and Charlie’s relationship starts to take a turn when Dave quits his high-end career and spirals into a post midlife crisis.
Meanwhile, Ernie is a Mexican-born immigrant who was smuggled into the United States when he was a young child. He owns a handyman business and prides himself on being a model American, despite his illegal status. When Ernie stops by the house of a client, he finds the woman held at knifepoint in an attempted robbery. When the police arrive, Ernie is falsely arrested and deported to Mexico, where his American grit helps him to succeed despite overwhelming odds.
These characters’ stories become intertwined with those of a psychic, a physical therapist, and scheming love interests as the novel takes many dramatic twists. Lives become entangled: relationships are strained, secrets are revealed, personal identities are threatened, hearts are broken, and justice is sought.
Exploring today’s hot-button issues of immigration, elder abuse, and teen homelessness, THE INTERSECT shows readers that strangers can make unexpected and lasting connections—even as they reveal the most vulnerable part of themselves.
About the Author:
Brad Graber was born and raised in New York City. He obtained a B.A. in Biology from the State University of New York at Buffalo, and an M.H.A. from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. As a healthcare administrator, Brad has held a number of positions living in Highland Park, a suburb of Chicago; West Bloomfield, a suburb of Detroit; and Mill Valley, a suburb of San Francisco. Brad currently resides in Phoenix with Jeffrey, his spouse of 26 years, and their dog Charlie. Brad volunteers with non-profit organizations, most recently with Duet, which provides support for seniors. He has in the past volunteered with Oneten.org,which supports GLBTQ youth. THE INTERSECT is Brad’s first novel. For more information visit his website or on Twitter @JefBra1.
Q & A:
1. What’s a typical writing day for you look like? Describe your perfect writing environment.
I tend to get up early, about 5 a.m., and walk the dog. After I eat breakfast and read the paper, I settle down into my home office where I start writing about 7:30 a.m. – after checking email and watching Charlie Rose on CBS. I break about ten o’clock – for a snack – and to let the dog out. My dog Charlie, tends to be huddled nearby. He moves around a lot, starting out in his dog bed – and then shifting to the sofa behind me in my office. I know things are going well if he I can hear him snoring. At noon, I break for lunch – and then continue working till 2 pm – and then I head off to the gym.
2. How did you get started writing? Was it something that you’ve always loved?
I’ve always wanted to be a writer, but my career as a healthcare administrator was very distracting. There were times in my life when I tried to write a novel, but I was either unable to concentrate or too tired because of the commitment to my daytime job. But, I always loved great writing, and have been inspired when I’ve read something especially compelling.
3. Who are your favorite writers/inspirations?
I like to read a wide variety of authors. I love historical fiction, like Ken Follett’s Winter of the World and Ayn Rand’s We the Living. I enjoy biography, especially Doris Kearns Goodwin’s No Ordinary Time. I like page turners, like Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code. And I enjoy a fun read like Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin.
4. Anything you can tell us about upcoming projects?
I’m currently working on my second novel, The Season of the Caterpillar, which is the story of a teen being raised by her grandmother, and the teen goes on a journey in search of her namesake. I’m hoping to have that book completed in 2017.
5. Normally, how do you develop plots/characters? Brief us on your process.
I tend to write about the issues that profoundly grab my attention. We all have life experiences, and I dig through that mental file folder with the intent of exploring those challenges more fully. My characters are not real people – they’re all fictional – and so the plot must be driven by their behavior, thoughts, and actions – which I imagine when they come to life. If you have a real sense of your characters, you know how they will behave. That is always helpful.
6. Favorite character from one of your own novels?
My favorite character would have to be Daisy from The Intersect. She’s immensely kind, but has a life story that makes her unique and interesting. And being a mature women in her seventies, she offers wisdom which can only come through life experience. I love that about her.
7. Preferred methods for readers to contact you?
I’m available by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. And I’m also always looking for opportunities to connect with readers by visiting book clubs. So happy to do that.
8. On average, how long does it take you to write a book?
It took three years to complete The Intersect. But I’m hoping the next book is completed in under two years (fingers crossed).
9. Which one of your characters do you relate to the most?
There really isn’t one. I’ve inhabited each one of them through the writing process. That helps to make them seem real.
10. If writing wasn’t your career, what would you be doing?
I’d be working with a non-profit organization. As a former healthcare administrator, that was a big portion of my life.
11. What’s the best compliment that you’ve received about your work?
I’ve been told it’s an easy, engaging read – a real page turner – that people have trouble putting it down. It makes me smile to know that I’ve been able to capture my reader’s attention and pique their curiosity.
Thanks so much to Brad for joining me today and thanks to Larissa Ackerman from Claire McKinney PR for putting us in touch.