Author of the Month: Graham ThomasPublished: July 15, 2013
Graham Thomas, lecturer, English
Appearing in January from Ion Publishing, Simon’s Journey is the latest novel from Graham Thomas, a member of the university since 1977. Simon’s Journey is a sequel to his original novel A Long, Lonely Time following the life and misadventures of literature professor Simon Brooke, who finds his comfortable isolated life upended when he meets Stephanie Chatfield, an independent, engaging and inescapable nursing student. In the original novel, Brooke battles for love despite an athlete-slash-stalker who menaces both Brooke and his new relationship. In Simon’s Journey, Brooke travels the world to escape terrible grief. Based on Thomas’ real-life travels, Simon’s Journey takes the irascible scholar to the burial place of WWI poet Rupert Brooke in Skyros, Greece, then on the South Seas with the island paradise of Tahiti leading on to exotic New Zealand. Thomas enjoys confounding expectations by offering drama mixed with mystery and jeopardy. “I write more about personal drama than simple whodunits,” he said. “In fact, I poke a little fun at myself in Simon’s Journey by asking the question early on, ‘Don’t you hate melodramas?’” Thomas is pleased with his audience feedback. “Those who read the Simon Brooke novels enjoy them,” he explained. “I’m hoping a lot of people will want to read them. I believe in the power of setting and I try to visit wherever my characters go. Setting everything in Southern California would not only be too smoggy, it would be sterile. This is a state where too much money meets too little money between too many people with too little
self-awareness.” Thomas approaches every day of writing with a fresh mind. “I enjoy not knowing where I’m going,” he explained. “My characters often have the power to surprise me.” Thomas previously authored a trilogy following the adventures of detective Erskine Powell titled Malice in London, Malice on the Moors and Malice in Cornwall between 1998 and 2000. Thomas earned his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees Cal State Northridge. His plans include writing yet another in the Brooke series and taking his grandchildren to his home country of England.